Gender Expression in Arrested Development

In a recent interview, the male stars of Arrested Development, a sitcom with an impending revival, defended the actions of Jeffrey Tambor, who verbally abused co-star Jessica Walter on the set of the show. Tambor also has a general reputation for misconduct, including the sexual harassment of women. The male actors from the show, who comprise most of its main characters, have been criticised for speaking over Walter. Online, many people are vowing to boycott the revival as a result, considering its cast to be misogynistic.

Keeping in mind the actors’ recent comments, analyse how gender is expressed in Arrested Development. Are the female characters simply shallow, or do they subvert feminine stereotypes by being assertive? Is Tobius’ femininity presented as laughable, or is the audience encouraged to empathise with him? Is Michael’s rationality implied to be synonymous with his masculine, fatherly traits?

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