|"I just blue myself."|
Tobias embodies the virtue of passion. As bizarre and off-kilter as it may be, this level of passion is crucial for any Renaissance man.
|"You call yourself an |
environmentalist, why don't you
go club a few beavers?"
Lindsay (Portia de Rossi) is always finding new and innovative ways to avoid work. Her creative knack for evading labor is sometimes so inspiring that I look for ways to loaf as she does. Lindsay's lack of initiative seems to be ingrained into her soul, which upon occasion pushes her to great lengths to avoid work. She sometimes spends entire episodes conniving and persuading others to do menial tasks.
This creativity in approaching problems is the takeaway from this member of the Bluth family. Even though her aim is less than admirable, I admire her innovation.
|"Those are balls. |
You're looking at balls here."
Barry (Henry Winkler) is the Bluth family attorney, though he is generally not fit to represent even himself while ordering a chocolate banana. He is probably the most gullible character on the show, a quality that does not lend itself well to his criminal defense practice. Barry is generally ten steps behind in every litigious situation he finds himself in, yet always seems to wander out of the way of any serious repercussions.
The value that Barry models is that of honesty. Barry, though he may not realize it, is almost always wearing the truth on his sleeve.
|"Everyone's laughing, riding, |
and cornholing except Buster."
Lucille Bluth (Jessica Walter) is the matron of the Bluth estate, and as such, she has endeavored to remain the strong, beautiful, composed member of the family throughout scandal and hardship. She does so with a stiff martini and a shrewd tongue. Lucille always has her wits about her and is generally suspicious of what her children are plotting. This keen eye for deception and treachery has kept her both protected from pain and isolated from her family. It has caused much strife among her offspring, and even led to the dismemberment of one of her sons.
Despite the negative outcomes that have arisen from Lucille's skepticism, her watchful eye is something to model. Just as Barry Zuckerkorn's trusting nature has redeeming qualities, so too does Lucille's scorn. By pausing a moment before allowing others past your guard, you are able to assess and control the situation. This is a valuable skill for a Renaissance Man.
|"Oh, I'm not comfortable near the |
ocean since the seal attack"
|"Mom, Dad, The important thing is that |
you guys don't lose focus on yourselves."
Viewing authority with skepticism has always been a strengths of the Renaissance Man. Choosing when to disobey is important, and doing so with clear intent and understanding of the repurcussions is wise.
|"They're not even eating these. They just |
like saying "bananas" and "nuts."
George Michael (Michael Cera) is the grandson of the imprisoned Bluth patriarch. He is a timid, unassuming, and all around awkward soul, probably taking after his uncle Buster. George Michael works at the family frozen banana stand as a right of passage that involves embarrassment, extreme heat, and bananas. When he is not working at the family stand, his father is generally trying to remain involved in his life. This leads to awkward situations when Michael, George's father, forgets that his son is no longer eight and wants to go to LegoLand, or has his son sit on his lap while driving. Or when his dad helps him run for student office, but accidentally sabotages the race.
Amid all of the blunders that George Michael faces, he always maintains a smile and presses on. That is the message to be learned from this pubescent man-child. That no matter what slaps you in the face, you have to press on and greet each day anew. It has to get better eventually, right?
|"I don't know who will take care of them. |
The state or the police. Maybe
the Magician's Alliance will
pick up some slack."
Michael (Jason Bateman) is the one member of the Bluth family who is trying to hold everything together. While everyone else is fending for themselves and attempting to siphon off any cash they can to feed their materialistic addictions, Michael is attempting to mitigate damage to the family construction company, find his escaped-convict father, and ensure that he does not also go to prison for building houses for Saddam Hussein. Among all of this, he is also raising his son, whos mother died before the sit-com began, rekindle his love life, and keep his family from tearing it all apart. Did I mention that they are all living in a model home on a barren lot that George Sr. built before his incarceration? At various points, Michael has threatened to leave the entire monkey-house family and start a new life with his son, but his conscience has always gotten the better of him. And that is what makes Michael so admirable. He cares about his family, despite the egos and selfishness that gets in the way.
A Renaissance man needs compassion in order to understand the world, live in the world, and to respect the world.
|"Hanukkah can be spelled|
so many ways...Oh GOD!"
George Sr. (Jeffrey Tambor) built homes for Saddam Hussein in Russia. George Sr. went to prison, where he converted to Judiasm. George Sr. escaped from prison on a company staircar (for use with jets) and faked his own death in Mexico, only to return to California, where he then hid out in his family's model home. For all the underhanded, slimy things that George Bluth has done, the one redeeming quality that shines through is his love for his family. It may not always shine above his own self-serving needs, but he does love his family. His love for his wife is what brought him back from Mexico, and his respect for his sons (though he would never admit it) is what allowed him to leave control to them in the first place. There are brief moments of love that peak past George Sr.'s cold eyes, and those moments are touching. Then he generally goes on the lam.
A Renaissance man without love has no passion. One needs love to drive them to create, explore, and innovate.
So that is my renaissance analysis of the rag-tag family from Arrested Development. The non-sequitor peculiarities that they brought to the small screen for a brief period of time in the early years of the twenty first century will always be held in high regard by their small group of loyal fans. For the rest of you, go check it out on Netflix.
A couple of sites to learn more about Arrested Development:
imdb.com - Arrested Development site
THe iNCoNVieNieNT BLuTH fan site
wikipedia.com - Arrested Development site