I believe I'm missing a large part of the joke here.

In episode 5 of the second season of Arrested Development, Sad Sack, Michael Bluth tells their new prosecutor, Wayne Jarvis, how his brother Gob "knows nothing" by telling Jarvis he tried to microwave a Ding Dong while it was still in its foil twice:


  • Michael: Yeah, that’s not an act. He's twice tried to microwave a Ding Dong while it was still in its foil... twice. [Michael holds up two fingers]

  • Jarvis: Twice? [Jarvis holds up two fingers]

  • Michael: Two times. [Michael holds up two fingers]

Why is it repeated three times that Gob tried to do this twice?
Is there some significance to both Michael and Jarvis making the V sign here?

Jarvis repeating Michael's gesture

With Jarvis being so professional it's hard to tell if he's mocking Michael (which is unlikely), or simply making sure he got the details right.

I'm thinking this could be a contextual joke that is more obvious to an American audience, so I've watched some of the Hostess Ding Dong commercials on YouTube, but they don't provide any additional relevant context.

By way of clarification: I know what effect microwaving metals has (and that it's especially silly when combined with edibles), and I know that the V-sign can imply '2'. My question is: why are these things so emphasized in this scene? Why did the creators of the show seemingly drag this out?

  • 3
    I haven't see the show but I assume that Gob is supposed to be an idiot. Microwaving something in foil is stupid... doing it twice is exceptionally stupid
    – Paulie_D
    Commented Feb 17 at 12:54
  • 1
    You do know what happens if you put foil in a microwave, right?
    – F1Krazy
    Commented Feb 17 at 14:06
  • @F1Krazy I do, and that's not the point of my question. Why the "twice" (which Paulie_D addresses), and why the V-sign, specifically?
    – Joachim
    Commented Feb 17 at 15:31
  • 2
    This is pretty consistent with the rest of AD's style of running-gag humor. They repeat something enough that it's funny, then so much that it's no longer funny, then it's funny again from the absurdity. Then it comes up again several episodes later.
    – Josh
    Commented Feb 18 at 15:14
  • @Josh True, but this still stands out to me. There's only one direct reference to it later in the same episode, when Barry Zuckerkorn does the same thing, and we see the microwave in the background lighting up, but there is no second occurrence of it AFAIK.
    – Joachim
    Commented Feb 18 at 15:19

1 Answer 1


Michael is trying to emphasize how stupid Gob is by relating this story.

People fairly frequently use hand gestures to emphasize or clarify speech. When puzzled or exasperated you might ask a question or clarify something and hold your palms up and spread your fingers (in US and UK cultures certainly). Like a "really?" gesture.

The re-stating of the 'twice' and the hand signals merely indicates how puzzled Jarvis is by how stupid this is. You can take his hand signal to indicate .. "twice, did I really hear that correctly?" and Michael uses it to respond "yes, you did hear that correctly".

  • So, no relation at all to the Ding Dongs, specifically? I initially thought this could have been a contextual joke that was more obvious to an American audience—hence the question in the first place. The repetition of the hand gesture seems ..excessive, even for clarification.
    – Joachim
    Commented Feb 17 at 15:46
  • 1
    Apart from the fact that ding-dongs are also extremely cheap junk food that most more mature people wouldn't even want to eat - I don't think there is much more of a contextual joke here.
    – iandotkelly
    Commented Feb 17 at 15:51
  • 2
    The emphasis of "twice" also comes up because nobody would ever microwave a Ding-Dong. Not even once, not even outside of a foil wrapper. It's not something you do with that kind of snack-cake. So "twice, inside a foil wrapper", is multiple extra layers to GOB's stupidity. (Edit: a real stretch to the joke would imply that GOB also mistook "Ding Dong" for "Pop Tart". But that's not really obvious in the subtext)
    – Josh
    Commented Feb 18 at 15:23
  • I've never eaten a Ding Dong but I can imagine them being nicer if mildly warm - I image that they would go from mildly warn to dangerous pretty quickly though.
    – iandotkelly
    Commented Feb 19 at 0:36
  • 1
    @Josh I'm here because I googled "ding dong microwave" because I thought I knew what a Ding Dong was and the fact that they are not meant to be microwaved. I do know what Ding Dong is and no I would not even imagine microwaving it. Apparently hostess released Molten Lava Ding Dongs in 2017 that are meant to be microwaved. I doubt this is related to arrested development since I didn't see this show mentioned and also 2017 is when this show wasn't relevant. Maybe this is a thing people actually do enough to warrant hostess to release a microwaveable ding dong.
    – hubertsng
    Commented Feb 19 at 4:41

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .