Arrested Development Lineup

In the fourth episode of Arrested Development‘s third (and what initially seemed to be its final) season, Michael Bluth wakes up to find the handlebars of his bike in his bed, placed there by GOB, his sheets stained with bike grease. The moment is a clear reference to one of the most iconic scenes from The Godfather, where studio executive Jack Woltz awakes to find the severed head of his prized horse in his bed after refusing to give Johnny Fontaine a prize role in the film.

But Arrested Development‘s relationship to The Godfather trilogy isn’t isolated to occasional references or sly parodies. Instead, the underlying structure of the series seems to be modeled off Francis Ford Coppola’s canonized adaptation of Mario Puzo’s crime saga.

Here are a few connections between the three existing seasons of Arrested Development and the three Godfather films. Perhaps there will be more to look for when Arrested Development pulls us back in on May 26th.

The Michaels

Michael Bluth Corleone

In The Godfather, Michael Corleone wants to leave his family business behind and seek a normal life on his own terms. However, he’s forced into the family business when an attempt has been made on his father’s life, as he is the only one qualified amongst his brothers and sister to continue that business. Michael is practically the only one who looks after his father, helping to evade further attempts on Don Vito’s life while he is incapacitated in the hospital. He has a spouse that dies during his stay in Italy, and in Part II is unable to sustain a functional relationship with his girlfriend/wife Kay because of his devotion to family affairs.

In the pilot episode of Arrested Development, Michael Bluth wants to leave his family business behind and find a normal life on his own terms. However, he’s forced back into the family business when his father is taken to jail, as he is the only one qualified amongst his brothers and sister to continue that business. Michael is practically the only one who looks after his father, visiting George Sr. frequently in prison. He has a spouse that died at some point in his past, and is unable to sustain romantic relationships with various women throughout the series because of his devotion to family affairs.

dashes

Don Vito Corleone and George Bluth, Sr.

George Don Vito Bluth

Don Vito Corleone is the patriarch of an olive oil manufacturing empire that is a guise for an organized crime syndicate that has connections with powerful individuals and profitable industries in America and abroad (Cuba in Part II). An attempt is made on his life and he is incapacitated, but still tries to run the family business and exercise power through his son, Michael.

George Bluth, Sr. is the patriarch of a real estate empire that is a guise for an illegal organization (and profitable industry) with a powerful individual abroad, Saddam Hussein. He is arrested and sent to jail in the pilot, but still tries to run the family business and exercise power through his son, Michael.

dashes

Santino “Sonny” Corleone and George Oscar “GOB” Bluth

GOB Sonny Bluth

Sonny Corleone is the oldest son of Don Vito Corleone. Though he is the eldest and therefore first in line to run the family business after his father, his arrogant personality and short temper prevent him from being qualified. When he acts on his own decree, he makes dumb, compulsive decisions that threaten the efforts of the family as a whole. He is a relentless womanizer.

George Oscar Bluth II (“GOB”) is the oldest son of George, Sr. Though he is the eldest and therefore first in line to run the family business after his father, his arrogant personality and shortsighted attempts at magic (and other occupations) prevent him from being qualified. When he acts on his own decree, he makes dumb, compulsive decisions that threaten the efforts of the family as a whole. He is a relentless womanizer.

dashes

Frederico “Fredo” Corleone and Byron “Buster” Bluth

Buster Fredo Bluth

Fredo Corleone is the second oldest son of Don Vito Corleone, but is unfit to run the family business. His stupidity, lack of confidence, and otherwise child-like behavior prevent him from being taken seriously by prominent members of his family. Despite his attempts at success, integration into the family usually comes to no avail. He is often humored by deciding family members (Michael) and given menial business tasks (i.e. casinos, whorehouses) to make him feel useful.

Buster Bluth is the youngest son of George, Sr., and is unfit to run the family business. His stupidity, lack of confidence, and otherwise child-like behavior prevent him from being taken seriously by prominent members of his family. Despite his attempts at success, integration into the family business usually comes to no avail. He is often humored by deciding family members (his mother) and given menial tasks (i.e. learning cartography) to distract him.

dashes

Carmela Corleone and Lucille Bluth

Lucille Carmela Bluth

Carmela was never comfortable with her husband Vito’s gangsterism, but acts as an unspoken matriarch, not commenting on or involving herself in the affairs of her family business. She instead attends to social components of the extended Corleone family, making efforts toward family unity and warmth.

