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Arrested Development is no doubt one of the most well crafted comedies of all time; once overlooked by audiences, it is now one of the most celebrated comedies in recent history. The show, while never becoming the ratings hit the network would have wanted, was a critical darling (winning multiple Emmy Awards along with countless nominations), which attracted a great array of guest actors. From long-running recurring characters to one-episode appearances, Arrested Development has amassed a fantastic group of actors who wonderfully fleshed out the world of the show and developed one of the strongest secondary character casts in recent time. The series attracted high-profile talent like Oscar winners Charlize Theron and Liza Minnelli, young up and comers like Mae Whitman, as well as unexpected actors not necessarily in their prime like Carl Weathers and Scott Baio. Regardless of the pedigree of the actor, the writers knew exactly how to play to their strengths in ability as well as draw sub-textual humor from some of their off-screen personalities. The series certainly knew what it was doing with the various secondary characters we grew to love and appreciate just as much as the dysfunctional Bluth family. So as we await the anticipated season four premiere on Netflix (May 26 can't come soon enough), which will feature a new slew of guest actors as well as the return of some of the original secondary characters. Here are some of our favorite guest stars from the first three seasons of the revered comedy (in no particular order):
Justine Bateman: Nellie
Episode: "Family Ties"
Jason Bateman's (aka Michael Bluth) real life sister makes a guest appearance as Nellie, a prostitute Michael mistakes for a long lost sister. Michael unknowingly hires her to "service" the employees of the Bluth Company, which comes as a pleasant surprise to the depressed workers, even though most of them just cried in their "sessions." Her "pimp" turned out to be Gob's puppet Franklin making the whole situation even more twisted. Ultimately, her decision to NOT steal the funds made available to her by Michael proved that she wasn't a Bluth family member. The extra "ick factor" of having Justine Bateman in the role totally added a layer of humor, especially in the scene where she comes on to poor Michael. The writers don't miss the opportunity for a meta joke as Michael closes the episode with the line, "It's weird on so many levels." referring to him and Nellie. Always great, Nellie's list of won'ts: "No[bleep], [bleep]ing, or [bleep]ing, and no [bleep] unless you're wearing a [bleep] or you [bleep] before you [bleep] me. And if this winds up on the web, I will [bleep] you in the [bleep]."
Andy Richter: Donnie Richter, Chareth Richter, Rocky Richter, Emmett Richter, Andy Richter
Episodes: "Switch Hitter," "S.O.B. s"
After a brief appearance in the second season episode "Switch Hitter," Richter makes a more lasting appearance in "S.O.B. s" playing not only himself, but also his four identical brothers, as he is one in a set of quintuplets. In one episode he portrays the five personalities with great humor and humility. The brothers all resent Andy and refer to him as a "pig." In a great moment, one quintuplet, Donnie, rants about Andy's misgivings, which also reflect real life Andy Richter's personal frustrations. The picture of all the brothers lined up is what comes to mind most explicitly when thinking about this role, especially Emmet's image, which, of course, is blurred out in order to preserve his privacy. Richter is set to make an appearance, along with Conan O'Brien, for the fourth season.
Ben Stiller: Tony Wonder
Episodes: "Sword of Destiny," "S.O.B. s"
"My brother's widow. It's [bleep]ed up," Tony says, referring to the woman towards whom he had just shown uncomfortably inappropriate public affection. Not the best guy, this Tony Wonder. Stiller plays a magician who came to fame by "baking himself into a loaf of bread". Wonder, a regular at the "Gothic Castle," is proficient at absurdly manifesting objects (generally food items) out of thin air and making himself "appear out of nowhere," as long as there is a dumbwaiter nearby. Before Burt Wonderstone became a thing, Stiller had the whole cheesy magician act down, from the ridiculous facial hair, a "W" shaped goatee in his case, to a preposterous and over the top performance style. Watching Stiller groan and scream as he pulls out a Hanukkah cookie out of his eye is absolutely magnificent. We are still hopelessly awaiting the release of "Use Your Allusion 2". We can expect Tony Wonder to make an appearance in the show's fourth season, I 'wonder' what tricks illusions he'll have up his sleeve.
