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Arrested Development Wiki

Hand to God

"Hand to God"
Directors: Joe Russo — Writer: Mitchell Hurwitz & Chuck Martin — Aired: March 6, 2005 — Icon-image      

"Hand to God" is the twelfth episode of Arrested Development's second season.

Michael tries to find out who's the father of Maggie's baby, or if it's just another of her lies; G.O.B. tries to find out whether he was responsible for Buster's accident.


Michael tells George Michael about Maggie Lizer's baby, whom Michael thinks is his. George Michael gets excited about being a big brother, but Michael lets him know that Maggie wants nothing to do with him after he accused her of faking the pregnancy at the end of the previous episode. Their conversation ends when Lucille calls Michael, hysterical, saying Buster has been hurt swimming in the ocean. Michael and George Michael meet Lucille and Oscar at the hospital. Dr. Fishman tells the anxious family that Buster is going to be "all right" - by which he means that Buster has lost his left hand. We learn that the attack has affected Buster's memory, as he doesn't remember why he went in the ocean or that he discovered the truth about his real father. Buster and Michael talk about the baby, with Buster telling Michael to go to Maggie since he obviously still has feelings for her. During the conversation, Michael forces awkward laughter when Buster makes various "missing hand" jokes. When Michael tries his own hand joke, Buster screams at him to "Get the (bleep) out of my room!"

Michael decides for the sake of the baby he needs to win Maggie back, and finds her at the Miss Temples bar. They begin to talk when they are interrupted by two police officers who checked Maggie's house after the break-in and they tell her to call them if there's anything else. When Michael says that he wants to rekindle their relationship for more reasons than just the baby, Maggie finally confesses that Michael is not really the father: "I went to a sperm bank....The father is some guy from Harvard." When Maggie asks him if he's really "that great of a guy" to raise someone else's baby, Michael replies yes but immediately regrets it, mouthing, "What is wrong with me?" The next day, Buster returns from the hospital, fitted with a metal hook prosthetic, to find the family gathered in Lucille's penthouse under a banner which reads "Welcome Home, Buster!" (the "You're killing me, Buster" banner strategically covered up). Buster says, "Let's give me a big hand!" and everyone forces awkward laughter. G.O.B. arrives at the party ignorant of Buster's accident, and is scared by Buster's hook. When Buster says his hand was bitten off by a seal wearing a yellow bow-tie, Tobias attributes that statement to the "playful mutterings of the shock victim" because a seal would never attack a human. "Unless, of course, it had acquired a taste for mammal blood." Flashback to G.O.B. performing a magic show with a seal wearing a yellow bow-tie, when a cat jumps into the chest where the seal is hidden. Cut to another flashback in which G.O.B. releases the seal into the ocean saying, "You're not going to be hand-fed anymore."

At the party, Lucille confesses to Michael that Buster's accident was her fault because she prayed for God to take anything to stop Buster from going to war. G.O.B. also confesses to Michael that he released a seal into the ocean after giving it a taste for mammal blood. "You've got a better case than Mom does," Michael says. Still not convinced that Maggie is not lying, Michael asks Lindsay to break into Maggie's house to find evidence that someone else is the father, but Lindsay refuses. Instead, Michael recruits his son, sitting terrified as Buster sleeps on his lap, with his hook dangerously near George Michael's face.

Michael and George Michael go to Maggie's house to try to find some evidence of another man. Michael tries to send George Michael in alone, claiming he can't fit through the doggy door, but George Michael just grabs a note taped to the door and runs back to the stair car, telling Michael to flee the scene. As Michael is trying to convince George Michael to go inside the house, a policeman knocks on the windows of the stair car and asks what they're doing there. The officer tells them that he's making sure there's not another break in, adding that his partner is inside with his gun drawn. After the officer leaves Michael apologizes to a stunned George Michael. Michael looks at the note from the door, which has "Really eager to hear from you" written under a phone number. Michael thinks that might be something a guy who got dumped by his baby's mother might say.

G.O.B. goes to the docks to rent a boat, carrying several animal crates containing terminally ill cats as a lure for the "seal who's got the taste for kitty's blood." Once on the open sea, G.O.B. tries to toss cats in the water when he is interrupted by the cameraboat telling him to get the cats out of the scene - it turned out the skipper had already rented his boat to appear in the movie Maeby was filming, The Old Man and the Sea. Using Gene Parmesan to trace the phone number he had found on the door to an address, Michael drives to the house where he believes the real father of Maggie's baby lives. Trying to make up for putting George Michael in danger earlier, he tells his son to wait in the car because "this one could get a little ugly." Michael knocks on the door and the same policeman from Maggie's house opens the door. Michael is invited inside, where it emerges that that Maggie's baby belongs to the policeman and his gay partner David. They had given Maggie a "mixed cocktail, two parts Taylor and two parts Carter and let her do her thing" saying that they don't want to know who the biological father is (Officer Taylor is white, Officer Carter is black). Michael decides to help the cops get their baby from Maggie.

