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Some or all of these characters need descriptions. A list of tropes is not a description.
The Bluth family
- Big Screwed-Up Family: Um, yes.
- Captain Ersatz: The Bluth family bears an intriguing similarity to the Corleones.
- Dysfunctional Family: It's a Justified Title.
- Family Business: The Bluth Corporation.
- Incompetence, Inc.: What Michael tries to prevent, in spite of the rest of his family altogether.
- Hilariously Abusive Childhood: Michael and his siblings were subjected to cruel lessons courtesy of J Walter Weatherman.
- Also George video taping and selling Boy Fights between Gob and Michael.
- and Michael being forced to work in the banana stand during heat waves.
Michael Bluth (Jason Bateman)
- Being Good Sucks: Especially when everyone else is so immoral.
- Can't Believe I Said That: He often does this before the other party has even left the room, mouthing "What is wrong with me?" while the other person's eyes are diverted for some reason.
- Dating Catwoman: His relationship with Amoral Attorney Maggie Lizer.
- Deadpan Snarker
- Genre Blind: He keeps wanting to think the best of his family.
- Genre Savvy: But he always learns his lesson. And he always starts out knowing better.
- Honest Corporate Executive: For the most part, although he occasionally slips up. It's especially admirable in contrast to how his (now imprisoned) father handled the position.
- Honor Before Reason: He really should have left years ago and left his family suffer.
- Liz Lemon Job
- Not So Above It All: played straight with Michael, and parodied with the other characters
- Only Sane Man: Michael is the only member of the Bluth family without any immediate glaring character flaws. Even after his own issues start manifesting, he remains the most rational (with the exception of his son) Bluth... not that they give him a particularly high bar to jump over. In the end, he's as messed up as everyone else in the family. Being the "rational" Bluth still makes you look pretty screwed up to the rest of the world.
- Straight Man: Michael is actually a deconstruction at times: despite the "ordinary guy" facade he puts on, his interactions with George Michael show him to be as completely intolerant of casualness as his family says.
- Whenever his son mentions his girlfriend Ann, his reactions are always either unawareness or apprehensiveness, and he makes constant hints and suggestions that he'd rather George Michael spent time with himself and drop her altogether.
- After seeing his son take a break, he assures him that he doesn't mind, but that he should probably work an extra hour to compensate.
- "Well Done, Son" Guy: Averted. He obviously hates his father very much and doesn't want his respect or approval.
- White Sheep: Pretty much explicitly designated in that role by his family.
Lindsay Fünke, his Twin Sister (Portia de Rossi)
- Berserk Button: Don't call Lindsay old.
- Brother-Sister Incest: Has a crush on Michael, though we only find out after they are revealed to be Not Blood Siblings.
- Eighties Hair: In Flashbacks.
- Hair of Gold
- Hands-Off Parenting
- Hot Mom
- Hypocritical Humour
- [reading from Jessie's smear article]"Lindsay's a combative, entitled princess"? I should hire someone to kick your ass for that!"
- Lethal Chef: Lindsay manages to make chicken without cooking it, and then dips it in the defrost water. Soup!
- Oblivious Adoption
- Revenge Romance: She married Tobias because she knew it'd drive her parents crazy.
- Sexless Marriage
- Soapbox Sadie: Parodied. She is in the habit of espousing about causes only to feel superior.
- The Sociopath
- Spoiled Brat: Though often transparently posing as a Granola Girl.
- Strawman Political: Lefty version.
- More specifically, she's what some would call a "limousine liberal", an upper-class liberal who doesn't practice what she preaches. For instance, in one episode, she claims to be an animal rights activist, and when Michael points out that her boots are made of ostrich, she basically replies that she's only interested in saving "cute" animals. Of course, the main reason she advocates all these causes is to thumb her nose at and feel superior to her conservative family.
George Oscar Bluth (Gob), his Older Brother (Will Arnett)
- Accidental Marriage
- Catch Phrase: I've made a huge mistake.
- Chewing the Scenery: To be expected when he's doing illusions. Not so much when he's just hanging around the house.
- Insistent Terminology: Gob does not do "tricks".
