'Arrested Development' Flashback: The Beginning

By ROBERT PACE

May 23, 2013

Before the revival of Arrested Development premieres on Netflix, let's take a trip back to 2003, to just before the series began. As you can see, the bunch was a funny one from the onset.

The comedy series originated from Ron Howard's idea to create a series that combined reality TV with a scripted series. The story would follow a zany family all living together in the same house, which would provide for endless entertainment.

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Hire some humorous actors and give the show an ironically comical title and the series was launched in November 2003.

"The reason we're in jail is because the father has been arrested," Jason Bateman ("Michael Bluth") describes the show's premise. "He's the guy that has made us all very rich. He's a real estate developer—there you get 'Arrested Development.' It's officially the first joke of the show."

Joining Bateman on the series were Portia de Rossi ("Lindsay Bluth Fünke"), Will Arnett ("George Oscar Bluth" or "GOB"), Michael Cera ("George Michael Bluth"), Alia Shawkat ("Maeby Fünke") and David Cross ("Tobias Fünke"), among others.

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"Everything is pretty much dysfunctional in this television show," de Rossi, then 30, says of the impending series. "I don't think there's one thing that resembles normalcy."

With a surplus of amusing actors on the show, the cast reveals that although they generally stick to the script, there is plenty of improvisation on set.

"I think that, for us, the script is a good way to say, 'Alright, let's do the opposite,'" jokes Arnett, who went on to float around on a variety of shows after Arrested's cancellation in 2006.

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"We follow the script pretty closely, for the most part, but then there are a lot of great opportunities to change things up or to improvise."

When a show is at its inception, the cast and public often speculate as to what the longevity of the show will be. Will it last or flop? Michael Cera, then 15, reveals his thoughts.

"I'd love to do [the show] for a long time, obviously, but hopefully it'll find its audience and people will get the humor and it'll do really well," the Juno actor says.

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After a seven-year hiatus, Arrested Development returns on May 26 with fifteen new episodes, all of which will be released simultaneously on Netflix.

Watch the full flashback above to hear the cast discuss their crazy family members and reveal what they think about producer/narrator Ron Howard.



More On: Arrested Development, Jason Bateman, Michael Cera, Portia de Rossi, Will Arnett

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