Byron "Buster" Bluth is the socially awkward younger half-brother of Michael Bluth and is a main character of Arrested Development. He is portrayed by Tony Hale and appears in 58 episodes of the series.
He is the definition of a "mama's boy" and enjoys giving shoulder rubs and suffers from crippling panic attacks. He has never had a real job, but spends his time enjoying scholarly pursuits. He joins the Army on his mother's whim from which he repeatedly tries to escape. He lost his left hand to a seal attack when enjoying the ocean in defiance of his mother, Lucille Bluth for the first time.
Buster is assumed to be the youngest son of Lucille & George Bluth Sr. Buster eventually discovers that his biological father is George's twin brother, Oscar. He lives in Lucille's apartment and once dated his mother's rival, Lucille Austero.
Quirks and Oddities
Buster is the youngest sibling in the family and Lucille coddled him very much, resulting in his many quirks. He is prone to panic attacks and generally acts very childish although he is in his 30's. He has a severe Oedipal complex which, according to George, is due to the eleven months he spent in his mother's womb. ("Bringing Up Buster") He and his mother enjoy wearing matching costumes and posing for the Balboa Bay Window and at Motherboy events. ("Motherboy XXX") Despite spending a large amount of Bluth Company funds on his studies, Buster is not very bright (once mistaking the blue part on a map as land), but is sometimes shown to be sweeter and more loyal than his siblings.
Buster has a history of inappropriate or impossible relationships. He is entirely too attached to his mother, and his first girlfriend Lucille Austero is actually his mother's best friend, whom he calls Lucille 2. He also becomes enamored of Marta while she is still involved with G.O.B. and Michael, though she has no idea who he is. While recovering from the loss of his hand, Buster has a brief relationship with Lucille's maid, Lupe (and later with Lupe's replacement, a Roomba). The closest to a healthy relationship that Buster ever has is with the Bluth company's "business model" Starla, though it is eventually ruined by Buster's fear of physical intimacy. ("Queen for a Day") Buster, while in a fake coma, falls in love with his nurse Julia Adelaide. ("Exit Strategy")
Buster lives with Lucille Austero once his mother is sent to prison. She wanted to be his lover and he wanted a mother so she kicks him out. He later lives with the Love family and although he wants Ophelia Love to be his mother, he still sleeps with her. ("Off the Hook")
Buster was a graduate student for many years and never had a real job. He initially tried to lead the Bluth Company with his 18th-century agrarian business education, but handed it off to Michael quickly. ("Pilot") He tried to do odd jobs for the Bluth Company including copy room work ("Staff Infection") and construction ("The One Where They Build a House"), but he didn't find real employment until he was signed up for Army by his mother on a dare by a Michael Moore impostor. ("The One Where Michael Leaves") He tried many times to escape the army's calls to service. When he finally resolved himself to go to Iraq he swam in the ocean and had his hand bitten off by a seal, excusing him from service. ("Hand to God")
He reenlists as an attempt to impress his mother and the Army has him control drone planes. After "playing" for 72 hours he finds out he is actually killing people and panics. ("Off the Hook")
After discovering that his mother had lied about Oscar being his father, Buster goes swimming in the ocean (something she had never allowed him to do) as an act of defiance. An onlooker sighted a seal with a bow-tie swimming toward Buster and screamed "Watch out for loose seal!", but Buster misunderstood and replied "I don't care about Lucille!". The seal, having acquired a taste for mammal blood when it was part of G.O.B.'s magic act, bit off Buster's hand. ("Out on a Limb") The family became uneasy around Buster after the accident, partly due to George's practice of using the one-armed J. Walter Weatherman to teach them "lessons" as children. Also, Buster's temporary hook led to some painful accidents, one including the hook becoming embedded in the backside of GOB and having to be painfully removed. ("Hand to God") Buster gets a porcelain and robotic hands, but ultimately sticks with the hook. ("Sword of Destiny") ("Development Arrested") Buster finally gets a giant bionic hand from Army. ("Off the Hook")
