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Pier Pressure

"Pier Pressure"
Directors: Joe Russo — Writer: Mitchell Hurwitz & Jim Vallely — Aired: January 11, 2004 — Icon-image      

"Pier Pressure" is the tenth episode of Arrested Development's first season.

Buster realizes that medical marijuana will help cure Lucille 2's vertigo, and pays George Michael to get it for him from G.O.B.. Lindsay sends Maeby to spend a day with Lucille to punish her for bad grades. Michael thinks George Michael is on drugs and attempts to teach him a lesson.


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Big yellow joint[]

Michael and Lindsay reminisce over the lessons their father and J. Walter Weatherman taught them as children when G.O.B. enters, asking for money to pay off his Hot Cops stripper agency. Michael refuses to help him out. When he sees his son punishing himself too harshly for an A- grade, he insists that George Michael go out and have fun.

George Michael instead heads to the banana stand where Buster, having once participated in a study involving marijuana and nausea, approaches him and asks him to buy marijuana for Lucille 2 who is suffering from a bad fit of vertigo. Michael arrives and orders his son out of the banana stand and to go have fun. George Michael, trying to be a good guy, asks G.O.B. to buy him the marijuana by leaving a note.

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G.O.B. delivers the note and marijuana to Michael who blames his own aggressive parenting. He visits George in prison to ask about J. Walter Weatherman's contact info but George, now a pious man, refuses to help. Michael instead enlists the Hot Cops to fake a drug bust at the family yacht to teach George Michael a lesson. The strippers arrive and George Michael, wise to the gag because his choir teacher was one of the Hot Cops, tells his father that the pot was for Buster and Lucille 2. Michael sends his son and Buster home and a drug dealer approaches, insisting they pay for the drugs. G.O.B. and Michael try and convince him their ruse was just to teach his son a lesson when the police arrive and start a shoot-out with the drug dealers. Michael sees a man's arm fly off and realizes the whole thing is a ruse to teach Michael to not teach lessons.

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Maeby and Gangy[]

After Michael warns Lindsay that Maeby's bad grades can set her on a bad path in life Lindsay attempts to punish Maeby when she gets a D- on a homework assignment. Her punishment is to spend a day with Lucille, who is doctoring receipts to hide expenses from the SEC. Maeby and Lucille initially bond but as the day wears on Maeby understands how lucky she is to have an easygoing mother like Lindsay. Lucille comments on Maeby's freckles and hints she may need to diet so Maeby leaves a note and escapes back to the model home, thanking her mother.


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  • Johnny Savas as Drug dealer
  • Greg Kohout as Derek
  • Dan Horton as Hot Cop #1
  • Benjamin (Stoli) Lowe as Hot Cop #2
  • Scott Layne as Hot Cop #3

Recurring Themes[]


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  • Randy's Donuts - The plaster donut Buster is shown trying to eat his way through is at this famous Los Angeles landmark, seen in numerous movies and television shows, and parodied on The Simpsons.
  • George Michael - George Michael mentions for the first time the famous singer-songwriter with whom he shares a name. It is interesting that this shared name was not mentioned until the tenth episode, since the similarity is often the first thing a new fan thinks of when they hear George Michael's name.

Callbacks/running jokes[]

