In the first season, the family fought over petty differences, Michael dated and lost several women, George’s crimes appeared more and more severe, George Michael tried to deny his crush on his cousin, Lucille reluctantly adopted a young Korean boy, and no one learned anything. Guest stars included Henry Winkler, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Judy Greer, Carl Weathers, Heather Graham and Liza Minnelli. Read on for the full Arrested Development Season 1 Episode Guide.
Original Airdate: November 2, 2003
Bluth patriarch George throws a retirement party on a boat, where Michael expects to be named the new president of the family business. Instead, George names Lucille as president just before being arrested for embezzlement by the Securities and Exchange Commission. Michael then decides to give up on his family and take a job in Phoenix, but when George Michael protests, Michael gives in and agrees to stay on to help the family and the business survive George’s incarceration.
Title: “Top Banana”
Original Airdate: November 9, 2003
Michael decides to appoint George Michael manager of the Bluth frozen-banana stand, which George Michael promptly botches by allowing Maeby to steal money from the till and throw out bananas. To solve his problem, George Michael decides to burn down the banana stand, and Michael allows him to do it, only later to learn that George had hidden $250,000 in the walls. Tobias gets an audition for a commercial only to have his part stolen by Lindsay, but Lindsay sleeps through the shoot, and neither one contributes anything to the family finances.
Title: “Bringing Up Buster”
Original Airdate: November 16, 2003
Michael feels like he’s losing touch with his son when George Michael blows off their bike ride, but George Michael is just focused on getting cast in the school play so he can kiss Maeby, who just wants to get cast in the play so she can kiss popular jock Steve Holt. Feeling resentful, Tobias takes over directing the play and immediately misreads George Michael as gay, and tries to get him to kiss Steve instead. Lucille gets tired of Buster and tries to get Michael to babysit him instead, but after annoying Michael constantly, Buster ends up back in Lucille’s care.
Title: “Key Decisions”
Original Airdate: November 23, 2003
Gob decides that his latest magic stunt will be to break out of the prison holding his father, but when he can’t excrete the key he’s swallowed to aid in his escape, he only gets out when an inmate stabs him and sends him to the hospital. While Gob is in prison, Michael takes his girlfriend, Spanish-language soap star Marta, to an awards show, and develops a crush on her, but she renews her love for Gob when he gets stabbed. Buster starts an ill-advised affair with his mother’s friend/rival Lucille Austero (Liza Minnelli).
Title: “Charity Drive”
Original Airdate: November 30, 2003
Michael gets accused of selfishness when he wants to use his father’s car, even though all his siblings have been driving it. Lindsay and Lucille participate in a charity bachelorette auction to save the wetlands, and Buster, charged with the task of bidding on his mother, accidentally puts in a bid for Lucille Austero and encourages her attraction to him. Michael asks Gob to break in to the local permit office to stash some permits their father neglected to file, and Gob delegates the job to George Michael, who gets caught.
Title: “Visiting Ours”
Original Airdate: December 7, 2003
Fed up with his father’s unhelpfulness and cushy life behind bars, Michael vows to stop visiting him in prison. But when he sees that George is lonely, Michael convinces Lucille to arrive for a conjugal visit—only to discover that it’s longtime secretary Kitty (Judy Greer) that George actually wants. But Kitty wants Gob, who agrees to seduce her, at Michael’s request, to gain some important business info that George is withholding. Lindsay and Tobias see an extremely unhelpful marriage counselor, and Maeby worries they’ll get divorced.
Title: “In God We Trust”
Original Airdate: December 14, 2003
Lucille tries to drive a wedge between Michael and Lindsay, who are getting along well and teaming up against her. Bluth family lawyer Barry Zuckerkorn (Henry Winkler) tries to convince the family to put up a bond so that George can get out of prison for one afternoon to participate in a living paintings pageant. Michael resists at first, but then gives in when he sees it as a chance to take down both his mother and Barry as they’re on a date together. His plan backfires, though, and the family is stuck with the incompetent Barry as their lawyer.
Title: “My Mother, the Car”
Original Airdate: December 21, 2003
After Lucille appears to be weak and frail, Michael tries to rally his siblings’ support to throw her a party, but twice they fail to show up. Michael and Lucille get in a car accident while she’s driving, and she switches places with him and tries to make it appear like he was the one who caused the accident. Lindsay finally goes to visit her father in prison and is hurt when none of the inmates sexually harass her, but feels better when she learns it’s only because her father has paid them off.