Arrested Development

Season 1 Episode 20

Whistler's Mother

5
Aired Unknown Apr 11, 2004 on Netflix
9.1
out of 10
User Rating
318 votes
2

EPISODE REVIEWS
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Episode Summary

EDIT
Michael deals with numerous requests for some unfrozen money, and chastises Lucille for being too coddling with Buster. Also, Lindsay decides to protest the war to boost her self esteem, Tobias and Gob decide to start a coffee company.

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • "Oh, but give me an old pro like a Robert Redford. Oh, I'd jump into bed with him in a second."

    8.2
    It feels weird to say that I found this episode of "Arrested Development" to be one of it's worst to date. Why do I feel weird? Because it was still fantastic. The worst episodes of "Arrested Development" still out-run most show's best episodes. I'm not sure why I didn't like this episode as much... one hand, we get the introduction of a great character: Oscar Bluth, George's brother, also played by Jeffrey Tambor, albeit in a much different way. On the other hand, too much of the episode was dedicated to easy jokes, whether it was Oscar's weird farting or the board members blowing the whistles on each other, literally most of the time.



    The episode is mostly about Michael coming into some money and wanting to buy land with it so he can build more model homes. He believes this is the best thing for the company. Meanwhile, it appears Oscar, George Sr.'s twin, has returned to town and George Sr. wants Michael to give him some money to make him go away. However, it turns out that Oscar has a ton of land that he is sitting on, and Michael sees it as a perfect opportunity to kill two birds with one stone: pay Oscar for the land and build new homes. However, it turns out that Oscar's land is useless, as it's owned by the Army, so Michael essentially pays Oscar for land that has tanks roaming across it all the time.



    Michael's not the only person attempting to make new financial leaps. Tobias and Gob want to take a little bit of the company money and invest it in a company. They decide to create Gobias Industries, which is a coffee shop or something? I never really figured it out, and for all the work that the two did on their plan, I don't think they figured it out either. For me, it was a plot that never went anywhere, and after the episode ends, it seems like the writers didn't really know what to do with it either, as they leave it by the wayside.



    Lindsey, meanwhile, for the umpteenth time, tries getting back to her volunteer roots and once again fails, this time protesting against the war, not because she hates war but instead because her hair stylist got called to Iraq. It's a pretty funny plot with a great payoff involving Lucille, but for the most part, it doesn't really go anywhere.



    That being said, the episode itself just felt like it was missing something, or perhaps it just wasn't that important to the overall story, save for introducing Oscar Bluth into the mix. I'll admit, I love the work Tambor does here; the difference between Oscar and George Sr. is evident beyond just physical looks. Tambor plays them both differently, and it's fun to watch.



    It's not as if I dislike this episode, it simply wasn't my favorite.moreless
  • Twins do run in the family

    9.3
    This episode is crucial to the series as it introduces George Sr’s twin brother, Oscar and also opens up a lot of unanswered questions about the character that could be useful later such as:



    What is the history between Oscar and Lucille?



    What is so bad about his past that the family hide Oscar’s existence from Maeby and George Michael?



    How much does he sell that lemonade for?



    Gobias Industries is one of the funniest gags in the episode and shows the true genius of Tobias and Gob.



    Lindsay’s plot may be my favourite, if only for the final scene with Lucille driving past stating that that girl didn’t have a good mother.



    Overall, this episode is very useful and also keeps people in suspense about the character of Oscar.moreless
Jeffrey Tambor

Jeffrey Tambor

George Bluth Sr. / Oscar Bluth

Portia de Rossi

Portia de Rossi

Lindsay Bluth Fünke

David Cross

David Cross

Tobias Fünke

Ron Howard

Ron Howard

Narrator

Jason Bateman

Jason Bateman

Michael Bluth

Jessica Walter

Jessica Walter

Lucille Bluth

Dave 'Gruber' Allen

Dave 'Gruber' Allen

Activist

Guest Star

Brian Gattas

Brian Gattas

Alex

Guest Star

Peter Jason

Peter Jason

Mr. Jordan

Guest Star

Charlie Hartsock

Charlie Hartsock

Ted

Recurring Role

Amy Poehler

Amy Poehler

Gob's Wife

Recurring Role

Michael Bartel

Michael Bartel

Young Michael

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

FILTER BY TYPE

  • TRIVIA (5)

    • In the "On the next Arrested Development" gag, Lindsay's statement "I want to be... a cage dancer" (and subsequent giggle) is an echo of Tobias's declaration that he wants to be an actor (with the same giggle) in the pilot episode.

