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Charity Drive

"Charity Drive"
Directors: Greg Mottola — Writer: Barbie Adler — Aired: November 30, 2003 — Icon-image      

"Charity Drive" is the fifth episode of Arrested Development's first season.

Michael and Lindsay try to prove their charitable sides to each other. G.O.B. demands George Michael's respect, and Buster continues avoiding Lucille 2.


Lindsay and Michael[]

During a heat wave, Michael discovers that his siblings have been hiding his father's Mercedes from him. Lindsay chastises him for not doing anything charitable so he picks up a woman, Helen, whom he thinks is his mother's new housekeeper Lupe. Lindsay, who has conversely been chastised by Michael decides to volunteer to clean up the wetlands. She finds herself horribly out of her comfort zone and calls Michael to pick her up. She finds her cab but forgets to call Michael, who shows up with Helen. Helen flees and Michael goes to the Save the Wetlands Bachelorette Auction to support his mother. He sees that Lindsay, sunburnt and in ill-shape, did try to be charitable and saves her from humiliation by bidding $1,000 on her.

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G.O.B. and George Michael[]

When Michael finds that G.O.B. has been hiding the family car and taking free frozen bananas from the Banana Stand he tells him off in front of George Michael. When Kitty tells Michael that George never filed some building permits, George tells Michael to have G.O.B. break into the Permit Office to misfile them. Michael asks his brother, who demands Michael tell George Michael to respect his uncle. He also gives up animation rights for his newly invented Mr. Bananagrabber character. After chipping a tooth on a carmel apple, he whistles when he speaks and blows his cover at the permit office. He delegates the task to George Michael and Maeby. They are caught by security guards but George Michael lets Maeby escape so he can take the heat.

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Buster and the Lucilles[]

Lucille prepares for the Save the Wetlands Bachelorette Auction and instructs Buster to bid $10,000 on her so she can show-up her social rival Lucille Austero. Lucille 2 has been waiting for Buster to make a romantic gesture toward her, but he is terrified of her so he has been hiding. Lucille tries to lure Lucille 2 away from the auction with The Producers tickets but when Buster refuses to call her back she decides to go to the auction. Buster, running late, runs into the auction when he hears the word "Lucille" and bids $10,000 on the wrong Lucille.


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  • Mel Gorham as Helen Maria Delgado
  • Jerry Douglas as M.C.
  • James Howell as Cop
  • Bruno Oliver as Guard
  • Robert Neches as Investor
  • Robert Isaac Lee as Worker #1
  • Christopher Gehrman as Worker #2
  • Claudia Schiffer as Balboa Towers Guard

Recurring Themes[]

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  • Going up the Country - This song by Canned Heat plays when Lindsay's volunteer group is getting on the bus.

Callbacks/Running Jokes[]

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  • Mr. Bananagrabber - This is the first mention and appearance of the Banana Stand mascot, Mr. Bananagrabber. He is also mentioned several more times during this episode. The character does make other background appearances as the show progresses, and the program can be heard playing again in the background of Oscar's trailer in "Whistler's Mother". Mr. Bananagrabber is also shown in George Michael's Election video in "The Immaculate Election" and on the intro to Scandalmakers in "Spring Breakout".
    • G.O.B. suggests Michael create Mr. Bananagrabber in his image, which indeed he does. Not only does Mr. Bananagrabber have a segway, but the hairstyle and shirt bears a clear resemblance to G.O.B. Mr. Bananagrabber also whistles when pronouncing the letter "S," as G.O.B. does in this episode.
  • Charity Auction - This episode marks the first Charity Auction for the Clubhouse. The second one appears in "Burning Love", and much like this episode, the events play out in a similar way.
  • "From whence it came" - This is G.O.B.'s second use of the phrase "from whence it came," first used in "Top Banana".
  • Horse's Ass - After G.O.B. tells his father he sent George-Michael and Maeby to sneak into the permit office, the elder Bluth hits him and says "You horse's ass!" George Sr. would also call Tobias a "horse's ass" in the episode "Motherboy XXX".
  • Whistle - This is the first episode where G.O.B. suffers an injury to his teeth that causes him to whistle. This later happens again in the Season Two episode "Switch Hitter".
  • The Spanish Language - As Michael drives the woman he believes to be Lucille's new housekeeper to her home, she attempts to communicate with him in fractured English, trying to say she is 'scared'. Michael misinterprets this, however, and thinks she is saying 'izquierdo' [sic], which he thinks means 'left turn'. The Spanish word 'izquierda' means 'left.' This is also mirrored in the episode "The One Where They Build a House" when George, Sr., not knowing the Spanish word for brother, tries to explain to the Mexican police that they are really looking for his brother, whom he refers to as "brothero."
  • Ladies of Literacy - The schedule for the Mercedes is kept on a calendar featuring women seductively posing with literary classics. Lindsay posed for the calendar.
  • Selfish Michael - G.O.B. calls Michael "selfish Michael," using the same tone he uses in Flight of the Phoenix to call him "Stupid, forgetful Michael."

