May 24, 2013

By Joe Hennes

Herry Me!

We have some die-hard fans of Arrested Development here in the Sesame Workshop offices, so we’re incredibly excited about the show’s return this weekend.  Our infatuation makes a lot of sense, since Tobias shares our love of blue things, Bert and Ernie know all about the Banana Stand, and everyone knows that what comes first is family (unless you’re talking about the things you eat, then it’s breakfast).

The connections between both shows don’t end there.  Several cast members from Arrested Development have ridden the stair car to Sesame Street.  The clearest connection is Will Arnett, who plays GOB Bluth, when he appeared on Sesame Street as Max the Magician.  He’s a natural, since GOB is known for his magic tricks (sorry, “illusions”).  GOB and Max even use similar-sounding theme songs.  They’re also not very good magicians.  Of course, the Sesame gang figures out Max’s illusions pretty quickly, which might threaten his membership in the Magicians Alliance.

Jason Bateman, who plays Michael Bluth on Arrested Development, brought his signature snark to Sesame Street to help explain the word “comfort”.  Getting cooperation from a penguin, a squirrel, and Elmo isn’t nearly as tough as wrangling the members of the Bluth family, but the end result is still just as satisfying.


Ron Howard, who serves as Arrested Development’s narrator and Executive Producer, and Henry Winkler, who plays the Bluth family lawyer Barry Zuckercorn, have been working together since their time on Happy Days as Richie Cunningham and the Fonz.  Richie and Fonzie appeared together on Sesame Street to teach body parts, on and off (with the help of Fonz’s trademark jab at the jukebox), and the letter “Ayyyyyy!”  He’s very good.

Several recurring actors on Arrested Development have popped up on Sesame Street over the years, like Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who played blind District Attorney Maggie Lizer, when she portrayed TV reporter Kathie Lee Kathie in the Sesame Street’s All-Star 25th Birthday special.  Amy Poehler, who played GOB’s nameless wife, taught Elmo the word “challenge” in a Word on the Street segment.  Dave Thomas, who made for a very threatening British man, played a slightly less threatening carnival owner in Sesame Street’s first feature film Follow That Bird.

And that’s not all!  Arrested Development had their fair share of celebrity cameos, like Andy Samberg, Andy Richter, Ben Stiller, Richard Belzer, and Martin Short, all of whom have appeared on Sesame Street, in Sesame Street specials, and in exclusive videos made for the Sesame Street YouTube channel.  The fact that these two shows have so many connections is as Ann as the nose on plain’s face.

So as you watch the fourth season of Arrested Development, keep an eye out for more Sesame Street connections wherever they’re hiding.  They could be in a chicken dance, in an ice cream sandwich, or even a puppet named Franklin.

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