Season 1, Episode 10: "Pier Pressure"
Here, we learned a lot about what it was like to grow up a Bluth. For instance, when Gob, Buster, and Michael were kids, Gob was the kind of brother who would pull the “why are you hitting yourself? thing (not surprising, really). Buster was the type of kid who'd just sit there, passively taking the abuse (again, no surprise).
Growing up Bluth also meant the siblings had to learn a few lessons the hard way: by having seared into their brain via terrifying, traumatic experiences. Namely:
1. Don’t yell. (Yelling led to J. Walter Weatherman losing his arm in a freak boating accident.)
2. Don’t forget to leave a note. (The absence of a note led to J. Walter Weatherman losing his arm in a car accident.)
3. Don’t leave the door open with the air conditioner on. (Doing so caused the death of J. Walter Weatherman.)
We also learned that in the 70s, the pier where the Bluth banana stand is located used to be pot central. There was even a folk song composed about it called "Big Yellow Joint," one that sounds strikingly similar to Arlo Guthrie’s "Allison’s Restaurant Massacre." (Not only that, but a punk band later covered it. The depths to which this show will go just to flesh out a joke is astounding.) I noted that "Big Yellow Joint" was credited to a fictional singer named Jimmy Jane, which in real life is the name of a California-based sex-toy manufacturer that was founded in 2003, a year before this episode aired. COINCIDENCE? I leave that judgment to you. (Yes. It's a coincidence.)
Then we discovered that George Sr.—you may have noticed in previous episodes that he’s dallied with his secretary, Kitty—has trespassed from his marital boundaries more than once. With an au pair, for instance; young Lindsay pointed to the linen closet and cleared her throat to out that one. And Lucille once got a very nice piece of jewelry when “Pop-pop yelled out ‘Oh Melanie’ when he was making love to Gangy.”
Finally, we saw that Michael is raising his son in a manner similar to the one his parents used on him. As much as Michael doesn’t want to be his own father, when he suspected George Michael was trying drugs, he chastised himself just like George Michael does when he gets a math problem wrong. (Which, in turn, is like Eros chastising earthlings in Plan 9 From Outer Space:
New Feature: The Lindsay Fat Index, According to Lucille:
... "If you’re worried about criticism, sometimes a diet is the best defense."
... "Oh, Lindsay, before I go, I have just one word for you: sleeves."
... On why she never gave Lindsay a broach Lindsay wanted: “It’s an elephant, and I didn’t want to invite the comparison."
... Bonus round: To Maeby, who suggested getting ice cream: "I don’t think so. That chubby little wrist of yours is testing the tensile strength of that bracelet as it is."
My vote for funniest line this episode: A tie between Gob’s “Oh no, it’s the cops! And a construction worker!” and George Michael’s “One of the hot cops was my choir teacher.”
Season 1, Episode 11: "Public Relations"
First off, order! This episode aired before "Marta Complex" and is situated on the DVD right before "Marta Complex," yet it seems to take place in a world where Michael isn’t burdened by his crush on Marta, a storyline that doesn’t end until "Marta Complex." TOTAL CONTINUITY SCREW-UP!
Still, I liked the self-awareness of this episode. Since the Bluths hired a publicist, they had all their flaws pointed out to them. As Jessie said, Michael is “the only likable one.” Tobias doesn’t really work because he’s “a medical doctor" but "living an absurd fantasy as an actor.” Lucille comes off as cold. Buster is weird and alienating. People don’t like Lindsay because she’s self-righteous but doesn’t have a job.
I don’t know if these are actual notes that Arrested Development writers got from Fox about their characters, or if they’re just speculating as to what notes from the network might cover. But from DVD commentaries, it’s very clear that creator Mitch Hurwitz was keenly aware of how hard Arrested Development was to follow for most audiences, and that an axe always hovered over his head.