"Illusions, Michael. A trick is something a whore does for money. [sees children overhearing him] Or candy!"
- The line was "Or cocaine!" in the original, unaired pilot (found on the DVD set).
- Jerkass Woobie: You sometimes feel bad for him given how much both his parents treat him like dirt.
- Kavorka Man: He would be a Casanova Wannabe, but somehow he actually does have women interested in him.
- Large Ham
- Leitmotif: "It's the Final Countdown..."
- Small Name, Big Ego
- The Sociopath
- Stage Magician
- The Unfavorite: George Sr. and Lucille treat all their kids like crap, but Gob gets the worst of it by far. It probably puts it into perspective how badly he's treated when Lucille claims she treats Lindsay better--the one she calls fat at least twice an episode.
Lucille: "How dare you?! I love all my children equally!"
- In another instance:
Lucille: (to Michael) "You're my third least-favorite child."
- "Well Done, Son" Guy: Increasingly desperate for this from his dad as the series progressed.
Franklin Delano Bluth, GOB's puppet:
George-Michael Bluth, his Son (Michael Cera)
- Accidental Marriage: See Kissing Cousins below. They didn't know the priest was real.
- Adorkable: This is the role that
kept Michael Cera out of the Tailor-Made Prison for Canadian teen actors that is Degrassimade his career.
- The Comically Serious
- Dogged Nice Guy
- Kissing Cousins: Maeby...
- Missing Mom: Died before the series began.
- White Sheep: Unless you count crushing on his cousin against him, he's by far the nicest, most decent, and most normal of the Bluths.
Maeby Fünke, his Niece (Alia Shawkat)
- Bavarian Fire Drill: A frequent perpetrator of these.
- Book Dumb
- Catch Phrase: "Marry Me!" as a standard deflection, or "That was a freebie..." for unusual luck
- Deadpan Snarker: Maeby turns into one of these as the series goes on.
- High School Hustler
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold
- Kissing Cousins: With George-Michael.
- Manipulative Bitch
- Only Sane Man: Compared to her parents.
- Punny Name
- Quirky Curls
- The Sociopath
- Wise Beyond Their Years
- Younger Than They Look: Managed to land a job as a producer by acting older than she was.
Byron (Buster) Bluth, his Younger Brother (Tony Hale)
- Alliterative Name
- Butt Monkey
- Catch Phrase: Hey brother/hermano/etc...
- I'm a monster!
- Hook Hand
- Just a Stupid Accent: Buster thinks that Spanish is English with a Mexican accent.
- Luke, I Am Your Father: Note the Leitmotif whenever Buster talks to Oscar in Season Two.
- Man Child
- May-December Romance: With Lucille Two.
- Momma's Boy
- Only Known by Their Nickname: People who've only seen a few episodes probably had no idea that Buster wasn't his actual name.
- Parental Incest: Played with.
Lucille Bluth: You know, [Buster's] damaged goods. He was born with a hole in his heart.
Tobias Fünke, his Brother-In-Law (David Cross)
- Ambiguously Gay: Tobias, to everybody else. Everybody else, to Tobias.
- Butt Monkey
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin: He's a Never-Nude, which is just what it sounds like.
- Irony: David Cross, a very talented actor, plays the role of an absolutely terrible actor.
- Large Ham
- Moustache Of Failed Heterosexuality
- The Not-Secret: Mrs. Featherbottom.
- The Problem with Pen Island: He is an analyst and a therapist, therefore, his business cards say "analrapist".
- He admits that the cards were a mistake.
- Shower of Angst: A Running Gag has Tobias weeping loudly in the shower whenever something upsets him.
- Small Name, Big Ego
- That Came Out Wrong: Subverted in that he is seemingly oblivious and the other characters rarely acknowledge it.
"We need to talk. Man on Man."
George Bluth Sr, his Father (Jeffrey Tambor)
Lucille Bluth, his Mother (Jessica Walter)
- The Chessmaster
- Control Freak
- Evil Matriarch
- Lady Drunk: Though, according to Michael in "Spring Breakout", Lucille is still verbally abusive to her children when she's sober.
