Michael says goodbye to the family business and starts his own. And the life of the family is turned upside down when their mailman Pete dies.
May 5, 1982 — a young Lucille and George Bluth sit in their house upset with the absence of their cleaning woman Rosa. Lucille proposes a scenario where Cinco de Mayo never happens and thus Cinco de Cuatro was born.
May 4, 2012 — a drunk Michael Bluth approaches Lucille Austero atop her stair car and propositions her for sex to repay part of the $700,000 he owed her. Later that evening he returned to the Model Home, now wearing a shirt from the banana stand, where he ran into his brother G.O.B.. Michael began to tell G.O.B. about his mistake but G.O.B. began to tease him. Michael began to tease G.O.B. back about his past relationships when G.O.B.'s partner appeared from the upstairs bedroom, shocking Michael. G.O.B. then forced a forget-me-now down Michael's throat.
March 2012 — Michael had been living with his son George Michael in his dorm room at UC Irvine. George Michael was given an extra-large dorm room as the housing office thought he was two people. Michael moved in with him and stayed on the top bunk and attended the University of Phoenix. Michael's constant presence and neediness began to bother George Michael but Michael nearly had a nervous fit when his son suggested he move out. George Michael lied to his father that he needed some privacy so he could continue working on Fakeblock. Michael agreed to give him some hours occasionally and bragged to his son that the upcoming issue of Altitude would help the name of his real estate company so he could get back on his feet.
May 2006 — Barry Zuckerkorn forgot about and missed Lucille's first hearing. Michael decided to stick with the family until Lucille's hearing but when he learned his parents received economic stimulus money but weren't investing in the Bluth Company, Michael sold the rest of his company stocks to Lucille Austero to complete the Sudden Valley subdivision. As soon as it was completed, the California real estate market bubble burst and he was in debt. Michael borrowed $700,000 from Lucille Austero to keep The Michael B. Company afloat but when that money ran out he decided to move into George Michael's dorm room.
April 2012 — Michael found his son tutoring Maeby at math. Later that day George Michael's roommate Paul 'P-Hound' Huan so finally suggested a vote to decide who would move out of the dorm room. Michael believed that everyone would vote out P-Hound so he voted for himself to make his son feel comfortable. Maeby egged Michael to eventually set a "pack first, no talking" voting scenario but when the four roommates voted — Michael, George Michael, Maeby, and P-Hound — all four votes were for Michael to leave.
Dejected, Michael tried to get a copy of his article in Altitude magazine but had to buy a plane ticket so he briefly visited Phoenix. He was humiliated by the photo they chose to use of him. After flying back to Newport Beach Michael decided to move into Balboa Towers but he found an ostrich was living in his mother's former apartment.
Each character has a specific instrument that plays along with the title music: Michael has a trumpet.
- Main Cast
- Jason Bateman as Michael Bluth
- Michael Cera as George Michael Bluth
- Jessica Walter as Lucille Bluth
- Jeffrey Tambor as George Bluth and Oscar Bluth
- Tony Hale as Buster Bluth
- Alia Shawkat as Maeby Fünke
- Portia de Rossi as Lindsay Bluth Fünke (archive "Development Arrested" footage)
- Will Arnett as G.O.B.
- Richard Jin Namkung as Paul 'P-Hound' Huan
- Kristen Wiig as Young Lucille Bluth
- Seth Rogen as Young George Bluth
- John Yuan as Doug Fleer
- Matt Yuan as Dean Fleer
- Jayen Maddux as Young Buster Bluth
- Pedro Lopez as Mercado salesman
- Ed Begley, Jr. as Stan Sitwell
- John Beard as Himself
- Liza Minnelli as Lucille Austero
- Henry Winkler as Barry Zuckerkorn
- Christine Taylor as Sally Sitwell
- Stacey Grenrock Woods as Trisha Thoon
- William Baker as Pete the mailman
- Brian Huskey as Chorizo salesman
- Rudy Moreno as Mario
- Amanda De Cadenet as Beatrix Hebberly-Sneed
- Rodney J. Hobbs as Earl Samuels
- Lamarcus Tinker as Earle Monroe
- Joe Holt as Carpenter
- Romel De Silva at Trang
- Ken Takemoto as Trang's grandfather
- Erik Griffin as Jaspar
- Adam DeVine as Starsky
- Blake Anderson as B. Lake
- Anders Holm as Supervisor Spoon
- Sam Richardson as TSA agent
- Jordan Feldman as Flight attendant
- Eugene Cordero as Cab driver
- The episode title "Flight of the Phoenix" is a reference to the 1964 novel and 1965 film The Flight of the Phoenix.
- Michael has always wanted to visit Phoenix, mentioned in "Pilot" and "The One Where Michael Leaves". He finally makes it there.
