For a long time, I felt that Arrested Development was about as close to a perfect television show as you can get. It had everything: Great acting, near-incest, jean shorts and Gene Parmesan. Pretty much the Mount Rushmore of anything you could ever ask for from a show. They went ahead and absolute blew that over the last couple seasons (maybe fueled by Portia de Rossi's stress as related to being married to Ellen who is allegedly one of the worst human beings on earth? A theory for another day), but that doesn't take away from the fact that they delivered more hits over the first three seasons than a myriad of other shows have over much longer time periods.
So what is the best recurring bit in this show? You're going to have to wait for that (or scroll down). Let me first give you a few the other best bits that were in close contention.
Honorable mentions: Tobias' nevernudeness, "no touching!," Barry Zuckerkorn being gay, the family building houses in Iraq.
The top five:
Gene Parmesan - An absolute classic in every way. A private eye that just comes out of the woodwork every single time he's needed? Gold. Lucille's reactions every time? - "Aaaaahhhhhaaaaaaahhhh GENE PARESAN" - Even better.
Her? - Michale Bluth's absolute distaste for his son's girlfriend has no shortage of appearances. When he isn't completely forgetting her existence, he's questioning how anyone could possibly foster any sort of positive feelings about her. Her? This also transformed into an occasional "him?" which was always a special treat.
"Oh COME ON" - Will Arnett very rarely misses for me. The dude just delivers in whatever role he is in. Hot Rod? (Gonna grab a vitamin water, should I make it dos? Maybe I'll buy a box of dong bags in case we want to knock boots later) Drilled. Bojack Horseman? Drilled. Lego Batman? Drilled. GOB? Absolutely drilled. GOB has no shortage of bits (spoiler: the winner), but this one truly got a laugh out of me every single time he delivered it. Like a ton of the other running jokes in the show, it also bled into other character's dialogue which gets no complaints from me.
Tobias being gay - I mean there is just absolutely no question that Tobias is gay. When you're able to put together a six and a half minute compilation proving so, probably pretty clear evidence. "There's a man inside me, and only when he's finally out can I walk free."
The Winner: Now I know this may be controversial and that is okay. When someone, as many do, feels remarkably connected to or passionate about a show, develops inside jokes with friends as it relates, or simply connects with one bit in particular, it can be tough to see the beauty and perfection of someone else's opinion. Just wanted to establish that before segwaying into the unequivocal winner.
Chicken Dances - Every single time this comes up it is hilarious. The self-awareness of the show to make fun of the bit within the bit is also spectacular. "Are you going to do the chicken thing?" GOB's character is an an incredible artist in douchebaggery and this is his Mona Lisa. The one scene in particular that puts this specific recurring bit over the edge to be the best is when both Michael's siblings, his mother and his father all just absolutely bury him with strikingly inaccurate and different renditions of a chicken impression as he stands there genuinely perplexed on how he is related to any single one of the people mocking him. "Michael and wooooomen?" Also, GOB arriving late to the party there and not getting to fully commit in front of everyone, at the one thing he's good at, is beautifully sad and hilarious.
What a show. Think it may be time to start another rewatch (of the first three seasons).