Arrested Development Wiki
Arrested Development Wiki


Directors: Troy Miller — Writer: Richard Day — Aired: May 29, 2018 — Icon-image.png      

"Self-Deportation" is the second episode of Arrested Development's fifth season.

For varying reasons, most of the Bluths (even Steve Holt) feel compelled to run off to Mexico. Michael tries to convince Buster to go to the police.


Michael goes to Imagine Entertainment, trying to get out of Ron Howard's movie. Kitty argues with him about the release forms he was supposed to get signed, and he says he can't because George Michael is dating Rebel Alley. Kitty mentions that Ron is shooting a movie in Mexico. Michael suggests that she make a movie about Buster instead and gives her all the release forms, including the ripped ones. Kitty doesn't want to do a movie about Buster, and fires Michael, giving him Imagine money to spend in the gift shop. He buys the Ron Howard and Brian Grazer wigs, and still has the red wig from the penthouse. Then Michael returns to the model home, putting off the fumigation and convincing Buster to pretend to be missing in order to trick the family into coming home.

Meanwhile, George Senior and G.O.B. travel through Mexico trying to find their sexual vigor, but they reject even two hot Mexican cousins. Buster reveals to Michael that he saw a dead Lucille lying on the stairs, but Michael still thinks he doesn't need a lawyer. Michael goes to say goodbye to George Michael but instead gets a call from Lucille Austero. He hangs up on her and leaves George Michael a note on his door. He heads to Mexico in his car but is escorted back by Search who owns it. Apparently he makes no move to contact George Michael again or check on whether his plan for Buster succeeded. Michael progresses at Search, getting a new, smaller car, and starting a family-on-family self-defense course.

George Michael goes looking for Michael but finds out that he just missed him. He and Maeby decide to go to Mexico and invite their unknown cousin along. The staircar ends up breaking down near the land for the Father B colony. The cousins encounter some strange cowboys telling them to leave, and the signs now read MRF. Steve Holt decides to go back home, while Maeby and George Michael go in search of a bar. George Michael says that some American students staying in Mexico have invited them to move in, but Maeby's not interested. George Michael confesses about Fakeblock not being real, and Maeby says she already figured it out by snooping on his computer. She is seeking some new goal in life, some new "goop" of her own.

G.O.B and George continue riding in the Winnebago, faking lust for a trash bag and some bushes by the side of the road. Meanwhile, Tobias and Lucille continue to have their therapy sessions but Tobias learns that Lucille wants to discontinue them since he's getting a divorce from her daughter. Tobias wants to stay in the family and tells Lucille his motto of "hurt people, hurt people" but she thinks of it as a variation on her motto "make people cry, make people cry." Lindsay runs into Oscar at a bar in Mexico, but thinks he's her father George.

Maeby tries to hitchhike back to America but accidentally took a ride to the border with some volunteers sent to help those who were displaced. She decides to stay and help distribute water to the less fortunate. George Michael continues to have a good time in Mexico because he is hanging with a bunch of white guys named Noah. Lucille learns that Trump is going to build a wall and have Mexico pay for it. A month later, Michael is still working at Search but decides to return home to pick up scuba gear from the model home. There he sees that he's received a letter from Lucille 2 that says she's forgiven the debt. He goes to thank her in person. While there, he checks on the penthouse but finds that nobody is home. He returns to Lucille 2's apartment and walks inside to find his family waiting for him.


  • Michael Blum as Tech Dude
  • Jorge Diaz as Worker Noah
  • Zack Evans as Dave
  • Ilyse Mimoun as Shopkeeper
  • Thomas Polk as Noah
  • Lidia Porto as Flores
  • J. Francisco Rodriguez as Bartender
  • Max Ruckle as Other Noah
  • David Saucedo as Enrique
  • Kimmy Shields as Lisa
  • Moses Storm as Shane
  • Justin Tan as Jeff
  • Ryan Bailey as Cop #1
  • John F. Schaeffer as Cop #2
  • Frank Ashmore as Mr. F #1
  • Anthony de Longis as Mr. F #2
  • Cort McCown as Mr. F #3
  • Kevin Crowley as Mr. F #4
  • Ralph Kampshoff as Joe
  • Kristin Vahl as Krystal

Recurring themes

On the next Arrested Development...

