The return of Arrested Development on Sunday will hopefully mean more of everything we loved about the show’s first three seasons: the absurd humor, the great guest stars, the subtle references you’ll catch the second or third time you watch each episode. And of course, the avalanche of gayness—from Tobias’ TK to cast members and gay icons Liza Minnelli and Portia del Rossi.
There simply isn’t room to list all the queer references the Bluths made during their initial run, but below we present a few of our absolute favorites.
Protesters upstage George Sr.’s retirement
Within five minutes, the pilot episode featured a gay-marriage protest: We eventually learn that Tobias unwittingly joined the cause, setting up the series-long trail of allusions to his not-so-secret secret sexual preference. It’s a clever set of gags that tells the audience right away we’re in for three seasons of something queer indeed.
G.O.B. accidentally hits on Gary
The Season 2 episode “Good Grief” opens with G.O.B (short for George Oscar Bluth Jr.) realizing that the new assistant in the office is gay, followed by three quick flashbacks to interactions that seem flirtatious in hindsight. His assertion of “I’d kill for that ass” is particularly inappropriate for an office context. The show’s drive-by comedic approach means that the moment comes and goes almost instantly, but it only takes a second to realize that Gary’s backside is indeed worth at least a felony.
Lindsay pretends to be a transvestite
When Maebe realizes that her mother is hitting on her crush Steve Holt, she falls back on her trademark vicious creativity to remedy the situation. The explanation that Lindsay is a biological male instantly dampens Steve’s hormonal frenzy.
Barry knows a good thing when he sees it
In that same episode, Michael gets drawn into a legal battle involving contentious photographic evidence. While various experts try to identify the location of the landscape depicted, family attorney Barry Zuckerkorn has no trouble putting a finger on it: “Those are balls.” The show is full of veiled references to this shoddy lawyer’s questionable sexuality, but the revelation that he’s a testicular connoisseur is the most overt and most hysterical.
Michael goes on a date with Tobias
Like many of the scenarios on this show, this setup is a little complicated to explain. Suffice it to say that a series of unlikely events leads Michael to take a romantic getaway with his sister’s husband. It all seems innocent enough to them, but everyone helping with the platonic excursion reasonably infers that the two are a homosexual couple. By the time Michael confesses to his niece that “I screwed my brother-in-law,” even the immediate family has their concerns.
Tobias talks about his old job
The former Dr. Fünke is the source of 90% of the show’s gay humor. His tendency toward lewd innuendo comes to a head (pun intended) in season 3, when he explains his vision of a combination analyst/therapist profession. A brief shot of his business card reveals his subconscious desires and the reason he had such trouble attracting clients.