Regardless, the Bluths responded violently to their new critic: Lucille listed a litany of Bluth failures for Jessie but insisted they’re nevertheless a tight family, darn it. And then Lindsay got into a fistfight with Jessie.
We also met Carl Weathers this episode. Of all the great cameos in the history of celebrities coming to shows to play ridiculous versions of themselves, this might be my favorite. We were introduced to Mr. Weathers with a brief shot of his work in Predator: his character's arm getting blown off. While this is much like the J. Walter Weatherman bit, it’s also another one of those foreshadowing jokes.
Another note: He’s uncredited for this, but have you noticed that the show's narrator is Ron Howard? Hence this exchange:
Jessie, to George Michael: “It’s all your fault, Opie.”
Narrator: “Jessie had gone too far, and had best watch her mouth.”
The Lindsay Fat Index, According to Lucille:
... In response to Lindsay saying she’s suddenly lost her appetite: "Who’s going to believe that?"
... "Everything I’ve said about you could be covered up with makeup and a lie about a thyroid problem."
... [Turns over an entire the dessert cart.] "Sorry, Lindsay, there goes your dessert."
My favorite line this episode: George Michael, when he learned that the television wasn’t working because it was still hooked up to a live video feed to and from prison: “So when those guys kept saying ‘Hey you, boy,’ that was me? I was the boy?”
Season 1, Episode 12: "Marta Complex"
As commenter AdiSegasummas pointed out last time, part of the humor in Arrested Development's Marta episodes is that they get soap-opera-ish-ly melodramatic, as Marta’s a soap star herself. And here, in her send-off, we got a tale of intrigue, betrayal, and not knowing very basic words in the native language of the woman you love.
It was pretty brilliantly meta. Michael spent most of the episode hot for Marta while simultaneously defending his brother’s honor by hunting the man Marta secretly loves—the mysterious Hermano. Except hermano is Spanish for brother, of course, and Marta’s secretly in love with Michael.
Michael and Marta like each other largely because they each think they’re both family-oriented, good people. So when they realized they’d have to betray Gob to be together, they lost their edge, meaning their love was doomed from the start. (Seriously. These guys live in Southern California and don’t know enough basic Spanish to recognize hermano? Or te amo? I went to public schools in West Virginia and still I learned that.)
A few Carl Weathers musings:
... While talking to Tobias on the balcony, Weathers told a story of doing a Showtime movie called Hot Ice. There’s no such movie in real life, at least not with Weathers in it. There have been at least two full-length films with that name, though, from 1978 and 2002. What’s the more recent Hot Ice like, you ask? Since no reviewers on Rotten Tomatoes have touched it, I had to turn to a prominent IMDB commenter, redchr77. His take: “You don’t even see boobs!!!” So, not worth renting, I guess.
... While Tobias fretted over becoming Frightened Inmate #2, Maeby mentioned that her dad “has a big-boy crush on Action Jackson.” You may recall that as a real Carl Weathers movie, one that came out in 1998. The tagline: It’s time for Action.
The Lindsay Fat Index, According to Lucille:
... Lucille didn't call Lindsay fat in this episode, but there was a nice foreshadowing joke. When Buster choked up while telling his mom he needs his space, Lucille held a tissue to his nose. “I can blow myself!” he exclaimed. I won't spoil who it's a reference to, but it's par for the course for a character who spits out the most inadvertent innuendo.
My vote for funniest line this episode: Everybody yelling “Speech! Speech! Speech!” to no one in particular.
A few questions for you guys:
... I named my funniest lines from each episode, now it's your turn. List them in the comments!
...A guy on Reddit says this is found at the top of St. Peter’s Basillica. Warranted or no?
... Michael totally looks like Jamie Oliver. Tell me I’m not right.
Ed. note: You can stay up-to-date on DVD Club news and find a listing of all related discussion stories in the TV.com Summer DVD Club Archives.
Follow TV.com writer Kevin Collier on Twitter: @KevinCollier