Lucille Bluth is cunning, clever, and mean, often manipulating and setting family members against one another for her own benefit. She is always armed with a martini and a biting quip. Lucille treats her children in ways that will no doubt necessitate years of therapeutic recovery.

There are basically zero similarities between Carmela Corleone and Lucille Bluth. Nice twist, Hurwitz.

dashes

Connie Corleone-Rizzi and Lindsay Bluth Fünke

Lindsay Connie Bluth Funke

Connie Coreone-Rizzi is the only daughter of Don Vito and Carmela Corleone. Though Connie and her brother Michael care for one another very much, in Part II she often abuses what little power she has and requests money with spite. She is lazy and unmotivated, treading on the comforts that her familial status gives her. She rebels against the values of the family by remarrying somebody that the rest of the family despises.

Lindsay Bluth-Fünke is the only daughter of George, Sr. and Lucille Bluth. Though Lindsay and her brother Michael care for one another very much, she often abuses what little power she has and requests money with spite. She is lazy and unmotivated, treading on the comforts that her familial status gives her. She rebels against the values of the family by marrying somebody that the rest of the family despises.

dashes

Carlo Rizzi and Dr. Tobias Fünke

Tobias Rizzi Funke

In The Godfather, Carlo Rizzi is Connie’s first husband. He exploits and abuses the status of the Corleone family for his own personal desires (i.e. giving information that leads to the death of Sonny). He does not express love for Connie, and he beats her and cheats on her regularly. They have one child together.

Dr. Tobias Fünke is Lindsay’s husband. He exploits and abuses the status of the Bluth family for his own personal desires (i.e. his acting career). He does not express love for Lindsay, and the nature of his sexuality is frequently in question. They have one child together.

dashes

Tom Hagen and Barry Zuckerkorn

Barry Hagen Zuckerkorn

Tom Hagen is an attorney. Though not directly related to the Corleone family, he works exclusively for them. He is good at his job in a very unfunny way.

Barry Zuckerkorn is an attorney. Though not directly related to the Bluth family, he works almost exclusively for them. He is bad at his job in a hilarious way.

dashes

Don Vincent Mancini-Corleone and George Michael Bluth & Mary Corleone and Mae “Maeby” Fünke

George Michael Maeby

In Part III, Vincent Mancini, Sonny Corleone’s illegitimate son (and next in line to run the business), falls in love with Mary Corleone, Michael’s daughter, despite the fact that they are direct cousins.

George Michael Bluth, Michael’s son, has an unrequited attraction to Lindsay and Tobias’ daughter, Maeby Fünke, despite the fact that they (for most of the series) understand themselves to be direct cousins.

dashes

Editor’s Note: This post originally appeared on the author’s personal blog. Which you should check out. Even though he hasn’t written there in a while.


ARTICLE TAGS
Like this article? Join thousands of your fellow movie lovers who subscribe to The Weekly Edition from Film School Rejects. Our best articles, every week, right in your inbox!
  %
%  
Comment Policy: No hate speech allowed. If you must argue, please debate intelligently. Comments containing selected keywords or outbound links will be put into moderation to help prevent spam. Film School Rejects reserves the right to delete comments and ban anyone who doesn't follow the rules. We also reserve the right to modify any curse words in your comments and make you look like an idiot. Thank You!
Some movie websites serve the consumer. Some serve the industry. At Film School Rejects, we serve at the pleasure of the connoisseur. We provide the best reviews, interviews and features to millions of dedicated movie fans who know what they love and love what they know. Because we, like you, simply love the art of the moving picture.
Comic-Con 2014
Summer Box Office Prediction Challenge
Got a Tip? Send it here:
editors@filmschoolrejects.com
Publisher:
Neil Miller
Managing Editor:
Scott Beggs
Associate Editors:
Rob Hunter
Kate Erbland
Christopher Campbell
All Rights Reserved © 2006-2014 Reject Media, LLC | Privacy Policy | Design & Development by Face3