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‘Arrested Development’: The Bluth Family, Ranked From Least to Most Selfish

The Big Picture

  • Arrested Development is a popular sitcom with hilariously selfish characters, centered around the dysfunctional Bluth family and their misadventures.
  • George Michael is the least selfish Bluth, constantly caring for others and prioritizing their feelings over his own.
  • Lucille Bluth is considered the most selfish member, cold and unloving to her children, and even the mastermind behind the family’s financial crimes.

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Arrested Development is famous for the hilarious selfishness of its central characters, the incredibly dysfunctional Bluth family. Anchored by Michael Bluth (Jason Bateman) who views himself as the most reasonable member of the family, the series explores the Bluths’ many misadventures after family patriarch George Sr. (Jeffrey Tambor) is arrested for severe financial crimes.

Created by Mitchell Hurwitz and first aired in 2003, the enduring popularity and comedic legacy of Arrested Development is undeniable. The narcissism and immorality of its main characters have cemented the Bluths as some of TV’s most iconic sitcom characters, and determining who among them is the worst is no easy feat.

11 George Michael Bluth

Michael Cera as George Michael Bluth in Arrested Development
Image via Fox

George Michael Bluth (Michael Cera) is by far the least selfish member of the family. In the original run of the show, George Michael is characterized primarily by his good-heartedness and shy demeanor, as well as his complicated romantic relationships with Ann (Mae Whitman) and his cousin Maeby (Alia Shawkat).

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Although he self-actualizes more in the series reboot, George Michael remains the Bluth with the least criminal and immoral behavior on his record. He deeply cares for others and is able to prioritize their feelings over his, which he has to do frequently to protect his family members’ fragile egos.

10 Hel-loh ‘Annyong’ Bluth

Still from 'Arrested Development': Annyong Bluth (Justin Lee) stands centre frame wearing a t-shirt with a mole design.
Image via Fox.

Hel-loh ‘Annyong’ Bluth (Justin Lee) is adopted into the family from Korea when Lucille (Jessica Walter) wants to make Buster (Tony Hale) jealous. As a result of the language barrier and lack of attention paid to him by the other family members, Annyong initially keeps a low profile and stays out of the Bluth family’s chaos, with his worst deeds being refusing to share food with Buster.

However, in Arrested Development, season 3, episode 13, “Development Arrested” it is revealed that Annyong is in fact a mole intent on exacting revenge against the Bluth family on behalf of his biological family. Annyong is sneaky and underhanded in his scheming, but his allegiance to his biological family is arguably the very opposite of selfish.

9 Byron ‘Buster’ Bluth

Still from 'Arrested Development': Buster Bluth (Tony Hale) wears an army uniform and holds stuffed toys.
Image via Fox.

Buster Bluth is the youngest of the Bluth siblings, and grew up extremely emotionally stunted and unhealthily attached to his mother Lucille. In line with this, his actions are usually motivated by his desire to either impress or annoy Lucille. In one of the show’s best episodes, he even ends up losing his hand to a “loose seal” in one of his attempts to spite her.

As a Bluth, Buster certainly has his fair share of selfish moments, shirking responsibility whenever he can and throwing childish tantrums when he doesn’t get his own way. Buster is defined by his cowardice and anxiety, but has a much higher capacity for genuine kindness than his siblings, making his behavior less egregious.

8 Oscar Bluth

Still from 'Arrested Development': Oscar Bluth (Jeffrey Tambor) looks at Buster (Tony Hale) with a concerned expression.
Image via Fox.

Oscar Bluth (Jeffrey Tambor), the twin brother of George Sr. and biological father of Buster, is portrayed as a stoner and a slacker who is deeply infatuated with Lucille. Because of his and George’s identical looks, he is used as the scapegoat for serious crimes, being sent to jail unable to prove his true identity.

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Although he is often the victim of their behavior, Oscar shares the selfishness characteristic of the Bluth family. Oscar has no motivation or drives in life and prefers to simply live off of handouts, even tricking Michael into investing $10,000 into a financially untenable lemon grove for his own gain. However, Oscar’s weakness for Lucille and overall lack of malice make his selfishness far less dangerous than that of many of his relatives.

7 Maeby Fünke

Still from 'Arrested Development': Maeby Fünke (Alia Shawkat) stands centre frame, looking to the right.
Image via Fox.

Maeby Fünke, the daughter of Lindsay (Portia de Rossi) and Tobias (David Cross), is a confident and crafty young woman who is adept at lying to and manipulating others to get her own way. Maeby frequently engages in schemes for power, money and attention, such as portraying a disabled alter-ego at school, lying to the police, and fraudulently becoming a movie executive as a teenager.

