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My Mother, the Car

"My Mother, the Car"
Directors: Jay Chandrasekhar — Writer: Jay Martin — Aired: December 21, 2003 — Icon-image      

"My Mother, the Car" is the eighth episode of Arrested Development's first season.

Michael loses his short-term memory, which Lucille uses to her advantage. G.O.B. attempts to use the family yacht before Michael sells it. George Michael and Maeby attempt to see an R-rated movie about cousins having an affair. Buster and Lucille 2 take "the next step".


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Lucille's car accident[]

As Lucille weakly unloads groceries, Michael tells her to cut back on her spending, including her upcoming birthday party. At the model home Lindsay convinces Michael to throw their mother a surprise party. George Michael reveals that it was Lucille's idea. Michael drives his mother to the restaurant for the party but none of the other family members have shown up. He chews his siblings out and they agree to show up for the next one. Michael again drives Lucille to the restaurant but it is empty again. Michael lets Lucille drive the Mercedes home where she tries to run down a man on a segway but gets in a wreck.

Back at Balboa Towers Michael has been doped up by Dr. Miller and can't remember the accident. Whenever he starts to get a hint of what happened Lucille hits him on the back of the head. G.O.B. eventually figures out Lucille's plot and reveals the truth to Michael and Lindsay. They angrily tell their mother to be nicer and stop manipulating them, to which she manipulates them by throwing a pity party for herself.

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Lindsay's prison visits[]

Lindsay, on the request of Michael, visits George in prison. None of the other inmates pay attention to her so she returns in a nice dress and heels. Again, no heads are turned. She decides to buy a SLUT shirt to turn some heads but again nobody notices her. She complains about this to her father who reveals that he has been paying the other inmates off with gold Krugerrands to not stare at Lindsay. She is happy that her father is spending money on her.

G.O.B.'s yacht[]

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Michael informs G.O.B. that he is planning on selling the family yacht that G.O.B. is currently living on. G.O.B. decides to flee down to South America on the yacht but decides to stay when he has the opportunity to expose Lucille as a liar.

George Michael's ID[]

George Michael and Maeby get kicked out of an R-rated movie so George Michael decides to ask G.O.B. to make them some fake IDs so they can see Les Cousins Dangereux. He visits the yacht to get fake French passports.

Buster's date[]

Buster has been dating Lucille Austero in secret. On a date on Lucille 2's balcony he sees his mother on her balcony and leaps through a plate glass window. Dr. Miller stitches him up.


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  • Mark Blankfield as Dr. Miller
  • Evan Lee Dahl as Usher
  • Marc Antonio Pritchett as Paramedic

Recurring Themes[]

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  • AARP - Formerly the American Association of Retired Persons, AARP is an organization that works to further the interests of Americans 50 years and older.
    • The usher's statement, "You’re too young to be holding that ticket.", is directed at Buster, indicating that Lucille used her AARP card to purchase tickets with a Senior Citizen discount for the both of them.
  • FOX - The program Lucille was featured on, FOX's World's Worst Drivers, is a nod to the type of sensationalistic reality television that FOX has historically aired, such as World's Wildest Police Videos and When Animals Attack.
  • Krugerrands - The gold coins that Lucille smuggled in to George Sr. are a type of gold coin first minted in South Africa.
    • Krugerrands are most notorious due to a boycott on the coins in many countries from the 1970s to the mid-1990s that made them illegal to possess, which is another reference to George Sr.'s various illegal dealings.
  • My Mother the Car - The title of this episode is a play on the title of this 1965-1966 sitcom starring Jerry Van Dyke about a man named David Crabtree who discovers that his mother has been reincarnated as a used car. His mother speaks through the car's radio, but only to Crabtree. In 2002, TV Guide called it the second-worst show of all time.
    • G.O.B. and Lindsay are watching this show on television when Michael confronts them for not showing up at Lucille's surprise dinner. The show's theme song can be heard in the background.
  • Neiman Marcus - Lindsay says she went to "Neiman's", a reference to this US upscale retailer known for its extravagant pricing.

Callbacks/running jokes[]

