Arrested Development: Bringing Up Buster   Rewatch 
July 2, 2014 9:51 AM - Season 1, Episode 3 - Subscribe

A reluctant Michael takes Buster under his wing while attempting to get closer to an increasingly distant George-Michael.

Meanwhile, Maeby reaches out to her actor daddy, and G.O.B. attempts to reconnect with Lucille. Also, STEVE HOLT!
posted by Lorin (14 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
posted by Etrigan at 10:11 AM on July 2, 2014 [9 favorites]

According to the wiki this is another highly regarded early episode. Does that mean there is a major let down in store after the double whammy of Top Banana/Bringing up Buster? I dunno, every episode page seems to remind me of some classic bit I've forgotten.
posted by Lorin at 10:30 AM on July 2, 2014

No way! That's the beauty of it, Lorin. Subsequent episodes may not necessarily introduce better and/or as many unique jokes, but they work hard to call back to the good ones while still doling out the new laughs. They build and build and continue to build on this solid rock foundation of funny that's established in the first few episodes; it never really lets up. As much as we've enjoyed so far in terms of running gags, there's still "C'MON!" and the whole nevernude deal to come. Not to mention Pop-pop's twin brother. I'm sure I could go on.
posted by carsonb at 10:34 AM on July 2, 2014 [3 favorites]

I too genuinely cannot think of a let down (but I haven't seen Season 4) anywhere in the AD timeline.
posted by Etrigan at 11:40 AM on July 2, 2014

I didn't want to open this up with a long list of my favourite moments but ... what is up with Tobias licking that pen!!
posted by Lorin at 11:45 AM on July 2, 2014 [2 favorites]

I like how the show comes up with odd phrasings and then plays around with them, as if it has a language of its own. What I’m thinking of is: Buster impresses his siblings by joining in their criticism of their mom: “It’s like she gets off on being withholding.” Then later, Lucille to Buster: “Here’s a candy bar. No, you can’t have it! Look at me — getting off!”

I love when the show has the occasional uncharacteristically sentimental moment — George Michael telling his dad, who’s been wondering if his teenage son still wants him to be part of his life: “You’re, like, the most important part of my life,” and Michael responds with a double entendre: “That’s a little cornball” (self-referentially hinting that the writers are self-conscious about how sentimental the show should get).

The song GOB sings and plays on the piano at Lucille's apartment is “Cold As Ice” by Foreigner.
posted by John Cohen at 11:49 AM on July 2, 2014 [1 favorite]

Was it a pencil? Graphite is a little sweet.

Anyway, I thought that moment was some particularly infantile character-building from David Cross. Probably felt like chewing the scenery a little was in-character for his actor character.
posted by carsonb at 12:18 PM on July 2, 2014 [1 favorite]

...Of course, if it was a pencil then it may well have been lead (or at least, you know, "lead") so of course it was sweet. Paint used to be leaded until that rash of sickly guard-rail-licking children.
posted by carsonb at 12:19 PM on July 2, 2014 [1 favorite]

What I’m thinking of is: Buster impresses his siblings by joining in their criticism of their mom: “It’s like she gets off on being withholding.” Then later, Lucille to Buster: “Here’s a candy bar. No, you can’t have it! Look at me — getting off!”

The show fearlessly ties everything together, and it's as close-knit written as a family tale oughta be. That bit above is the second time in the show that Lucille uses her tattle-tale children to manipulate her other, more earnest children. Gob ratted Buster verbatim, Lucille fires it right back at Buster. Earlier, trying to get rid of Buster, she just repeats what Lindsay says (begging for dress money, selling gossip), and somehow the way she says it, the context she puts it in, triggers Michael's weird guilt and shame complexes.

Re-watch thoughts:
- Is this the first episode where the Buster/surprise audience reveal is employed? Bringing up Buster plays it to perfection, with the first two cracks at the joke being Buster alone, but then the third one is the entire Bluth Corp. staff.

- Portia absolutely tears up that first kitchen scene. She's got a few key lines, but the rest of the time she's gawping behind George Michael, taking a single bite of a cornball, snatching Tobias' coffee out of his hands and making it hers, and staying really far way from her dress.

- And gawd, Maeby is the best name ever. She's their daughter, "maybe". An attempt to get closer to his cousin, "maybe". She's quitting the play, "maybe!"

- Gob's reading a book when Lucille demands he 'zip her up': Turn of the Century French Erotica. He describes the scene as 'macabre'.

And as for the show dropping off or getting better, there are still so many excellent characters to introduce, each of them complicating the family in their own way. Other Lucille, Ann Veale, Hel-lo 'Annyong' Bluth, Attorney Zuckerkorn, and Oscar is Pop-pop's brother's name.
posted by carsonb at 12:51 PM on July 2, 2014 [3 favorites]

The joke about George Sr. continuing to sell the cornballer in Mexico (marketed by Richard Simmons!) after it'd been banned would've been funny as just a throwaway, but of course it then becomes important a whole season later, when he gets arrested for it while trying to hide out in Mexico.
posted by kagredon at 1:05 PM on July 2, 2014 [3 favorites]

Ann Veale

It's as Ann as the nose on plain's face.
posted by shakespeherian at 7:34 PM on July 2, 2014 [2 favorites]

posted by Maecenas at 7:12 AM on July 4, 2014 [3 favorites]

"Everyone's laughing and riding and cornholing but Buster!"

First mention of Marta.
posted by ChrisTN at 3:38 PM on July 6, 2014 [1 favorite]

Also, it's the first demonstration of Tobias's cat-like reflexes--when he rolls up on the stage. I love the subtle come-back to that, when Steve Holt(!) bounds up in single step without breaking stride.
posted by mimi at 7:06 AM on July 8, 2014

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