The first eight episodes of the fifth season follow the aftermath of Lucille Two’s (Liza Minnelli) disappearance.
It’s been five years since Netflix revived Arrested Development for a fourth season following its initial run on Fox. And to say a lot has happened since season four would be an understatement.
As the critically acclaimed comedy returns for the first half of its fifth season on Tuesday, May 29, here’s a refresher on where things with the Bluth-Fünke family left off and a preview of what to expect from the new episodes.
(Editor’s note: The interviews that follow took place May 18 at the show’s L.A. premiere, before the viral New York Times story and backlash that followed.)
Buster (Tony Hale): Enraged after discovering that Lucille Two (Liza Minnelli) intentionally kept him from his mother’s trial, Buster lashed out — and then accidentally implicated himself in his off-and-on girlfriend’s disappearance. “Buster’s in trauma,” Hale previews of his character being under suspicion in the new season. “He’s always in emotional trauma.“ Plus, Buster’s newest fake hand is a little out of control: “It’s actually a machine. It looks like Terminator. It was weird, because someone else was controlling it electronically!”
George Sr. (Jeffrey Tambor): Season four found the Bluth patriarch on the California-Mexico border, with his twin brother Oscar (also played by Tambor), operating a sweat lodge as a front to attempt to build a wall. In season five, George Sr. focuses on helping the Bluths win “Family of the Year” — an award their own company is doling out — and still attempting to figure out the cause of his waning libido.
George Michael (Michael Cera): George Michael had a big year, as he became an accidental fake tech mogul with Fakeblock — which was a wood-blocking app, not the anti-hacking software others think it is — and got serious about his new girlfriend Rebel (Isla Fisher). Unfortunately, his father was also dating Rebel, which led to George Michael punching Michael in the final moments of the season. The show will deal with the fallout of that moment, and the duo’s subsequent estrangement. However, George Michael does grow closer to his quasi-cousin Maeby, and he takes a memorable trip to Mexico.
G.O.B. (Will Arnett): G.O.B’s attempt to trick rival magician Tony Wonder (Ben Stiller) backfired, and the duo grew closer, eventually sleeping together. Now, G.O.B. is determined to prove his heterosexuality, complete with a new girlfriend, but he’s still missing Tony.
Lindsay (Portia de Rossi): Lindsay’s affair with politician Herbert Love (Terry Crews) ended poorly, but she unexpectedly won over the crowd at Cinco de Cuatro when she mentioned building a wall. In the new season, she’s running for congress, with the family reuniting to support her. Plus, a lingering thread from the original series will be explored in a more significant way.
Lucille (Jessica Walter): After yet another deception, Lucille finally dumped both George Sr. and Oscar. She starts off the season back in rehab (with, to her frustration, Tobias by her side), and there’s hope for happiness ahead: ”There’s an arc written for her by [series creator] Mitch [Hurwitz] where she frees herself from some of the bonds she was in: worrying about money, taking care of the husband,” Walter says. “She’s finding love—or thinking she’s found love. It’s really multilayered. I’m very pleased with the way he wrote Lucille this year. And still funny, I hope!”
Maeby (Alia Shawkat): She spent years altering her age to fit her needs, but Maeby’s continued presence in high school got her in hot water, when she slept with her classmate, Perfecto (Eli Vargas), whom she thought was an undercover cop. However, he was just a 17-year-old student. And still hurt over George Michael firing her from Fakeblock, Maeby caused a bit of mayhem when she realized he and Michael were both dating Rebel. But with her mother now running for congress, Maeby will be her campaign manager. However, Maeby is still Maeby. “She’s in lot of disguises; Maeby enjoys being different people,” Shawkat says. “She’s kind of chasing George Michael now. She still has a had time with her parents, but has become a little more independent.”
Michael (Jason Bateman): Arguably no one regressed more than Michael in season four, as he temporarily lived with his son in a college dorm. His attempt to get the family to sign off on the rights to use their lives in a movie often ended with him cutting them out of the potential flick. Plus, he tried to sexually bribe Lucille Two in order to sustain a loan. Unfortunately for Michael, Lucille Two is now M.I.A. “Her disappearance is advantageous in some of the things Michael is trying to do, and then it gets in the way of other stuff he’s trying to do,” Bateman says. “Ultimately, he’s still off-put by the dysfunction of the family. We quickly see he’s just as much of an idiot as they are.”
Tobias (David Cross): A misunderstanding nearly landed Tobias in jail, but he was able to work at Lucille Two’s rehab clinic as an alternate punishment. Though he was successful in getting Lucille to return to rehab, the rest of his life is a little more complicated in the new season. In addition to his estranged wife, Lindsay, wanting nothing to do with him, Tobias also takes it upon himself to portray any Bluth family member who may be absent from a group gathering. Expect a lot of awkward costumes, plus a field trip with Lucille.