Due to its multi-episode storylines and all-over-the-place editing, Arrested Development isn’t the kind of show where you can watch an isolated episode. Any given episode (apart from the first and last episodes, for obvious reasons) both follow on from the events of previous episodes and set up plot points for subsequent episodes.

But after a few binge-watches, Arrested Development fans get to know the narrative threads like the back of their hand, and it becomes easier to drop in on a random episode in the middle of a few storylines. So, here are 10 episodes of Arrested Development that we’ll never tire of watching.

10 Pilot (Season 1, Episode 1)

It’s rare that the very first episode of TV series still holds up as one of its best installments five seasons later, but that is the case with Arrested Development. Mitchell Hurwitz’s Emmy-winning pilot script is brimming with crucial exposition, but never at the expense of the jokes.

The cast members all slipped effortlessly into their roles from the offset. The pilot episode is a lot more enjoyable on rewatches. Before you’ve gotten to know the characters, it can be information overload.

9 ¡Amigos! (Season 2, Episode 3)

The Bluths head to Mexico in season 2’s “¡Amigos!” after receiving a tip from their bounty hunter Ice that George, Sr. was captured there and has been pronounced dead.

One of the funniest running gags in Arrested Development is Michael’s thinly veiled hatred of Ann, and in “¡Amigos!,” that gag takes center stage as Michael accidentally leaves Ann on the other side of the border.


8 Let ‘Em Eat Cake (Season 1, Episode 22)

In the season 1 finale, we learned that the Bluth Company built homes for Saddam Hussein, backing up George, Sr.’s admission of committing some “light treason.”

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As with all the best season finales, this one ends with a major cliffhanger. George, Sr. is taken into hospital and the infamously literal doctor tells the family that they “lost” him. He’s not dead – he escaped in the stair car.

7 The One Where Michael Leaves (Season 2, Episode 1)

The second season of Arrested Development opens with Michael finally abandoning his family and heading to Phoenix. However, on the way out of town, he fears that the impact of his departure didn’t sink in with the family – even George Michael doesn’t realize they’re leaving. So, he returns to the Bluths and, as always, ends up sticking around.

The episode has plenty of great moments, from the beginning of Tobias’ obsession with the Blue Man Group to Lucille signing up Buster for the Army to teach him a lesson.

6 S.O.B.s (Season 3, Episode 9)

Arguably Arrested Development’s most overtly self-aware episode, season 3’s “S.O.B.s” revolves around the Bluth family putting on a charity fundraiser for themselves – but it’s really about the show’s attempts to save itself from looming cancellation.

This can be seen in a lot of the dialogue (“No, the HBO’s not gonna want us…”) and the fact that the episode is jokingly filled with TV’s favorite gimmicks, like celebrity guest stars and “live” segments.

5 Afternoon Delight (Season 2, Episode 6)

Every character in the sprawling A.D. ensemble has something hilarious going on in season 2’s “Afternoon Delight,” which revolves around the Bluth Company’s office Christmas party.

To name a few, Michael and Maeby accidentally sing a racy song on the karaoke machine, Gob complains about the ever-increasing cost of his suit, and Lucille eats some of Oscar’s edibles and runs over a concussed Tobias in her car.

4 The Cabin Show (Season 3, Episode 1)

In the season 3 premiere “The Cabin Show,” the Bluths are about the lose their family cabin, so Michael promises to seize his final opportunity to take George Michael up there, having been let down dozens of times by his own father as a kid.

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However, after their first night at the cabin, they wake up on the highway as the cabin has been loaded onto the back of a truck driven by George, Sr.

3 Pier Pressure (Season 1, Episode 10)

In season 1’s “Pier Pressure,” Lucille 2 asks Buster to get her some weed, so Buster delegates the job to George Michael (the toughest kid he knows), who asks Gob. Fearing that George Michael is going down a dark path, Michael and Gob team up to teach him a lesson.

This episode brought the introduction of George, Sr.’s go-to one-armed trickster, J. Walter Weatherman: “And that’s why you always leave a note.”

2 Motherboy XXX (Season 2, Episode 13)

When Buster refuses to go with Lucille to Motherboy, an annual mother-son event that gets creepier and creepier as more is revealed about it throughout the episode, she hijacks an unwitting George Michael to pose as her son. So, Michael and Buster launch a military operation to liberate him from Lucille’s Oedipal antics.

“Motherboy XXX” has plenty of hilarious moments, including a meta gag about a rock band called Motherboy legally forcing the narrator to make a distinction.

1 Development Arrested (Season 3, Episode 13)

Although ending the series after season 3 was imposed on the writers by Fox prematurely canceling the series, the Arrested Development team still managed to turn out a fantastic series finale. “Development Arrested” seems even better now that Netflix has run the show into the ground with two pretty terrible additional seasons.

All the narrative threads are tied up, with a couple of unexpected surprises wrapping up long-running gags, and the structure neatly mirrors that of the pilot.

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