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For British Eyes Only

"For British Eyes Only"
Directors: John Fortenberry — Writer: Mitchell Hurwitz & Richard Day — Aired: September 26, 2005 — Icon-image      

"For British Eyes Only" is the second episode of Arrested Development's third season.

Investigating his father's claim that a British group set him up, Michael goes to "Wee Britain" and is smitten with a beautiful woman named Rita. Lindsay attempts to seduce the new family attorney, and G.O.B. goes to extremes to avoid his newly discovered son.


Michael Bluth and George Michael Bluth are having a last chance camp-out in the cabin before it is due to be moved. While they are sleeping, a returning George drives the cabin away for use as an escape vehicle. When he catches up with his father, Michael doesn't return his father to prison, but instead arranges for him to be placed under house arrest. Michael visits the penthouse and Lucille informs him about her reinvigorated sex life thanks to the reappearance of her husband, but they are interrupted as G.O.B. enters with one of his illusion props, a giant cage.

G.O.B. describes his plan for the 'Free Bird' trick, planned as an attempt to entertain his father, but Michael tries to get G.O.B. to spend more time with his newly discovered son, Steve Holt. Meanwhile, Tobias has painted G.O.B.-like hair on his head with permanent pen in an attempt to convince G.O.B. that he should be the look-alike for the performance of the illusion.

After briefly escaping from Lucille's clutches, George explains his plans for his trial to Michael, and Michael tells his father that he should plead guilty. George claims that he was set up by British builders in regard to his involvement in building houses in Iraq. After Michael's family make fun of him for his lack of a love life, he sets off to find evidence for George's claim that the Brits are involved in his predicament, and if he doesn't find any, he tells them that they will be pleading guilty.

Lindsay tries to argue with Michael that her getting a new car would be a fair exchange cost-wise for her dropping the divorce case with Tobias, but Michael instead gives her the cabin car, much to her chagrin.

Michael drives to the British district of Orange County, named "Wee Britain", in order to check records. As he is not British, Michael is turned down for inspecting the records and he also misses the chance to pick up the records in exchange for a bribe.

Michael enters a pub across the street, and happens across the beautiful Rita. Upon finding out that she is British, he tries to employ her in order to access the files that would shed light upon his father's involvement in Iraq. Michael misses gaining access to the files due to the records office working on GMT, but he does arrange a date with Rita. As Michael drives away from Wee Britain, he calls Lindsay in order to gloat that he has a date, but the call is interrupted by a man in a convertible car swerving into the stair car. The man (Trevor) threatens him with regard to his interaction with Rita. He misinterprets the threat, thinking it has to do with the search for information regarding his father.

Michael returns to the Bluth Company office. G.O.B. is conflicted over his feelings about his son, Steve Holt, and Michael starts to believe that he is being set up by his father. Michael visits George, who denies that he set up his son, and then goes to cancel his date with Rita at her school. George tries to convince G.O.B. to include him in his illusion in order to escape before the trial, and Tobias has had hair plugs implanted in his head in order to look more like G.O.B. for possible use as his double in the illusion, but his scalp is bleeding horribly from the treatment.

As the family arrive at the courthouse for George's trial, G.O.B. is performing his illusion, now renamed 'Free Chicken'. Steve Holt and G.O.B. bond over their mutual love for magic. Tobias has now managed to involve himself in the illusion. During the confusion George tries to escape but Lucille uses a taser to stop him. In court, Michael pleads not guilty on behalf of his father. Rita turns up at the courthouse, and Michael decides to be brave and asks her out on another date, and goes back for a kiss. Rita joins the threatening Trevor in his car and they drive away.


