At the New Yorker Festival two weeks ago, the entire cast of the TV show “Arrested Development” reunited for a group discussion. Mitchell Hurwitz, writer and creator of the show, revealed that there were plans for an abbreviated run of the series to run up to the production of the Arrested Development movie. In passing, he also mentioned that Maeby Bluth (a character) would be living with Cornel West. Let us imagine what that would mean…
Once again, the entire Bluth family was living under the same roof; Michael, his son George Michael, his brother GOB, his sister Lindsey and her husband Tobias Fünke, their daughter Maeby, all were living in their family real estate company’s model home together.
Michael woke his son, George Michael, with pressing family news.
“Your cousin’s leaving home to move in with Cornel.”
“Oh, no.” George Michael, unbeknownst to his father, had been infatuated with his cousin, Maeby Fünke, as long as he had known her. “Not that I care. Who’s Cornel?”
“Cornel West, the author.”
“Oh, right; I knew she didn’t think race matters.”
“As least not as far as relationships are concerned.”
“Isn’t he a lot older than she is?” asked George Michael.
“I guess his next book’ll be ‘Age Matters’. But you know what? We’re going to leave this all behind; you and I are going for a weekend at the cabin in the woods.” From time to time, Michael could no longer stand his crazy family.
“Family matters,” returned George Michael. However, he had things to do before they left. He caught Maeby in the kitchen, writing a note as she was leaving.
“ ‘Cornel is magical’?” George Michael read the note aloud.
“Yeah, I’m leaving that for my parents.” Maeby replied.
“I don’t think you should move in with Cornel.”
“What do you mean?”
“Well, he’s a lot older than you, and I think he might be taking advantage of you. I just think you should put your family first.”
“Look, George Michael, I’m taking advantage of him. I want mom to see me happy with a man so she’ll get jealous and finally divorce my dad. I’m actually doing this for my family.”
“I guess so.”
In the meantime, Maeby’s mother Lindsey was wooing another illustrious black man on her own. Carl Weathers, one time action movie star (Rocky, Rocky II, Rocky III, Rocky IV, Happy Gilmore) and former private acting coach for Tobias, Lindsey’s husband, had agreed to meet her at a local Burger King.
“I’ve got two coupons for free whoppers at Burger King! Did you know you get free refills on your soda here?” Carl was a master of thrift.
“Look, I don’t care about Burger King. I just want to tell my husband I was on a date with his acting coach man crush.”
“So you don’t want to eat? I’ll save your coupon and come back for dinner.”
Back at the model home, Michael’s brother GOB, a professional magician, interrupted his breakfast.
“ ‘Cornel is magical, Love. Maeby,’? I didn’t know Maeby went to college, Michael.” GOB had misinterpreted his niece’s note.
“Not Cornell the college; Maeby’s moving in with Cornel West, the author. Not that that would clear anything up for you; you probably haven’t read a book since high school.”
“Don’t belittle me, Michael. I didn’t even read a book during high school.”
Tobias had finally awoken. He walked into the kitchen.
“Ah, Michael! Good morrow to you, my good sir knight.”
“Good morning to you, too, Tobias.”
“Alas, the dawn that greets me is the dawn that defeats me. Michael, I fear my marriage may be falling apart. I seek your advice.”
“Well, things must be urgent if you’re getting up before noon.”
“I want my wife to know that there’s a real man inside me, and it’s not a man she knows.”
“I think that’s what she’s afraid of, Tobias. But that’s your problem, not mine; my son was supposed to be here an hour ago so we could hit the road.”
“A trip?” Tobias asked.
“We’re supposed to be going to the cabin in the woods for the weekend, but we won’t make it if George Michael doesn’t show up.”
“Alas, Michael, your son is pulling away from you. Let him grow wings and fly; ask yourself, do you want a boy or a man? I know what I’d say.”
“I’m sure you do, Tobias.” Michael looked at his watch. “How about this; my son doesn’t want to go with me to the cabin, so what if you and I went and had some good brother in law time? That’ll show him who the real man is.”
“I’d never say no to man on man time!”
