Arrested Development Wiki
Arrested Development Wiki

The Parent Traps

"The Parent Traps"
Directors: Mitch Hurwitz & Troy Miller — Writer: Mitch Hurwitz, Dean Lorey, Richard Rosenstock & Jim Vallely — Aired: May 4, 2018 — Icon-image      

"The Parent Traps" was the sixth episode of chronological re-cut of Arrested Development's fourth season. It premiered on Netflix on May 4, 2018.

Michael unwittingly causes friction when he moves into George Michael's dorm room. Buster looks for companionship while his mother is gone.


After the crash of the housing market, Michael gets a loan from Lucille 2 to support his business. However, no buyers appear and, after the death of the mailman Pete, Michael moves into George Michael's dorm room. George Michael was accidentally given a larger room due to be mistaken for two people, because of his name. He wants Michael to leave but he can't admit it to him.

Meanwhile, Lucille arrives at the Orange Country Correctional Facility L.I.T.E. to serve her sentence and Buster starts to date Lucille 2 again. G.O.B. also tries to make amends with Ann and proposes to her again but she leaves him for good. This inspires him to reconnect with his son, Steve Holt.

At college, George Michael discusses his blocking software, Fakeblock, with Michael while Michael is excited because Altitude, an in-flight magazine, want to interview him about his property business. Buster continues to attempt to visit Lucille in prison but she refuses to see him everytime. His relationship with Lucille 2 falters as well as he wants her to act like a mother and not a girlfriend so she kicks him out.

George Michael suggests having a vote to decide who should leave the dorm room as he has another roommate now called P-Hound. Michael was concerned that George Michael has no privacy from P-Hound after he walked in on Maeby visiting George Michael while P-Hound was waiting outside. Michael suggests that Maeby joins in on the vote and that they vote together to remove P-Hound from the dorm. Michael spends hours working on this plan and decides he should vote himself out so the vote doesn't look rigged. However, he doesn't realise that George Michael doesn't want him to stay and Michael himself is voted out from the dorm.

On the next Arrested Development... Buster attempts to sell the jewels from his hook before deciding to re-join the army.


Main Cast (in order of appearance)



  • William Baker as Pete the mailman
  • John Yuan as Doug Fleer
  • Matt Yuan as Dean Fleer
  • Stacey Woods as Trisha Thoon
  • Amanda de Cadenet as Beatrix Hebberly-Sneed
  • Richard Jin Namkung as Paul 'P-Hound' Huan
  • Maggie Rowe as Mini Fourgerer
  • Justin Lopez as Guard Joe
  • Bernie Kopell as Judge Kornzucker

Recurring themes[]


  • Jeopardy - Buster dresses up as Lucille's "old college flame" Alex Trebek, in order to trick her into meeting her. When the guard informs her Alex Trebek wants to visit her, she responds "Alex Trebek?" Then she rephrases in the form of a question: "Who is Alex Trebek?"
  • Phoenix - Michael is enrolled at the University of Phoenix.

Callbacks/Running Jokes[]

