Arrested Development fans are busy counting down the hours until Season 4 premieres this Sunday at midnight on Netflix, and here at Flavorwire, we’re no different. So, we’re passing the time by declaring this Arrested Development Week, all leading up to a Recap-a-thon on Sunday, when our own Jason Bailey will review the whole season, episode by episode. Click here to follow our coverage.
By now, the common wisdom is that Arrested Development’s original three-season run was influential and groundbreaking — but what, specifically, do we owe to the show? The dubious film career of Jason Bateman? David Cross appearing in those Alvin and the Chipmunks movies? The forgotten Fox animated flop Sit Down, Shut Up? Hardly. For your consideration, a brief survey of television programs that may never have existed were it not for the Bluth crew.
The most obvious heir to the AD throne is Tina Fey’s seven-season masterpiece, which debuted in 2006, in the fall following Fox’s dismissal of the Bluths with a four-episodes-in-one-night burn-off. All of the hallmarks of Arrested Development’s style are present with Liz Lemon and crew: whip-fast pacing, frequent flashbacks, callbacks, and running gags. Several characters and bits from 30 Rock are analogous to AD, from Prince Gerhart Hapsburg (who recalls Martin Short’s Uncle Jack) to Dr. Spaceman (the medical version of Bluth family lawyer Barry Zuckerkorn) to “The Rural Juror” (a tongue-twister recalling Bob Loblaw) to Kenneth himself (a wide-eyed innocent in the George Michael mold). Hell, Jack McBrayer made one of his first TV appearances as a “Country Club Waiter” on Development — and lest we forget, Will Arnett appeared nine times on 30 Rock as Jack’s nemesis, the gravel-voiced Devon Banks.