By Matt Coker
By R. Scott Moxley
By Charles Lam
By Nick Schou
By Gustavo Arellano
By Gustavo Arellano
By Steve Lowery
By R. Scott Moxley
To promote the new season of Arrested Development dropping Sunday, Netflix took the Bluth's Original Frozen Banana stand on the road and over an ocean, beginning earlier this month in London and continuing to New York City and finally Los Angeles, where it has been all week.
In Culver City, for instance, the stand hosted the actresses who played Kitty Sanchez (George Bluth Sr.'s former personal assistant and mistress who had the unfortunate habit of proclaiming, "Say goodbye to these!" before flashing Michael Bluth with her A-cup breastises) and Ann, the pudgy Christian girlfriend of George Michael who reappears in the series finale as GOB's new girl.
But on the show, the fictional banana stand was born on Balboa Island.
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The banana stand pops up in the second-ever Arrested Development episode ("Top Banana"). George Bluth Sr. (Jeffrey Tambor) tells his son Michael (Jason Bateman), "There's always money in the banana stand." Michael, thinking George Sr. stole his childhood by having him work the stand, burns down the wooden structure, failing to realize his father was being literal to the tune of $250,000 hidden inside.
Newport Beach's Krupali Tejura figured its fictional history warranted a local tour stop, so she started a Change.org petition.
Petition-drive publicity by the Weekly spiked the number of signers from 19 to more than 300 in two days, and even Newport Beach Mayor Keith Curry pledged to do all he could to bring Bluth's Original Frozen Banana stand "home."
"I love it," Tejura says of the groundswell. "It's so ridiculous."
Alas, a Netflix representative, "who spoke on condition of anonymity," told the Daily Pilot Friday the company has no plans to bring the banana stand to Newport Beach, although the final schedule had not yet been nailed down by then.
"I'm kind of bummed," Tejura told the Pilot's Michael Miller. "They should bring it home. It's kind of ridiculous that they don't go to the place where the original banana stand started."
A local stop was also warranted because Newport Beach is believed to be where the first nonfictional frozen-banana stand went up in the 1940s, she added.
Netflix is advising followers to check out the Arrested Development Twitter feed (twitter.com/arresteddev) for updates on the stand's tour stops, although none outside Los Angeles County had been mentioned as of Tuesday afternoon. The famous Bluth pickup with an attached staircase is also making the promotional rounds; it was sighted at Santa Monica Pier at last report.
Perhaps the only way to let your Arrested Development freak flag fly around like-minded Orange Countians before the new episodes are up is to attend "I Just Blue Myself" Saturday at Great Over Good studio in Santa Ana.
"I just blue myself" is what David Cross' Tobias Fünke character said after he oversprayed himself with blue paint to fit in as a member of the Blue Man Group. The phrase is hopefully provocative enough to bring die-hards and newbies out at 6 p.m. Saturday, just hours before those new Arrested Development episodes will be available.
That is, the shows will conceivably be available, as Cross recently told IFC he fears the worst.
"I'm curious. . . . I'm not sure the grid will go down on that day, but the next day, it's going to be like, 'Gotta watch another, gotta watch another, gotta watch another,' as people binge on it. We will probably lose $62 billion in man-hours and production, whatever the GNP is for the day, or whatever it costs us to be in Iraq and Afghanistan for a couple of hours." (Read more from Cross in Aimee Murillo's interview with the comedic actor on the Film page.)
The Santa Ana exhibit showcases the works from a variety of artists, "all displaying themes that celebrate the cult classic," according to organizers.
It'd be a kick if Tony Hale, as Buster Bluth, showed up thinking the Santa Ana gallery was in Tijuana. You don't have to get that meta to enjoy the company of an original Arrested Development cast member because Justin Grant Wade is scheduled to be here!
Yup, Wade played Steve Holt, who is known for raising his arms in victory while saying, "Steve Holt!" Wade's pumped like a school jock/theater geek to sign autographs and take pictures with fans in Santa Ana. Local organizers of Save Steve Holt have sold T-shirts and collected more than 3,000 likes on their Facebook page and 490 signatures on their own Change.org petition, although the goal there is 99,580. Yikes!
Your $10 "I Just Blue Myself" ticket ($15 at the door) also gets you live music, access to an Arrested Development-style photo-booth area and appropriate refreshments. Including frozen bananas.
Screw 'em. A delectable handed to you by Steve Holt tastes better.