One of Buster's binders is labeled "Hemispherectomy," the name of a rare procedure in which an entire hemisphere of the brain is removed in an attempt to cure extreme cases of epilepsy. Although this is never spoken of by the characters or ever directly referenced again for the remainder of the show, Buster is later treated by a resident nurse named "Nurse Ratchet." This name is a play on that of the character "Nurse Ratched" from the book One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest who has a penchant for performing lobotomies (or hemispherectomies). Also, commonly cited effects of a hemispherectomy include "arrested development" and loss of the use of contralateral extremities, including feet and hands. ("Public Relations")
Buster had been enjoying an extended education on the Bluth Company's dime. When George, Sr. was incarcerated Buster was named president. His education and panic attacks failed him and he handed the responsibilities over to Michael. ("Pilot") When the Bluth's funds were frozen, Buster's education was placed on hiatus. Lucille tired of his constant presence at her apartment so she asked Michael to spend time with him. He seemed to be growing more independent, but ended up clinging back to his mother. ("Bringing Up Buster")
At the Desi Awards, Buster inadvertently flirts with his mother's rival, Lucille Austero. ("Key Decisions") His mother asks him to bid $10,000 on her at a charity auction, but he accidentally bid on Lucille Austero. He decides to go for it and date her. ("Charity Drive") After Buster pawns his role of "David" in the Living Classics pageant off onto George Michael, he takes Lucille to the event, where he is ashamed to be seen with her. ("In God We Trust") Buster and Lucille 2 try to take the next step in their relationship, but Buster hurts his head when he dives out of his mother's view. ("My Mother, the Car") Buster takes Lucille 2 to G.O.B.'s magic show, but his mother undermines his relationship by become friends with Lucille 2. ("Storming the Castle") Buster asks George Michael, the "street-est" kid he knows, to buy pot for Lucille 2 who is suffering from vertigo. ("Pier Pressure")
When Michael hires a publicist for his family, Buster is asked to stay out of the public eye. He spends his time hiding in Lucille's apartment. ("Public Relations") When Lucille 2 dumps Buster for Carl Weathers, Buster moves out of his mother's apartment into the model home. He also finds that he is attracted to Marta. ("Marta Complex") Buster realizes he has never been in a fight, but nobody wants to fight him. He comes close to getting punched, however, when he competes with Michael and G.O.B. over Marta. ("Beef Consommé")
Buster is kicked out of the model home and moves back in with his mother. He finds out that his mother has adopted Annyong, and their rivalry begins. ("Shock and Aww") When Michael finds out that Buster has been receiving a paycheck from the Bluth Company, he puts him to work. He fails at his responsibilities in the copy room and moves to a construction site where he plays Chicken with G.O.B., finally earning him his brother's respect. ("Staff Infection")
Buster, feeling left out, is convinced by Maggie Lizer to testify against his father. The prosecution soon finds out that Buster knows nothing of his father's criminal activities. ("Justice Is Blind") When George, Sr. plans a bachelor party for G.O.B. to frame Ira Gilligan, Buster passes out when he drinks too much corn syrup, foiling the plan. ("Best Man for the Gob") After returning from surgery in Canada, Buster becomes jealous of Oscar and Annyong for the time they spend with Lucille. He scares off Oscar, who actually supports Buster, and ruins Annyong's soccer game. ("Not Without My Daughter") Buster continues to clash with Annyong when they two compete to see who can get a date first. Kitty shows interest in Buster, but only so she can make a power move for the Bluth Company. Her plan fails. ("Let 'Em Eat Cake")
Upset that George, Sr. has fled from the authorities (among other things), a stressed Lucille signs Buster up for Army when a Michael Moore impersonator dared her to. ("The One Where Michael Leaves") Oscar moves into Lucille's apartment, causing Buster to become disturbed by his mother's sexual relations. He spends tries to get injured to avoid Army, but to no avail. ("The One Where They Build a House") Buster later tries to escape to Mexico to avoid his service, but instead ends up living with Lupe and her family. ("¡Amigos!")
