Arrested Development

Season 1 Episode 10

Pier Pressure

Aired Unknown Jan 11, 2004 on Netflix

Episode Fan Reviews (8)

Write A Review
out of 10
451 votes
  • "And that's why you always leave a note."

    The word "perfect" gets thrown around a lot in some reviews, and while I'm inclined to use the word in terms of my opinions to friends and family, when it's time for me to get objective and focus on getting rid of my biases, I rarely use the word "perfect." It's tough for a show to have a perfect episode, or a masterpiece, at least in my opinion. The show needs to be able to either come up with a beginning for the characters so spectacular that it sticks in our memories for years to come, or take everything that's been introduced about the particular characters up until that point and up the ante. It's more than just that too; you need some good writing, good acting and a well-structured story. Looking throughout the fifty-three episodes of "Arrested Development," it's fun to say that certain episodes are perfect, but to me, there's some that just stand out above anything else. "Good Grief" is one of them. There's a couple in Season 3. And "Pier Pressure," for me (I'll be saying that a lot in this review, I'm sure), is one of the finest episodes of the show to date. Every character (except maybe Tobias) has an incredibly fun plot to sink their teeth into, and in the end, we don't just get another typical twenty minutes of television: we get a great look at a family trying to put family first in their own weird way.

    Even thinking back on the episode, I'm amazed at how writers Jim Valley and Mitch Hurwitz were able to cram so much story into twenty minutes. Michael and Lindsey get into an argument about how to raise their children: Michael, in a rare glimpse of him being a complete jerk, gets on his son's case about getting an A- ("Just an A-Minus?") while Lindsey claims he needs to be more like her when it comes to raising children and not put so much stress on them. As a result, both parents take drastically different paths to helping their children. Lindsey decides to punish her child's bad grades by making Maeby hang out with Lucille. Maeby, at first, believes hanging out with Lucille will be cool, and together, they make fun of Lindsey and bond a bit. However, Maeby quickly realizes that hanging out with Lucille isn't quite as cool, mostly because Lucille is a cruel, horrible mother and just as bad as a grandmother.

    However, it's Michael's plot that sticks with me the most and likely everybody else as well. Michael decides to loosen the reigns on his son. After all, he's talking to himself, his eyes are red from exhaustion and guilt is beginning to pile on him. As a result, he tells his son to take a day off. Instead of truly relaxing, Michael goes to the banana stand to get away from the homework. It's here that Buster meets up with George Michael asks him to buy pot from Gob for Lucille Austero. You see, Lucille 2 has nausea from her vertigo and Buster can't handle it. George Michael agrees to do so, but Gob shows Michael the note that George Michael left for him and Michael suddenly realizes what happens when he no longer stresses his son. The red eyes that his son had from exhaustion suddenly become red eyes due to marijuana smoking. Michael remembers the ridiculous lessons that his father used to teach him and his siblings at a young age. They involved a man named J. Walter Weatherman, who had a fake arm. George would hire Weatherman to scare the children into not doing things, whether it's leaving a note or not yelling. Michael decides to come up with his own way of teaching his son a lesson: by hiring Gob's old stripper friends to dress up as cops and drug dealers and scare the crap out of George Michael.

    It's here that everything comes to a head and explodes in a hurricane of hilarious moments, sight gags and revelations. It's funny enough watching Gob's stripper friends trying their hardest to not start ripping their clothes off at any given moment, but when you throw in a group of real drug dealers and cops that start shooting at each other that actually turns out to be J. Walter Weatherman and some men that George Michael hired, things hit a level of hilarity that some shows never get to, even after ten seasons of being on the air. Gob yelling "They're just strippers! Can't you see how hot they are?!" and seeing the man's arm hit the ground and saying, "That's why you don't teach lessons to your sons." It turns out George Bluth believed all of this lesson-teaching wasn't right and decided to teach his son, Michael, one last lesson: don't teach lessons. It's an incredibly complex and clever bit of storytelling, and a clear-cut example of why the episode can be given the label "masterpiece."

    I apologize for the heavy summary, but boy, the episode is just too good not to soak up all of the great details and comment on them. I didn't even get around to mentioning the hilarious explanation of why the banana stand was once considered a hot drug spot in the seventies (Big Yellow Joint.. 'nuff said) and about Gob's stint as one of the "Hot Cops." I barely got into the way the characters bounced off of each other and how well we see each of the characters and how their personalities mesh with each other. If there's one complaint I have, it's that they couldn't find a way to include Tobias in everything. But it's a minor annoyance, one that I can forget about because Tobias sort of disappeared from episodes here and there but always reappeared twice as funny as before.

    What a great episode Mitch Hurwitz and company created here. I don't use the word "masterpiece" often. I've given maybe six or seven episodes a "10," and this one is definitely deserving of it.
  • Pier Pressure

    We got an amazingly complex story line that still managed to be funny all the while. Buster wanting to get drugs from Lucille 2, George Michael ending up getting it from Gob and Michael trying to teach him a lesson. Just a lot of different story lines tied in too one here.

    The story line that was a bit unrelated was the Maybe and Lyndsay story line. Yes it did have to do with the discipline, but it just didn't tie in as well to the other story lines. The flashbacks were priceless though.