Charlize Theron: Rita Leeds
Episodes: "For British Eyes Only," "Forget Me Now," "Notapusy," "Mr. F," "The Ocean Walker"
Theron was absolutely fantastic as the mentally challenged Rita. While initially the character seemed to be a British spy with some peculiar quirks, it quickly became clear that there was something not quite right with Rita. The role allowed Theron some absolutely hilarious comedic moments: watching her unwrap what we assumed was a gold Chinese throwing star or medallion, revealing the tantalizing chocolate hidden underneath and swiftly taking a bite out of it, going to town on the plastic fruit at the Bluth kitchen, playing the banjo on the couch, jumping on the bed screaming "Married, married, married!" So good. There were so many laugh-out-loud moments that came out of this story arc, and Theron carried the role off beautifully.
Julia Louis Dreyfus: Maggie Lizer
Episodes: "Altar Egos," "Justice is Blind," "Out on a Limb," "Hand to God"
Maggie "Lies her ass off," as she refers to herself, is one of the best character creations to emerge from the show. Dreyfus played the deceitful lawyer superbly and her chemistry with Jason Bateman was superb. Michael's astonishment regarding the many, many lies Maggie told him was always great to watch. Also great: watching Tobias in all his "undercover" glory in Maggie's apartment convinced that she cannot see him, made even more humorous by Maggie's blatant dismissal of her blind deceit. Her shameless manipulation of the legal profession will never be forgotten. Is it me, or are all lawyers on this show just totally corrupt?
Amy Poehler: "Bride of Gob"
Episodes: "Altar Egos," Justice is Blind," "Best Man for the Gob," "Whistler's Mother," "Motherboy XXX"
Before Amy Poehler became one of primetime's leading funny ladies, she was "Bride of Gob," guest starring in her then husband's not-hit show as a nameless character. She played a seal salesperson/trader who drunkenly marries Gob, 'cause that's the only way someone's marrying that guy. The fact that Will Arnett and Poehler were married at the time became an in-joke and the writers referenced her real name in a joke; Gob is unaware of his new wife's name and he says, "For example, if her name is Amy, I'll call her Blamey." Gob's ignorance of his wife's name becomes a running gag in their little story arc. As the character joined the Army, the writers took advantage of this to parody the infamous Abu Ghraib prison photo scandal, and showed a snapshot of the character posing like Lynndie England. Eventually they were able to get divorced, leaving the door open for her to fall for Tobias? She has some serious problems.
Carl Weathers: Carl Weathers
Episodes: "Public Relations," "Marta Complex," "Motherboy XXX"
Carl Weathers was probably one of the biggest, pleasant surprises on the show. Whose decision was it to cast him as this hilarious version of himself? I have no idea, but he or she deserves a delicious, Carl Weathers-made stew. What can't he use to get a stew going? Just imagine what he could do with Lindsay's "hot ham water." This frugal and thrifty version of Carl Weathers, who somehow manages to become Tobias' acting teacher, is absolutely amusing and delightful. Seeing all the characters react to "Carl Weathers" is also a great part of the character's inclusion, the confusion and surprise and overall bewilderment to his presence in the show is great to watch, especially because we don't exactly know why he's there either. Carl Weathers will be making an appearance on the fourth season; maybe his directorial career has taken off.
Judy Greer: Kitty Sanchez
Episodes: "Charity Drive," "Visiting Ours," "Missing Kitty," "Not Without My Daughter," "Let 'Em Eat Cake," "The One Where They Build a House," "¡Amigos!," "Spring Breakout," "Righteous Brothers," "The Cabin Show"
Judy Greer plays batshit crazy flawlessly as she embodies the absolutely insane Kitty Sanchez. George Bluth's personal secretary and long-time mistress, Kitty manages to insert herself into a lot of the Bluth drama throughout the series. Do not try to deprive Kitty of a Spring Break because she is adamant that, "Yes there absolutely will be a Margarita in my mouth!" And while she does not prove much of a threat to Lucille in a drinking contest, she is a formidable drinker herself, which led her to AA where she was sponsored by an ex-Night Court star. Hint: "It's not Bull. It's not Harry Anderson. And he's white." Most importantly, there is no forgetting her propensity to flash Michael, ("Say goodbye to these!") much to his chagrin (Bateman's reactions to Kitty's breasts are always hilarious). Judy Greer is set to appear in the new season and we will welcome her with open and eager arms, just as long as she's got her top on.
