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Dire Straights

"Dire Straights"
Directors: Mitch Hurwitz & Troy Miller — Writer: Jim Brandon, Mitch Hurwitz, Dean Lorey, Richard Rosenstock, Brian Singleton & Caroline Williams — Aired: May 4, 2018 — Icon-image      

"Dire Straights" was the seventeenth episode of chronological re-cut of Arrested Development's fourth season. It premiered on Netflix on May 4, 2018.

Tobias and Argyle seek funding for their musical. George Michael benefits when Michael and Lindsay's imprompty double date goes south.


George Michael has begun dating Rebel Alley and is feeling good about himself. Meanwhile, Maeby has called Lindsay to find out her relationship with Herbert Love is going. Unbeknowst to Lindsay, Maeby is being paid by Herbert Love's aide to find a prostitute for him and Lindsay is fulfilling this role. Maeby suggests that Herbert and Lindsay could have a meal at the Balboa Yacht Club, on the family account, in order to impress him.

Tobias continues his work as a therapist/musical producer at Austerity. The rehearsals for his Fantastic Four musical are progressing although Argle tells him that they will need more money to stage it. Tobias wants a Broadway level production which will cost $700,000 and Argyle thinks he could pay for it if his sister, Lucille 2, could call in some debts. However, Tobias doesn't have the rights to the Fantastic Four and DeBrie tells him that Imagine Generic, Ron Howard's company, owns them.

That evening, Lindsay arrives with Herbert Love at the restaurant. She is told that the Bluths have already been seated and she sees that Michael and Rebel are having a meal there. Lindsay and Michael greet each other, try to decide how they know each other, and they decide to act like they've never met before. At the meal, Rebel and Herbert clash due to their opposing political beliefs. Michael insults Ron Howard, as he is still unware that he is Rebel's father, not her lover. Michael excuses himself when he gets a phone call from George Michael who wants to meet up but Michael lies and pretends to be at a business meeting. Back at the table, Rebel asks Lindsay how she can support a man who is a misogynist. Rebel then gets a call from George Michael who wants to know if she's free. The meal is over and Rebel tells Michael that she must go home to look after her sick son. Michael thinks she is going to see her other boyfriend and is jealous, although he pretends not to be. He blames Lindsay for the evening's events and rips up her signature for the movie.

Michael phones back George Michael, offering to spend time with him after all but George Michael says he now has a work issue he must deal with. He is actually meeting Rebel at his dorm. Back at the restaurant, Michael bumps into Lucille 2 and Arygle. They chat and, when Lucille 2 leaves, Argyle threatens Michael and tells him to pay back his $700,000 debt to Lucille 2.

Michael returns to the model home and discovers Tobias there. G.O.B. has sold a model home to Tobias and Tobias reveals to Michael that both he and G.O.B. are dating celebrities, although he doesn't say who. Michael tells Tobias that he can either make the film and date Rebel, but he can't do both because Ron Howard will fire him if he finds out about Rebel. After hearing that Ron Howard is involved, Tobias offers to go with Michael to Imagine Entertainment to confront him although Tobias is really there to get the Fantastic Four rights.

The next day, Michael and Tobias go to the meeting and Michael tells Ron Howard once again that he doesn't have the signatures. He also tells him that he should let go of Rebel Alley but Tobias and Ron realise that Michael thinks Rebel is his lover and not his daughter. Ron says it will not affect the movie but he will make sure she never dates him again. Tobias asks for the Fantastic Four rights and when he is rejected, he tries to strangle Ron Howard.

On the next Arrested Development: Fateful Consequences... Michael gets Tobias' signature and promptly tears it up. Tobias returns to Austerity and lies, saying that he got the film rights.


