While Arrested Development is regarded for many things, its running jokes and gags are particularly impressive, and no character in the sitcom has quite as many comedic plotlines as Tobias.
Tobias is the husband of Lindsay, whom she married out of protest against her parents. Because of this, their relationship is a dysfunctional one. That being said, Tobias desires nothing more than to be a part of the Bluth family (and an actor, but more on that later). He provides multiple moments of comic relief by dressing up, saying things that can easily be misinterpreted, and always being a little bit too extra.
So in honor of the guy who made Arrested Development great, here are the best recurring jokes and gags centered on Tobias.
10 Acting Dreams
Despite having a semi-successful medical career, Tobias decides to chase after his dreams and become an actor. He constantly gets overexcited about small parts (such as “Frightened Inmate #2”) and believes he is an expert even though he lacks experience (hence the reason he thinks he’s qualified to run the production at Maeby’s school).
He takes acting lessons from Carl Weathers, and in Season 4, he stages Fantastic 4: An Action Musical. Despite his passion, he never sees any real performance success.
9 Mrs. Featherbottom
Tobias’ alter-ego is a British housekeeper that is a combination of Mrs. Doubtfire and Mary Poppins. He first invents this character as a way to spend more time with his family and prove he’s a skilled actor. However, Maeby and Lindsay know it’s him and decide to start using Mrs. Featherbottom’s maid skills to their own advantage.
Though Tobias primarily portrays this character during Season 2, she makes a comeback in Season 5 when Tobias attempts to move into The Spotted Palm retirement community.
8 Cat Identity
Tobias often references — and uses — his “cat-like reflexes.” He is also frequently lazying around the house or rolling into certain situations in an attempt to show off his dexterity.
He refers to the time he snuck around the house of Michael’s ex-girlfriend Maggie Lizer as a game of “cat-and-mouse” that went on until he was caught by the household dog. Me-ow.
7 Hair Plugs
Tobias gets hair plugs in Season 3. Unfortunately, he gets a bad reaction and ends up developing muscle weakness that causes him to collapse and go numb. He learns that all he has to do to feel better is have his hair plugs removed. However, before this happens, the Bluth family uses Tobias as the face of their annual fundraiser gala to raise money they can pocket themselves.
Meanwhile, George Michael becomes uncomfortable around his dying uncle who is constantly hanging around him. George Michael has the worst moment of his life after he gets locked inside a prison cell with a sickly Tobias.
6 Never-Ending Hospital Visits
The previous running joke is based on another gag that shows up throughout the series; despite being the only doctor in the family, Tobias is the one who is always in the hospital for getting injured, and boy, does he gets hurt a lot.
One time Ice, the bounty hunter, ends up tackling him. Another time Lucille runs him over with her car. Another time Tobias inhales diamond cream and enlists Lindsay to take him to the doctors. While not every one of these hospital visits is seen, they're implied all the time.
It's also worth mentioning that the rest of the Bluth family checks into the doctors a lot. Tobias is not alone in his tendency to get hurt.
5 Maeby Exists?
While yes, Maeby is at the center of this joke as the title implies, Tobias plays a huge role in it. Both he and his wife Lindsay are constantly forgetting about their daughter despite the elaborate ways she draws attention to herself.
She tries to move out, flunks high school, and kisses her cousins in an attempt to get her parents to notice her. Unfortunately, Tobias is too caught up in his fabulous acting career to pay attention. He even flat-out tells others he doesn't have a daughter at certain points in the series because he's that unobservant.
4 Never Nude
Tobias suffers from a "condition" in which he can never be naked. He deals with this by wearing tight jean cutoffs underneath all of his normal clothing. He eventually gets over his phobia of being nude, but then goes back to wearing the cutoffs after he accidentally photographs himself with his new phone’s camera in the tub.
It doesn’t appear he gets over this condition again, as his cutoffs can sometimes be seen underneath his clothing and other times he makes references to his shorts throughout the rest of the series.
3 Portraying A Bluth
In an attempt to fit in further with the family (and continue his career as an actor) Tobias finds himself taking on the role of many Bluth family members.
Though this idea becomes more common in Season 5, it begins in Season 2 when he first portrays George Sr. in Scandalmakers. He later dresses like George Michael and takes on the role of Buster at the Family of the Year ceremony.
2 Blue Man Group
Tobias sees an ad for the musical troupe the Blue Man Group. Believing it to be a support group for depressed men, he tries to join but instead auditions. Though he doesn’t hear back, he covers his body in blue makeup in the hope that he will be called as a stand-in.
Tobias misses the call that comes his way, however, George Bluth later joins the Blue Man Group in an attempt to hide from the law. Tobias also manages to leave random blue paint handprints around the model home.
1 Tobias Is Oblivious
Perhaps Tobias’ most common recurring joke, which lasts from the pilot of Season 1 all the way to the end of Season 5, is that he is one of the most oblivious people alive. He is constantly making comments about himself and others that sound really bad, but yes, it all goes over his head.
Just because Tobias means well doesn't mean it comes out well. When Michael eventually points out to Tobias that the things he says can easily be misinterpreted, Tobias listens back to his own comments (which he recorded, of course) and sees nothing wrong with them. You would think that he would learn, however, he never quite gets there.