I’ve typed more than 8,000 words about Arrested Development over the last month and I can count on big one hand the times I’ve mentioned Buster. I might be overlooking him, but then again we’ve seen so little of our favorite “motherboy” in season four that he didn’t warrant ample text. Just a simple “we miss you” would have sufficed.
The yearning turns to a welcome hello when Buster is the star of his own episode “Off the Hook.” The title has a few different meanings for Buster, who is finding out that life is a little bit tougher when you don’t have a support system by your side. Not that the Bluth’s were ever supportive of anything Buster has done.
But home is home and Buster is a mother’s boy in every creepy sense that Arrested Development can play up. With Lucille out of the house awaiting trial, Buster loses his mind, making a fake Lucille and going through his usual routine of pampering the most important fake woman in his life. Once he breaks this habit, we find out that although Buster has been stashed away like some secret weapon early in the season, he’s actually a critical player in tying some of the loose plotlines together.
Before Buster throws himself into the mysteries that will (not) be revealed in the final episode, he becomes a man by getting intimate with Herbert Love’s wife. This allows him to finally have the courage to break away from Lucille. That’s what we always wanted for Buster and it should be satisfying but it just isn’t. Maybe I’ve become attached to the startlingly close mother-son relationship they’ve forged over the years. Maybe I’m just a momma’s boy myself.
Either way, Buster’s return is at its best when he’s in his comfort zone, either it’s back in the apartment pretending to be with Lucille, or squabbling with his mother in the army hospital. Some of the other high points come from Buster re-enlisting in the army. You have to think that some monster would be sitting at an army base commanding drone strikes against innocent people halfway around the world. Well, that monster is Buster. They mock the army’s drone program perfectly, while finding a way to get a new dynamic out of the hook hand by trading it for a big bionic plastic looking hand.
Tony Hale’s fantastic effort can’t help the fact that Buster is a tough character to rely on for an entire episode. He was let off the hook for just long enough, one episode, where most other characters needed two to tell their stories. It seems that Buster is as important as ever to explaining the latest developments in the series, which only seems right. After putting up with this family for so long, Buster deserves more attention. Fortunately, they didn’t give him too much.
Juice Box Talk:
“I’m not a motherboy anymore, I’m a mother man!”