- In Greek mythology, a phoenix is a bird that dies in a burst of fire at old age, and is reborn from the ashes. This is a nod to the 'rebirth' of Arrested Development.
- Michael is enrolled at the University of Phoenix.
- OutWest Airlines - This is the airline that publishes Altitude, the in-flight magazine. It is a pun on Southwest Airlines, and on the phrase "out of the closet," since the magazine gets confused with the gay magazine Attitude.
- Michael buys a plane ticket and boards a flight he didn't plan on taking, just to get a magazine that mentions him. Similarly, in the Seinfeld episode "The Airport," George buys a plane ticket and boards a flight he didn't plan on taking, right after buying a magazine with a blurb that mentions him.
- The discussion about proper tipping practice is a reference to a common motif on Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm.
- Workaholics - The cast of the show Workaholics appear as flight attendants for OutWest
- How the Grinch Stole Christmas - During the scene when Young Lucille plots to disrupt Cinco de Mayo, her face cream gives her the appearance of being green-skinned, much like the Grinch in this Dr. Seuss classic. Like the Grinch, she is plotting to upset a holiday for which she has a personal disdain. The narration also mimics the film, and again during the discussion of why Michael opened the fourth ballot. The film version of the Seuss book was produced by Imagine Entertainment.
- Hanukkah - The Cinco de Cuatro boat parade is known as "The Festival of Lights".
- Todd Akin/Legitimate rape controversy - One of the juice box flavors listed in Lucille Austero's checkbook is "legitimate grape". During the 2012 election, Missouri Senatorial candidate Todd Akin used the term "legitimate rape" in response to a question on abortion in cases of rape.
- 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!"
- Background music
- When Lucille begins to plot against Cinco de Mayo, the music playing in the background is the same as the music that plays when G.O.B. discusses tiny town with Larry Middleman in "Mr. F."
- 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."
- 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.
- Michael also appears with this pose in Altitude.
- Big Bear - George, Sr. calls himself "Old Big Bear."
- British magazine covers - The cover of the gay British magazine Attitude is shown. This is reminiscent of the covers for British magazines Bumpaddle and Real Cricket in "The Ocean Walker."
- Chair lean - Michael leans back in his chair, seemingly about to topple over backwards, as he's done before.
- 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.
- "Gentlemen, start your engines" - Michael says this, not knowing he's referring to Lindsay. Later, George Michael says the same thing, making the same mistake.
- 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."
- 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."
- "It Ain't Easy Being White" - After giving him a forget-me-now, G.O.B. sings to Michael, "It's so easy to forget."
- Love Each Other - These are Pete the mailman's last words.
- "Maybe you should be the lawyer" - Barry tells Michael he should be a maritime lawyer.
- Maritime law
- John Beard mentions that many of Lucille's charges will fall under "the dominion of the little understood maritime law."
- Also, George, Sr. asks Michael if he would tip an African-American "on a train," implying that different standards of behavior apply on different modes of transportation.
- 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."
- "Mother of God!" - Michael yells this when touching the hot door handle. He yelled the same thing when he touched the hot Cornballer. ("Bringing Up Buster")
- "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.
- Seaward/C-Word - John Beard calls Lucille a "seaward matriarch."
- "Selfish Michael" - [G.O.B. calls Michael "stupid, forgetful Michael."
- Banners - Sitwell Homesteads runs an airplane banner that reads, "16 Luxury Homes - We Have Cable / Paved Road Right To Your Door!" This competitive sign is reminiscent of the ones in "Making a Stand" that read "A frozen banana that won't make you sick and kill you." and "A Colombian cartel that won't kidnap and kill you."
- Lucille starts a new festival to pre-empt Cinco de Mayo, called Cinco de Cuatro. This translates, not to "Fourth of May," but rather to "Five of Four."
- The mariachi band sings "La Cucaracha" in English during the Cinco de Cuatro festival.
- "[synonym for arrested] Development"
- The article about Michael in Altitude is titled "Discontinued Development".
- In 2008, John Beard reports on the real estate market crash with the headline "Halted Development"
- The most important thing - Michael says family. George Michael says privacy.
- "Do a something search" - George Michael refers to doing "a something search," meaning "a Google search."
- Tony Wonder's legs - Tony Wonder's shaved legs and toenail polish can be seen when Michael finds G.O.B. in the model home.
- 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 fake software and to his need for privacy.
- "Where the [bleep]" - In the flashback at the beginning, George, Sr. says, "Where the [bleep] are my socks?" This is a reference to Tobias shouting, "Where the [bleep] are my hard-boiled eggs?" ("Good Grief")
- Birds - Michael is run over by an ostrich in Balboa Towers, a vulture haunts Sudden Valley, and Michael attends the University of Phoenix and visits the city of Phoenix.
- The Great Dark Period - The time between 2006 and 2013 is referred to as "The Great Dark" period by the narrator and in text during the "rewind" animation.