  • Harry Hamlin as Himself
  • Clinton Leupp as Coco
  • Rory Johnston as Ian
  • Golde Starger as Lionel's Mum
  • Steve Stapenhorst as Judge

Recurring themes[]


  • Banner - While G.O.B. is performing his illusion in front of the court house, he finally found a way around the copyrighted Free Bird name and a large banner reading "Free Chicken" can be seen behind him.
  • Brad Garrett - Michael tells George that "you're a regular Brad Garrett." Brad Garrett had won an Emmy for his work in Everybody Loves Raymond over Jeffrey Tambor's performance as George Bluth shortly before this episode aired.
  • Britain - The introductions of Wee Britain and British characters lead to various allusions to British culture.
    • Accent - George was confused in his business dealings by the British accent as he claims that "they're polite and the men all sound gay." Later on, Michael fails to realize Rita's mental retardation due to the masking capabilities of her accent in "The Ocean Walker" episode.
    • Background - In Wee Britain, a Hackney carriage, a red telephone box, a contemporary London bus stop, typical British school uniforms, a sign for the "London Tube," a hotel referencing The Strand, a MINI Cooper (also a callback to Tobias' Mrs. Featherbottom driving a properly British car in "Meat the Veals"), and a Routemaster tourist bus, can all be seen in the background. Also, Michael is almost hit by a blue MGB at the crosswalk, and Trevor drives a red Austin-Healey 3000, both British cars.
    • BBC Footage is seen from "WeeBBC," a variation on the British Broadcasting Corporation, the show's UK broadcaster.
    • British comedy - There is a Monty Python-esque exchange in the pub regarding the soup of the day.
    • Britishisms - Michael embarrasses himself with attempts at British turns of phrase, which are mostly in the Shakespearean vein. "Ponce" and "bloody" are also heard being uttered. Michael later shows his pick-up of British slang in "Notapusy." These remarks make Michael seem strangely similar to Tobias.
    • Greenwich Mean Time - Wee Britain runs on GMT, which prevents Michael from accessing the records office there.
    • IRA - Television news reporter suggests that attack on Michael by the Mary Poppin puppet may be a work of itsy-bitsy Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) members.
    • James Bond - The title of this episode is derived from that of the James Bond movie For Your Eyes Only, and the Sheena Easton song of the same name, whose melody is heard several times in the episode. The unusual ending of this episode states that "Michael Bluth will return in "Forget-Me-Now"," the next episode, which is a reference to the ending of 60's James Bond movies. This motif is continued in both "Notapusy" and "Mr. F".
    • Lanes - The road lanes swap from right to left once one enters Wee Britain.
    • Telephone code - The telephone number that Trevor instructs Michael to call from his car includes the 0 11 44 code that is necessary in order to call the UK from America.
    • Wee Britain - First a play on Great Britain, the title of the area is in the style of naming small nationality-specific enclaves in large cities as "Little Italy" etc., as well as it possibly being a play on the title of the British comedy Little Britain which uses a similar wordplay.
    • The Yellow Fang Pub - This is in regard to the stereotype of substandard British dentistry. Bad breath of Britons is referred to by both Michael and George.
  • Donald Rumsfeld - Rumsfeld's being pictured with Saddam Hussein is cited as an example that interacting with Hussein does not necessarily end your career.
  • Eve Arden - The red Eve Arden style wig is the first that Tobias tries on in the costume shop.
  • Free Bird - G.O.B. intends to call his illusion this but is unable to get the rights to it, presumably because of its fame as a Lynyrd Skynyrd song title. In a deleted scene, they send a fax complaining that they "done copywrit" the title (although it would, strictly speaking, be a trademark).
  • Jack the Ripper - Michael's stumbling attempts at offering Rita money in order for her to get the records he needs results in him comparing himself to Jack the Ripper and his murdering of prostitutes.
  • L.A. Law - Harry Hamlin appears as the opposing counsel, paid off as a presence in much the same tactic as George tried to employ Andy Griffith.
  • Lincoln - Michael tells Lindsay that her new car (the cabin car) is "more like a Lincoln," using the ambiguity of referring to both the Lincoln Logs toy cabin and the Lincoln car.
  • Mary Poppins - The "Merry Poppuns" tourist attraction in Wee Britain references the Mary Poppins character.
  • Matlock - George tries to employ Andy Griffith as a background presence in the courtroom with the aim of endorsing his side of the trial with some form of gravitas. His fee is mentioned as being $100,000, a direct reference to the show. Narrator Ron Howard also starred in The Andy Griffith Show when he was younger.
  • The O.C. - Michael says "don't call it that" when George refers to builders operating outside "the O.C.," which refers to another Fox program which used the term, short for "Orange County," as a title.
  • Seinfeld - George tries to explain away his encounter with Saddam Hussein as a confusion in believing that Hussein was the Soup Nazi character from Seinfeld.