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  • Abbreviated cursing - Buster abbreviates the word "screwing" to "s-ing" in this episode. He later abbreviates the word "rape" to "R" in "The One Where Michael Leaves", and "bitch" to "B" in "Ready, Aim, Marry Me".
  • Big Yellow Joint - The song inspired by the shape of the Bluth Banana Stand. It would later be repeated in "Afternoon Delight", "Meat the Veals" and "Prison Break-In". Musically and vocally the song is most likely an homage/parody of Arlo Guthrie's "Alice's Restaurant."
  • Buster says hey - Buster greets George Michael by saying, "Hey nephew".
  • "Family first" - George Michael repeats this phrase to Michael, who we first see tell his son this motto in the "Pilot", and reappears in "Visiting Ours".
  • George Michael is two people - While George Michael is talking to himself while struggling to solve a math problem, Michael comes in and says, "Calm down, you two. It's just a math problem". This episode is the first time it is mentioned that George Michael shares a name with a singer-songwriter.
  • Hot Cops - The first mention of the stripper agency that G.O.B. once worked for. The next would be in "Best Man for the Gob".
  • Ice cream - More instances of the Bluth family showing their love for this frozen dessert.
    • Michael tells Lindsay that when George Michael gets an "A", he gets ice cream.
    • Lindsay offers to take Maeby out for ice cream, who then wants Lucille to take her out for ice cream.
  • Lucille calls Lindsay fat - Lucille continues her insults about Lindsay's weight.
    • Lucille says that a diet is the best defense against criticism and suggests that Lindsay wear sleeves to hide her arms.
    • Lucille says she never gave the elephant brooch to Lindsay because she "didn't want to invite the comparison."
    • Lucille also makes a crack about Maeby getting too fat when Maeby suggests going out for ice cream and Lucille says, "...your chubby little wrist is already testing the tensile strength of that bracelet." Maeby responds by leaving the penthouse with a note that ends, "Love, Fatty"
  • Judaism - George Sr.'s misguided newfound Judaism, first seen in "Storming the Castle", is referenced several times.
    • He tells Michael he can't teach a lesson today, because it's Yomtov, the first night of Yom Kippur, but Michael replies that Yom Kippur is only one night, and it was "back in September".
    • He says that George Michael is "a scholar like his grandfather".
    • He sends Michael away because he has to prepare for the Sabbath (Saturday), but Michael points out that it's actually Tuesday.
  • Leaving a note - After George Sr.'s lesson to his children in this episode, it marks the first of many instances where one of the characters leaves a note for another, as in "Beef Consommé", "Staff Infection", and "Shock and Aww".
  • Lessons - This is the first instance we see of George Sr. using J. Walter Weatherman to teach his family lessons. We'd see him again in "Making a Stand".
    • We see him teach them to always leave a note and to not yell. George Sr. implies that his last lesson was to not leave the door open while the air conditioner is running.
  • Marijuana - This drug would be referenced many times over the course of the show, especially in episodes involving George Sr.'s twin brother, Oscar.
    • G.O.B.'s comment "Might just be a few stems." in regards to cheap marijuana refers to the practice of including the non-psychotropic marijuana seeds and stems in a bag to increase its weight.
    • G.O.B. says, "It's cold out here" in an attempt to cover up his breathing out what appears to be marijuana smoke.
  • Maeby has poor literacy skills - Maeby spells "minus" as "M-I-N-E-S."
  • Smoke it like a cigarette - George Michael's weak attempt to use drug lingo is said again by George Sr. in "Sad Sack".
  • Vertigo - Lucille 2's battle with vertigo continues and we see it at its worst in this episode.

Hidden/background jokes[]

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  • Affairs - We hear numerous references to George Sr.'s various affairs.
    • Lucille tells Maeby that a necklace "is from when Pop-Pop yelled out, "Oh Melanie!" when he was making love to Gangy."
    • Lucille holds a brooch which makes her recall, "the week when we had the au pair."
    • Later in the episode when Lindsay sees the brooch, she says, "That was supposed to be for me. She was my au pair. I’m the one who cleared my throat and pointed to the laundry room."
  • Cold - When Michael goes to talk to George Michael, G.O.B. can be seen looking at the bag of marijuana suspiciously. When Michael returns, G.O.B. is holding in a large breath. He finally coughs, and releases a puff of white smoke from his mouth. G.O.B. feebly attempts to pass this off as cold air by saying "It's cold out here."
  • Financial Gain - Buster gives George Michael $200, but when G.O.B. tells Michael, his first answer is that he got $200 which he quickly changes to $100.
  • Like Father, Like Son - Michael's comments to his father, "Dumb. Dumb Michael. Dumb." directly mirror George Michael's words from earlier in the episode.
  • Missing limbs - J. Walter Weatherman's dog only has three legs.
  • Nausea Study - Buster's folder on the nausea study he participated in has a note on the cover that reads "PROPERTY OF BUSTER BLUTH: If found, please contact Lucille Bluth in California (She'll pay for the charges)"

    “Balony’s” receipt

  • Notes - There is a note on the refrigerator that reads "I finished the milk. Will buy more - George Michael"
  • Balony's - One of the receipts on Lucille’s table is from “Balony’s.”

Foreshadowing/Future References[]

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  • J. Walter Weatherman's loss of a limb may have inspired Buster's loss of his hand in "Out on a Limb" and "Hand to God".
  • This episode is later heavily mirrored in the Season Three episode "Making a Stand".


→ See more quotes from "Pier Pressure" at Transcript of Pier Pressure.


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  • This episode is one of the most popular episodes of both the first season, and the entire series run of Arrested Development. Mitch Hurwitz himself called this episode (along with the other episode featuring J. Walter Weatherman's "lessons", "Making a Stand") his favorite episode of all time.
  • The title is a play on the homophones “pier” and “peer.” It also refers to peer pressure, which often involves drugs.
  • Tobias does not appear in this episode.
  • In an online clip of the "G.O.B. Hot Cops" flashback, there is no music 'til he starts the boombox, and then it plays "Cherry Pie" by Warrant instead of the original music used in this episode.
  • Jase Wirey was a contestant on the reality-series Big Brother 5, and appeared in an uncredited, non-speaking role as a Hot Cop.
  • This episode is rated TV-PG-LV.


→ See more images from "Pier Pressure" at Category:Images from Pier Pressure.

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"

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