'Arrested Development' Cheat Sheet: How to Talk Like a Super Fan

What's the deal with the banana stand? Find out in our guide to the show's running gags before its Netflix premiere

If you're a longtime fan of Arrested Development, you're pretty pumped right now. Fox's critically beloved and Emmy-winning comedy is returning via Netflix this Sunday at 3:01 a.m. After a loooong wait, it's time to bring on Season 4!

But what if you're new to the show? Truth is, Arrested Development, following the antics of the eccentric, formerly wealthy Bluth family, also happens to be somewhat insider-y. For loyal fans, it's the ultimate fount of running gags. No doubt the new season will be full of quotes and rapid-fire references that those outside the loop won't recognize. Need help keeping up? Here's a cheat sheet of key phrases to make sure you're in on the jokes.

Banana Stand

George Sr. (Jeffrey Tambor) is the selfish, immoral, oddly lovable Bluth patriarch who earned and lost his family a huge fortune, often through illegal means. He started the family's frozen banana-on-a-stick stand, a key part of the Bluth business empire, on a Newport Beach boardwalk in the 1950s. At various points along its long and storied history, the stand has been destroyed and rebuilt (several times), served as a hippie meeting place for marijuana sales, acted as a place of employment for various Bluth family members, and -- unbeknownst to George's eldest son, Michael (Jason Bateman), the hiding place for $250,000. Sadly, Michael learned this fact after burning it down.


Buster's Lost Hand

Buster Bluth (Tony Hale) is ... an odd guy. His defining relationship is with his evil mother, Bluth matriarch Lucille (Jessica Walter). In Season 2, a "loose seal" with a yellow bow tie bites off Buster's hand, triggering his debilitating fear of seals, but earning him recognition from the army. "Apparently, the army is giving out medals for being food now," said Lucille. 

 


Chicken Dance

"Has anyone in this family ever even seen a chicken?" asks Michael, who is the only responsible member of the Bluth clan. Apparently, no one in this family has ever seen a chicken, because various Bluth family members do a terrible impersonation. Get used to this gag: The chicken dance is a recurring joke.

 

Mean Mother

The nefarious Lucille is about as maternal as a truck-driving serial killer. Her cutting remarks are unrivaled on TV. Here, she's working her magic on daughter Lindsay (Portia De Rossi):

And here, she's lecturing her son, Gob (Will Arnett). His name, by the way, is pronounced like Job in the Bible.

 

Loving Maeby

Michael's teenaged son, George Michael (Michael Cera), is tortured by his hormones and his unfaltering crush on his (adopted) cousin, Maeby (Alia Shawkat). His oblivious dad makes matters worse when he makes inadvertent sexual innuendos constantly.

 

 

Never Nude

Lindsay's husband Tobias (David Cross) suffers from a psychological syndrome in which he can never be naked. He wears jean shorts ... at all times.

 

The Stair Car

This is a relic left over from the days before George Sr. went to jail and lost all his money. The stair car went with their corporate jet. Now it's the Bluth family's chief mode of transportation. (The jet, of course, was sold to pay some of their debt.) Watch out for bridges and hop-ons," Michael tells Lindsay. "You’re gonna get some hop-ons. 

 

Tobias' Questionable Orientation

Lindsay's husband has displayed a few (okay, more like a million) tendencies toward homosexuality. In this scene, he's totally unaware that he's packed the room with gay men for his memoir reading.

Congratulations! You're now ready to start watching Season 4!

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