Arrested Development, “The B. Team”

“The B. Team” has some of my favorite gags that don’t get a lot of attention, or speed, by moving too quickly to catch the first time around. Keep in mind that some of the things that seem throwaway are, in fact, important.

Michael and Ron HowardMichael Bluth attempts to get out of the real estate business and begins working for a company that the narrator isn’t allowed to name (if you want to know, just “something” it). He gets a car to map private residences, dubbed “the ostrich.” Keep an eye on the ostrich motif.

“The B. Team” is created after Barry Zuckercorn calls Michael about a meeting with Ron Howard, who wants to make a movie. He’s requested a meeting in, get this, Beverly Hills. Michael is astonished to find Kitty Sanchez working for Imagine Entertainment, but we learn that she’s been working there ever since Maeby hired her as an assistant on the Arrested Development movie project. Unfortunately, Maeby never got the family’s signatures and Kitty succeeded in getting her fired over it.

Ron takes Michael into a soundproof rocket that was used on a soundstage in the 60’s to simulate a moon landing (apparently the real one happened in 1971). He tells Michael he makes movies based on compelling pictures, which is why he wants to move forward on the Arrested Development project, after seeing Michael’s photo in the airline on flight magazine, Altitude. The movie will focus on the father-son relationship.

Michael meets Rebel AlleyRon’s excited about the project, saying there could be a part for “his girl”, Rebel Alley. Michael thinks he’s talking about a mistress, but the narrator says she’s actually Ron’s daughter. Later, Michael assures Ron that he doesn’t judge him, mistakenly assuming Ron is embarrassed about having a mistress. “I’m sure all you guys have a girl,” says Michael. “Brian [Grazer]’s got two boys!” replies Ron cheerfully.

Outside, Michael literally bumps into Rebel but doesn’t get her name. She asks him to visit the Ealing Club to see her in a band and leaves before he realizes he’s playing into the typical romantic comedy situation she was talking about just a few minutes before, and has no idea what her name is.

Instead of getting his family’s signatures (Ron tells Michael he wants a movie about the whole family and Michael asks, “Them?”), Michael decides to put together a team of writers and actors to impress Ron. This after he has a run in with George, who seems to be canoodling with Lucille Austero on her balcony. That ends in a yelling match between the men after Michael assures him that if he signs away the rights, he can be made to look…nice. It takes a lot for Michael to say this and he’s relieved when his father decides to brush him off.

Michael's B. Team: Warden Gentles, Andy Richter and Carl WeathersEnter Carl Weathers and Andy Richter as actors and Warden Gentles, played by James Lipton, as Michael’s screenwriter.  Together, they comprise “The B. Team”. Carl has ended his “Scandal Makers” show due to his never having gotten the rights to anything, and Andy’s had it with Conan O’Brien. Warden Gentles had been pitching to Bruckheimer Studios to a long-suffering John Krasinski, who finally tells him that “Jerry’s not going to get off the boat for this one,” as he sits in front of a massive pirate ship.

Ron Howard and Brian Grazer have a half-hearted meeting with Michael and his B. Team in between floors, since the elevators have gone unfixed since the floors were lowered as an attempt to compete with Bruckheimer, who has, technically, the tallest building in, get this, Beverly Hills. Ron tells Michael he really needs the signatures, prompting a retort that the O.C. is a hard place to get to. Unfortunately, this simply results in Michael receiving an office in the O.C.

Michael is then visited by George, who doesn’t seem to be aware of all that’s been going on. He and Michael have a long talk, which ends with Michael coming clean about wanting to impress a girl and therefore sticking with the movie producer title, even though he doesn’t want to go looking for signatures. “You didn’t tell me this was about lying to a girl!” says George, happily signing away his rights. Later, Ron asserts that he didn’t want George and Michael as the focus of the feature, he wanted Michael and George Michael, which makes Michael rethink the whole “impressing the girl” scheme, since his last encounter with George Michael was the painful roommate vote-out.

The episode ends with Michael and Rebel vanishing into a photobooth for some…quality time, and when she leaves, he figures out from a photo of her shoulder tattoo that her Michael, Conan and Andyname is “Rebel” which he then connects to Ron Howard. He’s freaked out at the thought of dating Ron Howard’s mistress, but the narrator reminds us, “But she was actually his daughter, and really, isn’t that worse?”

“The B.Team” has a fantastic “On the next…” episode cap, with Andy missing a taping of the Conan O’Brien show and cashing in a favor from his quadruplet sibling, Rocky, who takes Conan O’Brien to task after a mean joke. “Why don’t I just rip that red rug off your head and turn you into Ron Howard?” Apparently, this hurt both mens’ feelings.

This might be one of the best episodes in the new season just because of the jokes about Hollywood executives. Ron Howard and Brian Grazer definitely play it up, especially Ron, who is casting an Opie for the Andy Griffith movie when Michael first walks in for the meeting. Michael says, “You’re still going with that? I’ve been hearing about it for the last forty years.” “We’re never going to beat the original,” Ron laments. “How do you tell Ed Harris he simply isn’t a Barney?”

“The B. Team” has a lot to catch, especially after going through the entire season.  Not everyone is who you think they are, so watch carefully.

K.M. Cone

K.M. Cone

K.M. Cone is a story nerd, particularly for the episodic stories told via the medium of television. When not parked in front of the TV, K.M. Cone can be found writing kooky urban fantasy on her personal site, attempting to learn German, or making a huge pot of soup for her friends, who are probably coming over to join her in her latest TV or animated film obsession.
K.M. Cone

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