Hidden/Background Jokes[]

  • Lindsay is seen wearing a T-shirt for Neuter Fest ’98. "Neuter Fest" had previously been mentioned by Lindsay in "Key Decisions".
  • When G.O.B. buys a candied apple, the store has a sign that reads “Proprietor not responsible for dental damage.” G.O.B. later loses a tooth and he starts whistling when he talks. Another sign can be seen in the background that says another stand offers frozen bananas.
  • G.O.B. chips his tooth because he ordered his candy apple double-dipped. This is not shown. However, he says "You should call this a 'G.O.B.', guy.", and the apple has two handle sticks. In the earlier scene where Michael told George Michael not to give G.O.B. any more bananas, forcing G.O.B. to switch to candy apples, G.O.B. ordered his frozen banana double dipped with everything on it, and called it a "G.O.B.", and George Michael had to use two sticks to support the extra weight.
  • Buster states that his archaeological dig found what appears to be Pterodactyl while it obviously appears to be a humanoid.
  • Just after Buster bids on the wrong Lucille, a person dressed in a suit with a gecko head and hands appears in the background unexplained.

Foreshadowing/Future References[]

  • Buster's rock - Buster leaves various items from his archaeological dig in the car, notably a giant rock, which becomes an important plot point in a later episode, "My Mother, The Car".
  • Exit Strategy - When Lupe is cleaning the penthouse, Lucille realises that Lupe won't be able to get out of the room without tracking dirt through it, and says to Lupe "Tell me you've got an exit strategy!" "Exit Strategy" later became the title of a Season Three episode (Lucille also says "Good Grief" in this episode).


→ See more quotes from "Charity Drive" at Transcript of Charity Drive.


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  • Although this episode was broadcast as the fifth episode of the season, it was made as the sixth episode (and appears on the DVD as the sixth episode, too). Technically, while there's no lack of continuity, this episode should go AFTER "Visiting Ours", as Kitty is in both episodes, but receives a more in-depth introduction in Visiting Ours.
  • The title refers to both a charity event and transportation. This relates to the episode as charity is a running theme throughout it, and the storyline heavily revolves around a car.
  • Tobias does not appear in this episode, except in newspaper photographs.
  • This is the first time Lupe appears in the show, replacing one-time character Luz as Lucille's maid.
  • As G.O.B. drives his father's car out of the Balboa Towers apartment complex, he notices the beautiful gate attendant and begins to perform magic tricks to impress her. Though uncredited, the gate attendant is played by super model Claudia Schiffer.
  • This episode is rated TV-PG-L.


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  • Human Skull - The prop used for Buster's archaeological dig is a porcelain copy of a Homo erectus skull which Buster breaks with a distinct porcelain sound. A real fossil would not likely be hollow. More importantly Homo erectus lived approximately between 1.4 million to 300,000 years ago throughout Africa, Asia, Parts of Europe and some Pacific islands. There has never been evidence of Homo erectus in The Americas and any such discovery would be a major scientific find. According to current scientific knowledge, Homo sapiens is the first and only homonid species to inhabit the Americas and arrived between 15,000-12,000 years ago.
  • DVD Mistake - The synopsis for this episode on the DVD incorrectly states that G.O.B. mistakenly bids $10,000 on the wrong Lucille, when it was in fact Buster who did so.
  • The Mercedes-Benz W126 S-Class seen in the flashback to 1982 appears to be the same car used in the rest of the episode,as well as later episodes, despite being a second generation 1986-1991 model, as indicated by the headlamp wipers.
  • When the narrator references Tobias leaving the car at the airport, a newspaper clip of the incident is shown. The first clip shows the picture of Tobias with the caption: "Actor" Tobias Funke. When it pulls back to reveal the whole article, however, the caption has been reduced to Tobias Funke and the "Actor" has been moved to the headline.


→ See more images from "Charity Drive" at Category:Images from Charity Drive.


1. "Pilot"
2. "Top Banana"
3. "Bringing Up Buster"
4. "Key Decisions"
5. "Charity Drive"
6. "Visiting Ours"
7. "In God We Trust"
8. "My Mother, the Car"

  9. "Storming the Castle"
10. "Pier Pressure"
11. "Public Relations"
12. "Marta Complex"
13. "Beef Consommé"
14. "Shock and Aww"
15. "Staff Infection"
16. "Altar Egos"

17. "Justice Is Blind"
18. "Missing Kitty"
19. "Best Man for the Gob"
20. "Whistler's Mother"
21. "Not Without My Daughter"
22. "Let 'Em Eat Cake"

Season OneSeason TwoSeason ThreeSeason FourSeason Five