Tony Hale has spent much of his professional career around powerful, terrifying woman. For four (soon to be five?) seasons on Arrested Development, he played Buster Bluth, a socially stunted motherboy whose love for Lucille borders on creepy obsession. Hale’s current high-profile role is as presidential aide Gary Walsh in the Emmy-winnning Veep. President Meyer calls him her bag-man, but he demands to be treated with some respect.
And then he goes back to holding her bag.
In honor of Hale’s birthday (he turned 45 yesterday), let’s figure out once and for all, who the insult queen is: Selina Meyer or Lucille Bluth? Here are eight of their best lines, ranked from least to most devastating.
We begin with a simple, yet sinister burn. Simple, in that it’s only one sentence; sinister, in that it’s implying her target is a monster who’s unable to love and has a black hole in his chest that can only be filled with hate and sadness and misery. This is one of Selena’s kinder insults.
Lucille is the quintessential WASP. Nothing’s good enough for her, and everyone’s fat. This applies to her children, too, who she thinks aren’t good enough for her (especially Gob), and they’re all fat (especially Lindsay).
Buster gets off fairly easy here.
An unassuming set-up, a brutal punchline. That’s presidential material right there. Don’t worry, there’s more Jonah to come.
I’m a fan of this insult because of how descriptive and evocative it is. Imagine your mortal enemy. Now image him or her as a giant, throbbing varicose vein on a penis. Aren’t they so much worse now?
Another weight joke. It still works, though, because of Lucille’s obliviousness. She begins by telling her daughter she doesn’t criticize her, before waiting a beat and… she criticizes her. Bonus points for the inherent comedy that is calling Portia de Rossi overweight and not stunningly gorgeous.
That’s just pure poetry. There are few people alive (or dead, probably) who Selina hates more than Jonah, the not-so-jolly green jizz face who can often be seen hulking around the White House. He’s the human equivalent of using a flaky breakfast pastry to pleasure yourself, minus the pleasure.
It’s one thing to denigrate your own daughter when she’s an adult. It’s another when she’s a timid child who takes what her mother says as fact. Lucille gave Lindsay the cruel nickname “Lindsay chops” in case a bully at school “was as clever as I am.” In her head, she was teaching her child a lesson. But, as the Narrator points out, “no bully ever would be.”
Straight to the point, straight to the gut. I’m giving the title of Insult Queen to Lucille. Her barbs maybe aren’t as clever as Selina’s, but they’re more devastating. And directed at her family, not her co-workers. Bluth 2016.