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Staff Infection

"Staff Infection"
Directors: John Fortenberry — Writer: Brad Copeland — Aired: March 14, 2004 — Icon-image      

"Staff Infection" is the fifteenth episode of Arrested Development's first season.

When Michael discovers his family has been receiving paychecks without working, he forces them all to get jobs within the company. Lindsay questions his management skills, and Tobias checks himself in at George Sr.'s prison to research a film role.



The Bluth company is in financial strain due to a new subdevelopment taking longer than expected. No employees, including the non-working Bluth family members, have recevied paychecks but Michael tries to inspire everyone to power through for the short-term. Lindsay joins a staff meeting in order to claim her paycheck. She treats the employees to non-florescent lighting and tells them she is taking them to lunch, but they accidentally board Lupe's family reunion bus and get stranded on Catalina Island.

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Michael goes for a bike ride to clear his head and stops by the banana stand to spend time with George Michael. George Michael, meanwhile has been teased by Annyong and Maeby that Michael is too busy for him so he heads back to the Bluth Company offices where he finds a distraught Lindsay worrying about the missing employees. She leaves and SEC agents rush the office, unaware of George Michael's presence. They only steal a folder of his childhood artwork, proving to George Michael that his father does love him.

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At the beach, Michael enlists the help of some children to model out the subdivision. The tide ruins the houses and teaches him he needs to opt for a communal pool rather than individual pools. He bikes to the construction site to halt construction. Lindsay arrives with Lupe's family as scabs but Michael smooths the whole thing over with everyone by treating everyone to Lucille's Quantity Plus groceries, which is entirely alcohol.

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After working a brief stint in the copy room at the Bluth Company offices, Buster is set up with a job at a construction site. G.O.B. stops by to acquire his paycheck but Michael puts him to work as well. Buster is content to work without pay but G.O.B. is too proud to do so. G.O.B. and Buster then face off in a game of chicken, driving two bulldozers toward each other. Neither of them flinch and they collide at a sluggish speed. Buster finally wins G.O.B.'s respect and he calls for everyone to get back to work.

Back at the Bluth offices, Lindsay has heard that work has stopped so she rounded up Lupe's waiting family on the stair car and drove them to the construction site.

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Tobias checks into Orange County Prison by promising to give Carl Weathers a script of New Warden by Warden Stefan Gentles. He greets George Bluth in the prison yard at an inopportune time: White Power Bill has just knocked out Little Justice for converting to Judiasm. Tobias asks to be taught, but George promises White Power Bill "no teaching."


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  • Brant Van Hoffman as Foreman
  • Teddy Lane Jr. as Construction worker
  • Victor Campos as Lupe's uncle
  • Newell Alexander as Shepherd
  • Connor Matheus as Boy #1

Recurring Themes[]

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  • Footloose - The game of bulldozer chicken is a send-up of Footloose, which Lindsay referenced earlier in the episode.
  • Steve Buscemi - The actor is said to be researching a role in the prison George Sr. and Tobias are at.

Callbacks/running jokes[]

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  • Backrub - Buster attempts to give his co-worker and Michael a backrub.
  • Bad grammar - When George Michael, Maeby and Annyong are working in the banana stand, they start using bad grammar, much like the "Family Love Michael" banner in Season Three.
  • Blendin - The Feds infiltrate the Bluth Company using “Blendin Electric Company” as a disguise.
  • Bluth Company employees are incompetent
    • They are ready to agree with Lindsay about the fluorescent lighting.
    • The staff get lost on Catalina Island as a result of them thinking they were going out to lunch.
  • Chicken Dance - This is the first episode where G.O.B. does his notorious chicken dance. It would later return again in Season Two's "¡Amigos!", and eventually, several more Bluths would get their own chicken dances.
  • "Hey" - Buster greets a fellow employee with “Hey, co-worker.”
  • "Illusion" - Michael corrects Lucille's use of the word "image" with "illusion."
  • Incest - G.O.B. comments that Kitty sounded "pretty damn sexy" over the phone, before an uncomfortable silence after Michael reveals it was Lindsay he was talking to.
  • No excuses - Lucille doesn't let Lupe take the day off for her family reunion.
    • In other episodes she doesn't let her housekeepers take off time, such as to take their children to the hospital.
  • "No touching!" - White Power Bill stops George Sr. from teaching his newfound Jewish faith in prison. George Sr. backs up to the fence saying, over and over, "No teaching! No teaching!" This is a twist on the "no touching" rule enforced in the prison visitor lounge.
  • Rosa - Lucille mentions Rosa, who we later find out in "Good Grief" was a maid that Lucille had employed when the Bluths were young.
  • Is Tobias gay?
    • Lindsay attempts to scare Tobias by saying "[bleep] me."
    • Tobias refers to the prison as a "men’s penal colony."
    • White Power Bill says that Tobias will be "sleeping under me."

