Arrested Development (TV series)/Recap/S1/E01 Pilot

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Michael Bluth (Manager/The Bluth Company) has worked for his father's company for ten years waiting to become a partner. On a boat party for his father's retirement, we are introduced to his family: his mother, Mrs. Lucille Bluth (Socialite), his twin sister, Lindsay Bluth Funke (Activist), her husband, Dr. Tobias Funke (not on boat), his older brother G.O.B. (George Oscar Bluth II) (Magician (part-time)), and Byron "Buster" Bluth (Graduate Student), the youngest of Michael's siblings.

We cut to that morning: Michael tells his son, George Michael Bluth (Frozen banana salesman/child), that family is the most important thing. As Michael goes to his mother's villa to confront her about the family's extravagant spending on the company dollar, George Michael meets his cousin, Mae "Maeby" Funke (Cousin). He hardly recognizes her, and she suggests they start "totally making out" in front of their parents to teach them a lesson about keeping the family apart.

At the party, when Michael's moment finally comes, he discovers that the person his father was intending to make a partner was not himself, but his mother. However, his disappointment is short lived, as right after the family gets together for a group portrait, the SEC closes in on George Sr. and arrests him for embezzlement. Michael informs his family that his father will be kept in prison, and that the family will no longer have access to the company's funds. After they react strongly to the latter (but not the former), Michael announces in disgust that he's leaving the family forever. However, after realizing that only he can keep them together, they stage an intervention- or rather, an imposition, to tell Michael to help them. Michael refuses initially, explaining that he has gotten a job in Phoenix, but reconsiders after George Michael confesses that he wishes they'd stay together, since he's been so lonely since the death of his mother. The episode ends with the family gathered together around a Monopoly board, sans George Sr.- who, it turns out, is loving his new life in prison.

Now the story of a wealthy family who lost everything - and the one son who had no choice but to keep them all together. It's Arrested Development.


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The pilot of Arrested Development provides examples of:

  • Ambiguously Gay: Tobias tells Lindsay he's not, saying "how many times must we have this..."
  • Art Shift: The lighting and sets are noticably different from how they would appear after the show was greenlit.
  • A Worldwide Punomenon: The signs held by the pro-naval-gay-marriage protestors. "Why Knot?"
    • The news headline for the event: "Swish-bucklers!"
  • Breakout Character: George Sr. was originally supposed to spend the rest of the series in prison, but the producers loved Jeffery Tambor so much that they wrote him to eventually have a role in every subsequent episode.
  • Call Back: One of the gay pirates from the boat that was playing "Free At Last", after being released from jail: "Free at last!"
  • Camp Gay: So flamboyantly dressed, Tobias thinks they're going to a pirate party.
  • Chekhov's Gag: Lindsay interrupts her claim that not all homosexuals are flamboyant to note that she has the exact same blouse that one of them is wearing. It is her blouse, on Tobias.
    • George Michael comments that he thinks he already has the board game Monopoly, following Gob's trick at the banana stand. Later, when Lindsay finds him getting ready to leave for Phoenix, he's in the process of packing away at least 3 identical copies of the game.
  • Establishing Character Moment: The first scene with Maeby features her trying to con George Michael into thinking she found a foot in her frozen banana.
  • Foreshadowing: "This is George Michael's cousin, Maeby."
    • After getting sick of his family, Michael gets a job at Sitwell Housing in Phoenix. He does it again in the first episode of Season 2.
    • George Sr. notes that he has "the worst fucking attorneys". Episodes later, we meet the family's terrible attorney, Barry Zuckercorn.
  • Got Volunteered
  • Fun with Acronyms: HOOP - "Hands Off Our Penises", an anti-circumcision movement.
  • Fur and Loathing: Lucille's first chronological scene has her lamenting that someone has cut off the foot of her fox.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: One of the homosexuals on the boat is holding a sign that reads "Sailors for Seamen".
  • How We Got Here: We start at the boat party, then cut to the beginning of that day.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Lucille's reaction to the homosexual protesters:

Lucille: Everything they do is so dramatic and flamboyant, it just makes me want to... set myself on fire.

    • Lindsay, at a wine-and-cheese fundraiser to "Stop the Hunger":

Lindsay: Oh, no, I'm completely stuffed.

George Sr.: That's the Securities Exchange Commission.
Buster: They have boats?

Tobias: "Well, most of that money was from the Bluth company, I mean how- ...are you?"

  • Left the Background Music On: Buster playing his ceremonial drum as Michael tells Tobias, Lindsay, and Lucille that they're going to have to fend for themselves.
  • Man On Fire: Lucille say that everything homosexuals do is so flamboyant it makes her want to set herself on fire.
  • Missing Mom: George Michael wishes his family would stay together because it's been kind of lonely since his mom died.
  • Next Episode Preview: Sets the precedent for the Epilogue-based ""On the Next..." Arrested Development" stinger found at the end of each episode: when they made this, they didn't know if the show would actually get picked up, so they made up some scenes.
  • Refusal of the Call: Michael initially refuses to help the family.
  • Rimshot: Heard after George Sr. tells his family "it's a party, not a shareholders' meeting".
    • And after Gob asks "Are those police boats?" He's serious. They are.
  • Shout-Out: "Can you hear me now?"
  • Spoiler: Michael stops describing what a job is to his family so as to not ruin the surprise.
  • Squick: "Sounds like you saved enough skin to make ten new boys."
  • Stealth Insult: Michael's first line.

Lucille: Look what they've done, Michael. Look what the homosexuals have done to me.
Michael: You can't just comb that out and reset it?

Tobias: My name is Dr. Tobias Funke; I was chief resident of Psychiatry at Mass General for 2 years, and I did my fellowship in psycholinguistics at MIT. And this is "I'm A Bad, Bad Man", from Annie Get Your Gun.

  • The Other Darrin: T-Bone is depicted as a fairly slender guy in the Next Episode Preview at the end. T-Bone in the next episode looks completely different.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Buster, reading a map: "Obviously, this blue part here is the land."
  • Worst Aid: Tobias lost his medical license after performing CPR on someone who, as it turns out, was not having a heart attack. Reality Ensues, and the man is hospitalized for a broken sternum.