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Eight Things Arrested Development Can Teach You About Love
Sometimes the most mature thing is admitting: "I've made a huge mistake."
BY KATE HAKALA
The weekend to end all weekends is finally upon us. The air is teeming with an excitement that smacks of ham and frozen bananas. While we all gear up to be re-endeared by the dysfunctionality and majesty that is the Bluth family, I'm reminded of how, other than hours of laughter, Arrested Development has provided me with years of sage romantic advice. I know, I know. You're looking at your screen incredulously and asking me, "Is there actually an example of one successful relationship in the entire three-season run?" The answer is absolutely not. But the Bluths are horny, blunderous, and passionate people, and I wouldn't model my love life after any other kind. And remember, those who can't do, teach.
Before we all shelter in on Sunday May 26th with our closest friends (read: those who we trust not to talk over our Netflix volume), let's take a moment to reflect on the romantic wisdom the Bluths have dispensed to us. Man, I hope this season is as good as we all want it to be and may there be unlimited juice at your viewing party.
1. Get tested
I don’t mean this in the traditional sense of “get tested” because you have unsightly sores on your inner left thigh—I mean this in the, “go to the lab with a strand of your cousin’s hair to test against your DNA, because you need to confirm that the incestual crush you’ve been brewing for three years is actually incestual” way. Take it from George Michael and Maeby, who have the most compelling would-be romance of the series and waver on the brink of blood relation and test-tube baby anonymity. You can trace the illicit journey of Les Cousins Dangereux in this handy episode guide of their awkward, pubescent encounters. Let’s add to the mix the combos of Steve Holt and Maeby, Annyong and Maeby, Michael and Lindsay (some hints of twincest) and you’ll see that AD unnervingly heads to British Royal family territory on the regs. What do you do if you find yourself fending off bonery feelings towards a blood relation? Arrested Development taught me that the only tried and true method is to wait for the results to come back from the lab and if they’re not in your favor, down a couple Forget-me-nows with a Lucille on the rocks*. Your feelings for your cousin will be history in the morning.
*A Lucille on the rocks is actually just Vodka, any brand, in a mug.
2. Love is blind
Love is like dong tea for your head. It consumes your mind and lifts you up just to bring you down. It makes you blinds, not just misguided, but full throttle Cornballer-oil-splashed-into-your-eyes-blind. Luckily, AD has provided us with patented signs that your romantic entanglements might be impairing your judgment: 1. Your husband spends most of his free time with Carl Weathers and you haven’t seen him naked since your teenage child’s conception. 2. You mistake your 67-year-old girlfriend with vertigo for a "brownish area with points" when you take your glasses off. 3. Your exceptionally attractive British girlfriend and you have never had sex and she carries around a Bumpaddle. 4. The maybe-mother of your child walks a blind dog named Justice. and 5. The most critical one. Your date answers to “Egg”, “Bland,” and “Who, her?”
Going into a relationship while ignoring the blazing red warning signs is like the proverbial wink at your medicine vial while you sip on a cocktail. This may seem fun, adventurous, and impulsive now, but in a week you’ll realize you’ve just married a mentally retarded adult woman with a thing for Davey Crockett hats and lie-down kisses. The quick gratification of blind love feels great at first, but after a while, you'll quickly awaken to the error of your ways. Arrested Development teaches us to go into relationships with caution, hesitance, and perhaps a background check.
3. Don't keep it in the family
Arrested Development’s characters swap partners and love interests so frequently, they probably have enough material to script a few seasons of El Amor Prohibido. Though nothing about our beloved AD is moderately soap operatic, the evidence is pretty irrefutable: Lucille and Oscar, Marta and Michael, Tobias, Gob, and George with Kitty, Tobias and Gob’s wife, Ann and Gob, Lucille 2 and Gob (I am probably missing a few couplings. This show is weird, guys.). But going after people who have been with members of your close family is a. kind of gross and b. going to lead you to brawling on the court house lawn. When you mix family and sex, hearts will be broken and someone will curl up in a ball and remain motionless.
Gob is the largest offender when it comes to this super murky grey area, and that probably has to do with the fact that he always wants what others have, he's childish, and lacks a bit of imagination. That's what picking from your family's dating pool is: immature, lazy, and troublesome. Need I mention Nazhgalia? So, take it from the messy web of rivalry that the Bluths have left in their DVD boxset's wake, and stay away from your hermano/nephew/uncle-father's ex. Pro tip: you’re not supposed to be eskimo brothers with your actual brother.
4. Communication is key
Our beloved Michael Bluth continuously makes the same pitfall in every romantic relationship that seems a little hopeful--he doesn't communicate very well. Sally Sitwell, Jessie the PR agent, and Ms. Baerly all seemed to be perfect, cute matches for our level-headed brother, but they all bow out of dating him because he complicates his relationships with lies and a lack of communication. Which is actually the exact thing Michael accuses of his family of doing so often. That's what I love about AD: it points out that some of our deepest-seated issues with our family might actually be manifesting in us and screwing us over in our personal lives.
Michael Bluth often blames outside parties for his conflicted feelings about women, namely his son George Michael, who he claims isn't yet ready for a replacement for his mother so soon after her death. But that's all Michael and it's all avoiding the issues at hand. If only Michael would admit to himself and his girlfriends: "Listen, my family is going through some economic and legal trouble that really confuses me. Also, I'm a new single dad and it's terrifying. By the way I'm still mourning the loss of my wife Tracey. Shit is real." That's how you don't flush an exciting new relationships with Saddam Hussein-loving Heather Graham down the toilet, with honest and frank communication.
We should all take heed of the words of J. Walter Weatherman when it comes to expressing ourselves in our relationships: You should always leave a note.