    • When Oscar receives a call just before Lucille visits, a character on Oscar's television can be heard saying "Look! A seagull!", which is a line from the Mr. Banana-Grabber cartoon. Gob gave up the animation rights to Mr. Banana-Grabber in the episode "Charity Drive".

    • Protestors's signs:
      -"Freedom".
      -"Where are the weapons of mass destruction?".
      -"You can take away our stylists... but you can't take away our STYLE!".
      -"War is SEXIST!".
      -"War is RACIST!".
      -"Free speech!".
      -"Larger free speech zone!".
      -"Free Jacko!".

    • When Lindsay is protesting, one of the protesters is the same protester from the pilot and the storming the castle episode, namely a homosexual with a boa and a freedom sign.

    • When Lucille visits Oscar in the supposed lemon grove, buildings and golf carts can be seen over her shoulder.

  • QUOTES (14)

    • Tobias: Well, Lindsay, could you use it over there? I'm trying to grow.
      Lindsay: Yeah. Well, it's clear that's not going to happen.

    • Tobias: Well, I've always wanted to remake Annie Hall. Except, I wouldn't want to get in bed with a green producer like a Sofia Coppola, though. Oh, but give me an old pro like a Robert Redford. Oh, I'd jump into bed with him in a second. And I wouldn't just lie there, Michael Bluth, if that's what you're thinking.
      Michael: Actually, that time, that was what I was thinking.

    • Tobias: I just need to prove to my wife that I can act like a man. And it's not about sex. I don't just lie there, if that's what you're thinking.
      Michael: That's not what I was thinking.

    • Michael: Ok, there's still three whistles left out there. Whose got the whistles?
      Board Member #1: (blows whistle) He kept one.
      Michael: There's a good example of whistle blowing, ok, but you've kept yours, so it's hurting your case.
      Board Member #1: I was in the bathroom when you asked for it back.
      Board Member #2: (blows whistle) No, he wasn't.

    • Michael: Well, this money is for land, okay? We're not going to burn through it like Dad did when he was in charge with his bad investments and his corrupt dealings ... Mother's neck ...
      Lindsay: No, that was a good investment.
      Michael: It is easier to look at now, isn't it?

    • Lindsay: All your water's doing is whetting my appetite for protest. No hair for oil! No hair for oil!

    • Lucille: It's a hug, Michael; I'm hugging you.
      Michael: Well, why?
      Lucille: Because you need your mother right now.
      Michael: But I don't get along with my ... Sorry, that was - that was a knee jerk.

    • Lucille: Buster's jaw clicks when he eats. I think it's what's driving his friends away. I sent him to Canada for an operation, so I'll need some of that new money that just came in.
      Michael: You know, Mom, if you want an operation that's really going to help him, you ought to have them finally cut that cord.

    • George Sr.: Michael, this is my brother. Do you know what it's like to have a sibling who has no source of income except for you?
      Michael: Just one? No, no idea. It sounds wonderful, though.

    • Lindsay: I'm protesting the war. There's a war going on, you know.
      Maeby: Yeah. I'm the one who told you, and you said it happened ten years ago.

    • Michael: Is this about the money?
      Gob: No.
      Michael: What do you want?
      Gob: I mean, it's not about money in the sense that I'm coming here saying, "Here, Michael. Take some money." It's just more of a "may I have some" kind of visit.

    • Maeby: It all adds up. He stole somebody's hair, made a wig, knocked out the guard, tunneled his way through a sewer line, and then stopped to get a candy apple on his way to Mexico!
      George Michael: Of course! You're mocking me.
      Maeby: Of course.

    • Gob's Wife: I'm in love with your brother-in-law.
      Gob: You're in love with your own brother? The one in the army?
      Gob's Wife: No, your sister's husband.
      Gob: Michael? Michael!
      Gob's Wife: No, that's your sister's brother.
      Gob: No, I'm my sister's brother. You're in love with me - me.
      Gob's Wife: I'm in love with Tobias.
      Gob: My brother-in-law?
      Gob's Wife: I know it can never be, so I'm leaving. I'm enlisting in the army.
      Gob: To be with your brother ...
      Gob's Wife: No!

    • Lucille: Why have we been spending so much money on whistles?

  • NOTES (4)

  • ALLUSIONS (3)

    • The episode title is a reference to James McNeill Whistler's 1871 painting Arrangement in Grey and Black: Portrait of the Painter's Mother, which has come to be more commonly known as "Whistler's Mother".

    • n/a: Passion of the Crust
      The bagel place name is an obvious reference to the then recent (Spring 2004) movie The Passion of the Christ.

    • n/a: On the next Arrested Development
      The scene from the "On the next Arrested Development" gag featuring Oscar outside Lucille's house is a spoof of the movie Say Anything...

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