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4x01 Flight of the Phoenix (116)

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

"One Degree of Separation" was the seventh episode of chronological re-cut of Arrested Development's fourth season. It premiered on Netflix on May 4, 2018.

As she negotiates her senior year of high school for the third time, Maeby encounters George Michael, who's having his own unusual school experience.

Synopsis

During her senior year, Maeby begins to date Perfecto Telles after they bond about being bad at math. Due to her grades, Maeby is sent to be tutored by college student. The student turns out to be George Michael who is surprised that Maeby hasn't graduated yet because they are the same age.

Years earlier, after the crash of the Queen Mary, Maeby tried to get her parents' attention by playing dead and George Michael decided that they shouldn't pursue a relationship, which she agreed with. Maeby decided that the best way to get her parents' attention is by flunking out of college which they didn't notice. Instead, she went to India as part of her movie producer job. Both Lindsay and Tobias were also in India, although they didn't know about each other or Maeby. Lindsay wanted to visit a Shaman so Maeby disguised herself as one in order to advise Lindsay to return home to the family.

Once they all returned home separately, the Bluth family met at Balboa Towers where George Michael was given a check to celebrate him going to college. Lindsay and Tobias still didn't realise that Maeby should be going to college too. Michael ordered George Michael to rip the check up and gave him a car, specifically the Stair car.

When George Michael arrived at college, the stair car got stuck under a low bridge and he attempted to distance himself from both the car and the Bluth name. George Michael started to make friends while Maeby began her senior year for a second time. Lindsay and Tobias still hadn't noticed and Tobias was still preoccupied by his acting career, even after the death of his agent. The family spent Thanksgiving together but, on the day of Lucille's trial, both Lindsay and Tobias ran off with other people, leaving Maeby by herself. Shortly after this, Maeby is fired from Imagine Entertainment by Kitty because she didn't have a high school diploma. Maeby decided to enrol onto a third senior year while George Michael was in his sophomore year of college.

Maeby moved into a Bluth model home while George Michael was studying abroad in Spain, where he had an affair with Rosalita. When he arrived back at college for his senior year at college, George Michael found he had a double sized dorm room because he was mistaken for twins. However, Michael arrived at the dorm and wanted to stay there after Pete the mailman died. Meanwhile, Maeby got bored of the lack of Internet at the model home and decided to start her fourth senior year at high school, which led to her meeting George Michael as a tutor.

Maeby still wants her parents' attention and plans to stay in high school until they notice her although George Michael thinks this bad idea. He then explains that there are three people living in the dorm room: himself, P-Hound, and Michael. Later, Michael joins them and encourages George Michael to tell Maeby about his privacy software, Fakeblock. Maeby feels discouraged by this and decides that she must graduate. At a bar, she notices Perfecto talking to police officers and sees him show a badge. She realises that Perfecto is actually an undercover cop.

On the next Arrested Development: Fateful Consequences, Maeby asks Barry about how long she can legally stay in high school because she believes Perfecto knows that she's too old. Barry advises her Maeby to get incriminating evidence on him. Maeby then takes a photo of Barry, who is lurking outside a high school, as something incriminating so he gives her advice for free. Meanwhile, Tobias continues to act at the Garden Grove Methadone Clinic.

Appearances

Main Cast (in order to appearance)

Recurring

Guest

Recurring themes

References

  • ¡Átame! - George Michael's dorm contains a poster of the dark romantic Spanish comedy ¡Átame! The film is about a recently released psychiatric patient who kidnaps an actress in order to make her fall in love with him. The main character believes it is his destiny is to marry her and father her children. When the film was brought to America, it received an X rating from the MPAA. It, along with Les Cousins Dangereux, creates a running gag of George Michael having posters of movies about racy love stories in his room. The film also mirrors the plot of Maeby and George Michael's storyline in that George Michael tries to construct a love story through inappropriate means (George Michael selecting Maeby as a tutee in order to seduce her). It also serves as a reference to George Michael's year in Spain.
  • Michael Cera's Film Career
    • Youth in Revolt - George Michael grows a mustache and gains bravado during his college years. This is a reference to Youth in Revolt where Michael Cera stars as Nick Twisp and alter-ego Francois. Francois has a cooler personality that wows women while donning a mustache.
    • Juno - It is implied George Michael got Rosalita pregnant during his study abroad year in Spain. Michael Cera played Paulie Bleeker, a teenager responsible for an unplanned pregnancy in the film Juno.
  • Sit Down, Shut Up - When George Michael is watching TV in Spain, he is watching the short-lived FOX animated show, which was also created by Mitchell Hurwitz and starred Jason Bateman, Will Arnett and Henry Winkler.
  • Discussing her project, "Gangie on the Ganges" during her plane trip to India, Maeby asks about paying Indians in rice. This may be a reference to the legend of the Indian Brahmin inventor of chess, Sissa, who when arranging payment for the game from the king requested 1 grain of rice for the first square, 2 for the second, 4 for the third and so on for a grand total of 18,446,744,073,709,551,615 grains of rice (roughly equivalent to 280 billion metric tons of rice). Due to his poor grasp on math, the king agrees to this payment method. If referencing this tale, the show is likely poking fun at the fact that Maeby is terrible at math.

Callbacks/Running Jokes

  • China Garden - The Fünke family eat Thanksgiving dinner at a China Garden.
  • Company softball - George Michael narrates the events of a softball game against the Sitwell company to his new college friends.
  • Eat, Pray, Love - The tagline for Maeby's India-set movie, Gangie on the Ganges, is "Eat, Prey, Love, RUN!" Lindsay and Tobias are both inspired to visit India by reading the first two sections of the book Eat, Pray, Love.
  • Forget-Me-Now - Maeby's fourth senior year quote is "Life is a roofie circle."
  • Maeby is bad at math
    • Donnie Ritcher labels Maeby an "Algetard"
    • Maeby can't tell if she got a 43 or 34 on her math exam
  • "Marry me!" - Maeby reluctantly uses her former catchphrase as an afterthought when questioned about her age by the barman.
  • Ostrich
    • Lindsay's shaman tells her to pull her head "out of the sand".
    • Maeby's high school mascot is an ostrich.
  • Predatory loans - James Carr sells the Fünkes a house with a predatory loans and later commits suicide when the housing market collapses.
  • Repulsive - While Kitty's hair got better since "Visiting Ours," she still goes cross-eyed when she takes off her glasses, as seen when she lowers her glasses and winks at Maeby.
  • That way we have it - While discussing hiring extras on the plane to India Maeby and her colleague agree on hiring 10,000 extras. That way if they needed it, they would have it. This is a callback to Tobias and Lindsay's buying a house in "A Couple-A New Starts".
  • "[synonym for arrested] Development" - Kitty puts Maeby's script in a box labeled "Not going forward development".
  • Hearing Tobias singing (as the closed captioning displays it), "It's a phallus... eee!" George Michael asks what that's from, mirroring Tobias' inquiry to Lindsay about the musical number. Maeby responds, "It's from nothing." This mirrors the narrator's response to Tobias' unanswered question.
  • Maeby's yearbook sequence mirrors the many senior yearbook photos of Steve Holt, and is set to the same music.
  • Running into Barry Zuckercorn outside of her school, Maeby is told, "You should be the lawyer." Something Zuckercorn has said to various people many times.

Hidden/Background Jokes

  • Pete the Mailman's funeral - During James Carr's funeral, a procession of USPS mail trucks drive behind Tobias. One of the trucks has a "R.I.Pete" banner.
  • "Please Don't Squeeze the Shaman" - When Lindsay goes to hug the Shaman, he says "Please don't squeeze the Shaman," an homage to the catch-phrase, "Please don't squeeze the Charmin," from the 1980s Charmin toilet paper commercials.
  • Sign Spinners - During James Carr's funeral a man can be seen in the background spinning a sign that says "NOW BURYING" on one side and "CARR FUNERAL" on the other.
  • While riding in the school bus with the other "math-challenged" algetards, the bus's occupants are seen singing the school bus classic, "99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall". However, as Maeby and Perfecto begin speaking the algetards seem to be in a perpetual "99 bottles" loop, in all likelihood due to poor math skills/inbreeding.
  • When Maeby is trying to draw her parents' attention to the fact she's flunking school, she says she didn't get sent a graduation gown, and couldn't find any sheets to make one. Tobias took the sheets to make himself a sarong in "A Couple-A New Starts".
  • The Fünke family watches a turkey cartoon while eating breakfast one nondescript morning. The cartoon resembles the Bananagrabber cartoon and depicts a pilgrim turkey being approached by a pilgrim Google Street View car.
  • In her yearbook photos, Maeby changes her last name as she repeats her senior year of high school again and again. She appears to be taking on different personas each year. Maeby "Finke" is named for Hollywood gossip columnist Nikki Finke (Deadline.com). Maeby Featherbottom is a British character, calling Americans "pussies" - a callback to Rita Leeds and Tobias' Miss Featherbottom character. Maeby "Flunke" shows Maeby sadly resigned to flunking out again and again.
  • In addition to Maeby's senior yearbook photos and quotes, we're treated to a slew of others (all of the other students appear much too old to be in high school as well):
    • In the first yearbook; Olivia Enix, "Live with meaning", Benjamin Erb, "My bones hurt", June Erin, "I did not get this sweater at Swappigans" (Carl Weather's barter-based restaurant, where June likely got her sweater), Andrew Esposito, "Tomorrow is another day", Harlan Esteban, "Absolutely!", Samuel Fagan, "Sorry about that, ladies.", Mateo Fairchild, "It's all downhill from here!", Chris Faulkner, "You can never have enough kittens", Jayden Ferris, "Never forget the Toilet Incident!", Amanda Fields, "A life worth living is a life with s'mores", Maeby Finke, "%.05 of the gross, with bumps for every ten million over fifty.", Mikey Flink, "It will never be now again.", Knox Forbs, "That baby didn't do nothin!", Ava Ford, "So many questions!", Jack Forest, "Everybody wang chung".
    • In the second yearbook (only partially seen and featuring trivia followed by a quote); Maeby Featherbottom, "Born and raised in Big Britain" (a nod towards Wee Britain), "I love you Americans. You're all such wonderful pussies!", Haley Fey, "Enjoys throwing stars, globe making", "yyyoouuu know it!" While most of the content of the entries directly above Maeby and Haley are off-camera, the two student's quotes are, "Keep those balls in the air." (a reference to a frequent musical number in the show) and "One Love!" (a reference to Bob Marley, the marijuana singer).
    • In the third yearbook (featuring a quote and then a hobby of the pictured student); Gabriella Felch, "What you do to me", "Snow Cones", Shreya Felch, "A hug is a great gift", "Magnets" (this is a reference to the It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia episode, "The Waitress Is Getting Married", where while making an online dating profile Charlie insists that his hobby is "just magnets".), Ross Fike, "All smiles go miles", "Fishing", Stacey Fischer, "Try try again", "Dance", Vance Fitz, "In flagrante delicto" (a legal term essentially meaning "caught in the act"), "Theater, Choir", Victoria Fitzgerald, "I guess you had to be there", "Swimming", Maeby Flunke, "Life is a roofie circle", "High School", Lars Francesco, "It's all Whipperjawed!", "Travel", Cam Fukada, "What's that smell?", "Hiding things", Jaime Fuller, "Neato Gang", "Weed", Ashley Gabriel, "That's so Palmer...", "Wrestling", John Garrison, "I will NOT forget about it", "Holding Grudges", Chad Gerald, "By and by", "Sailing, shoegazing," Bob-Bob Gillivander, "hey what's going on there Bob?", "Novys without Borders,", Dylan Gunter, "Less is more, more or less.", "Parkour, Cats, K-pop", and Chris Harry, "Why Me?", "Pondering Life".
  • As Maeby gives up on listening to her parents' voicemail messages, a voicemail for Tobias briefly plays stating that he got a callback for "something called The Big Bang Theory.

Foreshadowing/Future References

  • Rosalita says, "The drones are coming." before making love with George Michael in Spain. In "The Weak Become the Strong", Buster takes out an art museum in Spain.

In Comparison to the Original Cut

This episode is made up from 5 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:

  • Maeby and Perfecto at high school, new dialogue in italics (4x12 Senoritis)
    • “Donnie” Richter: No, the Babies Having Babies crew, of course, can keep their eyes open.
  • Maeby arrives at George Michael’s dorm (4x12 Senoritis)
  • Maeby and Kitty at Imagine Entertainment (4x4 The B. Team)
  • Season 3 flashback, at the Harbor Master's office (4x12 Senoritis)
  • Maeby at the model home, Maeby in India (4x12 Senoritis)
    • Narrator: […] and headed off to India for her ironic job that was becoming less ironic and more job.
  • Lindsay and the Shaman (4x3 Indian Takers, 4x12 Senoritis)
  • Family meeting at Balboa Towers (4x13 It Gets Better)
  • George Michael arrives at college (4x13 It Gets Better)
  • Maeby at the huge house (4x12 Senoritis)
  • James Carr's funeral (4x5 A New Start)
  • Thanksgiving (4x5 A New Start)
    • Lindsay: Happy Thanksgiving!
  • Lindsay calls Tobias (4x3 Indian Takers, 4x12 Senoritis)
  • Tobias and DeBrie (4x5 A New Start)
  • Tobias rings Lindsay and Maeby, Lindsay rings Maeby (4x12 Senoritis)
    • The Fantastic Four poster is new
    • Tobias: (on answering machine) We're both actors so anyway.
  • Kitty fires Maeby (4x4 The B. Team)
  • George Michael at college (4x13 It Gets Better)
    • New captions: “Becky, ex-girlfriend”, “Ray, ex-friend”
    • New captions: “Ray, friends”, “George Michael, friends”
    • Sheila: Moving onto deep French.
  • Maeby at the penthouse (4x12 Senoritis)
    • The Deadline article about Kitty’s promotion is full screen in this episode but this is not the case in the original cut.
    • Maeby: What?
  • George Michael in Spain (4x13 It Gets Better)
    • Caption is changed: “UCI Extension Campus, Spain
  • George Michael returns to college, Michael arrives (4x13 It Gets Better)
  • Maeby at the model home (4x12 Senoritis)
  • George Michael, Maeby, and Michael (4x12 Senoritis)
    • This exchange is changed:
      • George Michael: But it’s illegal, right? Can’t you go to jail?
      • Maeby: Only if you’re caught. So, I'm still gonna stay in high school till my parents notice me. [originally, it was “until they notice me”]
  • Maeby on the bus back to school (4x12 Senoritis)
  • Maeby at the bar (4x12 Senoritis)
    • Officer Taylor: Show him your badge.
  • On the next... Maeby and Barry (4x12 Senoritis)
    • Barry’s “Ha! I know this part of the law very, very well” has become “I actually know this part of the law very well” in this episode.
  • On the next... Tobias at the clinic (4x3 Indian Takers)

Notes

  • Tony Hale doesn't appear as Buster Bluth in this episode.
  • The title is a reference to the play and the phrase "Six Degrees of Separation" where everyone is six or fewer steps away from every other person, like a friend of a friend. The narrator repeatedly mentions how close the Bluths and the people they know are despite not meaning to be:
    • Narrator: Maeby had just discovered that the tutor for her senior year high school algebra class was her age, her cousin, and a senior in college.
    • Narrator: And that's how Lindsay ended up receiving this spiritual advice from her own daughter.
    • Narrator: Although while she was away from the bar, Perfecto showed up.
    • Narrator: Maeby returns to high school to find another senior who shouldn’t be there.
    • In this episode: Maeby's tutor is George Michael; Lindsay, Tobias, and Maeby all separately travel to India; Maeby and Kitty both work at Imagine Entertainment; Michael is at George Michael's dorm; Lindsay decides to live at the penthouse where Maeby is secretly living; Perfecto is at Maeby's bar, and Maeby bumps into Barry at high school.
  • During the Season 4 remix, the narrator often draws parallels between the Bluths' lives being similar despite being separated.
    • Narrator: But later, while fleeing both his own feelings and a disaster-bound family party on the Queen Mary, George Michael got some advice from a man experienced in the folly of fleeing from a family [aka Michael].
    • Narrator: And so she decided to embark on her third, or junior, senior year of high school while George Michael’s sophomore year of college began with a… boom.
    • Narrator: George Michael, however, was in a much more exotic location for his college junior year abroad [in comparison to Maeby].
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