Thursday, December 9, 2010

My homemade recipe for Bluth's Original Frozen Banana from Arrested Development

Cold Bananas in Delicious Brown Taste
(Photo source: JJA)
I love Arrested Development, but am I the only one who's skeptical about the much-demanded feature film version that creator Mitch Hurwitz has been trying to write within the last year (and it's becoming closer to a reality now that Hurwitz and his fellow Running Wilde co-creator Will Arnett have some free time)? Does the reunion movie have to be a feature film? Why can't it be a miniseries on IFC--the current home of Arrested Development reruns and eventually, every badly treated comedy series ever made--like that recent Kids in the Hall reunion miniseries?

Who'd be the Storm of the Arrested Development movie cast? You know, the one who gets the least screen time and the crappiest lines like 'Do you know what happens when a toad gets hit by lightning?'
TV currently outdoes movies when it comes to nuanced character arcs. A great example of this was the serialized, multilayered antics of the Bluths. Arrested Development was known for broad gags like Gob's bungled magic tricks or the Bluths' hilariously inaccurate chicken dances, but despite what the show's title would have you believe, it was also capable of rich character development, particularly with Michael, the supposedly level-headed and smart foil to the rest of his nutty family, who was gradually revealed to be often as oblivious as the other Bluth adults were to the world that doesn't revolve around the Bluths (it took Michael a whole season to realize Charlize Theron's Manic Pixie Dream Girl character was mentally retarded).

Gob and Michael Bluth by Blake Loosli
(Photo source: Blake Loosli)
Over the course of three seasons, none of the members of what has to be one of the best ensembles ever assembled for a comedy series were ever underutilized. But with only two hours to reunite the Arrested Development cast--which is as large as the cast of the first three X-Men movies, and we know how well all the major X-Men members were utilized in those overcrowded movies--how will there be time to give everyone in that Jason Bateman-led ensemble a satisfying character arc?

Bluth harvest
(Photo source: The Live Feed)
The non-serialized format of a big-screen version of Arrested Development would also deprive the audience of one of my favorite running gags during the show's run: the "On the next Arrested Development" previews of fake scenes from the next episode. However, I could picture Hurwitz concluding the film with those fake teasers as if the TV show were still around, just to drive Arrested Development fans crazy.

Birth of a dynasty
(Photo source: Balboa Observer-Picayune)
I learned a lot from watching Arrested Development, like the importance of always leaving a note, the existence of a dessert known as a frozen banana (which, in the show's universe, was created by a Korean banana stand owner and known as "Cold Banana in Delicious Brown Taste" before the Bluths stole the idea from him) and George Bluth Sr.'s adage that "there's always money in the banana stand." I had never heard of a frozen banana before Bluth's Original Frozen Banana Stand (a.k.a. "the Big Yellow Joint," the subject of Arrested Development composer David Schwartz's amusing fake '70s stoner anthem "Big Yellow Joint"). I thought a frozen banana was Asian American slang for a McCain-supporting Asian guy who lives under the Uncle Ruckus-style delusion that he's as white as Edward from Twilight while suffering from hypothermia.

I didn't realize a frozen banana is a banana covered in chocolate until recently, when I became curious about fictional foods that were integral to episodes of sitcoms like 30 Rock, The Boondocks and It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia (which gave us "milksteak" and "the grilled Charlie"), and I stumbled upon online recipes for the not-so-fictional dessert.

Yeah, it kind of looks like a chocolate-covered dick, and when peanuts are added to the coating, it starts to resemble poop on a stick, but it's also a delicious snack that's alright for any season. It's essentially a banana Popsicle in a chocolate coating.

'Alright, we have time for only a couple more snapshots. These bananas have to be at a condom fastening demonstration at a high-school sex ed class across town in 15 minutes.'
Bananarchy (Photo source: A.V. Club)
In 2009, a couple of Arrested Development fans in Austin opened their own Bluth-style banana stand called Bananarchy, where they offer toppings like cinnamon and coconut. They even named an item after Arnett's breakout character. "The Gob" is two bananas double-dipped in chocolate and covered in peanuts.

Meanwhile, I attempted a few times to make for myself a frozen banana because I always wanted to re-create a snack that came from a show I admire (and occasionally revisit on DVD or IFC). I failed the first time with the chocolate coating, which is the trickiest component to master while making this otherwise simple snack. The coating shouldn't be Oreo cookie-esque, which was how my coating turned out the first time I made the dessert. It should be as smooth as Tobias Fünke's shiny blue pate.

So while we wait for word on the Arrested Development movie (or mull over getting the Arrested Development complete series DVDs for someone who--like everyone else during this recession--could use a laugh or two), here's the first-ever homemade recipe I've posted on this blog:

1 ripe and peeled banana
1 cup (6 oz.) of Nestle Toll House Milk Chocolate Morsels
1 tbsp. vegetable shortening
1 Popsicle stick

Rolling a big yellow joint
(Photo source: JJA)
1. Unpeel a banana. Cut an inch off one end of the banana. Push a Popsicle stick into that end of the banana.

2. Put the banana in a Ziploc bag and freeze it overnight.

3. The next day, place the chocolate morsels and the vegetable shortening together in an uncovered microwave-safe bowl. The shortening will thin out the chocolate and make it easier to work with. Heat the bowl on medium-high (70%) power for one minute. If there are still some morsel shapes in the melted chocolate, heat it again for a few more seconds. Stir.

4. Unroll a sheet of wax paper and pour the melted chocolate onto the sheet. Take the banana out of the freezer. If there are ice crystals on the banana, scrape them off. Roll the banana around in the chocolate until it's completely coated in it.

If the Schwarzenegger version of Mr. Freeze wrote the alt attribute for this image, it would go something like 'Buh-na-nuhs, I'm sending yoo to da land of da freeze.'
(Photo source: JJA)

Poop on a stick never tasted so delicious.
(Photo source: JJA)
5. Seal the chocolate-covered banana in an airtight container and place it in the freezer. Keep the banana inside the freezer overnight or longer or until you're secure enough in your sexuality to stick a chocolate penis in your mouth.

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