The second half of the fifth season of Arrested Development dropped on Netflix recently, and due to dwindling interest from fans and problems behind the scenes between the cast, it’ll likely be the last we see of the Bluth family. It’s a shame, because the show is famously one of the smartest TV comedies ever made and has been a cult hit for years.
Part of the success of the show was its colorful cast of hilarious and unusual characters, and they were supported by a bunch of strong minor characters. So, here is Every Arrested Development Supporting Character, Ranked.
12 Sally Sitwell
Christine Taylor is a great actress, especially when she plays it straight alongside absurd characters in movies like Zoolander and DodgeBall: A True Underdog Story. However, she was never given much material to work with in Arrested Development. It was an interesting twist when she emerged as Lucille Austero’s campaign manager in the recent seasons, but she was still never given any jokes or running gags.
She pretty much only exists in the story to create rifts in the Bluth family. George, Sr. didn’t want Michael dating a business rival’s daughter, while Gob was jealous of the connection Michael made with her. But as a character, she never had much to do.
11 Steve Holt
Steve Holt didn’t contribute much to the show other than his catchphrase, which was just him punching the air and saying his name, “Steve Holt!” It was a fun catchphrase, and one of the repeated running gags that never failed to get a laugh, but as a character, he was pretty weak.
The storyline involving Gob slowly realizing the teenage kid he’s been hanging around with is his biological son, then abandoning him, then getting jealous when he started spending time with Michael was pretty funny, but that was more down to Will Arnett’s hysterical portrayal of Gob’s everchanging emotions than Steve himself.
10 Stan Sitwell
Ed Begley, Jr. has guest-starred in a few popular TV shows in recent years – Better Call Saul, The Office, Modern Family, Curb Your Enthusiasm – and he never fails to make an impact, because he’s everything an actor should be: he’s likable, he’s believable, he’s watchable.
However, as far as Arrested Development characters go, his role Stan Sitwell could have been funnier. A lot of the jokes and gags revolved around his alopecia (including the iconic moment in which Lucille mistakenly called him an alpaca), which was amusing, but it was an easy laugh to lean on with scenes involving convertible cars, wigs etc.
9 Lucille Austero
The show has been bereft of Lucille Austero for a couple of seasons, since she was murdered in the fourth season and the two-part fifth season was all about the investigation surrounding her death. She hasn’t been particularly missed, since she’s not an essential character like Tobias or Maeby or Lucille, but when she was in it, she was always a joy to watch.
Liza Minnelli played the character’s theatrical line delivery and crippling vertigo to hysterical effect. Funnily enough, the show’s producers only managed to get Minnelli because she used to babysit executive producer/narrator Ron Howard when he was a kid.
8 Oscar Bluth
There are very few actors who have played twins and successfully convinced audiences that they’re two separate people – especially when the viewer goes in knowing it’s just one actor playing both. Nicolas Cage and Dove Cameron have succeeded pretty admirably, but it’s arguably Jeffrey Tambor who has been most successful in differentiating the two characters.
He plays George, Sr. as a stern, grumpy guy who’s always on edge and made it as a businessman, and then he plays Oscar as a slow, dopey pothead who never amounted to anything and is always getting outsmarted by his brother in the same show. It’s quite masterful.
7 Carl Weathers
In the ‘70s and ‘80s, Carl Weathers was known as a formidable tough guy, thanks to his roles as boxing champion Apollo Creed in the Rocky movies and the character who has his arm cut off by the titular alien in Predator. However, he’s been carving out a niche in absurdist comedy in the past couple of decades.
He poked fun at his Predator role when he played the one-handed Chubbs Peterson in Happy Gilmore, and then he played himself as a cheapskate in Arrested Development. All of Weathers’ frugalities in the show – including his obsession with getting a stew going – were his own idea.
6 Kitty Sanchez
“Say goodbye to these!” Kitty Sanchez is a brilliant satire of receptionists at big companies who have an affair with their boss and then blackmail them for money. Of course, most of the time, that “affair” involved George, Sr. sitting at the foot of the bed, sobbing with despair, but she still had enough incriminating evidence to continually extort the Bluths.
Judy Greer would be the top entry on a list of actors everybody recognizes but might not be able to name. She’s played supporting roles in Arrested Development, Archer, and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and she’s appeared in Jurassic World and the MCU, and she was great in all of them.
5 Warden Gentles
Inside the Actors Studio host James Lipton must’ve met a few loser wannabe screenwriters in his days as a Hollywood insider and film industry mentor, so it probably came quite naturally to him to play a similar character in Arrested Development.
What makes his character so hilarious and absurd is that he’s not just a wannabe screenwriter; he’s also a prison warden. That’s not how we’ve come to expect prison wardens to be portrayed in TV shows. They’re usually stern and menacing, but Warden Gentles is just “one of those people who are always going on about their screenplay.”
4 Barry Zuckerkorn
Barry Zuckerkorn is a very troubled individual. It’s not just that he’s a terrible lawyer with a tenuous grasp on the law – remember when he thought a husband and wife couldn’t be charged for the same crime and George, Sr. and Lucille built their whole case around that false information? – he’s also a sexually confused deviant.
Henry Winkler has always played Barry with a kind of lovable cluelessness. We never feel like he knows what he’s doing is wrong and that’s what makes him a great character for comedy. And he gets bonus points for that crazily meta “jumping the shark” moment.
3 Ann Veal
Most of the other characters in Arrested Development can’t remember Ann’s name, but the fans certainly remember her. The whole point of the character is that she’s totally forgettable, but we all know people like that. We all know people who are plain or bland (which is actually one of the incorrect names the Bluths call her over the years) and don’t have a particularly memorable face. So, that’s what makes the Bluth family’s overt indifference towards her so funny.
George Michael is the only character who can remember who Ann is. Everyone else either totally forgets her or leaves her in Mexico. But to us, she’s very memorable.
2 Gene Parmesan
Lucille revealed in court in one of the recently released season 5 episodes that she was faking her surprise every time her private investigator Gene Parmesan removed a disguise and showed her he was the guy standing next to her, whether he was playing a firefighter or an office worker or whatever.
Parmesan is clearly a terrible private eye who just tricks rich old ladies like Lucille into paying him through the nose with a few elaborate disguises. Martin Mull is one of the funniest actors around and he brings all of his talent to the role of Gene Parmesan – he never phoned it in.
1 Tony Wonder
Ben Stiller is at his funniest when he’s playing a weird supporting character as opposed to an everyman leading role that requires him to be the straight man. Tony Wonder is a prime example of that. The character is written as a pitch-perfect satire of real-world celebrity magicians like David Blaine and Chris Angel. Stiller leans into this, with his “W” chin hair, and nails every scene, like the trick where he gives Buster a slice of bread from his chest.
Plus, Stiller delivers one of the show’s most obscure jokes as Tony changes his “Use Your Illusion” DVD title to “Use Your Illusion II” when he realizes it’s a Guns ‘n’ Roses album, then changes it to “Use Your Allusion” when he realizes GnR’s album was a two-parter and throws in an allusion to Edgar Allan Poe. The joke requires a lot of background knowledge and Stiller plays it so well.