Ice finds that George, Sr. has died in Mexico, but Buster is kept unaware of the death due to his destructive outbursts when he is angry. He helps G.O.B. perform an illusion in his father's memory, but freaks out when he finds out the truth. ("Good Grief") Buster struggles with the obstacle course for Army and asks G.O.B. to insult him as motivation. ("Sad Sack") After playing hokey from Army on a Claw game, Buster happens to save G.O.B. from a destroyed Banana Stand with a giant construction claw. ("Afternoon Delight") Buster is ultimately called to service, but Lucille manages to get him switched to U.S.O. duty instead. ("Switch Hitter")
Buster decides he needs a girlfriend and must decide between his old flame Lucille Austero and the much more age-appropriate Starla. Michael tries to steer him toward Lucille 2 in order to convince her to sell her Bluth Company stock back to the family. ("Queen for a Day") Buster lies low during another charity auction. ("Burning Love") Buster, afraid of his Uncle Jack, attempts to pursue Lucille 2 again by stalking her using his Army skills while she is on a date with Stan Sitwell. ("Ready, Aim, Marry Me") When Buster learns he is being deployed to Iraq takes the opportunity to disobey his mother's ban on swimming in the ocean. During his swim his hand is bitten off by a loose seal. ("Out on a Limb")
Buster returns to home to find his family afraid of his new claw hand. Buster attacks G.O.B. when he comes clean that it was his seal that ate his hand. ("Hand to God") Buster helps Michael rescue George Michael from Lucille's favorite pageant Motherboy. ("Motherboy XXX") He continues to be depressed about his lost hand and Lupe sleeps with him to cheer him up. ("The Immaculate Election") When G.O.B. needs help on his magic act at the Gothic Castle Buster lends a (fake) hand. ("Sword of Destiny") Buster bonds with Uncle Oscar, who tries to drop hints that he is his father. ("Meat the Veals") Buster, left at home, drinks a giant juice box (which is actually boxed wine). ("Spring Breakout") Buster finally finds out that Oscar is his father and has been sleeping with Lucille. ("Righteous Brothers")
Buster, at odds with his mother, begins sleeping in the family's Mercedes to avoid her anger. ("The Cabin Show") Buster continues to feel left out when George moves back in to Balboa Towers on house-arrest. ("For British Eyes Only") Lucille throws a sarcastic party for Buster's recent medal from Army and he discovers he has been re-enlisted for duty. ("Forget-Me-Now") Buster tries to get George Michael to take his spot in the Army during a Church and State Fair. ("Notapusy") Buster has a fun day with G.O.B. via Larry Middleman and the two build a train set. ("Mr. F") Buster joins his family as they celebrate Michael and Rita's wedding. ("The Ocean Walker")
When Oscar is framed to look like George, Buster helps him escape the apartment. ("Prison Break-In") Buster refuses to help Michael and G.O.B. find J. Walter Weatherman, the one-armed man who teaches lessons. Instead, he ends up teaching G.O.B. and Michael a lesson about using people without appendages to teach lessons. ("Making a Stand") Buster bonds with Lindsay, who is trying to be more domestic. He also helps the family attempt to throw a fundraiser to save them from financial ruin. ("S.O.B.s")
Buster enters a coma to keep from testifying at his father's trial. ("Fakin' It") He continues to fake his coma and gets the attention of the pro-euthanasia State Representative John Van Heusen. ("Family Ties") Buster falls in love with a nurse who loves him solely for the fact that he is in a coma. He must prove he is faking, and break her heart, to return to Iraq and rescue G.O.B.. ("Exit Strategy") Buster attends the family's party on the Queen Mary to celebrate his father's exoneration, but falls into the ocean where the loose seal is waiting. ("Development Arrested")
After falling off the Queen Mary, Buster is rescued unharmed from the ocean. He, along with his family, are taken to the Harbormaster's Lodge. Lucille, looking for an alibi, says she commandeered the Queen Mary to rescue Buster. Although Buster doesn't admit this at first, he does agree to be her "star" witness at her trial. Being confined with Buster, however, takes it toll on his mother who begins to alienate him. When Lucille 2 lures him to her apartment, she "juices" him out so he misses his mother's trial. He arrives at her trial just in time to see her be taken away to prison, leaving him alone.
