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‘Arrested Development’ Turns 20: How the Series Refreshed Henry Winkler & Jason Bateman’s Careers

‘Arrested Development’ Turns 20: How the Series Refreshed Henry Winkler & Jason Bateman’s Careers

Arrested Development debuted twenty years ago and helped reinvigorate the acting careers of Henry Winkler and Jason Bateman. Despite boasting a stellar cast, including the likes of Will Arnett, Jeffrey Tambor, and Ron Howard as the narrator, and even winning six Emmys, the show met an untimely demise, getting canceled after a mere three seasons.

However, it later experienced a revival, finding new life with a fourth and fifth season on Netflix.

Nonetheless, Arrested Development, which Howard executive produced and pioneered the use of single-camera work for a sitcom, revolves around the affluent, self-absorbed, and eccentric Bluth family. Their lives are thrown into disarray when their patriarch, George Bluth (portrayed by Tambor), is arrested on fraud charges.

How ‘Arrested Development’ Reintroduced Jason Bateman and Henry Winkler to TV Fans

Jason Bateman took on the role of Michael Bluth, the ultimate family glue in the aftermath of his father’s arrest. He snagged a Golden Globe for Best Actor for the performance. Arrested Development helped jumpstart his career, which had something of a drought in the 90s after his initial 80s sitcom fame in Silver Spoons and The Hogan Family. The show helped establish Bateman as an adult performer rather than a teen heartthrob.

After Arrested Development, Bateman scored big with comedy films like Extract, Couples Retreat, The Switch, and Horrible Bosses. The Teen Wolf Too star also moved into more serious territory in recent years. He starred in Netflix’s Ozark and also directed several episodes of the stark crime drama.

Meanwhile, Henry Winkler himself had managed to break free of playing Fonzie on Happy Days by the time Arrested Development debuted in 2003. Winkler gave memorable performances in 1996’s Scream and 1998’s The Waterboy. However, Arrested Development showcased the veteran actor’s quirky comic timing in ways audiences hadn’t seen before.

Winkler’s portrayal of Barry Zuckerkorn, the incompetent lawyer of the Bluth family in Arrested Development, swiftly endeared him to fans. Despite being initially planned as a minor character, the actor revealed on social media that Barry’s role evolved into a substantial presence, appearing in 32 out of the series’ 84 episodes.

“I was supposed to be on 1 or 2 episodes of [Arrested Development]”, Winkler wrote.” I stayed 5 years. Right off the bat, I improvised: Sitting with the Bluths, on the table were pastries. I slowly moved them to the edge and let them fall into my briefcase,” he joked.

Of course, Winkler’s role in Arrested Development helped the veteran actor enjoy a career renaissance. He had roles in comedy series like Children’s Hospital and Parks and Recreation. Recently, he played Gene Cousineau, an eccentric acting coach on HBO’s Barry. The performance earned him an Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series in 2018.