Arrested Development Wiki
Arrested Development Wiki


Directors: Anthony Russo & Joe Russo — Writer: Mitchell Hurwitz — Aired: November 2, 2003 — Icon-image      

"Pilot" is the first episode of Arrested Development's first season.

Michael decides to take a job in Arizona after being passed over by George Sr. for head of the Bluth Company. George Sr. is jailed, and the family realizes they need Michael.


Michael and his siblings[]

The morning of his father's retirement, Michael Bluth felt optimistic that his father, George Bluth, will make him the president of the Bluth Company. Michael finds his brother G.O.B. and asks for his check for the party, to which G.O.B. responds that he will be performing the Aztec Tomb illusion at the party and suggests Michael charge the party to the company's credit card. He then lets slip that their sister Lindsay has been charging her month-long visit to the city to the company.

1x01 Pilot (29)

Michael visits his mother Lucille at her apartment and confronts her about using the company credit card on Lindsay. He learns that the company has also paid $16,000 for the Aztec Tomb and $40,000 to Lindsay's anti-circumcision charity H.O.O.P.. Lindsay and her husband Tobias Fünke arrive at Lucille's apartment and Michael gives them all an impassioned speech about the virtue of hard work.

At the retirement party aboard the Marina Hornblower George decides to name Lucille president of the company, and quietly apologizes to Michael. Michael makes the decision to move him and his son to Arizona away from his family's self-delusions and selfishness when the SEC raids the party and takes George into custody. Buster, Michael's younger brother and perpetual graduate student, attempts to steer the boat to freedom but suffers from a panic attack.

1x01 Pilot (53)

The family gathers at the police station where they learn George will be kept in custody and all accounts have been frozen. The family reacts to the latter. Lucille names Buster to be acting president of the Bluth company but he suffers another panic attack. The family, tired of attempting to find other work, asks Michael to come back and help run the company. Michael realizes they legitimately need his help and that his son would be better off with more family in his life, so he agrees to stay.

1x01 Pilot (44)

George Michael and Maeby[]

While working at the banana stand, a Bluth family operation since the 1950s, George Michael is approached by Mae "Maeby" Fünke, his cousin that he rarely sees. She suggests they make out at the retirement party to teach Lindsay a lesson about keeping them separated. George Michael expresses fear that it is illegal.

At the party, Maeby grabs George Michael and kisses him as Lindsay passes. Lindsay doesn't notice and Maeby sulks off. George Michael, however, is aroused by the kiss and begins to struggle with feelings toward his cousin. He becomes incredibly uncomfortable when he learns that he and Maeby will be sharing a bedroom in the model home.

1x01 I want to be an actor

Tobias's piracy[]

Ever since Tobias lost his psychiatrist license after performing C.P.R. on a sleeping man he had been searching for a new life calling. When Michael jokingly suggested the retirement party was pirate themed, Tobias took it seriously. He dressed in Lindsay's clothes and accidentally boarded a boat with some gay men to protest the yacht club's refusal to let gays marry at sea. He befriended the men and realized he wanted to be an actor.


1x01 Pilot (47)
1x01 Pilot (51)

Recurring Themes[]

1x01 Pilot (74)
1x01 Pilot (75)

...on the next Arrested Development[]

"George Michael gets a new roommate and Michael finds it difficult to get his father out of jail."

George Michael sits uncomfortably on the bed, while Maeby showers with the door closed over, while singing Britney Spears' "Oops, I Did It Again". Meanwhile, G.O.B. interviews for a job at the Sitwell Housing Inc., only to be told that it is Michael they were interested in, and that he is not a candidate because he did not come prepared with references, to which G.O.B. uses one of his illusions to make a dove appear. Michael visits George Sr. in prison with news that he is going to try and free him, only to learn that he is enjoying himself.


1x01 Pilot (08)
1x01 Pilot (55)
  • Cell Phone - When Buster is shown taking part in the Native American tribal ceremony, a Native American seen in the background is using a cell phone. Later, while on the boat talking to Delores, George Sr. says "can you hear me now?", the popular tagline featured in the Verizon Wireless advertisements.
  • Explorers - Michael references the explorers Cortés and Magellan when questioning Buster's choice of cartography.
  • Annie Get Your Gun - Tobias performs “I’m a Bad, Bad Man” from the musical, Annie Get Your Gun, at his audition for the Community Theater of Orange.
  • Segway - G.O.B. rides a Segway, a two-wheeled transportation device that would become a recurring character trait.
  • UNO - George Michael and Maeby are seen playing UNO.
  • Peanuts - Lucille says "Good grief!"