Liza Minnelli: Lucille Austero
Episodes: "Key Decisions," "Charity Drive," "My Mother, The Car," "In God We Trust," "Storming the Castle," "Pier Pressure," "Marta Complex," "Queen for a Day," "Burning Love," Ready, Aim, Marry Me"
The vertigo-stricken Lucille 2 might possibly have the most eventful and bountiful love life in the Arrested Development universe. She starts up an awkward romance with Buster, and later moves on to romances with Carl Weathers, Gob, and Stan Sitwell. Lucille 2 enjoys a delightfully passsive-aggressive relationship with Lucille in which they exchange cruel insults to each other delivered with steely smiles. Their rivalry is a nice comedic aspect of the show, which manifests itself in various ways, most notably their battle of apartment remodeling. Lucille 2's bewilderment when she finds that her kitchen does not seem to be the same anymore was brilliant. Liza Minnelli embraces the aging, sometimes bumbling and clumsy character with great zeal, making her one of the top characters to look forward to in the upcoming season.
Mae Whitman: Ann Veal
Episodes: "The One Where They Build a House," "¡Amigos!," "Good Grief," "Afternoon Delight," "Switch Hitter," "Burning Love," Out on a Limb," "The Immaculate Election," Meat the Veals," "Righteous Brothers," "Notapusy," "Development Arrested"
Her? Ann Veal surreptitiously made her way into the show and gradually stole our hearts, I mean, who could resist the vanilla-flavored personality vacuum that was Ann? Michael's frustration of his son's choice of girlfriend never got old, especially with the myriad of nicknames he compiled over the years, "Bland", "Egg", "Annabel"(because of her bell-shaped body), "Yam," "Plant," "Plain," and "Ann Hog." And while Ann certainly came out of her shell as the time went on (entering beauty pageants, protesting Marc Cherry, and whatnot) the funniest Ann moments can be found in the early part of the series. Like when Michael leaves her behind in a village in Mexico, or weird stuff like when George describes Ann's special method of eating eggs. Honorable mention goes to Alessandra Toresoni, who originated the role in the season one episode "Let 'Em Eat Cake." Maybe we'll get to see "Bland" enjoy one of her famous mayoneggs in the new season.
Henry Winkler: Barry Zuckerkorn
Episodes: "In God We Trust," "Beef Consome," "Altar Egos," "Justice is Blind," "Not Without My Daughter," "Let 'Em Eat Cake," "The One Where Michael Leaves," "Good Grief," "Sad Sack," "Queen for a Day," "Out on a Limb," "Hand to God," "Motherboy XXX," "Righteous Brothers," "The Cabin Show"
TV's The Fonz appears as probably the world's worst attorney, responsible for one of the best and darkest running jokes in the series, Zuckerkorn often takes credit for getting Michael out of his marriage even though he is told time and time again that Michael's wife died and they were happily married. Henry Winkler eagerly inhabits the outlandish role with hilarious honesty; every bizarre and absurd word that comes out of Zuckerkorn's mouth feels entirely truthful and honest. Winkler's frank portrayal adds a great amount of humor to the character, who could be seen as completely despicable if not handled correctly. His eccentric sex life is a great source of comedy for the show, as is his incredibly professional incompetence. His unscrupulous schemes and dealings clash with Michael's principled stances, and as a result he is often dismissed (though he always manages to reappear on the show). No matter what legal trouble the Bluths find themselves in this next season, be sure to know that Barry Zuckerkorn will make an appearance.
The fourth season is less than a month away and many new guest stars have been announced, along with the various actors who are revisiting their past roles. It has been revealed that John Slattery will take part in the new season in an unspecified role; in a great casting move, Kristen Wiig will join the show as a young Lucille Bluth; other actors who are speculated to make appearances are Seth Rogen, Isla Fisher, Terry Crews, Erin Moran, John Krasinski, Busy Phillips, and more. Of course some of these guest appearances will probably be no more than short cameos, but it is still reasonably exciting to have so much talent to look forward to. Don't worry: if your favorite recurring character gets shafted in this fourth season, there is still a potential movie coming up. Who are some of your favorite Arrested Development guest stars?