For once, nothing angsty! Film question instead!
December 28, 2005 12:52 PM   Subscribe

Film/TV question. I've seen LiveJournal avatars and pics that look like they're from a certain TV show or film, and I'm curious as to which film it could be. It looks like a very recent film.

It's a white man, maybe in his 40's, with glasses and brown hair. His shirt is red striped, long sleeved, and buttondown, though partially unbuttoned. He has his head tilted back, as if he's shouting, and often the quote with this is "I'm a monster!' or some variant. He's also holding up his left hand, which is a prosthetic hook, attached to a 'flesh' coloured prosthetic arm. The guy almost looks like Giles from Buffy. So, what is this?
posted by spinifex23 to Media & Arts (14 answers total)
Best answer: Buster Bluth from Arrested Development. He loses his hand in the second season and has it replaced with a hook.
posted by bobot at 12:57 PM on December 28, 2005

His hand got eaten by a loose seal.
posted by smackfu at 12:57 PM on December 28, 2005

That's the character Buster from the TV show Arrested Development on Fox. A seal bit his hand off in the second season.

On preview: d'oh.
posted by toddshot at 12:58 PM on December 28, 2005

I'm half machine! I'm a monster!
posted by iconomy at 12:58 PM on December 28, 2005

Best answer: great title for this thread. :)
posted by ancamp at 1:05 PM on December 28, 2005

Response by poster: Thank you, all!

And yes, ancamp - I like it when life throws me something mellow for once!
posted by spinifex23 at 1:09 PM on December 28, 2005

Buster's mother is Lucille Bluth. Buster was secretly dating his mother's next-door neighbor, Lucille Austero (aka Lucille Two). Later, Buster had his hand bitten off by a loose seal. Yes, they maimed a character just to take the joke one step further. God, I love this show.
posted by junkbox at 1:35 PM on December 28, 2005

The awesome thing about it is how much it was foreshadowed in the preceding episodes: Buster's fascination with the 'claw' game (mirroring the hook he would soon be wearing), the fact that one of the toys he won in the game was a stuffed seal, and the episode where he rediscovers an old piece of furniture he thought he had lost: a chair shaped like a hand. "Never thought I'd miss a hand so much", he said.

Why are more people not watching this show?
posted by toddshot at 1:44 PM on December 28, 2005

Another example of why AD is really really overrated: a real forced attempt at zany wackiness for the sole purpose of zany wackiness.
posted by xmutex at 2:19 PM on December 28, 2005

wow. I did not catch on the foreshadowing at all, it was very underplayed. xmutex:this is the kind of stuff that makes the show worth watching again
posted by pantsrobot at 5:12 PM on December 28, 2005

Clearly, xmutex does not get it. But then, AD was doomed to failure by aiming its humor at smart people. :) I consider it the finest, funniest show on television in at least a decade.

The show is so utterly filled to the brim with allusions, callbacks, recursive jokes, etc, that you can't ever appreciate it if you only know how to watch "typical" sitcoms. Take Family Guy (please!), which has the very linear structure of setup- joke/flashback, setup-joke, setup-joke, for 22 minutes plus commercials. The overwhelming cleverness and attention to detail of AD is the payoff- repeat viewings, close attention, etc make the show ever-richer and funnier. If you watch it like xmutex probably does, expecting just another lame paint-by-numbers sitcom, you are missing 90% of what's going on.

AD really plays with the rules of sitcoms, having nearly as many jokes going on in the background that you miss on first run, or very subtle jokes that don't get shoved in your face. Random example: the recurring gag of someone obscuring letters while sitting on a bus bench, like Charlize Theron's Rita blurring out the RIT in "Wee Britain" to show only "Wee Brain", a clue to two eventual 'secrets' of her character. They've made fake ads that aired during the regular commercial breaks, starring a character of the show, which was actually a subtle hint as to an upcoming plot thread later in the episode (a recent example was Tony Hale crawling through ductwork in an ad- which foreshadowed his father/uncle George doing the same thing later in that episode). They've played with musical jokes, including ringtones on cell phones, blink and you'll miss it sight gags, and plenty of jokes involving the actor/actresses past work- perhaps the best of which is when they finally fire Henry Winkler's character as Barry Zuckerkorn only to replace him with Scott Baio as recurring season 3 character Bob Loblaw (author of Bob Loblaw's Law Blog, as it turns out- say those out loud if you're not getting it :) )- which is what happened when the Fonz left Happy Days only to be replaced by Chachi. :) It's worth noting that Ron "Richie Cunningham" Howard is a producer and the show's narrator as well, making that whole setup very very 'meta'. :)

They even do jokes where the punchline comes an episode or two before the setup, such as the occurences of GOB's use of "Forget-Me-Nows" well before we have a name for htme or realize what he's talking about. Indeed, GOB first references the forget-me-nows way back in Season 1, by mentioning he has "pills in his pocket" while trying to forget the horror of watching his parents go at it, as well as several other times in between... and it isn't until season 3 that we actually learn he carries around roofies for the purpose of inducing temporary memory loss in case someone learns the secret of his magic tricks. Now THAT is a brilliant writing team, to have shit planned two seasons in advance like that. And the feeling you have as a fan when you "get" some of these jokes, often only on repeat viewings or when casually watching an old episode with the hindsight it brings... it's like finding a $20 bill in an old jacket. You'll never get that from a standard sitcom!!!

Another example of AD's brilliance, to tie up this monologue to the subject at hand: the character of Buster, the subject of this post, lost his hand in the Season 2 subplot that was mentioned, and from which the writers have gotten a lot of mileage, including a broad search for the hand-eating seal in question, which turned up only a small shark, and led to the utterly genius move of having Henry Winkler, who had been playing the family's lawyer for some time, have to jump over the dead shark on the dock to go to a meeting. And yes, there was a foreshadowing moment earlier where Buster is sitting in front of an "Army Office" sign, blocking letters just so as to read "Arm Off", which... well, you get the picture. :)

Anyway, the character of Buster, which started this thread is played by Tony Hale, who is perhaps even better known for his role in the VW commercial from a few years ago, the Mr. Roboto ad. So it only follows that in season 3, episode 6 we caught a brief glimpse of Buster sitting in the car dancing and jamming out... and what do you suppose was playing on the radio? :)

If you're a fan, check out the dedicated fan site The Balboa Observer Picayune, and take the time to go browse the forums at Television Without Pity, where people congregate after each episode to discuss it like yeshiva students, pointing out to each other subtle jokes, recurring gags, background humor, etc that most people will miss. The show's writers know of and appreciate TWoP's forums and their ability to appreciate jokes that the writers likely though were going unnoticed, having even made subtle shout outs to the fans there with company names like TWP, etc.
posted by hincandenza at 7:08 PM on December 28, 2005 [3 favorites]

It's kind of ironic that there is a backlash against AD because everyone loves it so much, yet it's basically cancelled now because no one watches it.
posted by smackfu at 8:16 PM on December 28, 2005

I wasn't aware of a backlash en masse- the vast majority of viewers just don't watch it. However, there are always a few angsty poseur types who feel that since it's the darling of the literati and cognoscenti they must protest too much as to how overrated it is.

This is akin to people who post to threads with comments like "Is this something I'd need a television to understand?". You know- morons!
posted by hincandenza at 9:36 PM on December 28, 2005

Response by poster: Thanks for the writeup!

I now have the show on my Netflix queue.
posted by spinifex23 at 10:55 PM on December 28, 2005

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