Here are 11 of the best times when “Arrested Development” makes a reference to an actor’s real life or past roles.
Henry Winkler making the Fonz pose and jumping a shark.
Henry Winkler playing against type as the incompetent, foul-mouthed, bi-curious family lawyer was one of the great casting coups of “Arrested Development”. Also, if any show deserved to have Winkler recreate both his classic Fonzie pose AND his infamous shark jumping, it was this one.
Amy Poehler cast as GOB’s wife.
Amy Poehler and Will Arnett are married in real life, so it was logical to cast Amy Poehler as GOB’s unnamed seal-dealing wife. (Although I’m going to go with GOB’s theory that his super-hot wife with huge cans is named Crindy.)
Charlize Theron in “Monster” as her “pre-plastic surgery” photo.
This was a really strong one. When it’s revealed that Charlize Theron’s character Rita has a lot of money (she owns all of Wee Britain AND the Wee Britain in Cleveland), her uncle talks about how she had plastic surgery to look like she does now. Then they flash up the photo of Charlize from “Monster”… where she gained a ton of weight and took every possible measure to make herself look terrible. It’s a laugh-out-loud shout out, because you never, ever see it coming… but afterward it makes so much sense.
Bob Odenkirk doing role playing with Tobias.
It was extraordinarily unsurprising when David Cross’s “Mr. Show” partner Bob Odenkirk showed up as a therapist just a handful of episodes into the first season of “Arrested”. It was like when Adam Carolla was a guest on the first week of “Jimmy Kimmel Live”, or Kyle Gass had a cameo in “School of Rock”. Some comedy duos are just attached at the hip, even when one goes on to become a little (or a lot) bigger.
Tony Hale referencing his Volkswagen Mr. Roboto commercial.
Turns out, before Tony Hale was Buster, he was in a Volkswagen commercial where he danced to Styx’s “Mr. Roboto” in the car. (It’s one of those commercials that makes you say, “Oh, yeah, I think I might kinda remember that.”)
So when they had him doing the robot to “Mr. Roboto” on the show, it was a direct reference to that… just with a hook for a hand and some stairs for a car. (Buster’s hand situation [avoiding a spoiler there] stands as the most foreshadowed joke in the show — if you go back through and watch “Arrested” from the beginning, you’ll see they’re making references to Buster and hands from the very beginning. It’s stunning how much foresight it took. You watch it and truly believe the writers had a long-term, multi-season plan all along.
Scott Baio brought in to replace Henry Winkler.
Scott Baio plays the character Bob Loblaw, a lawyer who’s, in many ways, the antithesis of Winkler’s Barry Zuckerkorn. (Though not as much of an antithesis as Wayne Jarvis.)
When the Bluths fire Barry and hire Bob, Scott Baio says, “This isn’t the first time I’ve been brought in to replace Barry Zuckerkorn” — a reference to when he was cast as Chachi on “Happy Days”, ostensibly as a replacement “cool guy” for Winkler’s fading Fonz.
Justine Bateman cast as Michael’s possible sister.
When they brought Justine Bateman in as Nellie, a prostitute who was potentially Michael’s sister, it cast a perfectly comedic, awkward shadow over the whole episode. Plus, with the show’s love of casual incest — they carried the cousins-in-love storyline for all three seasons — you never quite knew how far things were going to go before either Michael or Nellie put up the stop sign.