  • "Michael Bluth gets up from the floor. And George Michael dips his toe into the mexican nightlife."


  • Goop - Maeby and George Michael discuss Gwyneth Paltrow's lifestyle company while talking about Fakeblock.
  • Barack Obama - The ex-president of the United States is mentioned by one of the volunteers
  • Uber - Maeby thought the volunteers were trying to get her to give them a higher Uber rating
  • Minions - George Michael and his Mexico buddies go see this movie
  • Spider-Man - Kitty says she wants to remake Spider-Man 2, the first one
  • Terminator 2 - Buster's storyline might be a reference to the movie here quoted
  • Golden Globes - Kitty tells Michael he can’t cancel the Bluth movie because Imagine has already started paying off the Hollywood Foreign Press, a reference to the frequent allegation of corruption regarding the Golden Globes. Ron Howard responds “No, they’re great … she’s funny…” referencing his reaction to Natalie Portman.
  • Portia De Rossi - When Lindsay meets George Sr. at the Mexican bar in “Self-Deportation,” she tells him “I’m so hungry, I could eat.” Portia de Rossi has been open about her struggles with anorexia.

Callbacks/Running Jokes

  • Wetzel's Pretzels - The stand makes its first appereance
  • Spanish
    • Many times the word "Primos" is heard, without the Bluths understanding it
    • Lindsay doesn't understand the word "Puta"
  • Leaving a note - Michael leaves a note in the front door of George Michael's house, while seemingly unable to recall where he remembers "Always leave a note" from.
  • Milford School - Buster once again mentions the school and how, as a Milford man, he will be "neither seen or heard" after Michael asks him to stay hidden for at least 72 hours.
  • Cutoffs - Tobias' cutoffs can be seen under his bathing suit
  • Do a something search - Google's logo is still blurred 
  • Is Tobias gay? - When Michael gets up to the floor he says "A lot of hands down there" to which Gob responds "They werem't my hands". This sentence is followed by Tobias saying "Oh. Okay. Just some harmless bathhouising amongst brothers, yes?"
  • Is Gob gay?
    •  G.O.B pretends attraction for women
    •  G.O.B. arrives at the bar thinking about Tony Wonder
  • Cinco de Mayo - George Sr. says: "This place is fulled of cincos and mayos"
  • Michael always comes back - Buster doesn't believe Michael won't come back
  • Hermano - Similar to the Bluths' confusion over the Spanish word for "brother" years ago, here they have a similar problem with the word "primo" ("cousin") .
  • Incest - Buster tells Michael "I was living with mother too, do you think we were dating?" and Michael answers "Question's been asked"
  • Winking - Buster says "I can hear mother winking now"
  • Bad example - Buster uses the phrase "bad example" to introduce a not-so-fake hypothetical sentence.
    • Both Buster and Gob made a bad example while standing in front of Michael
  • Teaching a lesson
    •  Maeby thinks the volunteers are trying to teach a lesson 
    • MIchael wants to teach his family a lesson
  • I bleeped.. - Gob says "I won't tell mom about all the ladies you're [bleep] if you don't tell mom about all the ladies I'm [bleep]"
  • Characters speaking along with the narrator - The narrator and Michael say "Satisfy an old dream" together
  • A little scare - Buster wants to "give momma a little scare," referencing the family's love of scaring each other, most noticeably when Lucille tried to run down a man on a Segway because she wanted to give Gob a little scare.
  • Lucille screaming - Lucille screms at Michael in the exact same way  she screams at Gene Parmesan whenever he appears
  • Red wig - Michael has Lindsay's wig in his handbag
  • Which was my idea! - Lucille repeats her phrase from "Borderline Personalities"
  • Mistaken Identities - Lindsay mistakes Oscar for George Sr.
  • Lucille's proverbs 
    • Raped murderers — Tobias and Lucille discuss Lucille's desire to put all rapists and murderers on an island, as previously mentioned by Maeby and George Michael in "Family Leave"
    • Lucille tells Tobias another one of her proverbs: "Make people cry, make people cry"
    • Lucille embraces the proverb "Hurt people, hurt people"
  • Buster's cursing - Buster curses again, like he did in Bringing up Buster
  • Nobody recognizes Steve Holt - George Michael and Maeby don't recognize their cousin
  • Steve Holt! - Steve Holt yells "Primos!"
  • UCI campus - His new house in Mexico reminds George Michael of the time spent in spanish dorms when he was in college in "It Gets Better"
  • Scuba-diving - Michael defines scuba-diving an old dream and wants to practice it
  • Music - The music "MRF" is replaced with a similar music that says "Mr. Efe"
  • Pest Control - The pest control car appears again in the background
  • Insensitivity about Michael's wife's death - Tobias says "Surviving children-in-law" to Lucille
  • When Michael walks into the model home and the penthouse, lines from previous seasons go across his mind:
    • "I shall be neither seen nor heard", “I’m afraid i just blue myself”, “It’s vodka! It goes bad once it’s opened”, "I heard the jury's still out on science", "Speech, speech", "You're mi third least favorite child", " a Motherboy ball", "I should ask her if she wants to get pre-pre-engaged" and "I want that pie covered, and not with your face."
  • Tobias goes swimming in the same manner he used in the previous episode

