Character by character, Helen Rittelmeyer compares the soon-to-be-relaunched Arrested Development to Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov:
Michael is Ivan. He is the smartest and most self-aware Bluth, a decidedly mixed blessing considering that it makes him the only one able to grasp just how awful everyone is. Most people think of Michael as the nice brother, but that’s only half right, since on an intellectual level he believes the ethical rules he lives by are idiotic. You shouldn’t put so much work into keeping together a family that isn’t worth it, his brain keeps telling him, just as Ivan keeps telling himself that he shouldn’t love a God who doesn’t deserve it.
But both of them do the right thing in the end. As Ivan’s devil predicted, “You’re going to perform an act of great virtue, and you don’t even believe in virtue—that’s what keeps eating away at you.” This internal contradiction drives Michael to exasperation; if he were Russian, it would have driven him mad.