A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
There's an underlying current about the importance of family, but most of those family members are just as likely to demean or manipulate one another as they are to help or support one another. Selfishness, greed, obliviousness, and shame are some of the main motivators here ... all played for laughs, of course.
Positive Role Models
Michael is presented as the Bluths' moral center, but even he can be dismissive of or hard on his family members in certain circumstances. Probably the most empathetic, likeable character is his son, George Michael. The other Bluths are by turns greedy, selfish, rude, criminal, oblivious, ignorant, or all of the above. They're not intended to be viewed as role models. Jokes are made at the expense of minority groups.
Violence & Scariness
Some comic pratfalls/slapstick (for instance, one character sports a hook after he loses his hand in a freak accident involving a seal).
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Plenty of innuendo, discussion of sexual activity, and subtly explicit jokes. Kissing and groping. Characters shown partially clad in bed (sex implied but not shown). One minor character repeatedly pulls up her shirt to reveal her chest, but it's blurred out.
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Casual use of words like "damn," "hell," and "bitch," plus a fair number of bleeped words.
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Products & Purchases
Some intentional references to brands/products (including HBO and Showtime).
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
One character is an alcoholic who also takes prescription drugs recreationally. Other characters drink/get drunk occasionally. Some characters smoke -- particularly Lucille.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that despite its comedic brilliance and excellent cast, Arrested Development isn't age appropriate for younger kids. The show features mature issues like lying, stealing, cheating, adultery, implied sex/nudity, drinking, pill-popping, driving under the influence, prison breaks, kissing cousins, embezzling, illegitimate children, and all-around crooked behavior. And there are lots of jokes at the expense of gay men, Christians, people of color, and the disabled. Strong swear words are bleeped, though "damn," "hell," and the like are not; expect plenty of drinking and smoking as well.
Is It Any Good?
This series was rightfully the most critically acclaimed show on television during its original run on Fox, from 2003-2006 (the show was revived for a fourth season by Netflix in 2013 after attracting a large, devoted fan following over the years). The plotlines are incredibly bizarre, unique, and hilarious. The acting is superb, and the direction allows for subtlety that isn't possible in a standard three-camera sitcom.
All of that said, this show is definitely NOT for kids. Much of the humor is so quick and subtle that it's most likely to go over their head, but aside from George Michael, the lack of goodwill in any of the show's characters (as well as all of the mature story elements) makes Arrested Development best reserved for adults and mature teens.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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