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Pop Pedestal: Lucille "Two" Austero

Welcome back to Pop Pedestal, the series where we pay tribute to the pop culture figures we admire most. Up today is Lucille Austero—aka Lucille Two—from Arrested Development.

Lucille Austero, played by Liza Minelli, wearing a sparkly top and standing next to a buffet smiling
Stop it! You're making me dizzy!

The Pedestal Profile: Though Arrested Development revolves around the Bluth family, one of the things that makes it the best show to ever have been on television ever is its focus on well fleshed-out, hilarious secondary characters. One of the most notable of these is Lucille Austero—played by Liza Minelli—a wealthy widow who lives across the hall from her rival Lucille Bluth in the schmancy Balboa Towers. After a mix-up involving poor eyesight, Lucille Bluth's son Buster bids on Lucille Austero at a charity auction and they end up dating (despite—or maybe because of—the fact that she's old enough to be his mother). She gets her nickname, "Lucille Two," from Buster so that he can distinguish between the two Lucilles in his life.

Though she has severe vertigo (which is later cured by Dr. Sanderplumb—get it? Seriously Arrested Development, come back to me) that sometimes means she can't leave her condo, Lucille Austero is a woman-about-town who attends all of the important charity and social events on Balboa Island. She's always quick with a zing for frenemy Lucille One—I'd wager Lucille Two is the only character on the show who can really match wits with her—and she's the most sought-after date in Orange County. Once her relationship with Buster ends, she is pursued by GOB Bluth, Carl Weathers, and Stan Sitwell—and she dates all of them. Get it, Lucille Two!

Lucille Austero is a major shareholder in the Bluth Company and a shrewd businesswoman and poker player. She also makes a mean ham, according to dinner guest Carl Weathers.

Admirable qualities: First and foremost, Lucille Austero never worries about what others think of her. She dates younger men, spends her money how she wants, has dudes over to her condo to eat ham, and generally throws caution to the wind. However, unlike most of the other people in her Arrested Development life, Lucille Two is kindhearted and genuinely cares about others. For example, she bought up the majority of the shares in the Bluth Company not to take them down from the inside as Lucille One feared (and as Lucille One would have undoubtedly done herself if their positions were reversed) but to help them out of a jam. (That scene was also awesome because we learned that Lucille Austero's company is called Standpoor, named for her vertigo.)

Also, Liza Minnelli's Austero is unbelievably funny and isn't afraid to use her considerable comedic chops even when it makes her look ridiculous. Remember the "club sauce" scene with GOB and Sitwell at the country club? If not, maybe this animated gif will help:

Lucille Austero and GOB Bluth at a dinner table. She swoons as he says the words 'club sauce.'

And speaking of being generous and funny and not caring what others think, here's a scene where Lucille Two demonstrates all of the above (sorry for the Hulu clip, non US-ians):

If that wasn't enough, Lucille Two also has an enviable fashion sense, wearing snazzy swing coats and glittery sequin tops like only a single septuagenarian can. She keeps in shape by going to spin class, and wears rad outfits to that too. Oh, and it doesn't take much to infer that she has a healthy sexual appetite and keeps her partners satisfied. ("Shall I put the Posturepedic in the down position?")

Her influence: Though she doesn't have as widespread of an influence as some of her Balboa Bay friends, I did find a Lucille Austero Tumblr and some sweet fan art. Of course, it goes without saying that Liza Minnelli is an icon with her own massive fan base and widespread influence (including her own clothing line), and Arrested Development continues to have an active online fan community (including years-long, stress-inducing rumors of an upcoming feature film).

That's not all: According to show creator Mitch Hurwitz, many of the Lucille Two character's quirks were suggested by Minnelli herself. As he told the A.V. Club:

[Minnelli] was in town, in Los Angeles, and I met with her and told her about the part. She didn't know anything about the show. Really, we'd only done the pilot, so she didn't know...It's a hard show to explain in a short amount of time, and then to talk about her character and how she was going to be involved with this 29-year-old and have vertigo, and he had panic attacks, and together they were going to overcome their afflictions… I was a little nervous that she wouldn't be into that. But she just jumped at it. She loved the idea, and really wanted to play as flawed a character as possible.

Think of her when: Remember Lucille Austero whenever you're dating someone your friends/coworkers/community doesn't accept right away. She wouldn't let social norms dictate her love life, and neither should you!

Previously: Billy Elliot, Cindy "Mac" Mackenzie

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Comments

7 comments have been made. Post a comment.

Yeesssss!

Great post! She is an unbelievably hilarious character who deserves more recognition!

Yes!!

This is the first character on Pop Pedestal that I recognize! Yes!!!

Seriously, though, I was re-watching Arrested Development a few months ago, and I realized how much I enjoyed Jessica Walter's character (Lucille Bluth.) She's certainly not the most ethical person, or the best parent, but there's just something about her that made me realize that she was my favorite character on the show.

Okay, I am lost and feel

Okay, I am lost and feel lame, but- what is the pun in Sanderplumb? I am not getting it.....

Sanderplumb

Dr. Sanderplumb's name is a reworking of the phrase "sand her (or it) plumb," which means to make something level (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plumb). It's punny because Sanderplumb is a doctor at a vertigo clinic that helps people regain their balance (hehe).

Hope that helps! Oh, and please refrain from using the word "lame" in the comments section here—it has ableist connotations (more here: http://bitchmagazine.org/post/the-transcontinental-disability-choir-what...). Thanks!

____________
Kelsey Wallace, contributor

Ask me about our Comments Policy!

Not trying to be "that guy" but,

I believe his first name is Sander, Dr. Sander Plumb. Hence, the "Plumb Clinic" plumb of course meaning to stand vertically :p

I have to praise you

I just wanted to say that I love the Pop Pedastal coulmn!

Thanks!

Thanks! If you have any suggestions for who else we should profile, let me know!

____________
Kelsey Wallace, contributor

Ask me about our Comments Policy!