Play Lucille For Me

Arrested Development  was hands down one of my favorite sitcoms.  It’s got a lasting quality that lends itself to repeat viewings.  Lord knows I’m sure that I’ll obsess over each and every element of this show eventually in these pages, but let’s start with just one of the actors on it.  Today’s great thing is:

33.  Jessica Walter as Lucille Bluth



We’re gonna start with her because, frankly, there’s nothing funnier than a mean drunk.  The character of Lucille Bluth, the always-soused matriarch of the Bluth brood managed to be both controlling of her offspring and completely neglectful as well.  That’s a gift!

Jessica Walter is a Brooklyn-born vet of both stage and screen but her role on Arrested Development was certainly her highest profile role of the last ten to fifteen years..  She undoubtedly has legions of new fans since the cult success of the show.  I’m one.  If only we had seen a fourth season.  Alas, though it was critically acclaimed, AD never managed to pick up major ratings.  To be fair to the Fox channel, we’re lucky that we squeezed three series out of it.  They could have axed it after the first season.  Network execs are usually pretty heartless like that, I think.  Shows this smart don’t tend to last long.  Thanks to extreme loyalty from its modest and obsessed fans, multiple awards, and successful DVD sales, however, there is a film in the works.  I promise to see it twice if it’ll help keep the Bluths in our lives.  Here’s a quick pictoral timeline of Jessica’s work.

Grand Prix
Grand Prix
Trapper John M.D.
Trapper John M.D.
Dinosaurs (obviously vocal work)
Dinosaurs (obviously vocal work)
The sozzled Lucille Bluth
The sozzled Lucille Bluth
9021-flippin 0


Yeah, that last picture is just a random snap of her, but she’s gonna be in 90210  !!!!.  She’ll be playing Lori Loughlin’s Mom, Tabitha Mills, in the new remake.  According to reports, she plays an aging and alcoholic matriarch/actress.  Lucille redux.  I can’t say that I was a massive fan of the original or that I was planning on tuning in to the new one.  But now, I have no choice.  You are crafty CW Network!

One of her biggest roles prior to Arrested Development was as a psycho stalking radio DJ Clint Eastwood in the film, Play Misty For Me.  Though it stretches the limits of reality by suggesting that somewhere out there, in existence, there lives a good-looking radio DJ (most are barely recognizable as human when photographed), the film was actually Eastwood’s directorial debut and it’s supposed to be a decent picture.  I’m assuming two things: 

-That she’s great in it.

-That now, after she’s played Lucille Bluth, it’s unintentionally hilarious.

 In interviews, Walter maintains that she’s nothing like her self-centred, vain, and perpetually inebriated counterpart.  I love obvious and idiotic questions like that.  How is that even broached in a celebrity interview?  Here’s a guess:

Highly-paid Interviewer:  So, your character, Lucille Bluth is a raging alcoholic and a heartless maniac.  She’s a well dressed mess with lots of money and absolutely no remorse.  Are you actually like that in real life?

Jessica Walter:  Not really.  No, I’d say I’m a bit different.

And there you have it.  Good job, celebrity journalist!

Anyway, here’s a fan-produced montage of some of her best moments on the show.  I found it on youtube.  It’s got a good selection of mayhem on it.  My favorite line from the montage is:  (to her adopted son, Annyong) “Here’s some money.  Go see a Star War“. 

If you’ve never seen the show, I implore you…go and buy the DVDs after reading this.  But wait, before I go, allow me to geek out a little more and share another couple of quick bits of dialogue:

Michael: Get rid of the Seaward.
Lucille: [stunned] I’ll leave when I’m good and ready.


Lucille: Give me a vodka on the rocks.
Michael: It’s breakfast!
Lucille: And a piece of toast.

Class!  OK….I’m good now.

4 responses to “Play Lucille For Me”

  1. I love this woman
    and this is a mighty fine tribute.

    Do you know the name of the song that she sings when Buster leaves home.
    It goes: “Mama’s going out. Mama’s getting loose”
    Atleast, I think that that is how it goes.
    Buster also ends up singing it when he finds the huge juice box (box of wine)?
    I can’t seem to find it anywhere… and I can’t seem to stop singing it to myself.
    If you know… I’d love to know.

    [Good work, again]

  2. Hi There,

    Thanks for the nice comment! Funny you should ask about that song, I was just trying to crack that mystery myself and I believe that song might be from the musical “Gypsy”. A tune called “Rose’s Turn”. There’s a couple versions on youtube from the Tony awards to take a look at. I’m pretty convinced.

    Just watching the DVDs again. I love how excited she gets whenever Gene Parmesan enters the scene…

    Praying for the movie to go into production,


  3. I was wondering this myself and found it through your website. Lyric searches just gave me the band. It’s def the “Rose’s Turn” song, she references in some episode saying “How do you like them egg rolls, Mr. Goldstien?” , which I never got until JUST NOW. This is why this show rocks my socks off.

    1. I still find myself quoting the show to people on Facebook, Twitter, on the street, etc…
      Long live the Bluths!
      You guys enjoying Archer (the cartoon)? It’s Jessica Walter who voices the Mom–which is basically Lucille Bluth x 2

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