Callbacks/Running Jokes[]

  • Belt - Michael and G.O.B. suggest that George is going to strangle himself with his belt. G.O.B. tried to hang himself with his belt in "Sad Sack".
  • Blue Man Group - George is seen in his Blue Man make-up.
  • Candy Beans - Michael's "whole thing of candy beans" follows the product's mention in "Switch Hitter". He later comforts himself with the same food in "The Ocean Walker".
  • Chicken Dance - George Sr introduces his "coo-coo-ka-cha" chicken dance, and Lindsay, Lucille, and G.O.B. reprise theirs. Michael again expresses his disbelief at the chicken impressions, a reaction previously seen in "Ready, Aim, Marry Me". Michael's later (credible) rendition is only considered apt by Lindsay once it is enhanced by his surprised squawk as Trevor tries to ram into the staircar. Tobias also offers up his chicken impression while in the illusion cage.
  • Come On!
    • G.O.B. utters the common phrase upon his too-late attempt to join in with the family chicken dance.
    • George says the phrase when he sees Tobias' new hair plugs.
  • Have a type - Michael says that Buster "certainly [has] a type" after Buster says he likes the turtles' leathery, snapping faces. G.O.B. says the same thing about Michael's dates in "Shock and Aww".
  • Hop-ons - The ongoing warnings of the staircar's susceptibility to hop-ons now transfer to the cabin car's vulnerability to "live-ins."
    • In the "Previously on Arrested Development segment," it is implied that George hopped-on the staircar to get to the cabin.
  • Horny - Lucille tells Michael that "Mama horny, Michael," which expands upon George's similar line in "Visiting Ours". Rita would later attempt to copy this line in "The Ocean Walker".
  • "No touching!" - Michael shouts "More touching!" as a rampant Lucille jumps upon a reluctant George The phrase originates from the visiting room scenes during George's time in prison in Season 1.
  • "No. I love it." - When G.O.B. asks Steve Holt if he likes magic, Steve’s response of “No, I love it” parallels Carl Weathers’s response to Lucille 2 about ham in "Marta Complex".
  • Pennies illusion - G.O.B.'s continual attempts at showering pennies from his sleeves, as first seen in "The One Where Michael Leaves" make another appearance in this episode. This time his first effort only results in a dove flying out of his sleeve, but later on in the episode, the trick is successfully (albeit mistakenly) performed during the Free Chicken illusion. Tobias also attempts the trick by throwing a handful of pennies while trying to convince G.O.B. that he would make a suitable lookalike. The pennies trick failure is continued in "Making a Stand".
  • Merry Poppuns - The Merry Poppuns tourist attraction knocks Michael over for the first time.
  • "The most beautiful woman he'd ever seen" - The narrator uses this phrase to describe Michael's reaction to Rita. According to the narrator, Michael and Buster had exactly the same reaction to Marta in "Key Decisions" and "Marta Complex".
  • Michael the Murderer - During his conversations with Rita, Michael makes a number of references to murder and Jack the Ripper. The first referencing of Michael being a murderer appears in "Charity Drive".
  • Is Tobias gay? - Numerous jokes are made in this episode about Tobias' questionable sexuality.
    • Regarding G.O.B.'s illusion (which G.O.B. has described as "a spectacular protest — a protest-acular"), Tobias says "I so very much would like to be in your prostate-icular," as in prostate-tickler.
    • Tobias says that he is "buy-curious" (obviously pronounced "bi-curious") while in the costume shop, and he also misses the double meaning of 'TV' while in conversation with the sales clerk. She uses it to refer to transvestites.
    • Tobias wears a woman's 'bob' wig mistakenly believing that 'bob' refers to the male name, rather than to the woman's hair style.
    • Tobias expresses a wish to "taste those meaty leading man parts in my mouth" during the prep for G.O.B.'s illusion.
    • Lupe calls him "Mister Gay" after expressing alarm due to his bleeding head.
    • Chicken beak - The costume beak G.O.B. acquires for his illusion has a prominent wattle that resembles testicles. When G.O.B. first wears it, Tobias is seen with a delighted grin; later, when Tobias is wearing the beak in the cage, the fake wattle hangs down over his mouth.
  • Tracy Bluth - When Lindsay mocks Michael for not even speaking with his wife "near the end," he responds, "A lot of that was the coma."
  • "What is wrong with me?" - Michael silently mouths the phrase while walking away from Rita, as previously seen with Maggie Lizer in "Hand to God".
  • Winking - Lucille's exaggerated wink, this time regarding her reinvigorated sex life, returns after appearances in "Pilot" and "The One Where Michael Leaves", as well as Michael's interpretation of the wink in "Afternoon Delight". It would later be done again by Lindsay and Rita in "The Ocean Walker".
  • Tobias plays a Bluth - Tobias plays G.O.B. in order to appear in his magic tr... illusion

