Arrested Development's Orange County

A partial list of the show locations and their real-life equivalents

You have to give it up to the writers (or researchers) on the original run of Arrested Development (A.D.). They went beyond the hot spots normally associated with Orange County—Disneyland, the Balboa Ferry, the shadow cast by Dana Rohrabacher's belly—and dug deep to not only fictionalize real places for name's sake, but even playing with the actual back stories of the properties as well.

What follows are just some of the A.D. places and their real OC counterparts—and we're not even going to mention the traditions plugged into the premiere episode of the new season. Just remember this: Cuatro de Mayo . . .

BALBOA COUNTRY CLUB (A.D. OC): Where family matriarch Lucille Bluth shows off to Newport Beach society, usually by forcing one of her children to join her in an embarrassing mother-son/-daughter production. Youngest natural-born son Buster mostly gets the gigs, but grandson George Michael Bluth and Lucille's adopted son, "Annyong," have been roped in. BALBOA BAY CLUB (Real OC): Harbor-facing units here can be purchased, rented or booked for short terms. The on-site bar, restaurant and pools are frequent gathering places for the unwinding wealthy, while banquet facilities host everything from GOP fund-raisers to society functions at which dates with local notables are auctioned off, another recurring A.D. event.

Scene of discord
Courtesy of the Queen Mary
Scene of discord

Location Info


Balboa Bay Club and Resort

1221 W. Coast Highway
Newport Beach, CA 92663

Category: Hotels and Resorts

Region: Newport Beach

Dad's Donut Shop & Bakery

318 Marine Ave.
Newport Beach, CA 92662

Category: Restaurant > Bakery

Region: Newport Beach

Sugar 'N Spice

310 Marine Ave.
Newport Beach, CA 92662

Category: Restaurant > Dessert

Region: Newport Beach

Island Hotel Newport Beach

690 Newport Center Drive
Newport Beach, CA 92660

Category: Hotels and Resorts

Region: Newport Beach

Queen Mary

1126 Queens Highway
Long Beach, CA 90802

Category: Hotels and Resorts

Region: Long Beach

Dick Church's Restaurant

2698 Newport Blvd.
Costa Mesa, CA 92626

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: Costa Mesa

South Coast Plaza

3333 Bristol St.
Costa Mesa, CA 92626

Category: Community Venues

Region: Costa Mesa

Old World Village -Festival Hall

7561 Center Ave.
Huntington Beach, CA 92647

Category: Services

Region: Huntington Beach


BALBOA TOWERS (A.D. OC): Where you'll find the upscale, waterfront, penthouse-apartment home of Lucille, who has it decorated that gaudy way your grandmother would if she burned through dirty money. Buster usually lives there with her. NEWPORT TOWERS (Real OC): One of the oldest high-rise condo buildings in town, off PCH. It's next to the late iconic Italian restaurant Villa Nova, which used to attract many from the Lucille Bluth demographic.

BLUTH CO. (A.D. OC): The offices of the real-estate company founded in the 1950s by family patriarch George Bluth Sr. had been on the top floor of an expensive office building in Newport Beach. But a worker bee named Ted, whose office is down the hall from that of de facto president Michael Bluth, later made an executive decision unbeknownst to the Bluths to move to a lower floor, where the lease is lower. THE IRVINE CO. (Real OC): The largest private landowner in Orange County is headquartered in twin multistory buildings in the company's Newport Center, facing Fashion Island. Other, unaffiliated companies also lease offices in these buildings from TIC (as it likes to call itself).

BLUTH CO. MODEL HOME (A.D. OC): Standing alone on a graded hill, the lone home of the cash-poor Bluth Co.'s Sudden Valley development is where Michael Bluth and his son, George Michael, mostly live; Michael's once-presumed-twin sister Lindsay Fünke usually lives with her husband, Tobias Fünke, and their daughter, Maeby; Michael's brother George Oscar "GOB" Bluth at times lives; and George Bluth Sr. often hides in the attic so as to not be caught by the Securities and Exchange Commission. MODEL HOMES (Real OC): They are, of course, everywhere new development sprouts, usually in batches of three or four to reflect different floorplans. I can't recall a lone one in this nearly built-out county, but there used to be a two-story house all by itself in North Fontana, where legend had it a subdivision builder had a squabble with the city, stopped his project after one house was built on his big piece of property and just left it there off Sierra Avenue out of spite. Pacific Century Homes, which built homes in California, Arizona and Texas before going belly-up, did build three model homes in Litchfield, Arizona, never sold a single house, then abandoned the project. The Temecula-based company was swallowed up in 2002 by Miami-based Lennar, developer of homes proposed to ring the Great Park of Irvine.

BLUTH'S ORIGINAL FROZEN BANANA (A.D. OC): The Bluth Co. empire started with a frozen-banana stand erected on the Oceanside Wharf boardwalk of Balboa Island in 1953. The wooden box burned down and was rebuilt several times—including once with $250,000 inside that George Sr. had hidden from the feds, which explained his oft-repeated refrain, "There's always money in the banana stand." The place became a point of contention the last time we saw the Bluths, as Annyong reappeared to exact revenge for the theft of the original banana-stand idea from his grandfather by implicating Lucille, who'd had him deported, in Bluth Co. accounting shenanigans. SUGAR 'N SPICE AND DAD'S DONUTS (Real OC): First, it must be noted that you don't bring out-of-town relatives to Balboa Island for frozen bananas. They're gross, phallic and break your teeth. No, you dazzle the 'billies with Balboa Bars, those delightful, freshly dipped-in-chocolate ice-cream bars rolled over chopped peanuts, almonds or sprinkles. You find frozen bananas and Balboa Bars on Balboa Island at Sugar 'n Spice, which is owned and run by white people and has been a local institution since 1945, or nearby Dad's Donuts, which has been around since 1960 and is owned and run by a Vietnamese family. Both have big bananas on their signs, just like Bluth's Original Frozen Banana stand. And—as Weekly Mexican in chief Gustavo Arellano found out when he wrote in print in 2004 that Dad's Balboa Bars taste better than Sugar 'n Spice's—the people who own Sugar 'n Spice resented Arrested Development and Dad's.

Next Page »