The companion to the Student Social Media Academy:

How Bluth are you? An Arrested Development Background Check

In case you have missed the endless advertisements, overheard conversations and social media messages, Arrested Development is back.  Originally airing in 2003 on Fox, Netfix has released season four with 15 episodes.
If you have not seen the series, this video will give you some of the best one liner highlights.  Such as ‘and that’s why you always leave a note,’ ‘you let him go in the sun,’ ‘I’m afraid I just blue myself,’ ‘I’ve made a huge mistake,’ Why are you squeezing me with your body? and of course Tthere is always money in the banana stand.’

The storyline from IMBd.com goes….

Michael Bluth, a widower with a 13-year-old son, named George-Michael, is forced to keep his large and dysfunctional family together after his father is arrested for shifty accounting practices at the family-owned conglomerate and the Bluth family assets are frozen, making each member of the eccentric family panic. Michael’s snobbish mother, Lucille, finds herself living alone in a penthouse without the financial means to maintain it, while Michael’s two brothers, GOB and Buster, and his sister Lindsay with her husband Tobias and her daughter Maeby also find themselves having to recreate their lifestyles to fit their new financial status.

While the inner plots goes every which way, sometimes, it is the characters that are so captivating of this show.  Relatable, yet so out there it teeters on ridiculous.  Even the character names set the tone, such as Gob, Maeby and Buster.

Dysfunction is a major descriptor word for the Bluth family.  Actually for many families.

So, could you be a Bluth?  Here is a quick background check to see how much Bluth you have in you:
Grab paper and pen or count on your hands the number of yes responses:

  1. Did you have or want to kiss a cousin?
  2. Do you hide things in walls?
  3. Have you ever used blue face paint?
  4. Have you ever left a note?
  5. Does your family have a checkbook that you share?
  6. Do you consider yourself holding your family together?
  7. Is your family business in trouble?
  8. Do you like or sell bananas?
  9. Have you ever been on a segway?
  10. Do you have a family lawyer?
  11. Have you ever called anyone in your family pop pop?
  12. Does anyone live in your attic?
  13. Are there actors in your family?
  14. Have you ever asked family for money?
  15. Has anyone in your family dated your moms enemy?
  16. Have you ever competed with your mother in a competition?
  17. Do you perform or enjoy magic?
  18. Do you know the dysfunction ‘Never nude’?
  19. Do you or your family belong to (or have been kicked out of) a country club?
  20. Have you ever hid your father from anything or anyone?

Add up your yes responses, grab a cocktail, take a big breath and prepare for your Bluth background check:
16-20: Bluth in the Blood
There may have a mistake at the hospital, because you are unmistakably a Bluth.  Pack up your things for Orange County and claim your destiny at the Bluth family model home.

As Buster proclaimed “That’s what you do when life hands you a chance to be with someone special. You just grab that brownish area by its points and you don’t let go no matter what your mom says.”

 12-15: Call Me Maeby
You want to be a Bluth.  Trying too hard might be wearing on you.  Be yourself and the Bluth in you will come out naturally.

Tobias: [on painting himself to join the Blue Man Group] I’m afraid I just blue myself!
Michael: Okay, you know what? Go buy yourself a tape recorder, and just record yourself for a whole day. I think you’re going to be surprised at some of your phrasing.

7-11: To Bluth or not to Bluth
It could go either way really.  Cut back on alcohol, shopping and magic tricks if you’d like to create some distance.  Load up on bananas, sibling rivalry and blue man group music to be back on the Bluth family track.

Gob: I should be in charge. I’m the older brother.
Michael: Do you even want to be in charge?
Gob: No… but I’d like to be asked!

6 or less: All Clear 
Whew close one.  Go about your normal ways.  But be warned, Bluth is right around the corner.

George Sr.: This is my vacation, Michael.
Michael: You’re doing time, Dad.
George Sr.: I’m doing the time… of my life!

Reviews have been mixed on season four, but what the Bluth do you have to loose?  Watching an Arrest Development episode are like eating doritos, dare you to just have one!

About Josie

I’m Dr. Josie Ahlquist—a digital engagement and leadership consultant, researcher, educator, and author. I’m passionate about helping people and organizations find purposeful ways to connect, engage, and tell their unique story. I provide consulting, executive coaching, and training for campuses, companies, and organizations that want to learn how to humanize technology tools and build effective and authentic online communities.

My blog and podcast have been recognized by EdTech Magazine, Inside Higher Ed and the Chronicle of Higher Education. My book, Digital Leadership in Higher Education, was published in 2020 and was listed as a #1 new release for college and university student life. I have been growing my consultancy since 2013 and am based in Los Angeles. When I’m not helping clients lead online, you might find me training for a triathlon, spoiling my nieces and nephews, or exploring with my husband and our rescue dogs in our new RV called Lady Hawk.

I’d love to connect! Find me on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Facebook.

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Rebekah Tilley

Assistant Vice President, University of Iowa Center for Advancement

Rebekah Tilley is the assistant vice president of communication and marketing for the University of Iowa Center for Advancement (UICA). In that role she supports fundraising and alumni engagement efforts for the university, including its CASE Gold winning Iowa Magazine, and serves UICA in a variety of strategic communication efforts.

Previously she was the director of strategic communication for the University of Iowa Tippie College of Business, and the director of communication for the University of Kentucky College of Law. She is a Kentucky native and a proud alum of the University of Kentucky.

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