This is a story about Michael Bluth. For ten years, he's waited for his father to make him a partner in the family's company. The rest of the family includes Michael's mother Lucille, his sister Lindsay, whom he hasn't spoken with in over a year, brother Gob, an amateur magician and finally, youngest brother Buster, who spends all of his time taking graduate classes in fields such as Native American Drumming and Cartography. But none of this bothers Michael. Because he's decided not to speak to these people anymore.
But Michael was feeling more generous on the morning of his father's retirement boat party. With his son, George Michael, he discussed the sure-to-come announcement of his promotion. After dropping his son off at the frozen banana stand his father started, Michael went to see Gob to ask for his check to cover party expenses. Gob asks why the party can't just be written off to the company. After all, Lindsay's been staying at the Four Seasons for a month and the company's probably paying for that.
Upset by both Lindsay's avoidance of him and her abuse of the company's largess, Michael goes to the hotel to tell his mother and Lindsay the company checkbook is closing. Tobias Funke, Lindsay's husband, then enters. Tobias lost his medical license for administering CPR to somebody who, in fact, was not having a heart attack.
While Michael was getting fed up with his family, George Michael was finally getting to know them in the form of his cousin Maeby. The kids discuss how they never see each other, and Maeby suggests they make out at the boat party to teach them a lesson that they need to see each other more often.
Back at the hotel, Tobias, believing that the boat party was pirate-themed because of a joke from Michael, began trying on Lindsay's blouses. Then mistaking a group of garishly-dressed men for pirates, he boarded a van full of homosexuals.
Finally, Michael's big moment came. Until the Bluth patriarch, George, puts the Bluth matriarch in charge of the company. Shoved over the breaking point, Michael decides it's time to move on. The family is about to pose for a photo when the SEC raids the ship. George Bluth calls his secretary with instructions on what to shred and what to keep. Lindsay takes command of the boat and Lucille tells Buster to find a channel to the ocean on the maps. Buster can only offer certainty that the blue part of the map is land before a panic attack sets in. The SEC hauls George Bluth away, leaving the family in turmoil.
At the police station, Tobias joins up with the family and reveals that the men on the other boat with him were not pirates, but in fact actors from the local theatre. Believing that a path has been shown to him, Tobias informs the family that's he decided to become an actor. Michael then comes out, informs the family that dad is being kept in jail, and the SEC is putting a halt on the company's expense account, which terrifies everyone.
Facing adversity, Lucille decides to put Buster in charge. This is too much for Michael, who accepts a job in Arizona with a rival development company. But when Buster discovers his academic pursuits didn't prepare him for running a big company, the family turns to Michael, begging for his help. Michael rejects their imposition, but Lindsay says he should visit their father before leaving.
Michael does indeed visit his father in jail, asking why he wasn't put in charge. George informs that he put Lucille in charge because they can't arrest a husband and wife for the same crime. Which isn't true. George curses the advice of his horrible attorneys.
At the model home, Lindsay is seeing what she can grab and sell when she comes across George Michael. He opens up his heart, saying he wished the family could see each other more often, and when Michael oversees this, he makes a decision. They're going to stay here in California, give this family thing a shot and try to save the family business.