Arrested Development, Episodes 7-9: Lucille Bluth, Master Manipulator

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THIS WEEK'S EPISODES: "In God We Trust" | "My Mother the Car" | "Storming the Castle"

If there's a theme to these three episodes, it's Lucille playing her kids like a fiddle. Not that her master-manipulator skills will be going away anytime soon, just that she seemed be conducting everybody during this run.

First, in "In God We Trust," she expertly played Michael and Lindsay against one another. To Lindsay: "Michael called you a stay-in-bed mom. Probably because you don't work and you're lazy. His words." To Michael: "I said you wouldn't give her the money, and she said 'He will if I get him drunk.' Probably because she thinks you're a cheap bastard. Her words."

Then, in "My Mother the Car," she: 1) Convinced her children to throw her a surprise party, even though they agreed she didn't deserve it. 2) Framed Michael for the car accident she caused. 3) Twice pulled the "I'm a horrible mother" card when her kids got upset with her, causing them to reluctantly sing her praises.

And finally, in "Storming the Castle," Lucille turned her gaze to Buster and Lucille 2's relationship. When she finally accepted the pair by asking Lucille 2 to play bridge, it was a Pyrrhic victory for Buster. "You guys are friends again! You play bridge together! Could you just separ—" [weeping with Oedipal frustration].

These episodes also showcased a lot of raging against the closet door--from both Tobias and Barry Zuckerkorn.

Tobias, while talking to Maeby and George Michael in the kitchen and struggling to scoop some hard-frozen ice cream, remarked that "you have to be some sort of She-Hulk" to open this. Then he hinted that he'd sold his wedding ring, and as a result, his "purse overfloweth." Which enabled him to go on a leather shopping spree—natch. For someone who keeps trusting destiny to lead him to a career—as opposed to, say, a rather conspicuously named Gothic Asshole—Tobias is pretty blind about to fates telling him he's way gay.

Barry did a bit of this, too. After George Sr. told him that no, not everyone in prison has sex with one another: "It's never the ones you hope." [Pause a beat to reconsider, on George Sr.'s urging, that last word.] "Think." It wasn't the last latent-gay Freudian slip we'll get from him, I promise you that.

Trivia & Miscellanea:
... The "Living Classics" Pageant is based on a real-life festival in Laguna Beach. It's been held annually since 1933. Wikipedia is unclear on whether frontspieces are actually used.

... Portia De Rossi totally looks like Hines Ward. I made this picture to prove it.

... In the background at Gob's pizza place, there's a spinning clown. It's called Spinny the Clown. It looks like it's just a clown that spins around.

Things that happened that will be recalled later, to humorous effect:

... Tobias, on never-nudes in society: "There are dozens of us! Dozens!"

... In a final bid to get her dad's fellow prisoners to heckle her (and thus validate her looks), Lindsay wore a tank top that reads "SLUT." Still, she couldn't get men to express any interest.

... George Michael and Maeby saw a preview for a French film called Dangerous Cousins.

... Buster indicated that something's up with his junk. Lucille reminded him that Lucille 2 used to change him when he was a baby, to which Buster responded, "That's why she didn't look surprised."

... George Sr. saw a sign—a Star of David light pattern seeping through the window of his solitary confinement cell—and has sort of converted to Judaism.

... Maeby said, to Lucille: "I don't think you're a monster."


... Does the presence of New Marta bother you? When Patricia Velasquez showed up in "Storming the Castle," it threw me off, for sure. Alas, Leonor Varela, we only knew you for two episodes. FYI: Near the end of the series, there's a montage of all the women Michael dated, and Marta is shown briefly, played by a third actress.

... Weirdest minor thing I have noticed so far, and it's not about a joke: The TV Michael decided to steal at the end of "Storming the Castle" was shown both in his office and crashing on the street. TOTALLY NOT THE SAME TV! Have you spied any gems you'd care to brag about?

... Which gag made you laugh the most? Mine: When Gob, Lindsay, and Michael trapped Lucille on the balcony and Michael said, "This is nuts. Mother is frail," just as Lucille broke through the doors like a professional wrestler.

Ed. note: You can stay up-to-date on DVD Club news and find a listing of all related discussion stories in the Summer DVD Club Archives.

Follow writer Kevin Collier on Twitter: @KevinCollier

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