In this Emmy®-winning comedy's hilarious third season, Michael Bluth finally realizes that it's his Uncle Oscar serving time in prison, not his father. Reluctant to spring Oscar due to the effect it may have on the family business, Michael decides that the only fair thing to do is to find his father and place him under house arrest. Yet once found, George Sr. insists he was tricked into working with the Iraqis, leaving Michael no choice but to investigate his father's outrageous claim. But it isn't until Michael and Buster go to Iraq on a rescue mission to save Gob that the depth of the devious plot is revealed...and Michael learns which family member is the real brains behind all the madness.
Arrested Development--one of the greatest comedies in the history of television--went out in a blaze of glory. The truncated final season packed more biting humor per minute than ever before. In only 13 episodes, dozens of intertwining storylines spun in all directions: In addition to the overarching story about the fractious infighting of the Bluth family and the family's housing development company being investigated for treason in Iraq (a plot arc that comes to a dazzlingly surreal conclusion), the put-upon "good son" Michael Bluth (Jason Bateman, Teen Wolf Too) pursues romance with a lovely British woman (Charlize Theron, Monster) who turns out to be woefully inappropriate; swaggering magician Gob (Will Arnett, Monster-In-Law) flees from his newly-discovered teenage son while still pandering for the affection of his self-absorbed father (Jeffrey Tambor, The Larry Sanders Show); flighty Lindsay (Portia de Rossi, Ally McBeal) and her sexually blurry husband Tobias (David Cross, Mr. Show) both get the hots for the family's new lawyer, Bob Loblaw (Scott Baio, Charles in Charge); and much, much more. It's difficult to describe what makes Arrested Development so brilliant. The ensemble is uniformly superb (Jessica Walter, as the family's boozing, scheming matriarch, is particularly devastating this season) and the surprising guest stars (including Andy Richter, James Lipton, Justine Bateman, and many others) are perfectly cast; the characters' abominable behavior defies conventional television notions of "likability", yet they only grow more endearing the more you watch; the humor embraces wild slapstick and sharp satire, often within a single scene; and the nimble documentary style allows for sly glancing references to jokes and scenes from long-past episodes, rewarding devoted fans. But the key is that, no matter how screwball Arrested Development becomes, the show offers a rich, textured, and wonderfully coherent world in which these characters feel genuine, a world completely unlike the flat, plastic simulacrum offered by the average sitcom. Arrested Development was true to itself to the end. Its followers will cherish it forever. --Bret Fetzer
Stills from The Third Season of Arrested Development (click for larger image)