“Excuse me, Banana. Could I ask you a few questions?”
Such is how an exchange began with a man dressed in a full banana suit outside of a banana-shaped bearing his yellow likeness in Times Square, part of a promotion drumming up excitement for the Netflix revival of the cult-favorite comedy series, Arrested Development. The man in the banana suit was, strangely, not the most oddly-dressed person in the crowd.
Since Monday afternoon, a kiosk modeled after the Bluth family-run frozen banana stand that figured so prominently in the original run of Arrested Development—“there’s always money in the banana stand”—has been parked at various New York City landmarks, selling actual frozen chocolate-covered bananas to the thousands of fans who waited hours in lines that snaked through Manhattan streets to kitschily celebrate the return of the show, which launches again on May 26.
On Thursday, the traveling stand offered another special Arrested Development-themed promotion: a free six months of Netflix to the first eight dozen fans who arrived in cutoff jean shorts—the never nudes, if you will—who showed up. And did they ever show up.
What’s a never nude, you ask? A never nude is a person with an anxiety disorder that prevents them from ever being naked. It’s real! (It’s called gymnophobia.) David Cross’s character Tobias Fünke suffers from the syndrome, never removing a pair of tight jean cutoff shorts that he wears underneath he clothes—even in situations when a normal person should be naked. In the shower? Daisy Dukes are on. Doctor appointment? Jorts on under the gown. Throughout Arrested’s run, it becomes one of Tobias’s defining traits.
So on an 80-degree day in New York City, dozens of Tobias sympathizers flocked to Times Square in their own cutoff shorts, flying the never-nude flag proudly. “I’ll say yes, this is the most nude I’ve ever been in Times Square,” one fan, sporting homemade denim shorts (fashioned from an old pair of jeans) says while in line for a frozen banana. “I wish I could say it was...” another fan teases coyly, fully embracing the never-nude theme by going fully shirtless. (Most in line opted to keep t-shirts on. Apparently standing in one of the country’s biggest tourist attractions inspires modesty…)
The Times Square never-nude celebration marked the final stop on the banana stand’s trip through New York City. It had set up camp at Columbus Circle and outside Radio City Music Hall earlier in the week, and moves on to Los Angeles now to satiate fans on the West Coast.
But before the stand departed, we chatted with the never nudes about their day in denim, asking the big questions: Are you excited for the new season of Arrested Development? How does a never nude shower? And, most importantly, how does a never nude have sex?