Callbacks/Running Jokes[]

1x01 Pilot (40)
1x01 Pilot (23)
  • Man with "Freedom" sign - The gay protester makes several reappearances throughout the series.
  • Buster's studies - Buster has taken 18th century Agrarian Business classes among the many things that he has done.
  • Missing limbs - Lucille reveals to Michael that someone cut the foot off of the fox fur that she owns. It is revealed that Maeby cut it off in order to falsely claim that she found it in a frozen banana (only to have George Michael spoil the grift by recognizing her as his cousin).
  • Winking - Lucille winks at Michael, and he asks her to never to do it again. George Sr. also winks at Michael when he claims that a husband and wife cannot be arrested for the same crime.
  • Tobias is gay - Tobias crossdresses and befriends gay actors, causing him to decide to become an actor. When Lindsay guesses "you're gay?" his response is "No, Lindsay, how many times..."
  • Phoenix - Michael is convinced Phoenix is a better place to live, and again attempts to move there in "The One Where Michael Leaves".
  • The most important thing - George Michael says it's breakfast. Michael says it's family.
  • Banners - George Sr. has a "Happy Trails Pard'ner" banner. Lindsay's events have posters as well as G.O.B.'s Alliance of Magicians.
  • Bleeps - The young magician says "[bleep] off traitor" to G.O.B. and George Sr. says "I've got the worst [bleep]ing attorneys".
  • "Gahb" Bluth - Trisha Thoon mispronounces G.O.B.'s name during the news.
  • Hidden dove illusion - G.O.B. performs this during his job interview.
  • High-fives - G.O.B. and George Michael high-five during the monopoly game. Throughout the show, G.O.B. normally gets rejected when he tries to high-five people.
  • Illusions - G.O.B. insists that he does illusions, not tricks.
  • Lessons - Maeby wants to teach her parents a lesson by kissing George Michael.
  • Shoulder rub - Buster attempts to give Michael, Tobias, and George Michael shoulder rubs. He tries to do this throughout seasons one and two.
  • Tobias' laugh - This is the first time we hear Tobias' happy laugh when he announces that he wants to become an actor.

Hidden/Background Jokes[]

1x01 Pilot (54)
  • Graffiti - The police station was vandalized with the words "FUNKE YOU", which is the last name of Tobias, Lindsay and Maeby. In that scene, Maeby can be seen holding a marker pen, implying she wrote it. Later on, the graffiti changes and although it is obscured, "I H[...] my [...]" can be read. It could read "I hate my parents" if Maeby wrote it.
  • George Sr.'s cowboy phase - George Sr. is wearing a cowboy hat and has a banner saying "Happy Trails Pard'ner". This is more obvious in the extended pilot when he calls Michael "pard'ner".
  • Music -
    • When Lucille becomes the president, the song "Love will keep us together" by Captain and Tennille plays.
    • When George Michael finds out Maeby will be sharing a room with him, the song "Gonna get together" by Leroy plays.
    • In the "On the next..." segment, Maeby sings "Oops!...I did it again" by Britney Spears.
  • Variety - Tobias is reading this arts and entertainment magazine after Buster passes out at the business meeting.
  • In the attic, George Michael is seen next to a stack of Monopoly game boxes. In a scene cut from the pilot, but shown in the extended pilot, G.O.B. gave George Michael a Monopoly game, and asked him if he already had it, to which George Michael replied "Yeah, I think I might."
  • When Michael talks to G.O.B. about paying for the party, G.O.B. has a magic wand sticking out of a bag on his Segway.
  • When George Sr. is shown on the news being taken away by the police, the family can be seen watching him on the boat in the background. Buster is waving him off and G.O.B. takes a drink from his glass before Lindsay takes it from him and drinks it herself.

Foreshadowing/Future References[]

1x01 Pilot (48)
1x01 - Enrique
1x01 Pilot (66)
  • Busters hand - Lucille asks Michael if he notices that one of the legs on her fox scarf is missing. (Stolen by Maeby). This is foreshadowing to buster loosing his hand.
  • Criminal mastermind - Lucille claims that the SEC is wrong in calling George Sr. a criminal mastermind. In "Development Arrested", it is revealed that she was the true mastermind. George Sr.'s rationale for naming Lucille CEO instead of Michael is "they cannot arrest a husband and a wife for the same crime," hinting that Lucille is somehow also complicit in the Bluth company scandal. When Michael informs him that he is incorrect, George Sr. says that he has "the worst [bleep]'ing attorneys" hinting at Barry Zuckerkorn's ineptitude.
  • Sitwell - Michael and G.O.B. have job interviews at Sitwell Enterprises Inc., a company which would play a larger role as rival to the Bluth Company throughout Season 2.
  • Numerous scenes from this episode are heavily mirrored in "Let 'Em Eat Cake" and "Development Arrested". On the DVD commentary track for this episode, Mitchell Hurwitz suggests that there could be a 5th Bluth sibling (and, after Hel-loh enters the family, a 6th sibling), an idea which was the plot of the Season Three episode "Family Ties".
  • When Maeby and George Michael are playing cards during Michael's "intervention," she's wearing an undersized t-shirt that reads "Lotta Love's." This foreshadows Lucille's coverall statement "...and a whole lot of love."
  • When George Michael asks to Maeby if she is his cousin, she answers saying "Maeby!". This foreshadows the fact that they could be not related.
  • After Buster passes out at a business meeting, G.O.B. says "We need ice." He later hires a bounty hunter called Ice in "¡Amigos!"


