This Graph Of Running Jokes From ‘Arrested Development’ Proves How Brilliant The Show Really Is

tobias funke blue arrested development


I recently devoted an entire month of my life to rewatching the entirety of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia while preparing for a particularly grueling night of bar trivia. During that stretch of time, I realized it’s virtually impossible to truly appreciate a comedy without watching it at least a couple of times. There are a number of jokes that take a few seasons to come full circle, and it makes you appreciate the foresight required to create a series capable of standing the test of time.

Unless some unknown comedy secret is unlocked during my lifetime, It’s Always Sunny will always have one of the top spots when it comes to ranking my favorite sitcoms along with overlooked gems like Party Down in addition to the almost overwhelmingly joke-filled Arrested Development, whose fifth season recently debuted on Netflix.

Arrested Development is an incredibly rewatchable show, but while the average person could watch a random episode of The Office or Parks and Recreation without too much background information, you’re going to have a hard time truly appreciating an episode unless you’ve seen all of the ones that preceded it. The show is built on a foundation of running jokes, but it’s hard to appreciate just how many recurring gags there are until you see them graphed out.

Beutler Ink and Red Edge recently put together Recurring Developments, a website tracking every single running joke from Arrested Development. If you want to go down a rabbit hole of comedy, I highly suggest exploring the data for yourself, but they also rounded up the most frequent gags in a mesmerizing chart that proves just how much thought goes into writing the show.

arrested development running jokes

Beutler Ink

Tobias’ sexuality takes the top spot but is followed by some of my personal favorites, including the incredibly underwhelming nature of Egg. References to fake celebrities and shows also ranked pretty highly, although I’m more of a fan to references to real ones like Carl Weathers and Entourage (the “and Jeremy Piven” joke might be my favorite one ever made on Arrested Development). 

If you need me, I’ll be spending the next month seeing how many of these I missed.

Connor O'Toole avatar
Connor Toole is the Deputy Editor at BroBible. He is a New England native who went to Boston College and currently resides in Brooklyn, NY. Frequently described as "freakishly tall," he once used his 6'10" frame to sneak in the NBA Draft and convince people he was a member of the Utah Jazz.