- Cinco de Cuatro - The holiday's origins are shown to be from May 5, 1982 when Lucille was upset her maid Rosa was on a holiday. It became a tradition in the Newport Beach area.
- Austero Bluth Company - The Bluth Company has been renamed the Austero Bluth Company after Lucille Austero purchased the shares from Stan Sitwell.
- Showstealer Pro Trial Version - Scenes from "Development Arrested" are marked with a Scenestealer Pro watermark.
- FOX 6
- WeeBBC - Beatrix Hebberly-Sneed reports on Boy George's arrest on WeeBBC2 news.
- The Trial of Captain Hook - A scene from Michael's childhood play is shown, with additional footage showing Michael's Peter Pan character attempting to fly.
- "Loose seal" - During The Trial of Captain Hook, Michael crashed into the court's seal and it falls to the ground. A student yells "loose seal!" and Lucille believes they are calling her name. This was used previously in "Out on a Limb".
- "X... no Y." "It was Z." - When Michael sees the destroyed penthouse he assumes it is Buster, and then changes his mind to G.O.B.. It was really Lindsay.
- "You're out of the movie!" - After young Michael crashes into the seal, he is told "You're out of the play!".
- Reality shows - While Michael and George Michael walk outside UC Irvine, a camera crew behind them films The Real The Graduate.
- Slogans - The slogan of the Michael B. Company is "Home is where the HOUSE is," referring to the fact that Michael lives in the model home after the family has left it.
- Attitude - The cover of Attitude magazine includes:
- The "Isues" Issue
- We've Found the Secret to Being Gay & Happy
- Boy George, George Michael - More Than a Name In Common
- Danny Miller
- A New Way of Texting That Could Change Your Life
- Magic Man - Tony Wonder's Biggest Secret
- Ballot - After reading the third ballot, Michael whispers to Maeby, "Did you mean to write "George Michael?"
- Altitude - The magazine article about Michael has the title "Discontinued Development," and the subtitle "Michael Bluth Is Praying You'll Fix His Huge Mistake. (And Why His Prayers Won't Be Answered.)"
- Mural - In the Phoenix airport, there's a mural depicting scenes from the first three seasons. They include:
- The model home.
- Michael and George Michael sitting on the top of the stair car, from "Visiting Ours."
- The banana stand.
- The lighthouse from the boardwalk.
- G.O.B.'s yacht.
- G.O.B. on a segway.
- The Mexican church, with a faceless girl (Ann Veal) stranded outside, from "¡Amigos!."
- The log cabin car from "The Cabin Show."
- The rickshaw from "Exit Strategy."
- The streets-changing directions sign and double-decker bus from Wee Britain. Big Ben also appears in the background. However, the building did not appear in Wee Britain.
- The Queen Mary
- Michael and George Michael's getaway boat, from "Development Arrested."
- A seal with a yellow bowtie.
- Bob Hope Airport - As Michael leaves the airport, the Narrator says "Michael had hope." At the same time, a bus passes by outside with the words "Bob Hope Airport" on it. This shows where the scene was actually filmed, and is a reference to Tobias's allusion to John Wayne Airport ("Good Grief"), another L.A.-area airport named after an actor.
- "Bad Example" - G.O.B.'s not-so-fake hypothetical is his relationship with Tony Wonder.
- 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.
- Main article: Mural
The mural that appears in the Phoenix airport that summarizes the first three seasons of Arrested Development was painted by artists Arthur Loftis, Mike Lockwood, and Kirk Shinmoto. The full mural is available on Loftis' website and on the Mural article.
Lucille: ...next year what if the party didn't even begin.
Michael: Eight bells refers to a watch length. It's maritime law. You know, one bell is struck after thirty minutes, two bells after 60 minutes... ...that's why, at sea, a watch with no incidents is described as "eight bells and all is well."
Barry: Wow, maybe you should be the maritime lawyer.
Michael: Well I wouldn't want you to do that. You know, then I fall down a flight of stairs, crack my head open, and you feel bad about yourself your whole life.
- In the opening credits, Michael's instrument is a trumpet.
- Lindsay Bluth Fünke appear in archive "Development Arrested" footage and the back of Lindsay's head can be seen in this episode. Tobias is not seen at all.
- Oscar is seen kissing Lucille Austero on her balcony in a cutaway when the narrator is explaining her relationships with Bluth men. It would later be revealed to be Oscar in "Double Crossers".
- When Michael first walks out of George-Michael's room after being voted out, he is holding two suitcases and a leather satchel. When he picks them back up to walk out of the doorway the leather satchel is missing. It then reappears with the other two when he puts his luggage down at the airport.
- → See and enjoy 165 pictures from Flight of the Phoenix at Images from Flight of the Phoenix.
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