1. “I’m afraid that I just blue myself.”
It’s been seven years since the last new episode of Arrested Development aired, and in that time, the show’s whip-smart dialogue has taken on a second life, a shared language among the faithful who’ll find any excuse to throw a “Illusions, Michael!” or a “Marry me!” into casual conversation. But with 15 new episodes set to add a fresh volume (or potentially overshadow) to The Quotable Bluths, what’s to be done with all those old, worn-out punchlines? Why not do what Internet commenters have done for years, and couch your response to something new and exciting in an Arrested Development quote—in this case new Arrested Development! Like so many of the show’s oft-parroted non sequiturs, “I’m afraid that I just blue myself” is all context: It’s only innuendo on the surface, uttered as it is by Tobias Fünke, freshly madeup and on pins and needles about his “gig” as a Blue Man Group understudy. (The pun doesn’t really play in print.) But it’s an incredibly versatile line, encompassing a full range of reactions to Arrested Development’s Netflix revival. It’s been the go-to stand-in for overeager and premature giddiness prompted by the breathless leadup to this fourth season, but it also represents an underwhelmed take on upcoming episodes (“I’m afraid I just blue myself”), a hesitation to dive into an encore viewing (“I’m afraid I just blue myself”), or grammatically incorrect disappointment that there are only 15 new installments (“I’m afraid I just blue, myself.”). Or you can put it in all caps (“I’M AFRAID I JUST BLUE MYSELF”) to represent a Bluth-prompted ejaculation—in the dated, Jane Eyre sense of the word. No matter how you use it, there isn’t a better way to say that.
2. “It’s a hug, Michael. I’m hugging you.”
It can be hard to be a television fanatic. The constant cancellations and creative shake-ups of beloved TV shows breed cynicism, and it’s hard not to hear the throngs of people decrying the return of Arrested Development—because how could it be better than the original run? Television reunions don’t have the best track record, but this is a revival of one of the best television comedies of all time with its original showrunner and cast, plus a boatload (Seaward-load?) of A-list guest stars, all streaming at once. This is a hug, Arrested Development fans. Stop squirming and accept it. If the hug ends up hurting, just step away and don’t get grabbed again. Sequels and prequels only affect the original material if the viewer allows them to, and despite the quality of the final product, these new episodes are still an effort from the original creators to give something back to their extremely loyal fans. In the cruel world of television fandom, the audience is a lot like Michael Bluth, struggling to understand this strange new display of affection.
3. “No touching!”
Arrested Development’s ability to handle deeply cynical material without coming across as mean-spirited was one of the hallmarks of the show’s first three seasons. The genial cast and the complex network of silliness kept things light, but just as important were the weirdly sincere moments of sentiment. The moments were never straightforward, and almost always undercut by the characters’ selfishness, but still, there was a kind of a heart beating under all that madness. It’ll be interesting to see if the new season can keep that tricky balance, but thankfully, the original run gave viewers a quip to spout regardless of how things go. “No touching!,” the restriction that George Bluth Sr. was forced to repeatedly remind visitors of during his time in prison, works both ways. If season four lacks heart, the line is a cry of angry defiance; if there’s too much sap, it’s an order doomed to go unheeded. If the show seems unable recapture the magic of the past, “No touching” is sob of a soul in agony. And if everything’s perfect, well, people still like to shout things.
4. “You’re gonna get some hop-ons.”
The Bluth company stair car is one of Arrested Development’s most reliable sight gags; shots of Michael Bluth slowly cruising by were never not funny. But the car came with a cost: The stair made for an attractive target for people looking to hitch a ride, as Michael warns his sister in the first season. Ideally, the new season of the show will attract new fans, and everyone will be happy, and maybe there will be hugging. But there’s bound to be resentment from old-school fans who’ve stuck with the show from the beginning, through all the schedule mishaps, cancellation fears, and false hopes. The hardcore folks are going to need to find some way to deal with the influx of newbies; they can either roll their eyes and throw shade, or accept the new faces as a matter of course. Either way, “You’re gonna get some hop-ons” is a good way to cope.
5. “It’s as Ann as the nose on plain’s face.”
Michael doesn’t do a great job of hiding his disappointment toward Ann, his son’s boring girlfriend. “Her?” is probably the most repeated word in the entire series, an example of Michael’s surprise this is the woman George Michael has chosen. One other such instance is this Freudian slip of sorts, flipping the two most integral words and changing its meaning from “something very obvious” to “Ann is dull as a doorknob in all the right places.” The new Arrested Development episodes might be a glorious return to form, yes, but there’s a decent chance something will feel off, something no one will be able to articulate simply. They’ll just feel it in their bones, like many felt with the latest season of Community. But this is the unimpeachable Arrested Development, so disappointment isn’t something that can be taken with nuance; expect any dissent in popular opinion to similarly spew forth accidentally.
6. “I have no problem with that.”
