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Arrested Development pre-premiere: The Big Ten as AD characters

One of the greatest comedies in recent modern history returns for a previously unthought of fourth run in a consumption manner only recent popularized. To mark its return, we look at the schools of the Big Ten as characters from TV's Arrested Development.

20th Century Fox

It's 3 a.m. By now you're likely coming back home from either a night out or an evening spent checking out a Kanye face projection (hopefully you weren't tear gassed) and the combination of alcohol, caffeine, and adrenaline has you ready to make it through as many episodes of the new season of Arrested Development as your body will allow you. At 15 30-minute episodes, you only have to make it until a little after 10:30 a.m. ET if you want to plow through all of Season 4...except, of course, for the servers.

With basically all of the Internet button mashing on load on laptops, Apple TVs, Xbox 360s, and PS3s alike, along with a huge expected influx of new subscribers, if the third season HBO GO premiere of Game of Thrones is any barometer, you're likely to be lucky to get things loading smoothly by 4 a.m.

And then there's the rest of us. The those of us that are so removed from college and so utterly beholden to a 9-5 lifestyle and/or have to deal with autonomous early risers, that getting to sleep at midnight – yes, even on a Saturday – feels like an epic act of physical rebellion. We'll sit down in front of our televisions and start our binge watching at our convenience, maybe later Sunday, maybe on the holiday Monday. Either way, we'll get it done. And don't dare spoil it on Twitter or Facebook.

Of course with the part word of mouth, part grassroots resurrection of a show of Arrested Development's cult popularity, we're often left with some running tropes to reconcile. And look, I get SEC speed and all, but certain other sites around the Internet that shall remain nameless (*cough cough*) just *had* to go and get something we've been cooking on all week up before we had the chance to press publish. But let's be real: Uncles Gary and Verne aside, the characters of a CBS sitcom make for a far more fitting analogy for the Southeastern Conference anyways.

Without further ado, here are the schools of the Big Ten as characters of TV's Arrested Development.


Indiana: Maeby Fünke

Indiana's relevance is a running joke throughout the conference. Will they ever make another bowl in the modern era? Maybe. But while it doesn't matter who the "forefathers" of a Hoosier renaissance are or will be, there's no questioning some of the more mischievous, by-any-means necessary sort of techniques that have been epitomized in recent years by the basketball side of the athletic department. Of course much like with the "take a dollar, toss a banana" strategy, these sorts of things often end with everything being on fire – urr, losing in the Sweet 16 despite being a one seed.

Also, the school's rabid basketball fans don't care if marrying your favorite basketball team isn't legal in Indiana or not. They had the petitions.


Tom Crean's recruiting strategy exposed.

Maryland: Wife of Gob


An escalating series of dares brings them into both Gob's life and ours. We're never exactly sure who they really are, and if we just didn't consummate the darn thing, we wouldn't owe them anything. But much to Michiganders' dismay (and ours), here they still are.

Michigan: Gob Bluth

Brash, entitled, confident (see: cocky), for as many things as they seem to fall upwards into, when things go wrong, oh ho ho, are the results of the high comedy variety:


They're constantly trying to prove their superiority to a certain sibling rivalry, and though they don't consider their other one much of a threat, their difficulties in pronouncing words with the letter "c" translate in actuality more to an inability to call universities by their proper full names.

And then there's their fondness for a certain theme song:

Also, never forget: the Rich Rod era wasn't a trick, it was an illusion.

Michigan State: Buster Bluth

A Milford man is neither seen nor heard – and judging by some of their future non-conference schedules, this could very easily be Michigan State before we know it:


Their fans seem insecure of just about everyone involved with them and though there's a certain childlike innocence to them, they sometimes try to assert their independence in ways that ultimately end up impacting everyone around them in a negative fashion.

The John L. Smith era was basically an accidental enrollment in the U.S. Army for them while losing a hand is the ultimate Sparty, No! I'm not totally sure if that makes their current era the fake coma period or not.

Ohio State: Michael Bluth

Convinced they're the patriarch of the family, they're never quite as good as they think they are. Even when they find themselves in positions to reach their ambitious goals, they more often than not seem to come up just short. Their desire to "hold the family together" resembles more a desire for everyone "in the family" to recruit better, but the end results more often than not come out just the same:


Penn State: George Sr.

Under house arrest for the next four seasons, their fans are convinced they're running the league from the inside but, yeah, about that. Their last era of interrupted success came out roughly around the same time as their last great invention, "The Cornballer". Also known to cater to lunatic devotees, the Joe Pa. truthers amongst them also believe that "faith is a fact" and can't tell the difference from blooper reels and sincerity.


Rutgers: Annyong

Brought in to misguidedly make someone jealous, their acquisition is almost immediately regretted universally. Their actual name, State University of New Jersey, is pronounced similarly to "he-llo".



Illinois: Tobias

The victim of graft vs. host, where graft represents a series of increasingly poor coaching hires. Their fall from grace could very easily have been the result of giving a football program CPR that wasn't really having a heart attack. The end of the Bruce Weber era on the basketball side has numerous parallels to "Mrs. Featherbottom", though you can't possibly tell me his successor, John Groce, doesn't have the hairline to join the Blue Man Group.


Iowa: Lindsay

Materialistic, vain, desires to join a social class they're not actually meant to be a fit for. Giving Kirk Ferentz a one billion year Sea Org contract proved to be the same self-destructive marriage as Lindsay's to Tobias. Every time they have even a modicum of success (e.g. landing the voiceover work for the fire sale commercial), they get so drunk celebrating they don't actually make it to the job itself. Whoops.


Minnesota: Kitty Sanchez

They've had a lot of cosmetic work done recently, but at their core are the same, half crazy program they've always been. At any given moment they seem on the brink of saying "SAY GOODBYE TO THESE", though no one would really miss them and everyone would be uncomfortable seeing Jerry Kill with his shirt lifted up.


Nebraska: Steve Holt

Did you hear Nebraska's in the Big Ten? And they're finally going to be able to escape from the championship game woes of the end of their Big XII affiliation?


Aside from Bo Pelini basically being Steve Holt, the end result being the same thing over and over and over and over...

Northwestern: George Michael

The Charlie Brown walk of the Big Ten, the vast majority of whatever good happens to them winds up ending like this:


Their Gator Bowl victory was the kissing-your-cousin of ending a bowl drought.

Purdue: Ann Veal


And when they play your team close or pull the rare upset: her?


Wisconsin: Lucille Bluth

Barry Alvarez is the shadow emperor of the Big Ten. Their very existence is sort of a loud-mouthed one. Their fans (and band) are pretty much always drunk before noon, and their last coach was basically always saying stuff that seemed to get him into trouble. They're rather materialistic in their ambitions, but they're also never really willing to work hard enough to get what they want (see: their non-conference schedule).


Honorable mention: Ohio State's Ryan Shazier as Stan Sitwell (alopecia joke; NAILED IT), the NCAA's ruling on Penn State taking place on "Mock Trial with J. Reinhold" (Mark Emmert is neither a judge nor has he received acting's highest honor), the Big Ten Network as Larry Middleman (paid to be everywhere to make the Big Ten look important and go places it legally can't as a surrogate; not always successful in execution), and of course Jim Delany as Carl Weathers, stew aficionado extraordinaire. He doesn't like ham; he loves it.