Previously, On Arrested Development

NPR's guide to the running gags from the show.



References to the actors's real lives and previous roles.

  • Occurrence of a joke
  • Joke in the background
  • Foreshadowing
  • Combined joke

20 episodes feature this joke:

Season 1

  • 17: Altar Egos

    Henry Winkler strikes a Happy Days pose.

    Will Arnett (G.O.B.) and Amy Poehler (G.O.B.'s seal-dealing wife) were married at the time of filming.

Season 2

  • 8: Queen for a Day

    Liza Minelli, who plays Lucille 2, famously sang "New York, NY." Her character remarks, "Everyone thinks they're Sinatra."

  • 11: Out on a Limb

    Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who plays Maggie Lizer, adopts Jerry Seinfeld's cadence in a reference to the infamous 90's television show they co-starred on.

  • 13: Motherboy XXX

    Henry Winkler literally jumps the shark — as he did in happy days.

    G.O.B.'s wife is played by Will Arnett's then real-life wife Amy Poehler.

  • 17: Spring Breakout

    In the background, an extra jumps the shark, which is a reference to Henry Winkler (Barry Zuckercorn) and Ron Howard (announcer) on Happy Days.

Season 3

  • 2: For British Eyes Only

    Brad Garrett beat out Jeffrey Tambor (George Sr.) for the "Best Supporting Actor" Emmy.

    Andy Griffith costarred with Ron Howard.

  • 3: Forget-Me-Now

    Scott Baio's character replaces Henry Winkler's character — as he did on Happy Days.

  • 5: Mr. F

    Rita is played by a Yank, South African Charlize Theron. "You can always tell."

  • 6: The Ocean Walker

    Tony Hale performs a dance to Mr. Roboto, as he did in a Volkswagen commercial.

    A picture of Rita before plastic surgery is actually a picture of Charlize Theron in "Monster."

  • 7: Prison Break-In

    Ron Howard corrects the name of a Happy Days star.

  • 8: Making a Stand

    Andy Richter plays quintuplets, and starred in a comedy called "Quintuplets."

  • 9: S.O.B.s

    Andy Richter plays quintuplets, and starred in a comedy called "Quintuplets."

  • 11: Family Ties

    Jason Bateman's sister, Justine, plays Jason's potential sister Nellie.

    The episode is titled "Family Ties," the name of the television show that Justine Bateman starred in.

  • 12: Exit Strategy

    The actor who played the Soup Nazi on Seinfeld portrays a Saddam look-alike.

  • 13: Development Arrested

    Ron Howard is the narrator and an executive producer of Arrested Development. "Maybe a movie."

Season 4

  • 1: Flight of the Phoenix

    Michael's phone calendar is stuck in 2003, the year that Arrested Development started.

  • 2: Borderline Personalities

    The narrator references the current (and unexpected) fourth season of Arrested Development: "... the beginning of a fourth season that would never come."

  • 4: The B. Team

    Barry says, "I can't reach the Chachi" in front of Scott Baio (Bob Loblaw), who played Chachi on "Jonie Loves Chachi."

  • 12: Senoritis

    An obviously older Michael Cera (George Michael) was supposedly "aged by the harsh winds of the sea" though only gone for a few hours.

  • 13: It Gets Better

    George Michael says he signed up for Netflix to see the remake of Les Cousins Dangeroux.