Hidden/background jokes[]

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  • 187 - When Warden Gentiles looks for an empty cell for Tobias, he mentions cell 187 won't be open until midnight, insinuating an execution to take place on that date. In California, 1-8-7 is the numeric code used by law enforcement officials for murder.
  • Hel-loh? - As Lucille walks into her apartment after shopping at quantity plus, she calls for Annyong to help bring in the groceries, but he's not home. Immediately after saying his name she says "Hello?" This is a play on the fact that Annyong constantly says hello in Korean (which is 안녕 annyeong) after the Bluth family members say his name. This may also foreshadow the fact that his real name turns out to be Hel-loh.
  • Annyong - The subtitle "hello" can be seen in a small text next to Annyong's head when Michael approaches the banana stand looking for George Michael.
  • Bathroom - When the Bluth employees are taking a break, they can be seen lined up at the bathroom, waiting. Buster then exits the bathroom. This may be a callback to Lucille's earlier comments about Buster "playing with himself."
  • Notes – Tobias leaves a note to Lindsay, in which he crossed out “the desk of Dr.” in “From the desk of Dr. Tobias Fünke.” The note is signed “-T (Tobias).”
  • Like Father, Like Son - George Michael's comment at the banana stand that they should "keep [their] heads down and power through" directly mirror Michael's words from earlier in the episode during the meeting with the Bluth employees.
  • Safety - When Lindsay arrives at the construction site, a member of Lupe’s family standing on top of the stair car hits his head on a sign reading “Drive safely.”
  • Sheep - Bluth Company employees, identified by Michael as sheep, mistakenly take a bus labeled, "Church of the Good Shepherd", the same church Ann Veal's father is a Pastor at. In every scene there is always one employee dressed in black tailing behind (black sheep).
    • When George Michael pulls out his crafts, the top craft is a cotton ball sheep.
    • The employees are playing with sheep on Catalina island.
    • They get back by being loaded into a sheep transporting trailer, herded by a pair of sheep dogs.
    • One of the sheep dogs is named Banjo, which coincidentally is the name of the dog of Lucy Schwartz.
    • The employees' calls of 'Bob?' while Buster is working in the copy room are overlayed with sounds of sheep bleating. Also, one of the photocopy has Buster with a sheep next to him.
  • Tyke - White Power Bill says "Who's this little [bleep]?" about Tobias, to which Tobias says "It's been a while since anyone's called me a tyke." White Power Bill was actually calling Tobias a "kike," as he thought he was Jewish.
  • Buster giggles at the "rough language" that the construction workers use. This could be a play on Tony Hale's real aversion to cursing.

Foreshadowing/Future References[]

  • Mole – At the banana stand, Annyong reveals that he speaks English, suggesting there may be more to him than it seems.


→ See more quotes from "Staff Infection" at Transcript of Staff Infection.


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  • The “staff” in the title refers to the Bluth Company employees; and is a homophone for “staph.”
  • This is the first episode in which the Bluth Stair car is a seventh-generation Ford F-series (1980–1986) rather than a sixth-generation 1979 F-150.
  • David Cross had publicly mocked James Lipton as part of his standup act, referring to Lipton as "pretentious" and "the most pompous, arrogant failure in history." Lipton was not amused by Cross' impersonations of himself, but during filming, they ended up becoming friends (although Cross maintained his criticism of Lipton's show, Inside the Actors' Studio).
  • This episode is rated TV-PG-DLV.


  • A boom mic clearly drops into shot when Lindsay asks if the fluorescent lights are bothering anybody else.
  • When discussing the new lighting with Michael, Lindsay says, "Doesn't this just want to make you curl up and forget about the world?" thus switching the order of the phrase "make you want to."


→ See more images from "Staff Infection" at Category:Images from Staff Infection.

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