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The Best Lucille Bluth Moments In Arrested Development

On March 25, 2021, the comedy world and Hollywood alike lost one of the industry's most influential and beloved talents when Jessica Walter passed away at the age of eighty. After a career that spanned six decades and listed 161 acting credits on IMDb, there's no question that Walter's most popular performance is that of matriarch Lucille Bluth, the acid-tongued, deadpan, and usually drunk head of the fallen Bluth family.

Alongside her husband George Sr. (Jeffrey Tambor), children Michael (Jason Bateman), magician George Oscar Bluth — who goes by Gob (Will Arnett), spoiled Lindsay (Portia de Rossi), sycophantic Buster (Tony Hale), and grandchildren George Michael (Michael Cera) and Maeby (Alia Shawkat), Lucille must grapple with the loss of the Bluth family fortune, often preferring to pretend she's just as wealthy as she ever was. Throughout the process, Lucille delivers some truly savage burns, has some incredibly funny moments, and even experiences some (very specific) joy, thanks entirely to Walter's pitch-perfect and insanely sharp performance. From her utter lack of understanding about real-world concepts to insults directed at her darling children, here are just a few of the best Lucille Bluth moments throughout Arrested Development.

Nothing makes Lucille happier than Gene Parmesan

Nobody would make the mistake of describing Lucille as a particularly sentimental or joyful person, but there's one thing that can make her truly jump for joy: the presence of intrepid private investigator Gene Parmesan (comedy legend Martin Mull), who always approaches her in disguises that range from elaborate to pretty obvious.

Whether or not it's clear that it's just Gene wearing a hat as a janitor or it's Gene donning a huge blue bear costume, Lucille always explodes with sheer joy every time Gene unmasks himself, screaming and flapping her hands dramatically. Walter was known for her deadpan delivery, which makes her reactions to Gene even funnier.

Lucille didn't know much about the real world

Thanks to her high-status life as a wealthy, kept woman, Lucille knows next to nothing about the real world, which shows itself in two distinct ways — the manner in which she treats anybody in the service industry, and her complete lack of knowledge about extremely normal things.

For example, in a season one episode where Lucille attends an awards ceremony for Hispanic and Latinx actors, she wanders the halls yelling, at nobody in particular for a cocktail, eventually musing, "A sea of waiters and no one will take a drink order." She's particularly cruel to her housekeeper, once remarking that she doesn't have a house, but she tends to save her ire for service workers. When asked if she wants a "plate or platter" at a restaurant, Lucille, with superb disdain, responds, "I don't understand the question and I won't respond to it," and in a memorable scene set at the family's country club, Lucille screams at a server, "If I wanted something your thumb touched, I'd eat the inside of your ear!"

Beyond that, Lucille has zero awareness of what it's like to live in the real world, whether she's telling one of her children to take some money and go see "a Star War" or asking how much a single banana could possibly cost, guessing, "ten dollars!?" Lucille's one liners are second to none, and when she's exposing how little she knows about normal life, it's even funnier to see her play dumb.

Lucille definitely isn't the best mother

Despite claiming that she couldn't be involved in any of the Bluth family's legal problems because she was busy "raising the children," Lucille is an undoubtedly terrible mother. Though Michael is typically spared the brunt of her cruelty, she takes her disdain and resentment out on Gob, Lindsay, and Buster in wildly different ways, all of which are hilarious.

When it comes to Lindsay and Gob, Lucille seems to pretty much hate them, constantly criticizing Lindsay's appearance ("You know, if you're worried about criticism, sometimes a diet is the best defense"), backtracking on claiming to love her children equally ("I don't care for Gob"), or simply slamming the door in Gob's face. However, where Buster is concerned, she overmothers him to a completely insane degree, not allowing him to have juice or candy (or "withholding" it to torture him) and smothering him to a point that definitely does some damage. Lucille's a truly terrible mother, but at least she's funny while she parents poorly.

Lucille stars in an unexpected horror classic

It's an open secret in the Bluth family that Lucille gets her face "touched up" from time to time, and in the show's third season, it provides an unexpected professional opportunity for Maeby. After running into her demented-looking grandmother after a chemical peel, with Lucille's hair and face disheveled, discolored, and wrapped in gauze, Maeby snaps a smartphone photo and uses it to craft a horror movie.

Dubbed "Gangie" after Lucille's grandmotherly nickname, Maeby manages to squeeze a whopping four films out of the concept, clearly parodying modern horror franchises. Even one of Lucille's most vulnerable moments makes for great comedy, especially as performed by Walter.

Lucille has two favorite hobbies

If you ask a typical Arrested Development fan what they know about Lucille, they'll probably mention two things: her frequent drinking, and her love of winking. Lucille is pretty much always spotted with a drink in her hand, whether it's a martini or "breakfast wine," and her tolerance — and misguided beliefs — are legendary. Just before a drinking contest against George Sr.'s former assistant and lover Kitty (Judy Greer), Lucille takes an inaugural shot before announcing that it "didn't count," and Michael and Lindsay frequently discuss some of Lucille's beliefs, including that you have to finish a bottle of vodka once you open it, or it "goes bad." (As Michael tells Lindsay, "I think that's another one of Mom's fibs.")

As for her winking habit, Walter found the funniest possible way to wink, slowly lowering one eyelid at a weirdly glacial pace while keeping the other one open wide. This singular talent gets used a lot during the series, and sometimes even coincides with drinking, like in a scene where Lucille mistakes a symbol on a bottle of medication that means the pills could cause drowsiness and winks right back at it before downing a drink.

You can watch all of Lucille Bluth's moments on Arrested Development, which is streaming on Netflix now.