Arrested Development

Season 1 Episode 4

Key Decisions

Aired Unknown Nov 23, 2003 on Netflix
out of 10
User Rating
418 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Gob decides to lock himself in his father's prison for 24 hours to get back in with the alliance, and to spend quality time with his father. Michael takes Gob's girlfriend to an awards show, and Buster inadvertently flirts with his mother's rival.

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  • "Gob's been stabbed in the back!"

    I'm a big fan of episodes that can tie together the plots of each character without it seeming contrived. Otherwise, you have storylines that are sort of just hanging in the wind, and despite their quality, it isolates those characters from the rest of the show sometimes. This was NOT one of those episodes. In fact, of the first four episodes so far this season, this was probably the one that did it the best. There were just so many great little jokes, from the "White Power Bill" to the introduction of the Staircar to the first appearance of Gob's classic line "I've made a huge mistake."

    In this episode, we get another small glimpse of Gob's girlfriend, Marta, the soap opera actress who somehow finds it tolerable to be in a relationship with a guy who announces during her interview that he'll be putting himself in prison only to break out a day later as a publicity stunt. Gob's plan is to prove himself a great magician, likely to the Alliance that he never can get into, and he swallows a key in order to escape the next day… however, he forgets that he has to poop in front of people, and he's bathroom shy. Oops!

    Meanwhile, in an effort to cut back and get the company back on track, Michael sells the car and, along with his bike he always rides around on, uses the Staircar that the Bluth Company used for their old jet as their new car. Michael also tries to get a tree chopped down to make room for new mansions and ends up having to deal with a grumpy man (Clint Howard, the narrator's brother) who is an activist, which makes Lindsey want to do activism again.

    Hovering in the background of all of this is the Desi's, a Spanish soap opera award ceremony where multiple things happen: Michael realizes he really likes Marta, despite the fact Gob is dating her, Buster (not wearing his glasses) meets a new woman who he later realizes is his mother's friend, also named Lucille (played by Liza Minelli). I never was a huge fan of Lucille Austere (or Lucille 2) in the show, but her appearance here was good.

    A lot happens in the episode, but it never (as usual) gets out of control or feels pressured. In fact, it's as cool, calm and collected as can be. Take into account all of the little jokes that come and go before you can even notice them: the "White Power Bill" plot, "You're going to get a lot of hop-ons," the way Gob quietly mutters "But I'm… white" upon being stabbed, the way the key he swallowed is what saves him, the first Carl Weathers appearance (in name, not in person) and countless other little things.

    I've found that it's pretty difficult to do a really good job analyzing and reviewing this show. It's easier to just comment on whether it was good or not, but I'll do my best to follow the Bluth family throughout the show. So far, it's been difficult, if only because there's so much to comment on. But so far, rewatching it for a second time and reviewing it for the first time, it's been just as fun as the first time.moreless
  • Key Decisions

    Everything about this show is just outstanding. The intelligent episodes titles (like this one), perfect comedic timing, well thought out script, and just endings that tie in so perfectly, it's just good TV.

    The Marta/Job/Michael thing is interesting enough, I just hope not every episode is focused on this triangle. The irony of the situation was hilarious: if he only brought the stairs. Then of course, we got Lindsay who actually helped with the tree being demolished without trying.

    Maybe & George Michael interactions were hilarious. The Buster/Lucille tie in was also awesome. With Buster's loss of sight, and Lucille's vertigo, it was just another great tie in from this show. Great episode of Arrested Development, looking forward to future installments.moreless
  • Better everytime

    When G.O.B. abandons his girlfriend, Marta Estrella, to stage a publicity stunt at the penitentiary that holds his father, Michael is left to accompany her to the Desi Awards. Meanwhile, Lindsay attempts to persuade activist Johnny Bark out of a tree on Bluth property so that it can be cut down. Having swallowed the key and ready for his dramatic escape, G.O.B. finds himself unable to pass the key without a private bathroom, spurring him to utter for the first time, "I've made a huge mistake." Trapped in prison with his father, we begin to learn G.O.B. is a man desperate for his father's approval and attention, noting that George Sr. has never even played catch with him. Michael, meanwhile, is finding himself quite attracted to Marta. Also at the Desi Awards, Buster, while not wearing his glasses, mistakenly flirts with his mother's friend and social rival, Lucille Austero. This another really great episode.moreless
  • Gob swallows the prison key

    Gob is my favourite character on Arrested Development and what I love about this episode is that he is featured predominantly with great gags about his idiocy and his magic and also develops his relationship with George Sr. What I found most amusing about this episode was that the warden put him in the prison just because Gob was being so self-confident and that Gob completed his magic trick accidentally since he was rushed to the hospital after being stabbed (Ta da!).