→ See more quotes from "Pilot" at Transcript of Pilot.


1x01 Pilot (63)
  • Because this was the Pilot episode for the series, no permanent sets had been built. The model home, the prison, and Lucille's apartment were all shot at different locations than seen in the rest of the series.
  • Since neither Tobias, nor George Sr. were originally planned to be a part of the main cast, they are the only main characters to not have a freeze frame introduction.
  • The Season One DVD contained an "Extended Pilot" with several differences from the original aired version, including extended scenes:
    • Several bits of dialogue that have been cut for time from the aired version are reinstated here. For instance, while citing people who have already explored the world, Michael mentions NASA to Buster; Lindsay's conversation at her "Stop the Hunger" fundraiser and George Sr.'s speech are heard in their entirety; John Beard jokes about the boat chase being "slow as molasses" before announcing George Sr.'s arrest etc.
    • Instead of saying that "a trick is something a whore does for money... or candy", G.O.B. ends the line with "... or cocaine".
    • George Sr. is seen going through, as Michael puts it, "a little bit of a cowboy phase": he has been calling Michael "pard'ner", wears a cowboy hat on the boat, starts his speech with "it's time for me to mosey on", not to mention the banner behind him that says "Happy Trails, Pard'ner". At the end of the episode, Michael advises George Sr. to "tone down that cowboy act" now that he's in jail. Only the hat and the banner remained in the aired episode.
    • An extended conversation between Michael and George Michael at the beginning of the episode: Michael is confident about being promoted to a partner because George Sr. has been calling him "pard'ner", George Michael takes Michael aback by criticizing Lindsay and Tobias for never working (although he is only quoting Michael himself, and in fact Michael later tells them the exact same thing in almost exact same words) , and mentions they only come to visit once every couple of years. As they prepare to leave the model house, a couple enters to check it out, and Michael and George Michael pretend to be interested in buying it. The aired episode omits these pieces of dialogue, but instead features an additional line of narration, stating that Michael and Lindsay haven't spoken for a year.
    • The narration introducing the banana stand is accompanied by stock footage of cooks in a kitchen preparing frozen bananas. The footage is shown again when the narrator mentions that the Bluths' assets were frozen.
    • An additional scene between George Michael and G.O.B., in which G.O.B. asks George Michael for a twenty dollar bill, gives him an incomplete game of Monopoly, chit-chats with him, and then leaves, refusing to give back the money. (The inclusion of this scene makes it humorous that George Michael is later shown packing up to leave and stacked next to him are numerous boxes of Monopoly.  Clearly his uncle has cheated him out of $20 numerous times.)
    • The conversation between Michael and G.O.B. about G.O.B. performing a magic show on the boat is preceded by a scene where Michael makes arrangements for the party with the boat's captain. G.O.B. arrives and interrupts them, leading to an awkward pause, after which the captain leaves.
    • Maeby's introduction features a cutaway scene showing an example of Maeby's unique ways to rebel: as Lindsay suggests she should get a tattoo, Maeby, wearing a dress, replies that she wants to enter beauty pageants.
    • Before George Sr.'s speech, George Michael tells Maeby that he feels like it's important for him to work weekends, as "there aren't enough young people today with a work ethic", but can't explain what it means.
    • Both the scenes after Buster collapses in the meeting room and during the intervention at Lucille's are longer: it is shown that the intervention is Tobias' idea, and at first, G.O.B. tries to make it look like an actual intervention, suggesting that everyone should tell Michael what they don't like about him, before Michael interrupts him.
    • During the "On the next" segment, the narrator says "Many find work for the first time": in addition to G.O.B. interviewing at the Sitwell Housing Inc, Lindsay is seen being explained her new job as a saleswoman at a jewelry store, but then decides to shop instead. Also, the part with George Michael getting a new roommate in Maeby has no narration.
    • Two music tracks have been replaced to better match two extended scenes: the one of Lindsay, Tobias, and Maeby running away from the hotel is set to "Ladies" (name given to it on the DVD, track played when Michael lets Lindsay beat up Jessie in "Public Relations"); the "On the next" segment reuses "Attic or Main House" (name given to it on the DVD, track played when Michael asks the titular question earlier in this episode).
    • Both uses of the F-word are uncensored.
  • This is also the only episode (along with the extended version) in the entire series, to be available uncensored.
  • This Episode is rated TV-PG-L.


  • When the camera moves to Buster banging the drum in Lucille's apartment, the audio is going much faster than he is banging.
  • Lindsay's earrings change between the scene with George Michael in the attic and the next scene where Michael asks her to stay.


→ See 97 pictures from Pilot at Images from Pilot.

Episode Clips[]


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