Arrested Development is the story of your typical egregious dysfunctional family, complete with embezzlement, incest, and fraud. This comedic journey began in 2003 with Jason Bateman at the helm as the show and the family's lead, Michael Bluth. When his father, George Bluth Sr., is inevitably sent to prison for his federal crimes, it's up to Michael to keep the family together. However, each member in his family is a loose cannon in their own right, making this feat more difficult than he thought.
Because of the Bluth's wayward, yet consistent, escape from practical rulings, they've all established a few of their own Bluth family guidelines. Of course, they wouldn't be the Bluths' if all of them didn't break their own internal regulations at one point or another. That being said, here are ten rules that members of the Bluth family have to follow... most of the time anyway.
10 Spend First, Ask Later
The Bluth's main concern is, first and foremost, money. Every single one of the Bluth family is guilty of this action, even Michael who's the most level-headed member of the family. It's not an outright rule (as most of them aren't), but it's a strategy that the entire Bluth family follows, nonetheless. George Bluth starts this trend as he uses his investor earning for "personal expenses." Even after SEC puts him in jail for this act, his wife, Lucille, takes over the company and continues using the same methods to maintain her current standard of living. Their daughter, Lindsey, is even more reckless in this act and uses the money to go shopping, despite her brother Michael telling her there is none left to spend.
9 Finish The Vodka
This is a rule commissioned by Lucille and almost exclusively upheld by her alone. As a turbulent alcoholic and a woman who spares no expense, it's seen as a crime to let a bottle of vodka go unfinished. Which is why the Bluth family rule is, at least by Lucille's standards, to always finish the bottle of vodka once it's been opened.
8 Don't Let Gob Be In Charge
Gob is the eldest Bluth son and the most disappointing. His schemes and frequent endeavors always fail and he's vastly incapable of keeping a job. He dubs himself as a professional magician, though, even that accomplishment went sideways after he reveals a trick on television. Because of his irresponsibility and lack of common sense, Gob is seen as a failure by pretty much everyone in the Bluth family. Even Michael, who tries to fix any situation, sees that his brother is a lost cause and agrees with his father that Gob is incapable of running the family business. The all see to it that this never happens, though Gob did find himself in the President's chair briefly thanks to his nephew, George Michael.
7 Find Investors
The only way that the Bluth family is able to maintain their luxurious and care-free lifestyle is with the aid of the aforementioned investor money. Despite the Bluth's spotty real estate name, the family members are able to each find ways to con people out of their money for supposed business opportunities.
Even George Michael falls victim to this Bluth family etiquette when he fashions together a false tech start-up called Fakeblock. He initially thinks about letting his girlfriend Rebel to invest in the scheme, but feels too guilty. Eventually, he and his cousin, Maeby, sell the fake company to an unlucky chum, who as it turns out, is his father Michael.
6 Call Barry Zuckerkorn
Barry Zuckerkorn is the Bluth family's ill-advised lawyer. He seems to be the least credible attorney on the market, yet the Bluth's all trust him to handle their legal conundrums. Michael, naturally, has his doubts and ends up firing Barry in the episode "The Cabin Show." Barry is eventually disbarred for his own foolish crimes. Ultimately, however, Michael ends up following this Bluth family strategy when anyone in the family finds themselves in trouble. He comes to use Barry's assistance again in later seasons when a company by the name of P-Hound is trying to sue him.
5 When In Doubt, Lie
This is probably the Bluth's family unanimous and unconscious agreement. This family has an unrelenting knack to forbode the truth, even when the lies do more harm than good. It acts as an ultimate instinct for every single one of them, including George Michael and Maeby. Maeby dresses as an elderly woman to live in an assisted living community, Lindsey lies about stealing clothes instead of admitting she has a job, and George Michael changes his identity to impress Rebel.
4 No Sugar or Swimming For Buster
Buster, despite being a grown man, comes with his own set of rules that the rest of the family tries to equally enforce. Buster is forbidden to go near the water. This is something the entire family has taken seriously since Buster's childhood. And as luck would have it, the time the Buster decides to swim in the ocean in defiance of his mother, he loses his hand to a seal.
Buster also isn't allowed to have too much juice or sugar because it spikes his hyper tendencies. It's a rule that most of the Bluth's readily follow for not wanting to have to deal with Buster's wild escapades.
3 Family First
This rule is strongly set forth by Michael and George Michael. Despite the family's consistent struggles, Michael always reminds his son that the family comes above all else. George Micahel may take this rule a little too literally with his cousin Maeby, but despite that, this rule is held fast by the young Bluth. The rest of the family oftentimes follows this rule, but usually only when their aid to another Bluth benefits them in some way.
2 There's Always Money In The Banana Stand
The common Arrested Development phrase, "There's always money in the banana stand" is more of a subtle hint than a rule. The family's wealth notwithstanding, the Bluth's have a small boardwalk banana stand that produces little to no profit. However, George Michael Sr. always insists that there is money to be made here. As it turns out, there was actual, tangible money in the walls of the banana stand. An unfortunate realization that comes after Michael burns the stand to the ground. Later, however, Michael sticks with this rule of thumb and remakes the banana stand as symbolic income.
1 Don't Tell Michael
And the most important Bluth family rule is "Don't tell Michael." The Bluth's are always up to something suspicious (and criminal), which is always met with recourse once Michael finds out. The Bluth's do their best to keep Michael out of the loop when it comes to their wrongdoings so that they don't have to suffer his incessant nagging and self-righteousness.