    Lindsey in the tree was very funny, my second favourite plot, but Michael having feelings for Gob’s girlfriend never felt like a very amusing storyline but Gob’s is by far the best, causing this episode to be one of the best so far.moreless
  • this episode rocks! the show gets off and running

    When I first saw the first episode on FOX, I wasn't too sure about it. For some reason, I returned the next week and the next week. By the time this episode came around, I was laughing myself silly. I started to miss those laugh tracks (from old sitcoms) because the jokes were just coming at me too fast... I found myself uncontrollably laughing the whole way through the commercial break... "Is there a private bathroom around here?" - "I'd ask the guys to leave, but they've been locking the doors lately." - "I've made a huge mistake." - I just laughed and laughed through all of those advertisements for crap I already have and crap I would never buy... then the show came back and it was just laugh after laugh and sometimes two jokes in one sentence. The "On The Next" Arrested Development part came up and I laughed... "Why were they saying on the next episode when it just started?" I looked at the clock and it was 9:56... the episode was over...

    ...any of that make any sense? sorrymoreless
Jeffrey Tambor

Jeffrey Tambor

George Bluth Sr. / Oscar Bluth

Portia de Rossi

Portia de Rossi

Lindsay Bluth Fünke

Ron Howard

Ron Howard

Narrator (uncredited)

Jason Bateman

Jason Bateman

Michael Bluth

Jessica Walter

Jessica Walter

Lucille Bluth

Will Arnett

Will Arnett

George "Gob" Bluth II

Leonor Varela

Leonor Varela


Guest Star

Clint Howard

Clint Howard

Johnny Bark

Guest Star

Rocky McMurray

Rocky McMurray


Guest Star

Stacey Grenrock-Woods

Stacey Grenrock-Woods

Trisha Thoon

Recurring Role

Liza Minnelli

Liza Minnelli

Lucille Austero

Recurring Role

John Beard

John Beard


Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (0)

  • QUOTES (33)

    • Michael: Look, I'm trying to get development started. I've got six guys on bulldozers waiting to get underway.
      Lindsay: Well, what about the trees?
      Michael: Oh, we're just gonna cover them with blankets ... I'm ripping 'em out.

    • Surgeon: Looks like the shiv would have done some real damage if it hadn't been for this. It was in your lower intestine.
      (Surgeon shows Gob the key)
      Gob: So close.

    • Gob: You've got nothing to worry about. We're going to be together for a long time.
      Marta: We're a family now. I am so happy. I'm going to call the kids.
      Gob: (to himself after Marta leaves) I've made a huge mistake.

    • Buster: Has your hair always been that pointy, Miss Austero?
      Lucille 2: It's Lucille.
      Buster: Right, right. That's my mom's name.

    • Gob: I'm a complete failure.
      George, Sr.: Where'd you get that kind of talk?
      Gob: From you. You always say that about me.
      George, Sr.: Well, maybe you're not entirely to blame. I haven't always been the best kind of father either.
      Gob: Dad, you've done a pretty good job of being a father to everybody in here. What have they got that I don't? I mean, you've never even ... thrown a ball around with me.
      George, Sr.: Great. Now, you're an athlete.

    • Lucille: Buster's out of control!
      Michael: What, another panic attack?
      Buster: Me? No. She's just wigged out because I have a girlfriend.
      Lucille: A waiter hands him a note, suddenly he's Steve McQueen.

    • George Michael: You know, I can see why your mom likes it. It is a really nice tree ...
      Maeby: We've got to get it torn down.
      George Michael: ... That must die. Stupid tree.

    • Gob: Is there a private bathroom nearby?
      George, Sr.: You're looking at it. (taps the commode between the bunks)
      Gob: No, no, no. I can't use that. I need privacy. Yeah, I've always been that way. I can't go without privacy. I can't pass this key without privacy.
      George, Sr.: Well, I could ask the guys to leave, but, uh ... you know, they've been locking the doors lately. I don't know.

    • Michael: Marta. Hey ... I'm sorry. You really deserved to win in there ... Did you win? I don't speak Spanish.

    • Lucille 2: Lucille? Lucille! Aren't you something? Showing up here without your husband. Shame be damned. Caution to the wind.
      Lucille: That's so sweet, darling. I'm here to support you. You're the one who's all alone and likely to stay that way. My husband's just a phone call away.
      Lucille 2: That's one call per day, isn't it? Gee, I should think he'd want to save that for his lawyer.