Hidden/Background Jokes

  • Spanish soap operas - A TV airing El Amor Prohibido, where Marta starred in "Key Decisions", is seen in the background of the first scene in the apartment where George Michael and the UC Irvine students reside in Mexico.
  • Puta - The Mexican bartender tells Lindsay that "puta night is Thursday" which she takes as a compliment. In Spanish slang, "puta" means "whore."
  • Lucille's proverbs - The debt-forgiveness letter that Michael receives from Lucille 2 references the “forget but never forgive” line
  • Woodblock - The woodblock sound of George Michael’s Fakeblock plays as Michael knocks on George Michael’s door
  • Skip's Towne and Church - The shoot is catered by an apparent branch of Skip Church’s Bistro - first seen in "Out on a Limb". This time the pun is extended from "skips church" to "skips town and church".
  • UCI campus - George Michael is wearing a UCI shirt when he's in Mexico
  • Ostrich - There's an ostrich pinata in the mexican artisan market visited by George Michael
  • The Search Company board on which Michael spots the opportunity to scuba-dive in Baja also features a “Discrimination Seminar,” presumably a reference to the fact that Google is being sued for gender discrimination.
  • In the background of the bar "EL PROLETARO" there's the arcade game "Adventura Nortern" where a character is seem jumbling a wall to reach a grassy field with flying an American flag 
  • In the Imagine store there's a TV, whose screen there's written: "Director of the month: Ronald Howard"

Foreshadowing/Future References

  • Mexican Romneny Family - A group of English-speaking Mexican banditos identify as the group name "MRF", complete with a Hispanic-sounding singing of the eponymous theme. Their identity will be reveald in "Rom-Traum"


Michael: So we got to wait about 48 hours before we declare you missing and they put out an APB.
Buster: APB? Ahh Poor Buster.  

Lucille: How many more sessions do I have to endure till I'm done with - no offense - you?

Tobias: Legally, two. But I am in the family.  

Tobias: And maybe you don't want to get hurt because as I say... "Hurt people hurt people."

Lucille: Oh that's nice. I always say "make people cry, make people cry" but yours includes the people who don't want to give you the satisfaction.  


  • This episode marks the first unbleeped use of "shit" when Steve Holt makes a jab about "shitty parents club".


→ See 84 pictures from Self-Deportation at Images from Self-Deportation.

1. "Family Leave"
2. "Self-Deportation"
3. "Everyone Gets Atrophy"
4. "An Old Start"
5. "Sinking Feelings"
6. "Emotional Baggage"

7. "Rom-Traum"
8. "Premature Independence"
9. "Unexpected Company"
10. "Taste Makers"
11. "Chain Migration"
12. "Check Mates"

13. "The Untethered Sole"
14. "Saving for Arraignment Day"
15. "Courting Disasters"
16. "The Fallout"

Season OneSeason TwoSeason ThreeSeason FourSeason Five