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In God We Trust

"In God We Trust"
Directors: Joe Russo — Writer: Abraham Higginbotham — Aired: December 14, 2003 — Icon-image      

"In God We Trust" is the seventh episode of Arrested Development's first season.

Michael attempts to fire the family's incompetent but likable attorney. George Michael impresses Maeby with a muscle suit for a "Living Classics" pageant. Tobias has a psychological affliction where he is unable to take off his clothes.


The Manipulative Mother[]

The Bluth children meet at Lucille's apartment with their lawyer Barry Zuckerkorn who informs them that for $20,000 George can be released from prison to participate in the Living Classics Pageant. They refuse to pay and Barry leaves. Michael tells the family he wants a more professional lawyer. Lindsay speaks privately with her mother to ask for money to pay off her credit cards. Lucille refuses and, out of jealous of Lindsay's chumminess with Michael, manipulates her against Michael.

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At the model home Michael and Lindsay talk over several drinks. Lindsay reveals Tobias is a Never Nude and Michael promises to pay off her credit card bills. The next day Michael meets with attorney Wayne Jarvis to replace Barry but is interrupted by Lucille. Lucille manipulates Michael against Lindsay and he slips Tobias' condition. He absentmindedly has her wait in the same room as Wayne.

The next day, Lindsay finds flowers at Lucille's apartment signed by their lawyer. She brags to her mother that Michael is helping out by paying for her credit card bills. Lucille brings up Tobias' condition and Lindsay once again gets mad at Michael. Back at the office, Lindsay chews Michael out in front of Wayne. They figure out Lucille has manipulated them both and decide to publicly shame her by paying to have George participate in the Living Classics Pageant and catch her on a date with Barry.

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This plan would also allow them to fire Barry and hire Wayne.

At the pageant the twins find Lucille on a date with Wayne. He hides to avoid George's anger but when George's exhibit is shown, he is nowhere to be seen. Instead George is fleeing from the guards in his God costume. Michael chases him down, and G.O.B. chases Michael down. George is apprehended and the family loses their $10,000.

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The Muscle Suit[]

Buster pawns his role of Adam in the Living Classics Pageant off onto George Michael. Tobias becomes jealous of the role and tries to get it from George Michael. Maeby sees George Michael wearing the muscle suit for the role and compliments him, causing him to wear it all the time to keep her attraction. He tells Tobias that he can't take it off, but won't give him the reason. Tobias assumes George Michael is a fellow Never Nude and struts off in his cutoffs.

George Michael finally sees the frontispiece that Buster has told him about and becomes very ashamed. During the Pageant he wears cutoffs and the crowd boos. Tobias stands up for him and shouts "there are dozens of us! Dozens!"

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The Suspicious Brother[]

G.O.B. catches Michael learning Spanish to impress Marta but Michael claims it is for business. Maeby, who has been ignored by her self-involved parents pretends to be escaping to Portugal. G.O.B. sees the plane ticket and believes Michael is fleeing to South America. At the pageant, he chases Michael down on his segway and realizes Michael isn't fleeing.

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The Shameful Relationship[]

After pawning off the role of Adam onto George Michael, Buster is free to spend the day with Lucille Austero. He is afraid to be seen with her in public, but she eventually convinces him to go to the pageant. When they arrive the crowd is booing George Michael but Buster assumes the cries of disgust are directed toward him and has a panic attack.


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  • Blaine Pate as Monti

Recurring Themes[]


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  • The Creation of Adam - The Creation of Adam is a painting by Italian Renaissance artist Michelangelo, and part of his series of paintings depicting Biblical stories from the Book of Genesis on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. In it, a bearded and robed God reaches out to a fully nude Adam, symbolizing God's creation of the first man in his own image. Near the end of the episode when George Michael says he took off the muscle suit, Tobias mirrors the painting by reaching his arm out to George Michael and pointing to him in the same way God points to Adam.
  • Pageant of the Masters - The Orange County "Living Classics" pageant depicted in this episode parodies this real-life annual living masterpiece show where local volunteers reproduce several dozen famous artworks in an evening (with the help of elaborate costumes and makeup). The Pageant (actually located in Laguna Beach, California) is the only show of its type and scale in western North America, and attracts tourists from around the world.
  • Bruce Vilanch - An American comedy writer who became famous starring on a revival of the television show Hollywood Squares. He often provides jokes for other performers such as Billy Crystal and Bette Midler, and is a frequent joke writer for the Academy Awards and other American award shows.
  • Pilates - A physical fitness system developed in the early 20th century by Joseph Pilates. During the early 21st century, it experienced a revival and became a popular fitness fad in America, particularly among celebrities and the wealthy.
  • Tahitian Women on the Beach - The other painting shown reenacted for the Living Classics pageant is a rendition of this work by French Post-Impressionist painter Paul Gauguin.
  • Harry Potter - G.O.B. calls Michael "the Boy who Lived Under the Stairs." It's also a likely reference to the fact that Michael drives a stair car.

