For Arrested Development, a show notorious for its intricately complicated plot lines and endless slew of in-jokes, a big part of its success (relatively speaking) depended on the individual actors who played the dysfunctional Bluth family.
Once the show was cancelled from network TV in 2005, the cast all went on to work steadily to the point that while filming the fourth season for release on Netflix in 2013, the show was filmed, edited and altered to fit their busy schedules.
What have they been up to since the end of Season Four? Let’s review and judge their successes and failures from yesterday and today, just like a family would.
Jason Bateman – Michael Bluth
A child actor who co-starred on Valerie and played the lead in Teen Wolf Too, Bateman’s biggest adult role before Arrested Development may have been as Pepper the ESPN 8: The Ocho announcer in Dodgeball.
After Arrested‘s original run ended, Bateman made a few guest appearances and took some voice work on shows like The Fairly Oddparents, Justice League and King of the Hill. In 2006, Bateman tried to make America love him on the small screen once again with The Jake Effect, but it fell short. Film work, however, has been much more steady for Bateman, thanks to his work in Hancock, Juno and screwball comedies like Identity Theft, Extract and Horrible Bosses.
Since Season Four, he’s back doing voice work, this time for Disney’s upcoming Zootopia. He’s also directing and starring in The Family Fang.
Will Arnett – Gob Bluth
Arnett, who never considered himself a comedic actor before Arrested Development, made appearances on virtually every show in TV history before Arrested. Unfortunately, Arnett has found some hardship while trying to establish himself as a center-stage talent on TV with failed sitcom endeavors like Running Wilde, Up All Night, and The Millers on his resume, although he excelled at numerous guest appearances on Parks and Rec, The Office and most notably as Jack Donaghy’s foil, Devon Banks on 30 Rock.
More recently, he’s done voice work for the Netflix cult hit Bojack Horseman, and after stealing the show as Batman in The Lego Movie, he’s currently working on a spin-off, appropriately titled The Lego Batman Movie. Arnett has also done some live-action work beside Will Ferrell in Semi-Pro and Blades of Glory, and as Vernon Fenwick in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reboot, as well as the sequel that’s currently filming.
Portia De Rossi – Lindsay Bluth-Funke
de Rossi’s breakout came on Ally McBeal. Following Arrested, she went on to play the recurring role of Olivia Ward on the plastic-surgery cable drama Nip/Tuck, before joining Better off Ted, another quirky, clever, and doomed sitcom. She was also Lily Munster in the woefully rejected Munster‘s reboot, Mockingbird Lane.
Since Season Four, she’s gone on to appear as Elizabeth North in Scandal.
David Cross – Tobias Funke
The former Mr. Show with Bob and David star stuck with TV after Arrested shuttered the first time, jumping to IFC’s The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret, which he created, produced and starred in, along with Arrested Development co-star Will Arnett. He also made notable appearances on Archer, Running Wilde and the Alvin and the Chipmunks movies, the latter of which he notoriously hated.
Since Season Four, Cross has been working on a highly anticipated Mr. Show reboot, of sorts, titled Bob and David. He also popped up on 12 episodes of The Heart, She Holler and co-starred in the apocalypse comedy, It’s A Disaster. Behind the camera, Cross also made his directorial debut with Hits.
Tony Hale – Buster Bluth
Hale bounced around doing guest appearances before Arrested Development came along, and then after the initial cancellation, Hale’s movie career consisted mostly of bit parts in movies like the Will Ferrell vehicle Stranger Than Fiction. He ended up faring better on the small screen with supporting roles on Chuck and Andy Barker, P.I., and guest-starring roles on Psych, Community and even Justified.
Lately, Hale has served as the most important bag man in the free world beside President Selina Meyer as Gary on HBO’s Veep.
Jessica Walter – Lucille Bluth
Walter has been active since the ’60s, but Arrested is clearly her signature role, though I’m giving the bronze to her role as the voice of Fran on The Dinosaurs. Following Arrested‘s cancellation, she booked relatively few credits, with a minor role on 90210 and a few cameo appearances. Since the fourth season, she’s appeared in Jennifer Falls, but most know her best as Mallory Archer, an animated variation of Lucille Bluth, the matriarchal head of the spy agency on FX’s Archer.
Jeffery Tambor – George Bluth Sr.
“Hey Now!” Hank, Larry Sanders’ sidekick on The Larry Sanders Show on HBO, the veteran was originally set to appear as George Sr. in the pilot episode only. Tambor stayed on to make him a recurring character as the family’s jailed, then escaped convict/patriarch. After Season Three, Tambor made appearances in Hellboy, as Alan’s father Sid in The Hangover trilogy.
Since Season Four, he’s shown up in the now-cancelled The Millers with co-star Will Arnett, playing twins (I’m Oscar!) Ben and Lester Cohen on CSI: Special Victims Unit, as well as recurring roles on Raising Hope, The Good Wife and China, IL with Hulk Hogan. Most notably, Tambor won an Emmy for his portrayal of Maura Pfefferman, the transgender main character on the Amazon series Transparent.
Michael Cera – George Michael
A kid actor before the show, Cera has done most of his damage following the show, making him one of Arrested Development‘s more ubiquitous cast members. He appeared on the small screen in Drunk History, Children’s Hospital and Tom Goes To the Mayor. He also built an impressive resume starring in comedies such as Superbad, Juno and Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. He’s currently doing voice work for the upcoming film, Sausage Party, though he’s best known for playing a spectacularly clueless parody of himself in This Is The End.
Alia Shawkat – Maebe Funke
In the wake of Season Three, Shawkat made the rounds on the big and small screen, appearing in Veronica Mars, Cedar Rapids, and as the voice of Chuckie in the 2012 update to Rugrats, along with Arrested Development co-star Mae Whitman. (Her?) Since Season Four, she’s appeared in The Final Girls — which is currently making its way around the festival circuit — and The To-Do List starring Aubrey Plaza. She’s also performed voice work for Adventure Time. Shawcat is currently filming the highly anticipated Netflix film, Pee Wee’s Big Holiday.
Ron Howard – Narrator
The uncredited narrator of the show who only initially appeared briefly on screen at the end of the third season, is of course, a former child/teen star who appeared on The Andy Griffith Show and Happy Days, and an acclaimed director who went on to helm films such as Cinderella Man, Frost/Nixon, The Da Vinci Code, and its follow-up, Angels & Demons. He had a more prominent role in the show’s fourth season, along with co-producer Brian Grazer. He’s also set to produce the adaptation of Stephen King’s epic The Dark Tower series, assuming it ever breaks free from development hell, and is currently directing Tom Hanks in the follow up to Angels & Demons: The Inferno.