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On one level, this sitcom about an ethically challenged California real estate family was a catalogue of 21st-century disappointments, from the war in Iraq (where the Bluths scored a sweet “light treason” deal building model homes for Saddam) to corporate corruption (with Enron and Adelphia parallels aplenty). On another level, it had Fonzie as a lawyer, great cousin-incest jokes and puns (as when Buster—perpetually henpecked by his mother Lucille, has his hand bitten off by a ‘loose seal’). The self-referential, language-besotted, in-joke-packed love child of The Simpsons and Christopher Guest movies, AD never forgot the needy human core in its family of freaks—toxic Lucille, spoiled Lindsay, David Blaine wannabe GOB, sexually confused Tobias and so on. The business was fraudulent; the characters and laughs genuine.

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