Michael thought he was one lie ahead of Maggie, but really he was one lie behind: Maggie's client - the overweight waitress - wasn't really fat; she was carrying the baby that Maggie had been hired to bear. The urine that Tobias and Lindsay had tested had come from the waitress, not Maggie, and the fat suit they had found had belonged to Maggie until she upgraded to a realistic latex model (which is what Michael saw). At the courthouse during the trial, the waitress's water breaks and Maggie pretends she has gone into labor too. Back at the film set, G.O.B. confesses to Maeby that he's probably responsible for Buster's hand being bitten off. Maeby advises G.O.B. that he should tell Buster the truth, adding that Buster will respect him for it. As soon as G.O.B. leaves, Maeby smiles to herself and says, "Okay, now I'm just lying for no reason." Lucille prays again to God, asking Him to make Buster forget about his hand. At that exact moment Buster forgets about his claw and tries to give Oscar a massage. Buster gouges Oscar in the shoulder, then reacts with horror as he notices his hook as if for the first time. Screaming, "I'm a monster!" he goes on a rampage, trashing Lucille's apartment. At that moment, G.O.B. walks in and confesses he is responsible for Buster's hand, and is subsequently attacked.

Michael and the policemen find Maggie's room at the hospital, but when Michael grabs the baby she's cuddling it turns out to be the fat suit wrapped in a blanket. Maggie confesses that she "outsourced" the pregnancy to her client to add verisimilitude to her fat case. The cops retrieve their baby from the waitress and go home. Afterwards, Michael and Maggie agree: no more lies or sex. However, they end up having sex in her hospital room, which results in Maggie actually becoming pregnant with what we can assume is Michael's baby. It is unknown what happens to the child, as it is never referenced again in the series.


  • Steve Seagren as Car Salesman
  • Joe Russo as Joe

Recurring Themes[]

Cultural references[]

  • Nip/Tuck - George Michael says that Ann is out protesting Nip/Tuck.
  • The Simpsons - Maggie tells Michael that the father of the baby is "some guy from Harvard," to which Michael replies, "He's probably some geek Simpsons writer's kid." This is a reference to how most Simpsons writers are Harvard graduates.
  • O.J. Simpson - When George Sr. is at the Ford Dealership the salesman tells him that the Bronco has been discontinued to try to shed the whole "fugitive on the run" image. This is a reference to O.J. Simpson who fled from the police in a white Bronco. Simpson is referenced again in the hospital when Lucille yells, "Get my son the juice!" "The Juice" was the former running back's most well-known nickname.
  • Google - When Lindsay announces that Maeby has gone to "Sacremende" with the debate team, we are shown a Google search for the word "Sacremende," which finds no results, and includes Google's suggestion, "Did you mean Sacramento?"
  • The Best Years of Our Lives - Buster statement that "I'm a monster!" is a reference to the film, in which Homer Parish (played by Harold Russell) utters the same line when he loses his arm.
  • The Old Man and the Sea - We see filming for Maeby's project, a remake of The Old Man and the Sea called The Young Man and the Beach.

Callbacks/Running Jokes[]