Callbacks/Running Jokes[]

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  • Barry is Gay - We are given the first hints that attorney Barry Zuckerkorn is secretly gay.
    • His numerous defamatory remarks about homosexuals indicate that Barry is homophobic, which is often viewed as a sign of repressed homosexuality. (Source)
    • When asking George Sr. about homosexual prisoners, Barry makes the Freudian slip, "it's never the ones you hope". He then corrects himself to "think."
    • When Michael calls at the office, Barry's secretary says "Barry's not here, can I give her a message?"
  • "Dozens!" - This is the first time we hear Tobias scream "There are dozens of us! Dozens!" He later uses this expression much more casually to Dave Attell when explaining his Never Nude disability in "Motherboy XXX".
  • Is Tobias gay? - After Maeby arrives at the penthouse, Tobias says to Lindsay that he thought Lindsay didn't want "her" to come to the meeting, after which Lindsay replies that she didn't want him to come there. Tobias muses to himself that this makes more sense, the implication being that with her implied line "I don't want her to come to the meeting", Lindsay was referring to Tobias.
  • "He's very good" - Throughout this episode, Lucille keeps saying "He's very good" about Barry, something that we later learn is a phrase that Barry came up with to advertise himself. This phrase is occasionally used in several later episodes, including "¡Amigos!" and "Righteous Brothers".
    • We see an advertisement for Barry on a park bench in this episode that reads, "He’s very good." This was paralleled in "Burning Love" when we see a Spanish language park bench advertisement for Barry reading “Es el mejor.”
  • Lessons - Maeby attempts many times during the first season to teach a lesson to her oblivious parents, seen previously in "Pilot" and "Key Decisions".
  • Never Nude - This is the first episode we learn about Tobias's affliction, and several references are made.
    • We see Tobias demonstrating his affliction in several places, such as a doctor's office and wearing cut-off jeans underneath a Speedo.
    • Tobias thinks George Michael is a never-nude because he is wearing the muscle suit underneath his clothes.
  • Party - Here we see another of Lucille's many parties for the family, this one celebrating Christmas.
  • Portugal - This is the first time G.O.B. displays his lack of knowledge about Portugal, saying that it is in South America. Additionally, since the primary language of Portugal is Portuguese, his logic regarding Michael learning Spanish to move there is somewhat flawed. Maeby also mistakenly believes Portugal to be in South America, as seen when she tells George Michael she has purchased a plane ticket to South America and George Michael points out that the ticket says Portugal.
  • South America - G.O.B. assumes Michael is running away to South America, an idea he decided to try himself in the episode, "My Mother, The Car".
  • "That sounds like mom" - Michael denies to Lindsay ever stating to their mother that she was a "Stay-in-bed-mom," but that Lucille concocted the phrase. This phrase is also heard in the episode "My Mother, The Car".
  • The Spanish Language - When G.O.B. goes to leave Marta's house, she calls out "¡Te quiero!", which G.O.B. asks for her to translate.
  • Wig - This is the first instance of George Sr.'s tendency to escape wearing a wig, which he'd try again in "The One Where Michael Leaves".
  • 40 Year Old Woman - Very early in the episode, Barry compliments Lucille that "no forty-year-old woman should look like that," whereupon Michael, shot in medium close up joking with his sister Lindsay, replies "Well, no 40 year old woman does look like that." This is perhaps a "call forward" to the later revelation that Lindsay is not in fact as young as she thinks.
  • M. Sabino - The Caucasian guard who admired George Sr.’s role as God in the Living Classic Pageant appeared in a uniform labelled “M. Sabino.”

Hidden/Background Jokes[]

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  • Food - After G.O.B. says, “If I have to smell another meal of fish, rice and mango, I’m going to kill somebody,” Lupe, who is eating a meal in the background, stops and replaces the cover on her Tupperware container.
  • Lupe's sweatshirt - During the Christmas party, Lupe is wearing a Halloween-themed “BOO!” sweatshirt, the first instance of Lupe wearing an out-of-date sweatshirt, seen next in "Marta Complex".

Foreshadowing/Future References[]

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  • George Sr. Escape Attempt - This is the first instance we see of George Sr. attempting to escape, a feat he would try again several times during the course of the show, and later succeed in "Let 'Em Eat Cake".
  • Gangie as a Monster - Lucille Bluth claims that her children turned her into a monster, and then accused her of being one, to which Maeby responded "I don't think you're a monster." This foreshadows Maeby's future depiction of Gangie as a monster later in "Making a Stand".
  • Freebie - Michael says "This must be a freebie" to Wayne Jarvis, foreshadowing the catch phrase that would become more prominent in Season Three.


→ See more quotes from "In God We Trust" at Transcript of In God We Trust.


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  • Although this episode originally aired before "My Mother, the Car" it appears after it on the Season One DVD.
    • My Mother, the Car could come first, as Buster and Lucille Austero start their relationship in that episode, and go on their first date in this one.
  • This episode is considered to be the Christmas episode of the first season. Very little mention is made of Christmas in the episode, but Christmas decorations are shown throughout, and the episode's soundtrack consists mainly of several Christmas carols, including "Joy to the World", "Sleigh Ride", and "Jingle Bells". A string quartet also performs Handel's "Messiah" - traditionally performed during the Christmas season - when the Bluths' contribution to the Pageant is unveiled.
  • This episode does not feature an "On the next... Arrested Development" segment.
  • Patricia Velasquez appears for the first time as Spanish-language soap opera star Marta Estrella. Taking the role over from Leonor Varela, many fans refer to her portrayal of the character as "Marta 2.0". In interviews, some cast members have indicated that she was the favorite of the two actresses.
  • This episode is rated TV-PG-L.


  • Continuity - In this episode, Buster and Lucille 2 go on their first date together. However, in the next episode, "My Mother, The Car", Buster confronts Lucille 2 about their recent misunderstandings, where they then kiss and begin a relationship. Technically, for Buster and Lucille 2's relationship to make sense, "My Mother, the Car" should be watched first.
  • When Lucille meets with Michael at the Bluth Company offices a cameraman's elbow is seen for a brief moment on the right side of the screen.


→ See more images from "In God We Trust" at Category:Images from In God We Trust.

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