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Portia Control

Portia de Rossi's big break: She got ''Arrested.'' She may play a clueless clotheshorse on TV, but off screen she has everything in her life figured out -- for now

Portia de Rossi | FUNKE LADY de Rossi makes her peace with acting like ''an idiot'' on ''Arrested Development''
Image credit: Portia de Rossi Photograph by Justin Stephens
FUNKE LADY de Rossi makes her peace with acting like ''an idiot'' on ''Arrested Development''

Television's most dysfunctional clan doesn't know when to quit—even when the cameras are off. As Portia de Rossi, who plays Arrested Development's fabulously shallow Lindsay Bluth Fünke, heads to the craft service table during the sitcom's lunch break, her faux family waits exactly four seconds before starting the behind-her-back teasing.

''She paid for a young Indonesian boy to grow hair for her—and then she scalped him,'' confides Will Arnett, who plays Lindsay's magician brother, Gob.

''She drives a Porsche, but it's never, ever clean,'' whispers her TV twin, Jason Bateman.

Adds series husband David Cross (sexually confused ex-shrink Tobias), ''Now she can turn off her bitch-diva button relatively easily, whereas it took a little too much time in the first season.''

''Those guys,'' says de Rossi a few days later, rolling her olive green eyes. She's driving her black Porsche, which—sorry, Jason—is spotless, aside from a massive jar of biscuits for her horse, Maital. ''They're horrible. We argue like siblings, but when we were all worried about the show getting picked up [for a second season], the first feeling I had was 'I can't bear the thought of not hanging out with them.' Then I was worried about my mortgage payments.''

Well, she doesn't have to stress out yet. After an upset best-comedy win at this year's Emmy Awards (''I had this perverse thrill when we won thinking of the millions of people looking at us and thinking, 'Who the f--- are those people?'''), Fox's Arrested Development is basking in the glow of being TV's It sitcom. And de Rossi is still basking in the shame of last night's scene in which Lindsay tried to pick up her teenage daughter's sexually ambiguous friend who, unfortunately, thinks Lindsay's a transvestite.

''I'm used to playing straitlaced characters,'' says the 31-year-old actress, best known for her role as bombshell attorney Nelle Porter on Ally McBeal. ''It took me a while to be comfortable making an absolute idiot out of myself.''

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