He moves in with Lucille 2, but is kicked out when he admits to only want her as a mother figure and not a lover. He then sells his diamond-encrusted hook to a pawn shop when he sees an Army poster, which gives him the idea to re-enlist. He becomes a drone pilot, convinced its a video game, and passes out when he realises he has been hurting people. Though his mother refused to see him while in prison, she agrees to see him after hearing Dr. Fishman's alerting explanation. After seeing how not-serious it was, she vows never to see him again. The army then provides him with a bionic hand (a large one). Afraid of being lonely, Buster stayed at the Army hospital by failing his bionic hand tests on purpose, until he passed the "cute test".
Buster then became the political tool of politician Herbert Love, who allows him to stay with his family. Buster starts a relationship with Herbert's wife Ophelia, but she breaks it off after revealing it was all to teach her husband a lesson. Buster is forced to leave, but accidently knocks himself unconscious. He awakes during Cinco de Cuatro where shows Lucille 2 (Herbert's political opponent) pictures of Love and a prostitute (Lindsay), she reveals her original intentions the eve of his mother's trial. Enraged, Buster drinks Donkey Punch until he knocks out Herbert Love with his enlarged hand. Buster tries to find Lucille 2, discovering her and a blood splatter on the stair car. She disappears, leaving Buster a suspect in her disappearance. ("Off the Hook")
Shortly after Cinco, Buster tries to borrow George Michael's FakeBlock software to destroy the security camera footage of him near the bloody stair car, but the fake software only makes a woodblock noise. ("Off the Hook") Buster is then arrested for Lucille Austero's murder. ("Blockheads")
Buster's focal episode is "Off the Hook". He also appears in "Flight of the Phoenix", "Borderline Personalities", "Indian Takers" (no dialog), "A New Start" (no dialog), "Double Crossers", "Smashed", "Queen B.", "Señoritis" (no dialog), and "Blockheads".
- Lucille - Lucille at times grows annoyed by Buster's constant presence but finds it hard to live without him. She believes that holding him close is the only way to keep him from moving away. Buster legitimately loves his mother and is obsessed with her.
- George - George doesn't think much of Buster and grew tired of parenting by the time Buster was born. Buster has never received his father's love or admiration, but instead found it from his biological father, Oscar.
- Michael - Michael, being the older brother, wants to protect Buster. He occasionally does this to the point of disrespecting Buster's own wishes. He means the best for Buster.
- G.O.B. - G.O.B. was never friendly with Buster but tolerated him as a younger brother. Buster is fascinated by G.O.B.'s magic career and offers to help whenever he can. They are brothers, and stick together when needed.
- George Michael - Buster thinks that George Michael is the most "street wise" kid around. George Michael, on the other hand, is slightly frightened by Buster, especially when he loses his left hand.
- Tobias - Tobias and Buster interact infrequently in the series, but when they do it is always awkward due to their two unique personalities.
- Lindsay - Lindsay tolerates her brother as well, and urges him to be more independent of his mother. She later becomes a housewife and mother-figure for him, which leads to Buster finding her more attractive.
- Maeby - Maeby finds Buster to be a very strange individual (as most people do) and is often a more mature person than he is.
- Buster does not appear in the Season One episodes "Top Banana", "Visiting Ours", "Altar Egos", "Missing Kitty", or "Whistler's Mother".
- Buster does not appear in the Season Four episodes "The B. Team", "Colony Collapse", "Red Hairing", "A New Attitude", or "It Gets Better".
- Buster is the youngest in the family and he is around 36 as seen in season 4 in Double Crossers that means every of his relatives are older than 40.
- The scene in "The One Where They Build a House" where Buster tries to injure himself by standing under the falling house wall, only to escape injury when the unfinished window opening lands around him, is a reference to the silent film star Buster Keaton. Buster Keaton performed an identical stunt in the 1928 movie "Steamboat Bill Jr".
- → See 600 pictures of Buster Bluth at Images of Buster Bluth.
|Main Arrested Development Characters|
|Buster • G.O.B. • George Michael • George • Lindsay • Lucille • Maeby • Michael • Tobias|
|Ann • Annyong • Barry Zuckerkorn • John Beard • Kitty • Lucille 2 • Lupe • Mort Meyers • Oscar • Rebel • Steve Holt • Officer Taylor|