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An Old Start

"An Old Start"
Directors: Troy Miller — Writer: Jim Valley — Aired: May 29, 2018 — Icon-image      

"An Old Start" is the fourth episode of Arrested Development's fifth season.

G.O.B. acquires a new office for the company with a "premium view". Michael gets a shock when he returns to a place that holds a lot of memories.


Michael goes to the Bluth Company to find Lucille Austero. Instead, he finds that the whole 3rd floor has been cleared out. He goes to leave but runs into G.O.B. and his new girlfriend in the elevator. He asks G.O.B. what happened with the company and finds out that they've moved to the 4th floor. G.O.B. only moved the company so that he could have his own office. G.O.B. wants to make his father proud. Michael says that maybe sons aren't meant to be close to their fathers. Maybe they need to disappear for a while and let them figure it out on their own. Michael goes home to pick up his scuba gear but finds Tobias in George Michael's old room. He's dressed as George Michael and when asked why he responds that he's just trying to find his place in the Bluth family.

Michael leaves and heads to the dock where he practices using his gear and the camera that he's gonna use to map the floor. George Michael goes to visit Maeby who is living in a senior citizen home. Maeby gets a visitor from one of Lucille's friends who ends up staying with her. George Michael doesn't know what to do about how he lied to Michael and said he was still seeing Rebel Alley. Michael swims to a beach that he hasn't been to in 30 years: the house where his wife died. He goes up and knocks on the door and Lucille answers. He discovers that the family never sold the family cottage. Michael asks if she ever wondered if he'd come out here and check and Lucille says no. Tobias is there and he's dressed as Buster. Michael asks Lucille if she has Buster. Lucille says no. Michael opens a bedroom door looking for Buster but finds G.O.B. He's spray painting an anchor. G.O.B. tells Michael that he went to a trophy store and purchased it so that he could give George Senior a whole store full of trophies. Michael tells him that he's not going to be there when G.O.B gives it to him. Michael asks G.O.B where Buster is and G.O.B mistakenly says that he knows where he is thinking that Michael is referring to his new girlfriend. Michael heads home to see George Michael after Tobias tells him that he was at the model home.

Instead of finding George Michael, he finds George Sr. George Sr tells Michael that he and Lucille aren't together. He tells Michael that Lucille is being courted. She's being courted by a guy named Dusty, who used to be part of the Newport Bay Boys, a beach gang that used to throw rocks at people who came on their beach. Michael says that it's probably nothing. George says that maybe it's his fault because he can't deliver the goods. Michael tells George Sr. about Rebel and the predicament, he's in to make him feel better. He tells his father that he has to talk to Rebel and make sure she understands that he doesn't want to see her anymore before George Michael finds out what he really said. He leaves George Sr. to continue to cry in George Michael's old bedroom.


Main Cast
  • Elaine Carroll as Jen
  • Fred Cross as Newport Bay Boy Mikey
  • Van Epperson as Nate Shop Owner
  • Hector Hugo as Building Manager
  • Cici Lau as Bev
  • Ben Levin as Deck Hand
  • Steve Witting as Derek

Recurring themes[]


  • A New Start - The episode title is a call back to the original season four episode title.
  • Matlock - The theme song to the 1980s TV show, previously referred to in "For British Eyes Only", can be heard in the retirement house where Maeby and Stan Sitwell are living.
  • Gwyneth Paltrow - Tobias quotes the actress 
  • Lunada Bay Boys - The Newport Bay Boys are based on real people: the Lunada Bay Boys have territorially defended a beach in the L.A. County town of Palos Verdes for decades and they really threw rocks at people. The Newport Bay Boys are seen clustering in a clubhouse shack, which their real-life counterparts also had until the city of Palos Verdes tore it down.
  • Transparent - Maeby lives in the same retirement complex as Judith Light’s Shelly
  • Jason Bateman's career - The man who thanks Michael for the money he got in a Cornballer settlement is played by Steve Witting, Bateman’s co-star in ’80s sitcom The Hogan Family.