  • Algebra - Explaining why voting against himself would be a good idea, Michael says "It's simple algebra."
  • Always Leave a Note - The whiteboard on George Michael's door says "You missed me! Leave a note!"
  • Ann's nicknames - G.O.B. calls her "egg", as Michael did in "The One Where Michael Leaves".
  • Army - Buster goes back to army
  • Blendin - In the hallway outside Lucille 2's apartment, a man is shown wearing a uniform that reads "Blendin Maintenance" while Buster and Lucille 2 argue about their failing relationship. The brand "Blendin" has been used many times before on the series by undercover federal agents, perhaps suggesting that Lucille 2 is being monitored by the feds.
  • Camp Kissame Mommy - Buster wears his uniform from Lucille's made-up camp to visit her in prison. The camp was first mentioned in the original version of season 4 in the episode "Indian Takers".
  • Chair lean - Michael leans back in his chair, seemingly about to topple over backwards, as he's done before.
  • "Do a something search" - George Michael refers to doing "a something search," meaning "a Google search."
  • Finger to lips - P-Hound puts his finger to his lip right after the vote, indicating they can't talk thanks to Michael's "no talking" rule.
  • FOX 6 - Trisha Thoon reports on the arrest of singer George Michael.
  • George Michael is two people - The twins in the housing office believe that George Michael is two people, and so they put him in a double room. In the next scene, George Michael brings up the fact that he shares a name with a singer-songwriter.
  • "Get this - Beverly Hills" - Trisha Thoon says that singer George Michael was arrested in "get this - Beverly Hills."
  • G.O.B. stuttering - In the hospital, G.O.B. starts stuttering as he does in "Afternoon Delight" and "Three Half Men".
  • Hermano - Michael says "it's adios, brothiero," showing he has since forgotten the Spanish word for "brother."
  • Hot Mess - Michael calls Lucille Austero a "hot mess."
  • Locker Hawkers - When Buster goes to the pawn shop, the episode of Locker Hawkers where G.O.B. is discovered in the storage locker is playing on a TV. One of the presenters can be heard to speak a line of dialogue about opening up to let someone in that previously appeared to be something G.O.B. hallucinated while he was trapped.
  • Love Each Other - These are Pete the mailman's last words.
  • Michael loses an election, badly- Michael's getting voted out of the dorm room is reminiscent of his coming in last place when he ran for class president in high school, as revealed in "The Immaculate Election."
  • Motherboy - Buster tries to sell his motherboy trophies, only to discover he isn't the first Motherboy to hit hard times
  • "No touching!" - A variant on "No touching," Michael says to George Michael, "No talking." This is also reminiscent of the Milford Academy policy.
  • Peanuts - After Michael gets voted out of the dorm room, he hangs his head and walks off while the song "Christmas Time is Here" plays in the background, as has happened several times before.
  • Phone - Michael cannot use his cell phone, claiming the calendar is stuck in 2003. Based on George Michael's comments, it sounds like the phone is fine, but Michael's cell phone abilities are what's stuck in 2003. This hints at his current mindset, showing that Michael is still just as overbearing as he was when the show started in 2003, not acknowledging his own arrested development.
    • This could also be a reference to G.O.B.'s previously seen inability to use a phone properly, with George Michael now taking Michael's old place in trying to calmly explain how the phone functions.
  • Prayer hands - As Michael leaves the dorm room, he puts his hands together as though begging or praying. This position is used several more times throughout season four.
  • The most important thing - Michael says family. George Michael says privacy.
  • Two Fingers - Michael holds up two fingers when telling George Michael that Altitude is "the number two most read in all of coach." He holds up two fingers again when saying that he and George Michael will together have "two businesses."
  • Wall - George Michael tells P-Hound, "I'm putting up a wall." This refers both to George Michael's software and to his need for privacy.
  • WeeBBC - Beatrix Hebberly-Sneed reports on Boy George's arrest on WeeBBC2 news.

Hidden/Background Jokes[]

  • Ballot - After reading the third ballot, Michael whispers to Maeby, "Did you mean to write "George Michael?"
  • Reality shows - While Michael and George Michael walk outside UC Irvine, a camera crew behind them films The Real The Graduate.
  • Background music: When Michael, George Michael, and Maeby discuss roommate voting, the music playing in the background is the same as the music that plays when Ira Gilligan complains about the contrasting temperatures at the Bluth Company office in "Best Man for the Gob."
  • Black marks - In "A Trial Run" Lucille said Lucille 2 would know all about black marks, as her pillow must look like a Rorschach test. When Buster kisses Lucille 2 and they nuzzle their heads together, he ends up with a dark smudge on his forehead from her hair.

Foreshadowing/Future References[]

  • Fakeblock - The Narrator says that George Michael "was writing code for a block software," making a pun on the word "block."
  • Undercover cop - Trisha Thoon says that singer George Michael was arrested for soliciting sex from an undercover cop.