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  • Buster's rock - The rock that Michael hits his head on was left there by Buster in "Charity Drive".
  • G.O.B.'s promiscuity - When Michael's potential buyers for the yacht show up, G.O.B. confuses them as the 'hot Asians' he has booked yet nevertheless says "well, let's start with the little one", referring to the wealthy middle-aged woman interested in buying the yacht. Over the course of later episodes G.O.B. sleeps with an assortment of women. In fact, later in the same episode, a woman (Mim Drew) G.O.B. had been sleeping with jumps (or is thrown) overboard offscreen when George Michael visits G.O.B. at the yacht; a splash is heard and G.O.B. throws a floating ring to her.
  • Hit by a car - While this is the first episode where someone is hit by a car, it would later happen again in "The One Where Michael Leaves", "Afternoon Delight" and "Sword of Destiny".
  • I like the way they think - George Michael would make this statement about the French's relaxed attitude towards incest again in "Righteous Brothers".
  • Les Cousins Dangereux - This is the first mention of this film about two cousins with a forbidden love that George Michael grows quite attached to. Later, Maeby would produce an American remake of it in "Righteous Brothers".
  • Party - Once again, Lucille attempts to throw an extravagant party, the last one appearing in the previous episode, "In God We Trust".
  • SLUT shirt - This is the first time we see Lindsay wearing her red "SLUT" shirt, which she wears next in "Good Grief", and again in George Michael's campaign video in "The Immaculate Election".
  • South America - Given that this episode is intended to be seen before "In God We Trust", G.O.B. may have gotten the idea that Michael was fleeing based on his own actions here.
  • "That sounds like mom" - G.O.B., after hearing Michael confess that he wanted to scare G.O.B. off his Segway after coming home from a second failed surprise party, realizes that it appears to be something that Lucille would attempt, not Michael. This is later repeated in the following episode "In God We Trust".
  • Yacht - This is the first time we see G.O.B. staying on the family yacht from the "Pilot," which he would later destroy in "Missing Kitty", but in "Development Arrested", we learn that he had been living on another boat called the C-Word (Seaward).
    • This is the second episode where someone tries to flee on the sea. It first happened in the "Pilot", and would later be attempted again several times in "Development Arrested".
  • "I don't think so" - This is the second time G.O.B. uses the line "I don't think so" after giving away a sort of secret. In this episode he said it after he revealed to Michael that he was "half way to South America". He last used it in the "Pilot".

Hidden/Background Jokes[]

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  • In a flashback setting up Buster and Lucille Two's relationship, a new scene has Buster barging in accidentally to her apartment, to find her sitting with three men playing cards. The men, while older, are dressed in kicky scarves, flamboyant shirts for their age, and whose body language suggests they are gay. She also suggests that they "take a powder". Liza Minnelli, who plays Lucille Two, is notoriously popular in her stage and musical career with gay fans.
  • Both times that Michael and Lucille enter the room where her surprise party is to be held and yell, "Surprise!", they greatly startle the same two waiters.
  • The restaurant is playing Bach's "Italian Concerto" (BWV 971).
  • When Lucille asks how Buster hurt his head, he replies, "G.O.B. was just teaching me how to hit it with a hammer", perhaps a reference to "Charity Drive", in which Buster accidentally breaks a skull found during the archaeological dig he is working on with a hammer, as well as G.O.B. playing "Stop hitting yourself!" with Buster as children.
  • When Lucille opens the balcony door to let in some air, Buster jumps through Lucille 2's window, and Lucille 2 remarks she's calling a doctor, in fact, the same one across the hall, as his cell phone rings while he's treating Michael.
    • Additionally, when Michael is on the balcony talking to G.O.B. over the phone, police tape can be seen over Lucille 2's window.

Foreshadowing/Future References[]

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  • In this episode, we see G.O.B.'s cheating on his girlfriend Marta for the second time (the first instance being with Kitty in "Visiting Ours"), which would become a major problem with Michael in "Storming the Castle".
  • Michael asks his mother jokingly if there are gold bars in the bag she has trouble lifting. Later we find out it is actually a large quantity of gold coins.


→ See more quotes from "My Mother, the Car" at Transcript of My Mother, the Car.


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  • Although this episode originally aired after "In God We Trust", it appears before it on the Season One DVD. "My Mother, the Car" makes logical sense to come first as Buster and Lucille Austero start their relationship in this episode.
  • The title of this episode refers to both Lucille's car accident and the sitcom My Mother the Car.
  • Tobias does not appear in this episode.
  • This episode is rated TV-PG-L.


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  • The narrator calls G.O.B. Lucille's fourth-least-favorite child, but given Lucille's statement in the "Pilot", "I don't care for G.O.B.", he actually means her first-least-favorite, or her fourth-favorite child.
  • As Lucille chases Buster out of the kitchen for fear of lighting his hair on fire accidentally, the grocery bag Lucille is unloading is crisp, and a fruit bowl on the countertop can be seen with oranges on top, with a banana tucked underneath. After Buster leaves, the bananas are now on top of the bowl and the paper bag is crumpled. A subsequent shot a second later finds the bag restored to its crisp demeanor, and the bananas, while on top, have now magically turned over.
  • While Buster and Lucille Two are on a date on Lucille Two's balcony, Buster sees his mother on her own balcony, presumably across a courtyard or air shaft. Since the Lucilles' apartments have already been shown to be across the hall from each other, this would be physically impossible. (Optionally Lucille 2's apartment need to be really large.)


→ See more images from "My Mother, the Car" at Category:Images from My Mother, the Car.

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