4 Things You Might Have Missed: Arrested Development Season 4
By K.M. Cone | Staff Writer Published: 07/25/2013 6:15 pm EST
Watching through Arrested Development Season 4 the third time with a friend, I started realizing how much material I was missing. There were jokes I was getting part of, jokes I didn’t even know were jokes, and clever references I had to look up.
This is part of what make Arrested Development so brilliant, and giving Mitchell Hurwitz seven years to craft all of this means that it will probably take us a few years to get even half of the jokes. For now, I’d like to point out a few things that I didn’t pick up on until much later, in hopes you’ll join me in applauding the show for its incredible detail.
One of the first things I noticed was the recurrence of ostriches and bees. There are ostriches everywhere: real ones, stuffed ones, an ostrich on a juice box, ostriches mentioned, an ostrich costume, etc. There are bees in almost every episode, from GOB’s unfortunate homeless bees to the titles. For example, “Michael B. Project,” “Queen B.”, and “Colony Collapse” carry on the bee theme.
In Egyptian mythology, an ostrich feather was used to weigh the souls departing to the underworld, to see if they were deserving of a blissful afterlife. Bees, on the other hand, are symbols of resurrection and immortality. Interesting for a show that got canceled and continued to grow a fan base, then reappeared seven years later on another platform.
George Michael’s attempt to drop his association with his family and avoid embarrassing Internet searches leads to his taking the name George Maharis. While the name came together from his first name and the way Maeby pronounces “heiress”, what George Michael doesn’t know is that there is a George Maharis, an actor, who was convicted of the same type of crime George Michael and Boy George (two name choices Michael offers his son) were. Poor George Michael just can’t catch a break.
The next thing I noticed were the additions to the theme song for individual characters. George Michael’s includes woodblock, George Senior has a beach guitar sound, Michael has fake horn, Lindsay has an Indian sounding instrument, Jessica Walter has strings (violin and viola), Maeby says “Hey” in hers, etc. I’m not sure if there’s a link between instruments and characters apart from George Michael’s, or if they just decided to do something different for each one. The last episode seems to incorporate most of these and it’s a little like hearing a full orchestra.
One of the more subtle jokes that I knew I wasn’t getting was the snack people were eating on screen. Almost everyone, at some point during the season, mixes Parmesan cheese and mustard together (Everyone who makes it eats it, except for Maeby, who realizes she has money to eat out). It’s a sly reference to the actor who plays Gene Parmesan, who was also Colonel Mustard in the movie Clue. I think it’s one of my favorite gags.
There are dozens more subtle references, jokes, clues, and tie-ins for you to discover in Arrested Development Season 4. What was your favorite? I hope you have as much fun as I did combing through the season again for all these gems. Mitchell Hurwitz has given us enough to last until the next season of Arrested Development comes out.