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Arrested Development Recap: Marry Me

Vulture is doing fifteen immediate recaps for hard-core Arrested Development fans. Five regular Vulture writers will write on three episodes each. More in-depth analyses of the new episodes will appear in the coming weeks.

If Lindsay and Tobias wrote Arrested Development, there's not a chance Maeby would get her own season-four episode. They would have sooner given one to Annyong. But Mitch Hurwitz knows that she’s the dysfunctional reservoir into which those two foible factories dumped their overflowing buckets of character defects, making Maeby the ideal Bluth.

That point is made immediately in "Señoritis" when we see Maeby is somehow still in high school, and somehow still failing. Her teacher, adorable quint Donnie Richter, sends her to the local college for tutoring, and — would you believe it? — that local college is UC Irvine and her tutor is George Michael. Hugs all around!

Before tutoring, Maeby explains she's still in high school because she’s been trying to get her parents to notice her. They haven’t. They also didn’t notice her budding career as a Hollywood producer and her blockbuster horror series Gangie (that's what she calls Lucille). Nor did they notice she was on the same flight to India as they were. To be fair, she didn’t notice them either.

In India, Maeby does notice her mother along with a chance to manipulate her. She truly is Lindsay's daughter. With the help of movie makeup she transforms into a hairy shaman and advises Lindsay to return home to find love. The message that was once confusing was a desperate daughter pleading for her mother’s attention. It's kinda sad now.

Sadder still is her parent's eagerness to leave her behind after returning from India. And saddest of all is the message Tobias never got about his call back for The Big Bang Theory. He could have been Jim Parsons!

The bad news continues for Maeby when she's fired from Imagine because Ron Howard has a policy against employees without high-school diplomas since he doesn't have one himself. (Quick Wikipedia check... and yes, Ron Howard did graduate high school. But not college.) Dejected, Maeby returns to high school for a third and then fourth and then fifth year.

And that's what led her to George Michael, whose success, or at least projected success, with Fake Block has her questioning her career as a high-school student. Dejected again, she goes drinking, drops a "marry me" when the bartender asks for his ID, and learns her high-school boyfriend Perfecto is an undercover cop. Imperfecto!

But then, good news: Maeby's getting a lifetime achievement Opie Award. She feels better until she learns that lifetime achievement means she's either dead or her career is. But Maeby's not ready to die, so she convinces George Michael, whose adopted the swarthy alias George Maharis, to let her use Fake Block as her second act. Maeby announces her entrance into the software game in a vulgar acceptance speech that includes the phrase "cunt punt." Impressive turnaround writers.

On her way out of the ceremony Maeby is mistaken from her mom's pimp. Soon, she actually is her mom's pimp, taking money from Herman Love's Groucho-looking aide so Lindsay will sleep with the candidate. She also jumps head first into Fake Block, getting it on Mad Money, and renting an office, where we see that unlike her grandparents she does tip black people. That’s nice.

And then it ends. George Michael fires her and Love ends it with Lindsay. Maeby does consummate her relationship with Perfecto, insulating herself from whatever it was she feared he would do. But wait! Perfecto's no cop. That badge Maeby saw was an anti-bullying badge, meaning her quest to trap Perfecto into fake statutory rape was real statutory rape, but with her as the old one.

So everything looks like a big mess, but Maeby thinks it's fine. And it looks like it will be until her math teacher reveals he’s not adorable quint Donnie Richter; he’s adorable quint and undercover cop Rocky Richter. Like so many Bluths before her, Maeby's going to jail.

Odds and Ends

  • The video diagram of George Michael’s awful kissing should be shown to every sixth-grade boy.
  • Loved George Michael whispering "As I live and breath" as he greets Maeby.
  • According to the story in Deadline, Maeby's nickname is "The Queen of Horror."
  • Maeby's shot at Zack and Cody was at least the second this season. Still not enough.
Photo: Netflix/FOX