- Lady Macbeth
- Mama Bear: She may not be nurturing, but when Michael was wrongfully suspended, his algebra teacher (who got him in trouble) mysteriously disappeared.
- The Man Behind the Man
- Manipulative Bastard
- My Beloved Smother: Mainly to Buster.
- Rich Bitch
- Smug Snake
- The Sociopath
Oscar Bluth, his uncle (Jeffery Tambor)
Steve Holt, his niece's crush also his nephew
- Catch Phrase and Say My Name: STEVE HOLT!
- Generation Xerox: his mother, EVE HOLT!
- Lovable Jock: He's dumb as a box of hair but still quite likeable and friendly. As well as surprisingly tolerant when he thought Lindsay was a Transsexual (it makes sense in context).
- Luke, You Are My Father: He is Gob's son.
- Malaproper: "There's no me in team!"
- Popular Is Dumb
Ann Veal... her?
Annyong, his adopted brother
- Chekhov's Gunman
- Funny Foreigner
- Pokémon-Speak: Subverted: everyone thinks he's continually saying his name but Annyong is actually the Korean word for hello.
- His real name is Hello.
- This is illustrated when Michael takes a date to a Korean restaurant, and when he walks in the door, everyone says "Annyong!" Assumedly he understood them, because he waved back to them. Why he never explained this to the rest of the family is a mystery, but perhaps he was just snickering behind their backs.
- Put on a Bus: Lucille mentions she sent him off to a boarding school. He was actually hiding in the walls to gather evidence to exact revenge on the Bluth family.
- Spell My Name with an "S": Due to "Annyeong" being the most common spelling of the Korean word. Also applies to his real name, which is usually Romanized "Haru".
John Beard, his news anchor
- Adam Westing
- Ascended Extra: John Beard As Himself ties Henry Winkler as Barry Zuckercorn for most frequently credited Special Guest, yet he probably has a cumulative minute of screen time.
- As Himself: John Beard was the real newscaster for the Los Angeles area's local FOX affiliate.
- Coincidental Broadcast
- Kent Brockman News
- Smug Snake
- A Worldwide Punomenon: Justified, since most of the plot-relevant things that wind up on the news are featured in "lighter side"-type segments.
Kitty Sanchez, his father's secretary
- The Alcoholic
- Beautiful All Along: Subverted with Kitty, who is played by an attractive actress. "Okay, glasses on! Hair up!"
- Big Breasts, Big Deal: She becomes a type 4 after the implants. she refuses to stop flashing Michael any time he doesn't give into her demands to show him "what he's missing" and then get angry at him for staring at her breasts.
- Breast Expansion: She decided to breast implants when makers of "Girls with low self-esteem" refused to use footage of her taking her top.
- Catch Phrase: Considering the above, she could be angry. But no, she'll take it in stride, and let you "TAKE A GOOD LOOK AT THESE! Because it's the last time you're ever going to see them!"
- Man Child: A female variant. She still acts extremely immature and like a teenager (taking time off for spring break and partying excessively).
- Plucky Office Girl: A quite crazy version of this.
- Stalker with a Test Tube: And she eventually gets what she's after, albeit, by accident.
- Yandere: In her initial appearance, to George Sr.
Marta Estrella, his crush
- Horrible Judge of Character: Thinking that Gob was a great guy.
Bob Loblaw, his good lawyer
- Oblivious to Love: Lindsay prefaces her flirtations with him with that she's looking into getting a divorce. He carries on with the rest of their interactions as if she's consulting him as her divorce lawyer.
- Punny Name: Taken Up to Eleven when we discover he has a law blog.
- If you don't see what's funny about his name, try saying it out loud. Or view this clip.
Gene Parmesan, his mother's private eye
- Master of Disguise: Parodied. He constantly turns up in various disguises and faked accents. They are all blatantly obvious , and the narration lampshades this, with the narrator saying, "Gene was far from the best." Despite this, they invariably fool Lucille, eliciting a scream of delight from her each time. However, he gets pretty much anywhere instantly, which is surprisingly so given his standard-
- Paper-Thin Disguise: As bad as his fake accents and his detective skills.