It’s hard to be a vocal naysayer about this new season. Michael Bluth has the same issue in the beginning of season two, when GOB becomes president of The Bluth Company and, nominally, Michael’s boss. Although GOB wields no power, he is his usual destructive self, leaving Michael in the precarious position of having to appear okay with his brother’s presidency without actually liking it. So he repeats “I have no problem with that” like a mantra—although he obviously does have a problem with his brother running the family business further into the ground. The quote represents the minority of people who aren’t particularly excited by the new episodes but don’t feel like they can publicly declare it. They, like Michael, are doomed to answer with a noncommittal “I have no problem with that” when asked if they’re excited about season four—they rightly fear that Netflix may come in GOB-like with their $3,000 suits and ruin a good thing.
7. “I think you’re going to be surprised at some of your phrasing.”
It’s possible, and probably even inevitable, to be simultaneously looking forward to the return of Arrested Development and terrified of the online discourse that will surround it. This Michael Bluth quote, spoken to Tobias Fünke in season two’s “Ready, Aim, Marry Me” after the latter’s latest unfortunate choice of words, honors those that will get bent severely out of shape and take to the virtual streets come May 26. They may rise up because the show doesn’t live up to its currently unattainable expectations. They may storm the gates to chastise those who dare suggest these 15 episodes themselves don’t represent the new acme of comedy as we know it. It’s certainly possible that decency, common sense, and civility will reign after this new season is available for viewing. But more likely? Web servers will feel the brunt of the intense clamor for a solid week, absorbing excess amounts of bandwidth containing the Internet’s worst tendencies. Discourse about Arrested Development will last longer than the chatter surrounding House Of Cards or Hemlock Grove. But it will still dissipate, even if the searing comments will remain searchable for decades to come. Everyone is excited right now. But it’s possible that the mood will turn from celebratory to combative faster than you can say “cornballer” once these episodes are streamable.
8. “Hey, Mom, remember we had that conversation about trying to cut back on things that aren’t necessities?”
While this question was posed to Lucille during Arrested Development’s first season, her spending habits are the stuff of Bluth-family legend, making it an equally apropos question at any point during the run of the series. It’s also likely that some approximation of the same inquiry was suggested on various occasions during the production of the new episodes, given that Netflix’s coffers, while no doubt formidable, aren’t overflowing with the kind of money that Simpsons reruns and American Idol downloads bring in. Indeed, the lowered budget—along with the complications of trying to schedule around the various gigs of the increasingly busy cast members—is one of the reasons why the majority of the episodes spotlight individual characters instead of the entire Bluth family. Most involved with the show suggest that the budgetary concerns have been blown out of proportion, a theory which the footage from the trailer seems to back up, but at the very least, the cast didn’t walk away hurting for cash: As Jeffrey Tambor told The A.V. Club recently, “We were remunerated, and remunerated well.”
It was eventually revealed to simply mean “hello,” but “Annyong” is so much more versatile than a simple greeting. In a way, it’s exactly the kind of blank slate that should be useful in discussing the new episodes of Arrested Development. In case you’re not overly fond of season four but don’t want to admit it to anyone who asks, just reply “Annyong.” If you love it, simply add an exclamation point.
10. “Well, that was a freebie.”
Arrested Development was off the air long enough for fans to reach a certain peace with the fact that the show was over. Sure, the despair over the truncated three-season run has never died, and neither have the pleas for a movie. But by 2012, most viewers’ grief had reached the “acceptance” stage. That’s why, when Netflix announced the series’ return last year, it felt like a gift. Like stumbling on your caged, unconscious twin brother at the very moment you’re trying to find a body double, the Netflix season is one of life’s “freebies.” It required no petitions or letter-writing campaigns, and no matter how good or bad the new episodes prove to be, we’ve still got the original run. Anything more is just icing at this point.
11. “I’ve made a huge mistake!”
Given how hard fans (and Mitch Hurwitz) have worked to make this happen, it’s entirely possible that—hey, just stay with us here—if these episodes are awful, we’ll all spend May 27, bent over with our head in our hands, moaning this quote over and over again. But that’s not going to happen. Right? Right?!
12. “I don’t understand the question, and I won’t respond to it.”
While a small but devoted group of Arrested Development fans championed the show during its brief run and attempted to prevent its inevitable cancellation—there’s still an open petition to prevent its episode order from being cut down by Fox—some of those same fans have greeted Arrested Development’s resurrection with wariness. Netflix is bringing it back for new episodes? Cue this Lucille Bluth classic from season one’s “Public Relations.” It’s hard to process that a DVD-delivery company could bring back a beloved network television show after seven years, and faced with potential to be disappointed by the new episodes, worried fans may consider ignoring the whole thing and rewatching the original run of episodes. What’s frozen in the past can disappoint in the present!
13. “Even if it means me taking a chubby, I will suck it up!”
Another unknowingly homoerotic line from Tobias Fünke (this one from “Ready, Aim, Marry Me”) could apply to Netflix’s programming strategy of dumping all episodes of its series, including Arrested Development, at once. Without a network releasing a new episode every week, fans have no choice but to suck them all up, even if it means them taking a chubby. What’s a chubby in this situation? Who knows? But taking one is the price of new episodes.