Hidden/Background Jokes[]

  • Andy Griffith - The narrator emphasizes that no one was trying to make fun of Andy Griffith. This refers to Ron Howard's performance as Opie alongside Andy Griffith in The Andy Griffith Show.
  • Fat Ammy's - As Michael is talking to Rita there is a sign behind them advertising "Fat Ammy's American Style Restaurant," continuing the dig at overweight Americans begun in the clerk's office.
  • Head shot - Tobias’s headshot is captioned “No reality” which overtly indicates his unwillingness to act in reality shows, but ironically indicates his denial of reality.
    • This head shot later becomes the official head shot Tobias hands out to people, replacing the "tennis player" shot first seen in "Visiting Ours".
  • Jason Bateman - Michael tries to argue that he looks kind of British in order to gain access to the files. Jason Bateman has referred to his British heritage in interviews, specifically during his April 8, 2004, The Daily Show With Jon Stewart visit.
  • Merry Poppuns - The Merry Poppuns sign in the background reads, "Please stay off my landing port...I'm not the tourist killing sort... But if you have a working girl to kill... Please let her stay and I'll do my will", continuing the references to Jack the Ripper.
    • A sign in the background adds more information: “Ms. Poppuns is an original creation of Wee Britain and is in no way meant to invoke the character of the popular novel, musical or stage show ‘Mary Poppins.’ Our Ms. Poppuns has neither the trade-markable qualities of being a nanny nor the power of flight, but instead is a cleaning woman who transports herself with the aid of a guide wire and a sturdy cane as she fights the likes of Jack the Ripper every weekday at quarter past and half after every odd Greenwich mean hour.”
  • Mistaken Allusion - G.O.B. again refers to his magic tricks as "illusions" as he has done ever since "Pilot". However, he immediately afterwards refers to it as a trick, which as he stated in the "Pilot" "is something a whore does for money...or candy!" ("or cocaine" replaced "or candy" in the extended Pilot.
  • Saddam Hussein - A photograph shows George, shaking hands with Saddam Hussein in 1998. Saddam’s apron is subtitled “You’ll take it the way I make it.”

Foreshadowing/Future References[]