In Comparison to the Original Cut[]

This episode is made up from 5 episodes of the original cut of Season 4. Because the re-cut is chronological and combines the characters' stories into one narrative, new narration was recorded and there is even some additonal dialogue. These changes, as well as which scenes appear in which original episode, are listed below:

  • Michael at the college, new dialogue in italics (4x1 Flight of the Phoenix)
    • Michael: Yes, you’ve made that point.
    • Michael: Well, I want you to start feeling like you belong places.
  • Michael talks to Lucille 2, Michael at Sudden Valley (4x1 Flight of the Phoenix)
  • Michael at the college (4x1 Flight of the Phoenix)
    • Michael: Hey! [as he arrives at the dorm]
    • Michael: Great choice. [about George Michael keeping his name]
  • Lucille’s trial ends (4x14 Off The Hook)
  • At the prison (4x10 Queen B.)
  • Buster with Lucille 2 (4x14 Off The Hook)
  • G.O.B. and Ann at the hospital (4x7 Colony Collapse, 4x11 A New Attitude)
    • The scene at the hospital is from 4x7, the flashback is from 4x11. In the original cut, the flashback happens much later in the season when G.O.B. is backstage at Tony Wonder’s show and he sees the ostrich statue.
    • The voice G.O.B. hears in the flashback is different and phrases the advice differently too. In the original cut, he says “You know, if tomorrow you won’t open up and let someone else in then the treasures you have inside may never come out.” This version is also heard at the end of this episode in the "On the next..." section. However, when the flashback occurs in the remix, during the hospital scene, the different voice says “If you don’t open up and let someone else in, the treasures you have inside will never come out and you’ll never be happy.”
    • G.O.B.: I’m ready to settle. Marry me?
  • Michael & George Michael at the college (4x1 Flight of the Phoenix)
    • Narrator: And as George Michael contemplated how to get distance from a parent, Buster worked on getting closer to one.
  • Buster visits prison (4x14 Off The Hook)
  • Michael, George Michael & P-Hound at the dorm (4x1 Flight of the Phoenix)
    • Narrator: While Buster cried in his pie, Michael was flying high about his in-flight magazine piece.
  • Michael, George Michael & Maeby, the voting plan (4x1 Flight of the Phoenix)
    • Michael: P-Hound! [when Michael sees him outside the dorm room)
  • Buster at the prison again, Buster and  Lucille 2 break up (4x14 Off The Hook)
    • At the prison, Buster curls up into a ball on the floor.
    • Buster: So… Mom.
  • Roomate vote (4x1 Flight of the Phoenix)
  • On the next... Locker Hawkers, Buster rejoins the army (4x11 A New Attitude, 4x14 Off the Hook)
    • See note about Locker Hawkers voice earlier this episode


  • Lindsay, Tobias, and George Sr. don't appear in this episode.
  • The episode's title has multiple meanings. First, it is a reference to the film "The Parent Trap". Secondly it refers to the actions of the Bluths being either trapped by a parent or a parent being trapped. For example, George Michael feels trapped by Michael, Buster wanting to contact Lucille but her rejecting him, and G.O.B. trying to meet Steve Holt.
  • Even though the Bluth family are living fairly separate lives in this episode, the narrator keeps drawing parallels between them:
    • Narrator: George Michael was trying to get used to living with his father, as Buster dealt with losing his mother after missing her trial at which she received a prison sentence of three to five years.
    • Narrator: But in her absence, Buster couldn’t bear the thought of living alone.
    • Narrator: Buster wasn’t the only Bluth who was ready to make a real commitment. Runaway groom G.O.B. Bluth was ready too, beginning with an amends.
    • Narrator: And as G.O.B. reached out to a son he could have been closer to, Michael held on to the one he couldn’t have.
    • Narrator: And as George Michael contemplated how to get distance from a parent, Buster worked on getting closer to one.
    • Narrator: While Buster cried in his pie, Michael was flying high about his in-flight magazine piece. It would get him out of living in his son’s dorm.
    • Narrator: Buster was being kicked out which was the same fate that Michael had in mind for his son’s other roommate, P-Hound.