Several streaming services have started removing some beloved series from their platforms, which raises the question of how these shows will be accessible in the future. The most recent series to be put on the chopping block is Arrested development. The show originally premiered on Fox in 2003, and even though it was canceled prematurely, it still gained an impressive cult following. In 2013, Netflix decided to reboot the show and produced two more seasons of the Bluth family antics. The streamer just announced they’ll be wiping the show from Netflix on March 14, so here are the best and most essential episodes of Arrested Development you need to watch before it’s too late.
Pilot (Season 1, Episode 1)
The first episode of Arrested development is one of the best in sitcom history. Most shows take a few episodes to really pick up steam, but this one jumps right in and sets its unique tone. The pilot introduces the Bluths, a wealthy and dysfunctional family on the brink of crisis when their patriarch, George Bluth Sr.Jeffrey Tambour), has been arrested for committing white-collar crime. His son Michael (jason batman), must take over business affairs and keep the family afloat while dealing with their eccentric personalities and various problems. In less than thirty minutes, the entire story of the show is set up, the clever and absurdist form of humor is established, and all nine members of the Bluth family are hilariously introduced.
Top Banana (Season 1, Episode 2)
Arrested development is known for his running gags and memorable quotes that precede the entire series. The show has one of its definitive moments in just the second episode with the introduction of the line, “There’s always money in the banana stand.” The figure of speech refers to the actual banana stand selling frozen treats on the pier, a long-running staple in the Bluth empire. From prison, George Sr. his family constantly using the phrase to reassure them that they are financially secure. Since he always follows it with a wink, no one takes him seriously and Michael assumes they are broke. It is not until the banana stand burns down that it is revealed that the walls were literally full of money. That setup and payoff was just the first of the show’s many cleverly tongue-in-cheek bits. Also included in this episode are Tobias’ famous memes (David Cross) sobbing in the shower, and Michael opening a paper bag that says “Don’t eat dead Dove.”
In God We Trust (Season 1, Episode 7)
By the time the show is in its seventh episode, all of the introductory stuff is done, so the storylines get even deeper and more absurd – Tobias’s torment for never being naked, for example. This episode also explores two complicated and somewhat incestuous relationships. The first is Buster’s (Tony Hale) blossoming but forbidden romance with his mother’s friend Lucille 2, played by Lisa Minelli. And second is from Michael Cera awkward teen character George Michael tries his own cousin, Maeby (Ali Shawkat), by wearing a fake muscle suit.
Pier Pressure (Season 1, Episode 10)
When the Bluth siblings were kids, George Sr. his amputee friend J. Walter Weatherman to set up complicated scenarios that would frighten the kids. After Michael suspects his son is smoking weed, he pulls out a page from his father’s parenting handbook to teach George Michael a lesson the hard way. Gob (Will Arnett) helps Michael stage a mock drug bust involving male strippers dressed as cops, which only traumatizes George Michael and guilt him into revealing that the pot was to help with Lucille 2’s vertigo. the real lesson of George Sr. and J. Walter on why you should never teach your son a lesson.
The One Where Michael Leaves (Season 2, Episode 1)
The title of the season 2 opener was an ironic ode to the names of the episodes Friends. The episode used a clever way to start a new chapter by mirroring the pilot’s plot. As at the beginning of the series, Michael decides to leave the family business to start a new life in Arizona with George Michael. However, his plans are again derailed by his father. This time, instead of getting more jail time, George Sr. as if he were dead and he flees the country. As the Bluths deal with the fallout, Michael realizes he needs his family as much as they need him. While all that is going on, Tobias joins what he thinks is a support group for depressed men, but it’s actually the Blue Man Group.
Hand to God (Season 2, Episode 12)
While this mid-season episode doesn’t have a very remarkable storyline, it has one of the most memorable gags of the entire series. Buster tries to defy Lucille (jessica walter) by swimming in the ocean, an act his mother vehemently forbade. As he makes his way into the water, Buster ignores the lifeguard’s warning of a loose seal, thinking he is saying “Lucille.” Buster is viciously attacked by the seal and rushed to hospital. All the Bluths follow to make sure Buster is okay, and the Doctor assures them that Buster will be okay. The family is so relieved that the doctor clarifies, “He’s lost his left hand, so he’ll be fine.”
Meat the Veal (Season 2, Episode 16)
After being kicked out of the Bluth house, Tobias creates a new identity to try and reconnect with his family. A la Mrs. Doubtfire, Tobias dresses up as a maid and nanny named Mrs. Featherbottom. The family knew it was Tobias, but the house had never been so clean. He confuses his character with Mary Poppins and tries to fly by jumping from the second floor and then crash landing on the coffee table. Meanwhile, Michael tries George Michael’s relationship with his regular girlfriend Ann (Mom Whitman) by introducing her very religious parents to his unhinged and offensive family. The episode also features Gob’s partner in crime, his talking puppet Franklin.
Mr. F (Season 3, Episode 5)
Season 3 begins with Charlie Theron portraying Rita Leeds in a five-episode arc. She attracts Michael with her beauty, British charm and childish curiosity. On the business side, Bluth’s corporate attorney, Bob Loblaw, warns the family that they have a mole named Mr. F spying on them from a British syndicate. The Bluths immediately assume that Rita is the mole and is using Mr. F as an alias, but Michael insists she is innocent. But the next time Michael sees Rita, he notices she’s wearing a bracelet that says Mr. F, so he breaks up with her and turns her in. CIA, but he thought he was hired by the talent agency CAA. It turns out that Rita’s bracelet actually signified her MRF condition – something that Michael will indeed find out about soon.
Development Arrested (Season 3, Episode 13)
The final episode of Season 3 was intended to be the series finale after Fox canceled the show. This episode takes the opportunity to perfectly tie up all the loose ends and connect the stories of the first season. All charges against George Sr. are revoked and the family decides whether to sell or build the business. They’re throwing a shareholder party on the Queen Mary and the show ends as it began, with police boats rushing the party to apprehend the best Bluth, only this time it’s the matriarch Lucille. The finale was in perfect symmetry with the pilot episode and would have been a satisfying way to say goodbye to the Bluths.
Colony Collapse (Season 4, Episode 7)
Seven years after the finale aired, Netflix decided to reboot Arrested development and see where the Bluths are now. Despite initial fan excitement, the show didn’t quite match the genius level of the original series. Apparently, the creators weren’t fans either, as the fourth season was recut to a completely different format five years after it came out on Netflix. The first draft was definitely ambitious, but also out of order and not user-friendly, so they remixed it for the release of season 5. You can still find the original season 4 in the Trailers & More section on the show’s page.
Going by what the original version of season 4 was, episode 7, titled “Colony Collapse”, is the most memorable episode. The episode focuses on Gob’s character, which was a nice relief after most of the main characters had been hung out to dry in the rebooted seasons. Gob is about to marry Ann (Her?) in a ceremony that will heavily involve one of his magical illusions. On the day of his wedding, he performs his “Jesus on the Cross” trick which offends the very religious public and malfunctions, trapping Gob in a cave for weeks. In a season that was hit and miss, “Colony Collapse” was the most similar to the flavor of the first three seasons.
The Consequences (Season 5, Episode 16)
In general, the fifth and final season of Arrested development was overwhelming and exhausting. Despite the whole ensemble playing together again, the writing just couldn’t live up to the talent. Lucille 2 has been killed and The Bluth Company is about to reveal a boundary wall using one of Gob’s illusions. The show ends with the revelation that Buster killed Lucille 2 and permanently cemented her body into the border wall. The season and subsequent series finale was an important episode as it proved the overall message of the show; the Bluths deserve nothing but themselves.