  • Literal Doctor - At the hospital the doctor says that Buster is going to be "all right" meaning he's lost his left hand and he'll be "all right" from now on.
  • "Come on!"
    • When Maggie tells Michael that the baby isn't his he says "Come on."
    • When Michael finds out that the number that was posted on Maggie's door belongs to the police officers he drops the famous phrase.
    • Maggie says "come on" when she asks Michael if he still really wants her even if the kid isn't his.
  • Banner - When Buster returns from home he's greeted by the "You're killing me, Buster" banner which has the words "You're killing" covered by "Welcome ho" so that it reads "Welcome home, Buster."
  • Bluth abortions - Although not as sexually irresponsible as his siblings, Michael Bluth didn't use protection when having sex with Maggie. This drives the plot of the episode, though Maggie doesn't actually want to be pregnant.  At the end of the episode, Maggie's home pregnancy test is positive. Nothing is ever shown of the outcome of this, whether Maggie's truly pregnant or if she had an abortion (or perhaps has Michael's child without telling him).
  • Juice - Lucille calls for her son to be given juice.  Buster loves juice but is denied it by his mother because he can't control himself. (Best Man for the Gob )
  • Opposites - As with Maeby and Surely and Sitwell and Standpoor, Maeby's film is called The Young Man and the Beach which is the opposite of The Old Man and the Sea.
  • Peanuts - Buster, talking with Michael about his possible second child, asks whether or not a seal bit his "Linus," Buster's slang for penis.
  • Uncle Jack - When Michael is talking to George Michael about the adventure they're going to have breaking into Maggie's house he says "We're like Red McGibbon and Bullet." This is the team of heroes in which Uncle Jack played the character "Bullet" on radio and as a solo act in a failed movie, Ready, Aim, Marry Me! co-starring Gloria Grahame.
    • Michael, feeling sheepish after sending his son in to Maggie's in what he thought was a safe job for him, learns from one of the police officers watching the house his partner was inside with his gun drawn, and quips, "Close call there, Bullet."
  • "I'm a monster!" - This is the first episode that Buster uses this line. Buster forgets about his claw and tries to give Oscar a massage by doing so he stabs Oscar. Once Buster realizes what he's done he yells "I'm a monster!!"
  • "Her?" - When Michael tells George Michael that he met up with Maggie again, George Michael says, "Her?" This goes back to what Michael would often say about George Michael's girlfriend, Ann.
  • Gene Parmesan - When Michael makes a call to find out who the phone number belongs to, he thanks "Mr. Parmesan", indicating that he called his mother's slightly untalented private investigator.

Hidden/Background Jokes[]

  • When Lucille passes a pillar with a "Buckle Up" sign and a cardboard cutout man with his hand out, she clips the cutout and breaks off the hand. At the same time, she is telling Michael on a cell phone that Buster is at the hospital because he had lost some body part.
  • On her way to the hospital Lucille says "Oh that George. God only knows where he is." and Oscar yells "The car!" because she's about to run into a car pulling out. We later learn that George Sr. was driving the other car.
  • When Michael goes to the policemen's house the music in the background is about the Hot Cops. It is also heard as the closing credit's musical score.
  • When G.O.B. releases the seal into the ocean, he says, "You're not going to be hand-fed anymore!" A joke as the seal eats Buster's hand.
  • When Buster is in the ocean, just before he gets attacked by the seal someone on the beach yells a "Watch out, a loose seal," a reference to Lucille (homophones).
  • The boat G.O.B. gets on while trying to hunt for the seal that ate Buster's hand is called El Pescador, which is Spanish for "The Fisherman."
  • Also while hunting for the seal, G.O.B. voices frustration at "herding cats", which is a saying often used to describe producing in the film industry, which Maeby is doing a few hundred yards away from him at the time- and having an equally dismal experience.
  • When Lucille arrives home just before Buster she warns the family not to salute him like the doorman did. When Buster walks in he has a bleeding cut on his forehead, implying he saluted back to the doorman and cut himself with his new hook.

Foreshadowing/Future References[]

  • One of the police officers says that his partner is in the house. In addition to being his partner on the police force, he is his life partner, as we later discover.
  • Lucille calls George Michael the new "baby of the family" despite, as he himself says, Maeby being younger than him. In "Development Arrested" it is revealed that Maeby's mother Lindsay has been adopted.


→ See more quotes from "Hand to God" at Transcript of Hand to God.


  • Chuck Martin, one of the writers for this show, can be seen at the far right in the scene where Maeby directs The Young Man and the Beach.
  • Michael speaks to Gene Parmesan, the Bluth family's private detective, on the phone to garner information about the owner of the phone number left on Maggie's front door, which was acquired by George Michael, though Parmesan is not seen in this episode.


  • When Barry wrongly accuses Maggie's client of wearing a fat suit, Maggie moves for the trial to be thrown out. This would be a strange move considering that Maggie and her client were the plaintiffs and seemed to be winning.
  • When buster returns from the hospital Lucille says “He’s coming. While he is wearing his temporary do not comment on it OR salute him; like that idiot guard down there did to him.” He enters the room with a gash in his forehead from the hook it has been replaced with. —He should not have an issue saluting as his left hand was bitten off. A salute is done with the right hand.-


→ See 89 pictures from Hand to God at Images from Hand to God.

1. "The One Where Michael Leaves"
2. "The One Where They Build a House"
3. "¡Amigos!"
4. "Good Grief"
5. "Sad Sack"
6. "Afternoon Delight"

  7. "Switch Hitter"
  8. "Queen for a Day"
  9. "Burning Love"
10. "Ready, Aim, Marry Me"
11. "Out on a Limb"
12. "Hand to God"

13. "Motherboy XXX"
14. "The Immaculate Election"
15. "Sword of Destiny"
16. "Meat the Veals"
17. "Spring Breakout"
18. "Righteous Brothers"

Season OneSeason TwoSeason ThreeSeason FourSeason Five