This Is Michael Bluth

he's a good man

This Is Michael Bluth

The first episode of Arrested Development begins with the Ron Howard narrator intoning "This is Michael Bluth. He's a good man." At least, that's the version I had in my head. On rewatch, I discovered that he doesn't say "he's a good man", so I thought for ages that I had dreamt this line. Then I realised it's actually in the extended pilot which I must've watched in the DVD extras and had that stick. It's informed something that I’ve been thinking about every since my last-but-few rewatch of the series: Michael isn’t a good man. Unlike the rest of his family he’s a straight arrow and a hard worker, but in substantial part this is due to his desire to feel superior to them. "The one son who had no choice but to keep them all together" is another lie: he does it because he can't let go. He is fundamentally shaped by the same forces they are, and ultimately shares a lot of their attitudes and failure modes, though he wouldn't like to admit it.

The moment that highlights this best for me, is part of the arc involving Michael’s infatuation with his brother Gob’s telenovela-star girlfriend. They go to a Spanish-language TV award show, and Lucille, without her glasses, wanders around trying to get all of the actors to take her drinks order (assuming well-dressed Hispanic men must be waiters). A lot of attention is called to this; however less attention is called to Michael, making the same assumption, trying to get some of the actors to valet the stair car when he arrives. He’s less of a grotesque than the rest of them are, but he is still very much one of them.

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