"S.O.B.s" is the ninth episode of Arrested Development's third season.
The Bluth family was sitting at a meeting at the company offices after losing Bob Loblaw as a lawyer. Michael told the family that if they want to keep going for the next few weeks, they must get a new lawyer and "pull out all the stops." They need $100,000 to retain their lawyer. Lindsay then mentioned that Maeby has been accepted at a new-age feel-goodery known as "Openings". She had even sent in the check. Michael suggested that everyone get a job to raise money for the family. He suggested that Lindsay do all the housework at the model home to pay off her debt. G.O.B. and the rest of the family ridiculed Michael for suggesting this. George instead suggested that they hold a legal defense fund dinner in order to raise money - a "Save Our Bluths" event.
Later, Michael arrived at the model home to find Lindsey actually cooking and cleaning. Lindsay, not really knowing what to do, was making "hot ham water." Lindsay suggested that George Michael should also go to "Openings", so that he can properly express his feelings. George Michael walked in to the kitchen to take a break from his SAT preparation and get a cream soda. Lindsay offered to get one for him, but George Michael nervously hurried to the fridge to get it himself. He also checked the stove. Tobias then told Michael that George Michael has been acting strange. We then see how George Michael was constantly cleaning and checking things. Tobias believed that George Michael had obsessive-compulsive disorder because he was afraid to express himself. The truth was, though, that George Michael was simply cleaning up after Lindsay, who wasn't doing a good job cleaning and cooking. Lindsay again recommended "Openings" for George Michael and gives Michael a letter showing "how great" she was doing. Lindsay and Tobias, not having read the letter, are surprised to find out that Maeby hasn't been attending classes and was going to be expelled. They both thought it was a boarding school. Maeby had actually been working at the studio the whole time, filming her film "Snowboarding School 2" on location. Michael was annoyed that the non-refundable tuition is gone, and Lindsay, trying to act like a traditional parent, quipped that Maeby should be punished. Michael then decided to send George Michael to "Openings" instead.
Meanwhile, Lucille was soliciting for the Bluth fundraiser at the club restaurant. G.O.B., who was also at the restaurant at the time, decided to play a trick on Lucille by pretending to be a waiter. Lucille never looked at her waiter, so she didn't know that G.O.B. was playing a trick. G.O.B. kept his charade up until Lucille would notice, but the other waiters thought he was a waiter. Lucille left the restaurant not knowing G.O.B. was there.
At the penthouse, Michael came over to discuss the plans for the fundraiser with George. Michael remarked that the "Home Builders Organization" would not support them, so they had to put on a show during dinner. They decided to invite a celebrities to the event. George also told Michael to write a speech for the restaurant. Michael then told George how Andy Richter's brother teaches at "Openings", so it may be possible to have Andy Richter come to the fundraiser. George also advised Michael not to send George Michael to "Openings" because they will poison his mind. George also poisoned the teachers at "Openings" by sending them poison muffins.
At "Openings", George Michael was asked to express himself in an essay for an assignment. It was also revealed that his teacher, Donnie Richter, is just one of five quintuplets, with Andy Richter being one of the others. At the house, Tobias, who was trying to enforce some discipline, confronts Maeby about not going to school. Tobias told Maeby she has to help him make some gift bags to send to casting director if she doesn't want to go to school.
At the country club, G.O.B. found out he accidentally worked a day after he received some tips. Lindsay and Buster were bonding in the model home, when Buster wandered over to get some food, since Lucille didn't leave him any. Meanwhile, George Michael was struggling to write an essay criticizing his father, so he asked Maeby for help. George Michael tricked Maeby into writing his essay for him.
The next day, Michael went to "Openings" to see how George Michael was doing at his new school. He found George Michael reading the essay in which Maeby criticized Tobias, and thought the criticism was directed at him. G.O.B. continued to work at the restaurant, and began flirting with the women to garner better tips. He unknowingly began flirting with Lucille, and they both are disgusted when they realize what has just happened. Michael then went to confront Donnie Richter about poisoning George Michael, but ran into Andy Richter, who agreed to go to the Bluth's fundraiser. He then threatened Donnie Richter about his son. Michael then decided to pull George Michael out of "Openings", while George implicitly said he will poison Donnie. Lucille, mad that G.O.B. is a waiter and that Lindsey is a "housewife", said she doesn't want them to come to the dinner. Maeby, tired of spending time with Tobias, arranged for him to get a bit part in a movie.
Michael, meanwhile, told George Michael he can't go to "Openings" anymore. Then, George Michael reveals that Maeby had written the essay, not him. Michael then flip-flopped and said George Michael must return to that school. Rocky Richter, the stuntman Richter, then confronted Michael about poisoning Donnie. George Michael was angered about this, and he was also mad that Michael never listens to his opinion. Over at the penthouse, Lucille was panicking because the caterers refused to come because she had run up a high balance at the clubhouse.
