The Comedy of Class Structure in Arrested Development
The class system of American society provides different citizens of the same country with vastly different obstacles and pathways through life. Some must work diligently from a young age and may never achieve their dreams, while others are handed everything on a silver platter and might never have to experience an honest day’s work in their entire lives. The television series Arrested Development is a mockumentary that showcases an example of the latter. It follows the affluent and dysfunctional Bluth family whose patriarch, George Bluth Sr., owns a rental development company that has provided the rest of the family with a very comfortable living. Now that George Sr. has gone to prison because of suspected treason, George’s middle son Michael has taken over the company and is hoping to make some changes. The episode titled “Staff Infection” describes the disasters that occur when the rest of Michael’s family actually has to perform the duties of a lower class by taking various jobs around the office.
“Staff Infection” begins with Michael receiving a phone call from his mother, Lucille, who wants him to come visit right away. Michael notices that Lucille’s maid, Lupe, seems visually distraught and Lucille explains that Lupe is upset because she will not let her take the day off to go to her family reunion. She is disgusted at the fact that Lupe’s family has rented a bus and wants to meet in the parking lot of her apartment building. She exclaims to Michael, “For God’s sake, it’s not a hardware store. We can’t have them hanging around like a bunch of freeloaders looking for easy buck.” Here Lucille expresses pure repulsion for those of a lower social class, but ironically, when Michael asks her what her emergency was, she quickly replies, “I need money.” Lucille cannot fathom that she is more of a freeloader than the poor workers she had previously described, as she does absolutely no work for...
References: “Staff Infection.” Arrested Development – Season One, Volume Three. Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation and Imagine Entertainment, 2004. DVD.
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