‘Arrested Development’ Turns 20: See Fans’ Picks for the 10 Best Episodes (VIDEO)

Michael Cera, Jason Bateman, and Portia de Rossi in 'Arrested Development'
20th Century Film Corp./Courtesy: Everett Collection

If the thought of life without the Bluths makes you as blue as Tobias’ body paint, take heart: Arrested Development is still streaming on Netflix. The comedy series was scheduled to leave the streaming platform earlier this year, but a last-minute licensing deal means it’s still yours for the bingeing on its 20th anniversary this November 2.

Arrested Development ran for three seasons on Fox between 2003 and 2006, telling the story of the dysfunctional Bluth family: Lucille (Jessica Walter) and George Sr. (Jeffrey Tambor); their adult children, Gob (Will Arnett), Michael (Jason Bateman), Lindsay (Portia de Rossi), and Buster (Tony Hale); their son-in-law, Tobias (David Cross); and their grandchildren, George Michael (Michael Cera) and Maeby (Alia Shawkat).

The show ran for two seasons on Netflix between 2013 and 2019 — to diminishing returns. All the episodes of the revival are in the bottom 30 percent of IMDb’s fan ranking. On the other end of the ranking, however, are the following installments, IMDb voters’ picks for the 10 best episodes.

10. Season 1, Episode 17: “Justice Is Blind”

As Lindsay joins a crusade to remove a Ten Commandments statue from the courthouse, Michael tries to prove that Maggie (Julia Louis-Dreyfus), the lawyer prosecuting his father, isn’t actually blind. “The show’s best trait is the sharp verbal humor, but the show can surprise you from time to time with funny physical humor, as seen in this episode,” an IMDb user observed.

9. Season 3, Episode 12: “Exit Strategy”

When Gob gets arrested in Iraq in this second-to-last episode of the original run, Michael and Buster travel to the country to sort out the situation… and discover a surprise when they pay a visit to the family’s model home there. “It has peak social commentary, peak humor, and peak craziness in one of the best penultimate episodes of a show that I’ve seen, and I can’t wait for the finale,” a fan wrote on IMDb.

8. Season 3, Episode 8: “Making a Stand”

As Gob opens a rival banana stand just feet from Michael’s, Lucille’s plastic surgery results give Maeby quite a fright. The episode “also has the best plot with [George Sr.’s friend and co-conspirator] J. Walter Weatherman [played by Steve Ryan], whom I thought was the funniest recurring character on the show,” an IMDb user declared. “This episode also has a brilliant pace; it’s practically ‘the perfect episode.’”

7. Season 2, Episode 3: “Amigos”

While Michael helps pass Gob off as company president, he hears that his father has fled to Mexico and arranges a family expedition to find him. Meanwhile, Buster becomes a stowaway to get out of military service. “‘Amigos’ is one of the funnier episodes of the season so far, mostly because it doesn’t focus much on character development but [rather] on pure fun,” a fan reviewer wrote. “There is some development, and it’s very good, but the ridiculous ideas explored in the episode with the whole Mexico trip are what brings the magic out in this one.”

6. Season 2, Episode 18: “Righteous Brothers”

The 2005 Emmy winner for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series, this Season 2 finale has Michael and Gob brawling outside the courthouse, Kitty (Judy Greer) punching out Lindsay, and a case of mistaken identity between George Sr. and Oscar. “This episode is not interested in providing cases where you’ll have a big emotional payoff that sends all the characters in the right direction,” said an IMDb user. “The family chaos is the only way that this family can function and the only thing that actually makes sure this show works.”

5. Season 2, Episode 16: “Meat the Veals”

Ione Skye and Alan Tudyk guest star as Michael sets up a meeting between the Bluths and the parents of George Michael’s girlfriend, Ann, in an effort to get his son and the Mae Whitman character to split. “Maybe not the best episode, but close, one of the most consistently laugh-out-loud episodes of Arrested Development,” an IMDb user raved. “With strong innuendo, physical humor and irony, and a climactic point in Ann’s storyline, this episode is a winner.”

4. Season 2, Episode 4: “Good Grief!”

An episode with Emmy-nominated picture editing, this installment has the Bluth family mourning the death of George Sr., only for the family patriarch to turn up before George Michael’s eyes. (Meanwhile, Gob makes a series of HR violations at the office, as you can see here.) The episode “provides the show with a grain of seriousness and uses its title well, as it deals with themes of serious grief through humor,” a fan wrote. “It manages to bring out the light in a dark situation.”

3. Season 2, Episode 6: “Afternoon Delight”

Lindsay strikes out at the company Christmas party, while George Michael has an uncomfortable time at Ann’s family’s party. And speaking of uncomfortable, Michael makes an ill-informed decision to sing a karaoke version of “Afternoon Delight” with niece Maeby. One IMDb user rates this chapter as the best episode, noting that the Christmas party storyline “allows for each of our main Bluth characters to have odd adventures running separately but eventually coming together.”

2. Season 1, Episode 10: “Pier Pressure”

An episode that won the 2005 WGA Award for episodic comedy, “Pier Pressure” has Michael and Gob busting George Michael for buying pot at the docks — though the Michael Cera character was only doing so to help Buster ease Lucille Two’s (Liza Minelli) vertigo symptoms. “Amazing,” an IMDb user writes in a 10-star review. “This is where Arrested Development goes from funny to hilarious.”

1. Season 3, Episode 13: “Development Arrested”

The 2006 winner for the Gold Derby TV Awards’ Comedy Episode of the Year, Arrested Development’s original series finale has George free from legal trouble and the family company doing well for a change. Then, of course, long-buried family secrets come to light — including the fact that Lindsay, much to her glee, was adopted.