If you thought the Republican party’s bumbling efforts to overhaul health care in the US seemed familiar, that may be because you saw it play out in uncanny detail on a cult network comedy 14 years ago.
Plenty of TV shows and films foretold the political rise of US president Donald Trump—The Simpsons, Idiocracy, even obscure 1950s Westerns. But no show has predicted his presidential administration as precisely as Arrested Development.
The series, which gained a cult following when it aired for three seasons on Fox in 2003 (before Netflix revived it ten years later), followed the wealthy but astonishingly dysfunctional Bluth family as they cope with the arrest of the family’s patriarch, a corrupt real estate developer (played by Jeffrey Tambor). His smart, competent, relatively stable son (Jason Batemen) takes over the family business, waging an eternal power struggle against his inept, maladjusted family members for control of their dwindling assets.
The ongoing US healthcare debacle looks a lot like one particular episode of Arrested Development, pointed out by Politico reporter Dan Diamond in an epic tweetstorm (below). In the episode, Gob Bluth (Will Arnett) makes a ridiculous promise to build an entire house in two weeks, and then the whole project collapses into chaos.
Of course, with Trump and his Republican party’s attempt to build a replacement for Obamacare, the health care and wellbeing of millions of Americans is actually at stake—it’s not just a fictional real estate deal. Drafted by House speaker Paul Ryan, the Republicans’ healthcare bill was almost universally derided, including by some GOP congressmen. According to the US Congressional Budget Office, the bill would take healthcare away from 24 million Americans. Trump threw his support behind the plan and tried to strong-arm Congress into passing it, but it’s unclear if it will even have enough votes to get by the House of Representatives. The House is expected to vote on the bill today.
Diamond’s musings on the comparison make for a hilarious, if unsettling, Twitter thread for the ages: