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Arrested Development Wiki

Out on a Limb

"Out on a Limb"
Directors: Danny Leiner — Writer: Chuck Martin & Jim Vallely — Aired: March 6, 2005 — Icon-image      

"Out on a Limb" is the eleventh episode of Arrested Development's second season.

Just as Michael's relationship with Sally Sitwell starts to flourish, Maggie Lizer returns nine months pregnant, and Michael immediately assumes he's the father; also, George Michael attempts to break up with Ann, and Buster learns he's being deployed to Iraq.


Michael and Sally Sitwell are having Sunday brunch at Skip Church's Bistro when he spots George Michael and Maeby at the same restaurant, and Michael introduces Sally to them. Once Michael leaves, Ann arrives to find George Michael, whom she thought was skipping church to work. She complains that he does not find church or study fun, and leaves to return to church. Maeby pokes fun at her cousin, and when she learns that George Michael doesn't want to break up with Ann, she mentions that they may have to speed up the process. Michael and Lindsay are discussing his relationship with Sally when G.O.B. interrupts to announce that he's being sued for divorce. He explains that when his wife went off to war, she left him in charge of the seals that were in her care. G.O.B. tried to include them in his act, but it didn't work, and taking care of the animals was a hassle, so he "released them from whence they came." Michael mentions that their parents prepaid Barry for Lindsay and Tobias's divorce, so they can use him. All three blame their failing relationships on their mother, who then turns around in a chair outside. She wants to know why Buster has invited her to the beach the following day: "Because if it's about going in the ocean, the answer is 'No'."

Buster has her go to the beach so that they could be photographed together before the Army shipped him over to Iraq. Lucille, in denial, chooses to believe that Buster is trying to punish her and that he really wants to go swimming in the ocean. Michael and G.O.B. track down their attorney, Barry Zuckerkorn, at the courthouse. He is representing Skip Church's Bistro against a waitress who claims that eating the Skip's Scramble, an egg dish containing everything on the menu, several times a week is making her fat. They inform Barry that they need him to get G.O.B. out of his marriage. Barry says, "I got Michael out of his marriage, didn't I?" and Michael reminds him that his wife died. Barry mentions that the attorney for the other side in his case is Maggie Lizer. Michael goes to catch up with Maggie and learns she's 8.5 months pregnant (they stopped seeing each other 8.5 months ago). Maggie tells Michael that the child is not his, but he isn't convinced. On his date with Sally, Michael tells her that he thinks Maggie's child might be his, because she's a liar and told him that it wasn't.

It is revealed that Sally broke up with Michael because she thinks that he is always looking for things to come between them. Lindsay, Michael, and G.O.B. discuss Michael's dilemma, and G.O.B. says that he would make Maggie pee in a cup right in front of him to make sure that she isn't lying about being pregnant. Lindsay and Tobias decide to break into Maggie's house and collect the specimen, mentioning that they have been looking for some excitement in their relationship. Lucille appears, complaining that Buster is pushing her buttons by "pretending" he's going to war. During the exchange between Michael and Lucille, George Sr. summons Michael to the attic with his wolf howl to try to convince him to get Buster out of going to war. George Michael and Maeby, watching Lucille's cruelty to Tobias, devise a way to get rid of Ann: they'll bring her to Lucille's and she'll criticize Ann until she drives her away. Michael goes to Maggie's, who opens the door pretending to be blind so she can rip off the pizza guy by giving him a five and telling him to keep the change. The waitress she's representing is at her house and Maggie is making sure the witness stand creaks when she sits on it. Lindsey and Tobias sneak into Maggie's house and hide in the bathroom to collect a urine sample.

Dressed as Oscar, George Sr. visits Buster to convince him that he should hide to avoid going to war. Buster tells him that he's a good uncle, and George replies, "I'm not your uncle, I'm your father." Buster confronts Lucille, who unwittingly confesses that Buster's true father is Oscar. Buster angrily storms off, shouting, "Here's something you should know: I'm going to war!" Finally, Lucille snaps out of her denial. Michael brings Maggie to a bar to talk about his potential fatherhood while Lindsey and Tobias search the house for proof that Maggie is faking her pregnancy. Maggie tells Michael that the baby is his, but at her home, Lindsey and Tobias discover a box with a pregnant suit in it. They leave a message on Michael's phone confirming that the pregnancy is a scam. Later, Maeby and George Michael set their plan into motion by bringing Ann to Lucille's penthouse. Unfortunately, Lucille is too distracted by the thought of losing Buster to criticize anyone. Ann introduces her to the power of prayer.

Michael listens to Lindsay's message about the pregnancy suit, calls Maggie a liar, and dumps her. She shows him her very real pregnant stomach, and Lindsay and Tobias burst in to say that the urine from the sample they had collected was positive: "You're going to be a daddy!" Barry comes to see Michael at his office with news of a big break in his fat case: the waitress wasn't fat at all, just wearing a fat suit. Barry also announces that he has another case: Maggie is suing Michael for paternity. For the first time in her life, Lucille prays, begging God to take anything from the family to keep Buster from going to war. Buster is on his way to the Army when he decides to finally go swimming in the ocean, where a loose seal bites off his hand, after he misinterprets a warning from a coastguard about a "loose seal" with a response about his not caring about Lucille.


  • Rick Hall as Photographer
  • David Martel as Person
  • Gerry Del Sol as Waitor
  • Maggie Rowe as Juror #4

Recurring themes[]


  • G.O.B.'s wife's penchant for daring found a natural outlet in the armed services in Iraq. She is pictured in a set of photos resembling those that surfaced when the Abu Ghraib prison scandal broke.
  • During his magic show, G.O.B. attempts to distract the audience by telling them to look away to see one of the Desperate Housewives.
  • Lucille said that she signed Buster up for the Army because she was confronted by Michael Moore. Michael corrects her to say that it was only a look-a-like for a bit on Jimmy Kimmel Live.

Callbacks/Running Jokes[]

  • Her?
    • When George Michael mentions that he and Michael could go on double dates, he says "You and Sally, me and Ann," and Michael replies "Who?"
  • Ann is unattractive/unmemorable
    • In the same scene as above, when Michael leaves he passes Ann and doesn't recognize her, saying "Excuse me, ma'am."
  • Bad example - G.O.B.'s not-so-fake hypothetical is using the real name of the person playing his wife, who is Will Arnett's real-life wife.
  • Balboa Bay Window - We see another cover of the magazine that Lucille and Buster appear on wearing matching clothes. This time Buster is much older (30, he's 32 now). The other Balboa Bay Window magazines appear in "Switch Hitter" and "Exit Strategy".
  • Mommy What Will I Look Like? - The business that Lindsay had started is the same one used to show Michael and Sally's hypothetical child.
  • The series of pictures of G.O.B.'s wife in the military mirror those of their wedding night.
  • Buster's real father
    • During an argument about Buster going to war between Oscar and Lucille, Oscar says "He is my boy!" and Lucille later responds "I don't want you telling him you're his father!" both of them accuse the other of being intoxicated after their slip up.
    • George Sr. visits Buster dressed as Oscar and says to Buster "I'm not your uncle, I'm your father."
    • Buster discovers the truth about his father when he confronts Lucille about what George Sr. dressed as Oscar said.
  • "Come on!"
    • Maggie's client says "come on!" (G.O.B.'s catch-phrase) when, while she is waiting for a pizza to be delivered to Maggie's house, Michael knocks on Maggie's door for the 2nd time in 30 seconds to be sure that he isn't the father.
  • Desperate Housewives
    • During G.O.B.'s flashback about not using a live seal in an act, he distracts the children after blowing his trick by pointing out "one of the desperate housewives that's so...desperate", throwing a fish into his trunk to calm the seal down. Mitch Hurwitz, the show's creator is good friends (and a former co-writer of The Golden Girls) with Marc Cherry, creator of the show Desperate Housewives, who later makes a cameo in "Righteous Brothers".
  • From whence you came - When G.O.B. is talking about having to take care of the seals being a major hassle he says "So I released them from whence they came."
  • Tom Jane - When G.O.B. and Michael meet with Barry Zuckerkorn to discuss G.O.B.'s divorce, G.O.B. says, "I just want my wife back." Barry replies, "Save it for the stand, okay, Tom Jane?" This relates back to the episode "The One Where They Build a House" in which Tom Jane says, "I just want my kids back." This line is also the tagline for his movie Homeless Dad.
  • Tobias is Gay - When agreeing to break into Maggie's house, he says that he and Lindsay will be like (Spencer) Tracey and (Kathrine) Hepburn, and then proceeds to imitate Hepburn
  • Buster is once more blocked from becoming a free man by a loose seal/Lucille.
  • God costume - George Senior appears to Michael and Buster wearing the God costume.
  • Maeby? - Tobias somewhat directly alludes to the origins of Maeby.
    • Michael indirectly questions his relation to Maeby when introducing her to Sally Sitwell: "This is my niece Maeby."
  • Wink - Lucille is seen winking on the cover of Balboa Bay Window, which was first alluded by Michael never to do again in "Pilot" and "The One Where Michael Leaves".
  • Wrench - During Michael's conversation with Maggie, the theme song of the show Wrench plays on the TV.

Hidden/Background Jokes[]

  • Amongst the photos of the "series of escalating dares" that lead to G.O.B.'s marriage, G.O.B. and his wife are each eating a Skip's Scramble.
  • Michael and Sally are eating brunch at Skip Church's Bistro on a Sunday, thus "skipping church." The bistro's name can be seen briefly on the cover of its menu.
  • The Skip Church’s Bistro menu has the disclaimer: “Skip Church’s Bistro is happy to serve its valued customers, however, it is not responsible for medical bills or deformities resulting from the digestion of its menu items.”
  • Similarly, the Chinese joint where the Jewish lawyers eat on Friday night is called "Miss Temple's."
  • The photo of what Michael and Sally's child would have looked like is provided by "Mommy What Will I Look Like?" Photo Simulation Services.
  • When G.O.B. is talking about making a pun on his wife's name, he says, "If her name is Amy, I'll call her Blamy." Will Arnett [the actor who plays G.O.B.] was married to Amy Poehler, the actress who plays the G.O.B.'s wife, at that time.
    • The nickname "Blamy" sounds like "Blame me", ironically self-implicating G.O.B. of his total liability for the marriage's failure.
  • Hand - Several times during the episode remarks are made about Buster's hand, followed by a foreboding sound.
    • Buster says "I never thought I'd miss a hand so much."
    • G.O.B. tells the seal "You're not going to be hand fed anymore!"
    • During the scene where Buster and Lucille are having their picture taken on the beach, twice what looks like a seal tail breaches in the ocean behind them. This is accompanied by a "Dun-Dun" Jaws-like musical cue.
    • During the same scene Lucille says, "I may not have been a perfect mother but, you know, kids don't come with a handbook."
    • George Sr. asks "What if I never get to reach out and touch that hand of his again?" A second musical cue of the two-note is then heard, alluding to its impending demise. Notably, it is also Buster's left hand that George Sr. reaches out towards in the Living Classics painting they pose for.
    • While Buster is sitting waiting for a bus to go to Iraq, he covers the letters of an Army recruiting advertisement on the bench, showing only the partial "Arm Off."
  • Maggie, played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus, makes two references to Seinfeld in the Bluth house.
    • She says, in Jerry's signature manner, "What's the deal on Zuckerkorn? Because you know my fat case, it's really pretty thin."
    • Michael not realising Maggie is pregnant because of the box she is carrying is a reference to how the actress hide her pregnance on the show(by carrying objects and being cover with them or large clothing).
    • When Michael accuses her of pretending to be pregnant, she raises her shirt to show her stomach and yells "I'm faking it!" This could be a subtle reference the Season 5 Seinfeld episode, "The Mango," in which this phrase is used to refer to feigning an orgasm.
  • Michael's repeated insistence that it seems like a year since he had last seen Maggie refers to the airdate of this episode which is 11 days short of a complete year since the airdate of "Altar Egos".
  • The Balboa Window magazine cover reads “Lucille and Buster Bluth Keepin' it Fresh! Also: How to Dress For Success / Yacht Club presses forward with plans to downsize to rowboats / Two Bay Windows! / Leprechaun Impersonators Visit Balboa Towers / Once a desert wasteland now an oasis. How the Bluth Company helped millions of Iraqi families. For a second!”

Foreshadowing/Future References[]

  • Hand
    • When Buster is sitting on the bench awaiting the bus, the "Army Officer" printed on is partially covered up to say "Arm Off." This later happens, when he gets his left hand torn off by a seal.
    • When G.O.B. tells Michael his wife is a seal dealer, the camera focuses on his left hand on Michael's shoulder. It is a seal that bites off Buster's left hand later in the episode.
    • When Buster, Lucille, and Oscar are at the beach, a seal can be seen jumping out of the ocean in the background while suspenseful music is played, foreshadowing how a seal would later tear off his hand.
    • When George, Sr. talks about never reaching out and touching Buster's hand again, suspenseful Jaws-like music plays.
  • Fat case - Maggie tells Michael that her "fat case is really pretty thin." The following episode reveals that her client isn't really overweight, just pregnant.


→ See more quotes from "Out on a Limb" at Transcript of Out on a Limb.


  • When Maggie tells Michael they last saw each other "eight and a half months ago" he says "could have sworn it was a year" referencing the fact that "Justice Is Blind" aired eleven months before this episode, a reference to FOX's erratic scheduling of the series.
  • This episode was aired back-to-back with "Hand to God".
  • This is the episode in which Buster loses his hand. It happens in the "On the next..." segment.
  • In this episode, Buster discovers the truth about his father, a fact he later forgets due to the trauma of his accident.
  • When G.O.B. can't remember his wife's name, he uses "Amy" as an example of a name she could have (albeit a "bad example"), a reference to Amy Poehler, who played the character and is Will Arnett's real-life wife.


  • One of the scenes featured in "On the next Arrested Development" segment features Michael learning from Barry that Maggie Lizer's client is the user of the fat suit. Michael has a subdued reaction, and then is informed that he is being sued for paternity. This scene takes place at the Bluth Company. In the subsequent episode, "Hand to God", Michael learns of the client's fat suit in the courthouse, has a stronger reaction, and no mention of a paternity suit is made.


→ See 80 pictures from Out on a Limb at Images from Out on a Limb.

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