They left for the cabin. GOB, not getting the invitation, returned to the kitchen. He looked at Maeby’s note. “Oh, now I get it!” He picked up the phone and dialed his sister, Lindsey. “I know your daughter’s secret.”
“GOB?” she replied.
“She’s reaching out to me, Lindsey.”
“No, GOB, she’s moving in with a Princeton professor.”
“I thought she was moving in with Cornel West.”
“Isn’t he a lot older than she is?”
“I don’t know; I just don’t want her to think she’s happier than I am just because she has a stable relationship,”
“I think I can help you,” said GOB.
George Michael had given up hope of helping his cousin. Despairing, he decided to surprise his dad by meeting him at the cabin in the woods. In the meantime, Maeby had called Cornel; they were going to meet at Burger King.
“Look, you can call me Carl; all my friends do,” said Cornel.
“Whatever. Look, we just need to run off and make sure my mom notices. We’ll call her from the cabin in the woods.”
Unbeknownst to Maeby, her mother was actually in the very same Burger King with her brother GOB. “I called Carl, but he didn’t answer. But he gave me a coupon for a Whopper here. Did you know you get free refills on every drink here?”
“It’s a wonderful restaurant,” said GOB. It sure is!
“I left Cornel a message; he’s supposed to meet me at the cabin in the woods so I can talk to him about my daughter,”
At the cabin, Michael and Tobias were having trouble adjusting to each other’s company. “Top bunk or bottom? I must say I’ve always been something of a bottom man.”
“I don’t care, Tobias,” replied Michael. “George Michael? What are you doing here?”
George Michael had just arrived at the cabin in the woods. “Hey Dad. Hey Uncle Tobias. I made a huge mistake. Bu now I’ve decided not to be so selfish and to put family first.”
“You’re finally becoming a man, George Michael,” said the boy’s father.
“I love men!” said Tobias.
The cabin door opened. “Dad?’
“Maeby? Did you follow me here? Are you reaching out?” Tobias said, confused. Maeby had just arrived at the cabin, hoping to escape her family, only to find most of them there with her. “Carl Weathers? What are you doing here?”
“No, this is Cornel West. I was trying to run away with him to get away from you and mom,” replied Maeby.
“So that’s why you were calling me Cornel! No, I’m actually Carl Weathers, the movie star. Although Cornel did give me his old luggage once; same initials, same monogram! I must have saved, oh, $200.”
“I’ve made a huge mistake.,” said Maeby, confused. “Marry me!”
“Well, instead of being apart, it looks like we were all supposed to end up together this weekend. So let’s just make the most of the time we’re going to have together,” said Michael. In spite of his best attempts to elude his family, he was once again right there with them all.
It was then that the lights went out. From somewhere in the cabin, a voice began to sing “It ain’t easy, bein whiiite….” It was GOB. The lights came back on. GOB had appeared next to Carl Weathers. He had begun his professional magician act, mistaking Carl for Cornel, having already mistook Maeby’s morning note to mean that Cornel liked magic. “It ain’t easy, bein brown…..” GOB continued to sing, this time in the voice of Franklin, his black hand puppet character. Franklin was part of GOB’s ventriloquism act.
“GOB, what are you doing here?” asked Michael.
“I’m here too, Michael. GOB and I followed Maeby here to stop her from running off with Cornel West,” said his sister Lindsey, stepping out into the room. “Carl? What are you doing here with my daughter? You’re supposed to be going out with me!”
“Actually, Lindsey, of the three of us, I would hazard that I’ve been on the most dates with Carl,” said Tobias.
“You’re not Cornel West?” GOB asked Carl. Carl was not happy. “Then I guess you don’t like magic, do you?” GOB had hoped to impress Cornel West with his racially conscious magic act, knowing the man to be interested in matters of race and assuming him, based on Maeby’s note, to like magic. He quickly realized that, actually, he had offended Carl Weathers, action movie star who didn’t even like magic, with his racist ventriloquist act. Visions of Apollo Creed danced in GOB’s mind.
“I’ve made a huge mistake.”