Maeby was raised by parents who paid very little attention to the inner workings of her life and offered no consequences for poor behavior. Although Maeby is manipulative and self-centered, her young age and toxic environment make her behavior somewhat more justifiable.

6 Nichael ‘Michael’ Bluth

Still from 'Arrested Development': Mid-close up of Michael Bluth (Jason Bateman).
Image via Fox.

Michael Bluth certainly perceives himself to be morally superior to his family members, but he has inherited many of their narcissistic and selfish tendencies. While Michael does attempt to solve problems the family faces, his motive is often the satisfaction he receives from feeling better than them.

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Michael’s genuine love and care for his family, especially his son George Michael, is his primary redeeming quality. Although his first instincts are often selfish, he is willing to change and grow for the betterment of his relationships with his loved ones, and demonstrates this quality throughout the series.

5 Tobias Fünke

Still from 'Arrested Development': Tobias Fünke (David Cross) looks at himself in the mirror, covered in blue paint.
Image via Fox.

Lindsay’s husband and Maeby’s father Tobias Fünke is an aspiring actor and former psychotherapist. Tobias is defined by his obliviousness above all else – he is completely ignorant of the lives of his family members, constantly chasing his own idiosyncratic desires instead.

Tobias’ genuine cluelessness is the explanation behind much of his selfish behavior, and while his attempts are usually poorly executed, he does try to understand and connect with his daughter. However, the extent to which Tobias exists in his own world displays an indefensible level of selfishness, making him perfectly at home in the Bluth family.

4 George Oscar ‘G.O.B.’ Bluth

Still from 'Arrested Development': Gob Bluth (Will Arnett) stands looking concerned holding a sharp object piercing the side of his neck.
Image via Fox.

G.O.B. (Will Arnett) is the eldest Bluth sibling, and one of the most poorly-adjusted members of the family. Lacking the intelligence of Lindsay and Michael as well as the empathy of Buster, G.O.B. usually attempts to find fulfillment through acts of grandiosity and showmanship, such as in his job as a stage magician.

Almost all of G.O.B.’s behavior displays his narcissistic and selfish tendencies, from his constant bragging and mocking others to his choice to always travel via Segway. Although he is willing to work with others and does genuinely show tenderness to his siblings at times, G.O.B.’s actions are some of the family’s worst.

3 Lindsay Fünke

Still from 'Arrested Development': Lindsay Fünke (Portia de Rossi) sits in the prison greeting area looking confused, wearing a red t-shirt with 'SLUT' on it.
Image via Fox.

Lindsay Fünke, the only daughter among the Bluth children, is characterized primarily by her vapidity and self-obsession. She derives most of her feelings of self-worth from materialism, male attention, and performative acts of charity, having been raised on a combination of being financially spoiled and verbally degraded by her mother.

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Although a better mother than Lucille, Lindsay pays very little attention to her daughter Maeby. Lindsay prioritizes her image above all else, even using charity work specifically as an attention-seeking tactic. She may not be irredeemable, but Lindsay certainly is extremely selfish.

2 George Bluth, Sr.

Still from 'Arrested Development': George Bluth Sr (Jeffrey Tambor) wears a cowboy hat and sunglasses, holding a golden staff.
Image via Fox.

From grand theft to “light treason”, there is seemingly no boundary George Bluth, Sr. won’t cross to further his goals. George Sr. is willing to use, manipulate and mistreat even his closest family members like his twin brother and children, and repeatedly does so throughout the series’ run.

The extent of George Sr’s selfishness is perfectly encompassed by a scheme in which he fakes his death to avoid prison time, leading most of his family to believe he is really gone, with barely a second thought about their feelings. A bad businessman, bad husband and even worse father, George Sr. is one of the most selfish Bluths by far.

1 Lucille Bluth

Still from 'Arrested Development': Lucille Bluth (Jessica Walter) holds a glass of alcohol and winks.
Image via Fox.

Although she has some strong competition for the title, Lucille is the most selfish member of the Bluth family. Considered one of television’s worst mothers, Lucille is cold and unloving to her children, frequently pitting them against each other to maintain the upper hand.

The extent of Lucille’s harsh and often cruel behavior is remarkable, and her complete lack of care for others’ wants and needs is astonishing. Eventually revealed to even be the mastermind behind the family’s financial crimes, Lucille’s selfishness manages to upstage even the very worst of her family members.

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