  • Banjo - Michael mentions that there is a banjo in the cabin, as later seen being played by Rita in "Mr. F".
  • Cage - This episode sets up that G.O.B. must move his cage into Buster's room, something that is important for the storyline of the later episode "Prison Break-In".
  • Rita - The clues to Rita's secret start in this episode.
    • The narrator says that if George Michael and Maeby were to have a child, it would be stupid, which foreshadows the reveal of Rita's parents being cousins in "The Ocean Walker".
    • George Michael says "I have a stupid girl problem." Michael tells George Michael that "I don't even have a girl, much less a stupid one."
    • Rita's name sounds suspiciously similar to the slang term "retard" when said with a British accent.
    • Rita is wearing overly strange clothes, including a duck backpack, an unusual hat, and a smiley face sticker on her top.
    • Rita says that "I like to think they teach me" when she talks about her attendance at Slowbrooke School. When Michael asks her if the kids misbehave, she says "Oh no, not when I'm there" and assures him she's very good.
    • When Michael uses the word "impugn," Rita mouths it along with him, as if she doesn't understand it.
    • Rita laughs like a child when Michael is hit by the Poppuns.
    • When Michael asks Rita if he can pick her up tomorrow, she says that she can "sneak out at nap time."
    • Trevor threatens Michael with "how would you like someone going after some stupid person in your family?"
    • Rita is fingerpainting with the children rather than overseeing them, and tells Michael that she'll make him blue, referring to the paint on her fingers rather than to the emotion. All shots in this scene show that Michael cannot see the 'blue' on her hand.
    • In "The Ocean Walker", we later learn that Rita owns Wee Britain, hence the illogical ideas in its design.
    • The episode ends with the narrator saying, "For, you see, Rita had a secret of her own."
  • Rohypnol - G.O.B. offers Bluth Company employee Tom a "vitamin," presumably a Forget-Me-Now (pill) as featured in "Forget-Me-Now", as a way of getting Tom to forget that Steve Holt was G.O.B.'s son.
  • Turtle - Buster says that he would like a pet turtle in this episode, something he finally got in "Prison Break-In".
  • Bombshell - George asks his son if he's "ready for the bombshell," i.e. George's claim that he was a patsy set up by a British syndicate to build houses in Iraq. This claim is confirmed to be true in "Exit Strategy" through the discovery of recording device disguised as a bombshell.
  • Soup Nazi - George says he mistook Saddam Hussein for the actor who played the Soup Nazi on Seinfeld. That actor, Larry Thomas, would later play the real Saddam Hussein, with the scarred forehead, in "Exit Strategy".


→ See more quotes from "For British Eyes Only" at Transcript of For British Eyes Only.


  • This episode marks the first appearances of Charlize Theron as Rita, and Dave Thomas as Trevor, in their five episode run.
  • Harry Hamlin appears as himself impersonating a lawyer, referencing his role on L.A. Law.
  • Lupe is seen working as Lucille's maid again, despite having been fired in "The Immaculate Election". There is currently no explanation of how she got her job back.
  • This episode begins with a "Previously on Arrested Development" segment, which mostly contains scenes that didn't actually appear in the previous episode, but does not have an "On the next Arrested Development" segment at the end.
  • Maeby does not appear in this episode (aside from a brief clip at the start, though this is just footage from the "Righteous Brothers" episode).
  • The title is a spoof on For Your Eyes Only, a James Bond film, as well as picking up the clerk's line that the records in Wee Britain were for "British eyes only." "For British Eyes Only" is also the name (and the only lyric) of the James Bond parody song that played throughout this episode.
  • This episode begins a run of episodes referencing the James Bond series of films, as continued in "Forget-Me-Now", "Notapusy" and "Mr. F". The spoofing of the Bond films is evident in the episode titles, vocal and instrumental music cues, and the gun barrel shot at the end of the episode accompanied by the subtitle "Michael Bluth will return in..."
  • This episode has also been known as "The British Bombshell", as it was originally titled this in early press releases.
  • The episode features six chicken impressions, by George Sr, Lucille and Lindsay, who all dance together. G.O.B. runs to get his chicken mask and does his dance, but no one sees it. Michael and Tobias also do chicken impressions, though no dance is included. Michael is the only member of the family to do an accurate chicken impression.
  • The episode does not feature a single scene set in the model home.


→ See 91 pictures from For British Eyes Only at Images from For British Eyes Only.

1. "The Cabin Show"
2. "For British Eyes Only"
3. "Forget-Me-Now"
4. "Notapusy"
5. "Mr. F"

6. "The Ocean Walker"
7. "Prison Break-In"
8. "Making a Stand"
9. "S.O.B.s"

10. "Fakin' It"
11. "Family Ties"
12. "Exit Strategy"
13. "Development Arrested"

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