Callbacks/Running Jokes[]

  • The Cornballer - The "lunch looter" in the original Austero Bluth Company office spaces shows Michael his Cornballer injury, and mentions being part of a Cornballer lawsuit against the Bluth Company.
  • Mrs. Featherbottom - Maeby tells George Michael that she tried the grey wig for her retirement home get-up, while a flashback scene shows Maeby in Mrs. Featherbottom-like clothing, realizing she looks just like her dad.
  • Rita - Lucille mentions Rita. She calls her re... and then Rita
  • Lucille doesn't care for Gob - Lucille says the cottage brings her bad memories because it's where Gob was born
  • Army - Tobias dons Buster's army uniform 
  • Bleeps 
    •  Lucille says "It was also your father's [bleep] pad
    • Gob says "How many people get a whole [bleep] trophy store?"
  • Magic marker - When Tobias portrays Buster, he used another permanent marker, as can be seen in "For British Eyes Only
  • Mishearing - Stan Sitwell calls Maeby by Lucille 2’s sister’s name, “Annette.” Maeby, thinking that he said “a net,” responds “Oh, that’s a great idea, do you think they have one?”
  • Pick a lane! - Lucille says it to Michael, referring to the fact that they didn't actually sell the cottage. This is the same expression that was used by Michael and Buster in "Family Leave".
  • Tobias plays a Bluth - Tobias plays George Michael, Tracy Bluth, and Buster.
  • Everyone gets a trophy - Gob often repeats this line, as he did in the previous episode
  • Is Tobias gay? - Several allusions are made in this episode to the fact that Tobias might be gay
    • Tobias admits that nobody was buying him as a straight man
    • While acting he says "And I can't be your father, I'm not a straight man" to Murphybrown
    • Tobias says one of his best innuendo sentence when Michael finds him in his son's room: "Not only are you finding me in your son's pants but you're also finding out how the sausage is made"
    • He later decides to play Tracy Bluth
    • He says "If I could put on my therapist leggings on for one second"
    • Tobias is trying to explain to Murphybrown who he has to play, in the confusion he says "I am...A girl!"
    • When Murphybrown doesn't know who he has to play he asks Tobias "Am I your boyfriend?"
    • Tobias says "I know 50 gentlemen who would tuck their last nut to play this part"
  • Catlike Agility - Tobias seems to have lost his catlike agility, since he can't get down the bunk bed
  • Insensitivity about Michael's wife's death - Everyone thinks that Michael’s wife left the family 
  • Chicken Dance - Gob almost performs his chicken dance when he introduces Adhir

Hidden/Background Jokes[]

  • Fourth Floor
    • Gob in this episode moves the company back up to the fourth floor, which the company previously occupied before the events of Sword of Destiny, wherein to save money on the rent the Bluth Company was moved down to the third floor and leased the top floor to another company.
  • Tobias' portrayal of George Michael 
  • Shoedini - When Michael finds Maeby at the "Spotted Palm", a Shoedini commercial is played in the background
  • Ostrich - Michael operates an unwieldy underwater mapping device 
  • Laugh - During Gob's speech a laugh similar to Amy Poheler's can be heard. She is Will Arnett's (who plays Gob) ex-wife
  • Adhir - The Bluth-Austero Company’s compliance officer is named Adhir, “adhere” is another word for “comply.”
  • Spotted Palm - The elderly get "age spots" especially on their hands. Hence spots on their palms

Foreshadowing/Future References[]

  • Father - Murphybrown says to Tobias "Why can't I just be your son?" In a later episode it is revealed that Tobias is his father.
  • Mimi - Lucille says his mother died in the cottage. How and when will be explained in "Courting Disasters"


  • Buster and Lindsay do not appear in this episode.
  • This episode doesn't feature a "On the next Arrested Development" segment.
  • The episode was originally listed as "Old Start, An".
  • If you search "" as can be seen at the end of the George Michael video, you'll end up on Netflix with this episode opened.


→ See 16 pictures from An Old Start at Images from An Old Start.



1. "Family Leave"
2. "Self-Deportation"
3. "Everyone Gets Atrophy"
4. "An Old Start"
5. "Sinking Feelings"
6. "Emotional Baggage"

7. "Rom-Traum"
8. "Premature Independence"
9. "Unexpected Company"
10. "Taste Makers"
11. "Chain Migration"
12. "Check Mates"

13. "The Untethered Sole"
14. "Saving for Arraignment Day"
15. "Courting Disasters"
16. "The Fallout"

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