The party began and several celebrities were in attendance. Lindsay, who was doing the cooking, was making some dubious dishes. Andy Richter, pretending to be Emmitt Richter, refused to sing. George also accidentally revealed to Michael that he was the "muffin man", and that he poisoned Donnie. George Michael then apologized for criticizing his father, and then Michael began his speech. Michael then gave he speech in which he said that "maybe the Bluths are not worth saving." He then told everyone that he threatens people and that George poisons them. All of the guests rushed out in a panic upon hearing this. The food was bad, the gift bags ridiculous, and the speech was disturbing, but it was still one of the better dinner parties the Bluths had thrown.
Michael then told George Michael he doesn't have to go to "Openings" any more and that he was just worried about his possible obsessive-compulsive disorder. George Michael then revealed that he was simply cleaning up after Lindsay this whole time. Michael then pledged to always listen to George Michael in the future. George Michael revealed that he loved Maeby, but Michael ignored him.
In the "On the Next Arrested Development" segment, it is revealed that checks have been pouring in from the attendees of the party. Lucille believes this to be a result of the family not looking desperate. In reality, it was likely due to the many explicit and implied threats that Tobias, Michael, George, and G.O.B. inadvertently make as the guests are leaving.
- Judge Reinhold as Himself (uncredited)
- Richard Belzer as John Munch (uncredited)
- Andy Richter as Himself
- Bob Einstein as Larry Middleman
- Jack McBrayer as Waiter
- John Beard as Himself
- Ben Stiller as Tony Wonder (uncredited)
- Zach Braff as Phillip Litt (uncredited)
- Andy Richter as Donnie Richter
- Andy Richter as Chareth Richter
- Andy Richter as Rocky Richter-Wang
- Unknown as Emmett Richter
- Tannis Vallely as Casting director
- Helen Slayton-Hughes as Mrs. Van Skoyk
- Anne Bellamy as Woman at country club
- Kate Luyben as Woman in negligee
- Caitlin Sedio as Teen Lindsay
- John Larroquette as Himself
- Character Death - The narrator reveals the character that will die in this episode. TV shows often promote the death of a character, but without revealing which character, in order to attract attention.
- Desperate Housewives - The show pokes fun at housewives several times, a reference to the hit ABC show Desperate Housewives. George mentions that they should have an event instead of "selling out and becoming housewives." Also, Lucille advises the family not to seem "desperate."
- Frostbite - Maeby's film Snowboarding School 2 is an inside joke referencing the 2005 comedy about a snowboarding academy whose Executive Producer, Jim Vallely, co-wrote this episode.
- HBO - Michael says that "The HBO's (Home Builder's Organization) not going to want us," a reference to the fact that HBO never picks up shows canceled from other networks.
- I Love the - Why We Were Scared of the '70s is a parody of the various VH1 specials.
- Live Ending - The "live" ending is poking at shows such as The West Wing ("The Debate"), The Drew Carey Show and Will and Grace ("Alive and Schticking") that used live episodes in an attempt to boost ratings. After finishing the 'Live' ending, one of the characters references that they will have to repeat the scene for the West Coast feed.
- Medium - The 3-D effect is a reference to many shows that use these to garner higher ratings, specifically the NBC show Medium.
- Nicole Kidman - A reference to using Oscar winning stars to boost ratings, as this show did with Charlize Theron.
- The O.C. - Whenever any character uses "The O.C." as an abbreviation for something, Michael replies "Don't call it that", which is poking fun at the canceled show on FOX.
- Quintuplets - Andy Richter playing quintuplets is an allusion to his short-lived FOX show Quintuplets, in which he plays the father.
- Showtime - After the characters discuss that HBO will not want them, George quips "Well I think it's Showtime", referring to the fact that it is a possible destination for the show.
- www.saveourbluths.com - "www.saveourbluths.org" flashes on the screen at one point, a reference to the real "Save Our Bluths" website created by fans to promote and save Arrested Development from cancellation.
- Kitchen Confidential - The short-lived FOX show, based on Anthony Bourdain's memoir, that debuted after the third season premiere of Arrested Development. The show was about waiters and cooks working in a restaurant. All the references in this episode about waiters were in reference to this show.
- Zodiac Killer - Michael, shocked to find out that George sent Donnie Richter a basket of poisoned muffins, queries him about his potentially being the Muffin Man, and George tells him he only killed the first two teachers, and the other 23 were killed by copycats. This is similar to the Zodiac Killer's death toll, which was reported to be as high as 37, when in actuality, he was only responsible for the deaths of 7.
- Analrapist - Tobias mentions his previous occupation when discussing George Michael's odd behavior.
- "You know, Michael, if I may take off my acting pants for a moment and pull my analrapist stocking over my head, George Michael has been acting strange lately."
- Chareth the Flirt - Refers to Michael’s pseudonym in "Altar Egos" when he’s flirting with Maggie Lizer.
- "Come on!" - G.O.B. uses his trademark line when he discovers he is flirting with Lucille.
- Dinner Party - The narrator says they had one of their better dinner parties, possibly referring to their other party this season in "Prison Break-In".
- Hair Plugs - Tobias has scabs on his head from the removal of his hair plugs.
- "Hey" - Buster greets Lindsay with “Hey, sister” for the first time.