    • Lindsay: Look, I'm an activist, too, and I appreciate what you're doing for the environment. But we're not the only ones who destroy trees. What about beavers? You call yourself an environmentalist. Why don't you go out and club some beavers?
      Johnny Bark: You don't really "get" nature, do you?

    • Marta: I just couldn't find my keys.
      Michael: Well, my brother may have eaten them.

    • George, Sr.: Keep your arm up. That's how you get accuracy.
      Gob: I thought you said throwing the ball against the garage door by yourself was how you got accuracy.

    • Gob: Then I pass the key, bust out of prison, and into magic history. Of course, that is going to conflict with my going to the Desis with Marta.
      Michael: Well, life's a compromise. I probably would have taken her to the nice event, but prison will be fun, too.

    • Warden: You really think you can break out of my prison?
      G.O.B.: You won't even know I was here.
      Narrator: The warden was intrigued. Less about the stunt, and more about the prison beatings this brash magician was sure to receive.

    • Gob: I, too, have an announcement to make. To prove that no prison can hold me, I will incarcerate myself in the penitentiary that holds my own father, only to escape 24 hours later. No shackles can hold these hands. (to Marta) Say that to them in Spanish.

    • Michael: A family. Nothing else matters.
      Lucille: Michael?
      Michael: It's Mom. Hide.

    • Michael: Gob, you've found a woman who believes in you. You should make a commitment to her because life is short. Listen to me. I would give anything to be able to have that again, you know?

    • Gob: You're looking at a desperate man, Michael.
      Michael: Do you need money?
      G.O.B.: What I need is freedom. Marta is being interviewed today on TV about her show "El Amor Prohibido". I mean, it's bad enough that I gotta go to the awards show tomorrow night. Today, I gotta stand next to her like I'm Rita Wilson.

    • Michael: I'm selling the company jet.
      Lindsay: Great, so now we don't have a car or a jet? Why don't we just take an ad out in I'm Poor magazine?

    • Gob: Where am I? Am I still in prison?
      Lucille: You're in the hospital.
      Gob: (weakly) Ta-daa ...

    • Lindsay: Oh, I'm up here, Mike. And I'm not coming down. I'm going to save this tree, no matter what it takes!
      Michael: Okay. I'll see you when you realize what that bucket's for.

    • Lucille: He's a beautiful boy...they don't appreciate him. It's his glasses...they make him look like a he's self-conscious.

    • White Power Bill: (as he's stabbing Gob) White power!
      Gob: (gasping) I'm ... white.

    • Buster: That's what you do when life hands you a chance to be with someone special. You just grab that brownish area by its points, and you don't let go no matter what your mom says.

    • Lucille: (about Buster's new girlfriend) He doesn't even know what she looks like.
      Buster: I know she's a brownish area ... with points. And I know I love her!
      Lucille: I'm calling Dr. Miller.

    • Michael: Listen, after we get that lot cleared, we're going to have enough money for you to neuter thousands of animals. You can make dogs and cats a complete thing of the past. No more dogs and cats.

    • Lindsay: I care deeply for nature.
      Michael: You're wearing ostrich-skin boots.
      Lindsay: Well, I don't care about ostriches.

    • Narrator: And Lucille was mingling with the elite of the Latino Television Academy.
      Lucille: Can I get a vodka tonic, please? I'd like a vodka tonic, please. Vodka tonic, please. A sea of waiters, and no one will take a drink order.

    • Lucille: I'll be in the hospital bar.
      Michael: Uh, you know there isn't a hospital bar, Mother.
      Lucille: Well, this is why people hate hospitals.

    • Lucille: When's the last time you went on a date?
      Michael: I just haven't met anybody who's not completely self-absorbed and impossible to have a conversation with.
      Lucille: If that's a veiled criticism about me, I won't hear it and I won't respond to it.

    • Lindsay: Get out of our f***ing tree.

    • Lindsay: I've always been very passionate about nature. Perhaps you remember Neuterfest?
      Michael: Oh, I'll never forget your wedding.

  • NOTES (11)


    • Gob: Now I have to stand next to her like I'm Rita Wilson.

      Rita Wilson is an actress (Sleepless in Seattle, Jingle All the Way, etc), but is more famous for being married to Tom Hanks.

    • Access Hollywood
      Marta is interviewed by a Mexican entertainment news program Acceso Mexico!, parodying one series of tabloid infotainment programs.