Main Cast (in order of appearance)



  • Bob Glouberman as David the Aide
  • Barry Wiggins as Actor Portraying Carl Weathers
  • Andrew Secunda as Process Server
  • Greg Levine as Feinberg #1
  • John Phillips as Feinberg #2
  • Benjamin Burdick as Undercover Cop
  • Thomas Robinson as Undercover Cop Kid
  • Jill Donnelly as Ealing Club Hostess
  • Ben Harris as Ealing Club Waiter
  • Josh Trank as Process Server Bum
  • Adam Mondschein as CIA Agent Bum
  • Marla Garlin as Marla
  • Bill Johnson as Dancer #2
  • Ann Lopez as Dancer #3
  • Deb Hiett as Dancer #4
  • Kari Lee Cartwright as Dancer #5
  • John Bonny as Dancer #6
  • Daniel Amerman as Mark Cherry
  • Elise Robertson as Scarlet Letterman
  • Alan Blumenfeld as Floyd the Barber

Recurring themes[]


  • Andy Griffith Show - Ron Howard claims to refer to his all his barbers as "Floyd". Howard McNear played Floyd the barber in the Andy Griffith show. The name could also be a reference to the Nirvana song "Floyd the Barber".
  • Fantastic Four - Director Josh Trank appears as a process server who delivers Tobias a cease-and-desist order. Trank directed the 2015 Fantastic Four reboot which was a critical and commercial failure. At the time of filming, he was just rumored for the director job.

Callbacks/Running Jokes[]

  • C.W. Swappigan's - Lindsay considers taking Herbert Love here.
  • Gorilla suit - Argyle tells Michael that he can't hide in his gorilla suit. Buster was the one who wore a gorilla suit in a cover of Balboa Bay Window, as seen in "Re Cap'n Bluth".
  • Intellectual property rights - Tobias must get the rights to Fantastic 4 as Michael must do with his family.
  • "Mr. F" music - The music plays when Argyle finishes threatening Michael.
  • Parmesan cheese and mustard - Maeby prepares herself a plate of this at the model home before remembering she has money coming in and could buy something else to eat.
  • Photo booth - George Michael and Rebel Alley are in a photo booth like Rebel and Michael were, and Lindsay and Herbert Love have been.
  • Sports - George Michael is terrible at sports, seen in "Notapusy".
  • Tracey Bluth - George and Michael talk about Tracey Bluth.
  • "You're out of the movie!" - Michael tells Lindsay and later Tobias they're out of the movie.

Hidden/Background Jokes[]

  • Imagine Generic - The film company owned by Imagine Entertainment makes cheap movies so studios don't lose the rights to production.
  • Tobias is black - Tobias' middle name is revealed as Onyango. Onyango is a name used by Luo People in Kenya and Uganda. Notably, Barack Obama's father's middle name is Onyango.
  • When the limo is shown at the gas station, John Beard's broadcast about George Maharis can be seen on the TV screens.
  • Some of Argyle's threats to Michael are actually lyrics to the Fantasic Four musical.
  • After Michael and George Michael end their phone call and the narrator says that they seem to be growing less alike every day, the split-screen shows them strike identical poses and then look down at their phones at the same time.

Foreshadowing/Future References[]

  • Tobias doesn't mention the gender of the person G.O.B. is dating which is why Michael suspects he is dating Rebel Alley, and not Tony Wonder.

In Comparison to the Original Cut[]

This episode is made up from 9 episodes of the original cut of Season 4. Because the re-cut is chronological and combines the characters' stories into one narrative, new narration was recorded and there is even some additonal dialogue. These changes, as well as which scenes appear in which original episode, are listed below:

  • Recapping, new dialogue in italics
    • This exchange is new to the scene (4x8 Red Hairing)
      • Narrator: Lindsay Bluth was working for and dating the politician Herbert Love.
      • Herbert Love: I got something for you.
      • Lindsay: Perfume?
      • Narrator: Unbeknownst to her, however, the work she was doing was dating him…
      • Herbert Love: It’s my cologne. I want you to wear it. That way, if my wife smells anything on me, it’s me.
    • Maeby & David (4x12 Señoritis)
    • Lindsay & Herbert Love (4x8 Red Hairing)
    • Tobias & DeBrie: hospital, costumes on the street, DeBrie leaves (4x5 A New Start)
    • Tobias and the musical (4x9 Smashed)
      • All: (singing)… stomp all over your face.
      • [later] Tobias: DeBrie!
      • Person: Is she alright?
    • Michael & G.O.B. (4x6 Double Crossers)
    • Michael & Lucille 2 (new footage of this scene)
      • Michael: Appreciate it.
    • Michael & Rebel Alley (4x4 The B. Team)
      • Michael: I have a son. I have a son.
    • Michael & Ron Howard (4x4 The B. Team)
    • Michael & George Michael (4x1 Flight of the Phoenix)
    • Michael at the Ealing Club (4x8 Red Hairing)
    • George Michael & Rebel Alley, and the phone call (4x13 It Gets Better)
  • George Michael and Rebel Alley, Michael and Ron Howard (4x15 Blockheads)
    • Narrator: Things were looking up for George Michael. He was finally in a relationship and was feeling good.
  • Maeby & Lindsay phone call (4x12 Señoritis)
    • This exchange is extended:
      • Narrator: Maeby decided to check in with her family…
      • Maeby: (on phone) So how’s the love affair going?
      • Narrator: …business.
      • Lindsay: (on phone) It’s okay, but he always wants to do the same old thing in the same old place. The back of the limo.
      • Maeby: Well, why don't you take him out to dinner? You know, guys who are used to being charged - I mean, in charge, sometimes like it when the other person takes control. You know what I mean.
      • Lindsay: Hmm. Well, maybe I will. I’ll have to take him to Swappigans.
      • Maeby: No, no, no, no, no. How about the Balboa Yacht Club, huh?
      • Lindsay: Of course.
  • Tobias & the musical (4x9 Smashed)
    • Argyle: It’s really good. But we need some more money.
  • Tobias is homeless flashback (4x5 A New Start)
    • New caption “weeks earlier…”
    • Process server bum: Someone should remake that movie.
  • Tobias & the musical, Imagine Generic flashback (4x9 Smashed)
    • DeBrie’s “we don’t have the rights” has become “you still don’t have the rights” in the remix.
  • Lindsay & Herbert Love, Michael appears, flashback to Michael & George Sr. (4x8 Red Hairing)
    • Lindsay: I need to impress him too because I finally found someone who respects me for who I am. [In the original cut, she says “He respects me for who I am”]
  • Michael & George Michael on the phone (4x8 Red Hairing, 4x15 Blockheads)
  • Back at the table (4x8 Red Hairing)
  • George Michael & Rebel Alley on the phone (4x15 Blockheads)
  • Back at the table, Rebel leaves (4x8 Red Hairing, 4x9 Smashed)
    • Michael: Hey.
    • Rebel: Hey.
  • Michael rings George Michael (4x9 Smashed, 4x15 Blockheads)
    • This exchange is extended:
      • Michael: I have said that too.
      • George Michael: Yeah.
      • Michael: Uh, so...Well, I've got politics and producing stuff I can...
      • George Michael: Right, right. Yeah, well we’ll do it soon.
      • Michael: All right.
      • George Michael: All right, great. That’ll be perfect. Okay. Bye-bye.
      • Michael: Another time.
  • George Michael & Rebel Alley at the dorm (4x15 Blockheads)
  • Lucille 2, Argyle, & Michael (4x9 Smashed)
    • Narrator: And the chaser wanted to be a producer.
  • Tobias & Michael at the model home (4x9 Smashed)
  • At Imagine Entertainment (4x9 Smashed)
    • Ron Howard: I call all my barbers Floyd on account of it’s just easier for me.
    • Michael: Okay. I’m gonna make this quick.
  • On the next… in the elevator, Tobias lies about having the rights (4x9 Smashed)


  • Lucille and Buster don't appear in this episode.
  • The title of this episode is a reference to the 'straight' couples (Lindsay and Herbert Love, Tobias and DeBrie, Michael and Rebel Alley, George Michael and Rebel Alley) are in dire straits.