    The whole "teaching a lesson" thing was hysterical and the ending was an amazing payoff to a superb episode of the series.
  • Michael thinks George Michael is getting into drugs.

    There is not one bad thing about this episode!

    I love the flashbacks! It helps explain why the Bluth children are, let's just say, less than normal. And the scenes with Lucille and Maeby help show why Lindsay and Lucille have the relationship that they have. Explainations are great, aren't they?

    Plus, Buster and George Michael don't really seem to spend that much time together, so it was nice to see them together for once, even if it was for selling drugs! But best of all, the episode was hysterical! I loved when Gob had the smoke in his mouth and he said "it's cold out here." to cover up. And how often can you get a C-, M-I-N-E-S.

    Possible best of all, the title! Pier Pressure? Brillant!

    "And that's why you always leave a note."
  • This is the perfect example of a perfect comedy.

    All of the silly things that Arrested Development is know for may has well have officially started in this episode. I have watched the entire series at least 3 times, and usually in order. This is the one episode that I'll watch when I want to laugh until it hurts.

    Teaching lessons never seems to get old for the Bluth family, and our first introduction to that is in this episode. The plot is very simple: Michael fears that George Michael is on dope, and decides to bring back the man that George Sr. used to teach lessons on GOB, Mike and Buster. Buster, getting word of the situation, decides to use George Michael to get pot for Lucille (who needs the drugs for medical reasons).

    It all culminates in a hilarious situation with Weatherman, guy's arms falling off, cops.... and a construction worker.

    To cap it off, this episode has my favorite GOB moment: "It's really cold out here". That was the moment that made me love this show and really appreciate the writing.

    Classic episode.
  • A lesson not to teach lessons is a valuable lesson not to be taught

    Since this is one of the highest rated episodes of Arrested Development on the site, it would be expected that Pier pressure would be at the least a decent episode and after watching it I can honestly say it is one of the most entertaining episodes of the show so far!

    George Sr teaching the mother of all lessons, not to teach lessons, is a hilarious ending to a side-splitting episode, with scenes such as Gob letting out a breath of smoke (it’s cold out), the one-armed man flashbacks (that’s why you don’t yell) and who could forget Buster chipping in some money after Michael gives $20 to George Michael to spend (and here’s $225).

    Overall, this episode teaches us all a valuable lesson on not teaching lessons and is indeed a great example of the comedic genius of Arrested Development.
  • This is perhaps the funniest episode of the first series!

    I can't believe how great it is to see tv like this written in the States. Usually to get this kind of humour you have to go with some british comedy. This episode is the best of season 1 or perhaps the whole series!!! The one armed man on the peir is priceless! If you don't like this episode you don't have a sense of humour!!!
  • The best episode (so far) of the best TV series ever. Don't read this without watching the episode, by the way.

    This episode is actually rather frustrating for me. You see, the story behind it is that the network gave the producers a note that Michael was to teach George Michael a lesson. Now I hate network notes. The people who run the network are business people. They typically know very little about entertainment. So for them to give a note to the producers of a show that is pure genius is just plain idiotic. It’s like a meddling neighbor and it usually doesn’t add anything to the show.

    And since this show originated because of the network notes, it is extremely frustrating to find that the result was possibly this series’ finest episode. But I suppose if any program could pull off the feat of turning the musings of a panel of morons into comic gold, it’s this one. Sure the writers didn’t really take the note seriously (Michael ultimately decides that he actually should NOT teach his son lessons), but it peeves me on general principal.

    This episode has everything. Nearly the entire cast has a chance to shine. We get flashbacks galore and an answer to why this family leaves so many notes. Maeby’s report card is enough to make this episode great, and it’s not even the best part. What is the best part, one might ask. Is it GOB’s exhalation of marijuana that he smoked like a cigarette? The fact that George Michael is the most street smart kid that Buster knows? The Hot Cops? The numerous lessons George teaches, all culminating in the same man losing an arm? While all of these moments (and countless more) are terrific, I would have to say that the best moment—the moment that really sets this show apart from any other show on TV—is the moment when Michael confronts his father about the lesson he was just taught:

    Michael: So you taught me a lesson about not teaching lessons?

    George: That was my last one.

    What moment on the show better displays the twisted relationship between this twisted father and his normal (on the surface, anyway) son? The incredulity of Michael faced with the unconcerned hypocrisy of George. The ultimate in “do as I say, not as I do”. Yet, in its own strange way, the moment is touching. George teaches his son the ultimate lesson, which is not to be the father that he was. Unfortunately, and perhaps inevitably, he uses the same awful parenting techniques he has always used. He knows no other way.
  • When Michael thinks George Michael is on drugs, he attempts to teach him a serious lesson. Meanwhile, Lindsay sends Maeby to spend a day with Lucille to punish her for bad grades.

    The things that parents do to make fine examples out of their kids have never been so funny. “Pier Pressure” is certainly the funniest episode of the series or at least of the first season. The story is well paced and often quite memorable. There are some very amusing flashbacks on how George Senior used elaborate incidents involving a one-armed man to keep his kids from misbehaving. Jeffrey Tambor is quite hilarious in this episode. His interaction with Jason Bateman is excellent. The ending was quite hilarious as George Senior teaches Michael a lesson on teaching lessons.