- "Hotter" - Buster theorizes out loud that Lindsay is possibly looking hotter after announcing that she is now his new mother to Lucille. Buster's natural instinct causes him to become attracted to women that act maternal towards him.
- This is similar to a scene in the Season One episode "Staff Infection", where G.O.B. proclaims that Kitty is "starting to sound pretty damn sexy" when he was really talking to Lindsay over the phone.
- Jamie Kennedy - Maeby complains that "Jamie Kennedy can't even snowboard" when talking about her new production, Snowboarding School 2. Jamie Kennedy had previously appeared in "Notapusy", when he was trying to get Maeby to cast him in another one of her films.
- George Michael/Maeby - George Michael enjoys smelling Maeby's neck. He also reveals to Michael that he loves his cousin, but Michael ignores him.
- "Mr. F" - The recurring tune from "Mr. F" is used in the background when Donnie Richter reveals his grading system for "Openings."
- Robot - Buster calls Michael a robot. G.O.B. first called Michael this in "The Cabin Show".
- The Ocean Walker - The Variety webpage for Maeby's new movie contains an ad for Rita's proposed movie from "The Ocean Walker". It also had the line "It's Deep."
- Is Tobias gay? - Numerous jokes are made about Tobias' homosexuality.
- When Michael says they lost Bob Loblaw because someone wanted a boyfriend, Tobias says "Don't blame me."
- Tobias refers to the Tin Man from The Wizard of Oz as the "Steel Man." When Michael corrects him, Lindsay says "He knows," implying that Tobias deliberately said the wrong thing in an effort to appear straight.
- Tobias calls George Michael a "Freddie Wilson" who is a member of a fictional Village People-esque band - who were said to be gay. The script originally had the real name of Village People member Victor Willis. That may or may not have been used because Victor Willis was one of the few straight members of the band, and the others weren't (implying Tobias). The name was changed to the fictional "Freddie Wilson', although during the original broadcast of the episode the closed captioning used that earlier copy of the script that contained Victor Willis' name. It was corrected later.
- This is also used as a subtle reference to the fact that a common criticism of the show and explanation as to why it never gained a wide audience was that the writing often contained obscure references that few could understand. After Tobias says this line, Michael responds, "I don't know that reference," followed by Lindsay's "Neither do I."
- Tobias sees himself as a 'mother' when Maeby acts out of line. "Lindsay: She should be punished for this. You know, Tobias, if I can become a more traditional mother, then maybe you could start being more of a... Tobias: Non-traditional mother. Yes, you’re right. After all, I am her father."
- Tobias is listening to a gay song called "Discipline Daddy."
- He is called the "glitter queen" by a casting director.
- Tobias wants to wear lipstick and eyeliner when he is preparing his gift bags for casting directors.
- Y.O.M. television - Why We Were Scared of the 70's is on the TV network that covered Spring Break in "Missing Kitty".
- Freddie Wilson - Tobias mentions an obscure member of a Village People-like band.
- Judge Reinhold - The Variety page has an advertisement for his new court TV show, saying "This Fall... Justice will be done." Judge Reinhold and his fictional television show play a large part in the next episode, "Fakin' It".
- The episode also makes extensive reference to the show's eventual cancellation, including a number of metafictional exchanges in which the characters agonize over whether they're relatable enough - a common explanation for the show's normally low ratings. At the end of the episode Michael concludes that the Bluths have received plenty of chances and may not deserve to be saved (from cancellation).
- → See more quotes from "S.O.B.s" at Transcript of S.O.B.s.
- This episode was written after FOX cut the Season Three episode order from 22 episodes to 13.
- This episode features several satires of things other shows have used to garner higher ratings. The narration often points these out.
- This episode features a reference to the show's possibility of moving to Showtime and HBO.
- Andy Dick appears as himself, playing the host of the fictional TV show Why We Were Scared of the '70s.
- Andy Richter guest stars as himself, Donnie, Chareth, Rocky, and Emmett - he plays identical quintuplets that all have different personalities, a reference to his short-lived sitcom Quintuplets. Richter first appeared in the show in the Season Two episode "Switch Hitter".
- Bob Einstein reprises his role as Larry Middleman - he appears at the dinner party playing the surrogate of a businessman.
- Jack McBrayer plays the waiter in the scene with G.O.B. and Lucille.
- Celebrity cameos - Numerous celebrities can be seen briefly at the Bluths' dinner party:
- Ben Stiller as Tony Wonder. He had also appeared in "Sword of Destiny" and "Good Grief".
- John Beard as himself - he plays the FOX 6 News anchor and appears in several episodes (he is also seen in a separate flashback in this episode, too).
- Judge Reinhold as himself. He would later appear in "Fakin' It".
- Richard Belzer as himself. He later appears as "Professor" John Munch in "Exit Strategy".
- John Larroquette as himself. He was mentioned several times in "Righteous Brothers", and made a brief cameo at the end of the episode as a member of the Blue Man Group.
- Zach Braff as Phillip Litt, who had first appeared in "Spring Breakout".
- → See 80 pictures from S.O.B.s at Images from S.O.B.s.
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