Steve Holt(!) Is The Only Good Person On 'Arrested Development'
Who is this best Bluth? It's a tough question to answer, considering there might not be a more dysfunctional family in television history. The Bluths give you the corruption of the Sopranos, the stupidity of the Simpsons, and the cousin-kissing-ness of the Lannisters all rolled into one pathological package. But if Arrested Development is known for anything besides persuading scores of would-be family therapists into abandoning their careers, it's known for subverting our expectations. So with this in mind, and after consulting various philosophers and spiritual leaders on this gravely important issue, I've come to the conclusion that the best Bluth is the one who doesn't identify as a Bluth at all. That person, of course, is Steve Holt.
Casual fans of the show might be quick to forget that Steve Holt is GOB's son, but even if that thought were at the forefront of your mind (which is a pretty weird thought to have at the forefront of your mind unless you were writing for this website), Steve Holt still wouldn't be the obvious choice. Steve Holt is the epitome of "dumb jock," and we as the viewing audience have been conditioned by years of high school rom-coms to believe that dumb jock = bad guy. It's this trope that even allows us to root for George Michael in his campaign for class president video.
But this is where Arrested Development does its thing and turns the trope on its head. Steve is certainly dumb (his catchphrase is simply to shout his name), but he's also deeply kind in a way that none of the other Bluths could ever hope to be. Take the episode "Sad Sack" in which Maeby gets jealous of her mother, Lindsay, for flirting with Steve Holt (who unbeknownst to Lindsay is also her nephew. God damn, is this show incestuous), so Maeby convinces Steve Holt that Lindsay is trans in an effort to dissuade them from dating. The scene is played for laughs, but Steve is nice and accepting of Lindsay anyway, which, sadly, for a tv show character back in 2004, is saying a lot.
Steve just does Steve, and I think part of the running joke in the series is that, while he is a Bluth and is clearly a dumbass, he was not raised by any of them, which makes him a genuinely nice person. It's not just that he's a jock who tries out for the school play, or that he's happy to train with Michael in a father-son triathlon despite Michael not even being his father, or that George Michael has everything Steve Holt could ever hope to want, but he never bullies George Michael for it. (All things showing emotional maturity years beyond any of the Bluths.) It's also that he's the only one who is clearly interested in having meaningful relationships with any of them.
I'd also point out that Steve Holt is the only one besides Michael that actually works for a living, but that's just the proverbial Cherry on top. Really, it's more emblematic of the main point, which is that Steve is without the Bluthian desires of power and status. He works in pest control, and he's happy to do it. He's not rich, but he doesn't have to be. He just wants to connect with family. It's a teeny bit sad, but when you compare that approach to family with Michael, the supposedly "sane one" of the Bluths...
... STEVE HOLT(!) looks like the clear-cut winner.
Top Image: Netflix