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1x01 Pilot (10)

Directors: Anthony Russo & Joe Russo — Writer: Mitchell Hurwitz — Aired: November 2, 2003 — Icon-image      

"Pilot" is the first episode of Arrested Development's first season.

Michael decides to take a job in Arizona after being passed over by George Sr. for head of the Bluth Company. George Sr. is jailed, and the family realizes they need Michael.


Michael and his siblings

The morning of his father's retirement, Michael Bluth felt optimistic that his father, George Bluth, will make him the president of the Bluth Company. Michaels finds his brother G.O.B. and asks for his check for the party, to which G.O.B. responds that he will be performing the Aztec Tomb illusion at the party and suggests Michael charge the party to the company's credit card. He then lets slip that their sister Lindsay has been charging her month-long visit to the city to the company.

1x01 Pilot (29)

Michael visits his mother Lucille at her apartment and confronts her about using the company credit card on Lindsay. He learns that the company has also paid $16,000 for the Aztec Tomb and $40,000 to Lindsay's anti-circumcision charity H.O.O.P.. Lindsay and her husband Tobias Fünke arrive at Lucille's apartment and Michael gives them all an impassioned speech about the virtue of hard work.

At the retirement party aboard the Marina Hornblower George decides to name Lucille president of the company, and quietly apologizes to Michael. Michael makes the decision to move him and his son to Arizona away from his family's self-delusions and selfishness when the SEC raids the party and takes George into custody. Buster, Michael's younger brother and perpetual graduate student, attempts to steer the boat to freedom but suffers froms a panic attack.

1x01 Pilot (53)

The family gathers at the police station where they learn George will be kept in custody and all accounts have been frozen. The family reacts to the latter. Lucille names Buster to be acting president of the Bluth company but he suffers another panic attack. The family, tired of attempting to find other work, asks Michael to come back and help run the company. Michael realizes they legitimately need his help and that his son would be better off with more family in his life, so he agrees to stay.

1x01 Pilot (44)

George Michael and Maeby

While working at the banana stand, a Bluth family operation since the 1950s, George Michael is approached by Mae "Maeby" Fünke, his cousin that he rarely sees. She suggests they make out at the retirement party to teach Lindsay a lesson about keeping them separated. George Michael expresses fear that it is illegal.

At the party, Maeby grabs George Michael and kisses him as Lindsay passes. Lindsay doesn't notice and Maeby sulks off. George Michael, however, is aroused by the kiss and begins to struggle with feelings toward his cousin. He becomes incredibly uncomfortable when he learns that he and Maeby will be sharing a bedroom in the model home.

1x01 I want to be an actor

Tobias's piracy

Ever since Tobias lost his psychiatrist license after performing C.P.R. on a sleeping man he had been searching for a new life calling. When Michael jokingly suggested the retirement party was pirate themed, Tobias took it seriously. He dressed in Lindsay's clothes and accidentally boarded a boat with some gay men to protest the yacht club's refusal to let gays marry at sea. He befriended the men and realized he wanted to be an actor.


1x01 Pilot (47)
1x01 Pilot (51)

Recurring Themes

1x01 Pilot (74)
1x01 Pilot (75)

...on the next Arrested Development

   George Michael gets a new roommate and Michael finds it difficult to get his father out of jail.

George Michael sits uncomfortably on the bed, while Maeby showers with the door closed over, while singing Britney Spears' "Oops, I Did It Again". Meanwhile, G.O.B. interviews for a job at the Sitwell Housing Inc., only to be told that it is Michael they were interested in, and that he is not a candidate because he did not come prepared with references, to which G.O.B. uses one of his illusions to make a dove appear. Michael visits George Sr. in prison with news that he is going to try and free him, only to learn that he is enjoying himself.


1x01 Pilot (08)
1x01 Pilot (55)
  • Cell Phone - When Buster is shown taking part in the Native American tribal ceremony, a Native American seen in the background is using a cell phone. Later, while on the boat talking to Delores, George Sr. says "can you hear me now?", the popular tagline featured in the Verizon Wireless advertisements.
  • Explorers - Michael references the explorers Cortés and Magellan when questioning Buster's choice of cartography.
  • Annie Get Your Gun - Tobias performs “I’m a Bad, Bad Man” from the musical, Annie Get Your Gun, at his audition for the Community Theater of Orange.
  • Segway - G.O.B. rides a Segway, a two-wheeled transportation device that would become a recurring character trait.
  • UNO - George Michael and Maeby are seen playing UNO.

Callbacks/Running Jokes

1x01 Pilot (40)
1x01 Pilot (23)
  • Man with "Freedom" sign - The gay protester makes several reappearances throughout the series.
  • Buster's studies - Buster has taken 18th century Agrarian Business classes among the many things that he has done.
  • Missing limbs - Lucille reveals to Michael that someone cut the foot off of the fox fur that she owns, and it is later found by Maeby when she orders a frozen banana from George Michael.
  • Winking - Lucille winks at Michael, and he asks her to never to do it again.
  • Tobias is gay - Tobias crossdresses and befriends gay actors, causing him to decide to become an actor. When Lindsay guesses "you're gay?" his response is "No, Lindsay, how many times..."
  • Phoenix - Michael is convinced Phoenix is a better place to live, and again attempts to move there in "The One Where Michael Leaves".
  • The most important thing - George Michael says it's breakfast. Michael says it's family.

Hidden/Background Jokes

1x01 Pilot (54)
  • Graffiti - The police station was vandalized with the words "FUNKE YOU", which is the last name of Tobias, Lindsay and Maeby.

Foreshadowing/Future References

1x01 Pilot (48)
1x01 - Enrique
1x01 Pilot (66)
  • Criminal mastermind - Lucille claims that the SEC is wrong in calling George Sr. a criminal mastermind. In "Development Arrested", it is revealed that she was the true mastermind. George Sr.'s rationale for naming Lucille CEO instead of Michael is "they cannot arrest a husband and a wife for the same crime," hinting that Lucille is somehow also complicit in the Bluth company scandal. When Michael informs him that he is incorrect, George Sr. says that he has "the worst [bleep]'ing attorneys" hinting at Barry Zuckerkorn's ineptitude.
  • Sitwell - Michael and G.O.B. have job interviews at Sitwell Enterprises Inc., a company which would play a larger role as rival to the Bluth Company throughout Season 2.
  • Numerous scenes from this episode are heavily mirrored in "Let 'Em Eat Cake" and "Development Arrested". On the DVD commentary track for this episode, Mitchell Hurwitz suggests that there could be a 5th Bluth sibling (and, after Hel-loh enters the family, a 6th sibling), an idea which was the plot of the Season Three episode "Family Ties".
  • When Maeby and George Michael are playing cards during Michael's "intervention," she's wearing an undersized t-shirt that reads "Lotta Love's." This foreshadows Lucille's coverall statement "...and a whole lot of love."


→ See more quotes from "Pilot" at Transcript of Pilot.


1x01 Pilot (63)
  • Because this was the Pilot episode for the series, no permanent sets had been built. The model home, the prison, and Lucille's apartment were all shot at different locations than seen in the rest of the series.
  • The Season One DVD contained an "Extended Pilot" with several differences from the original aired version, including extended scenes.
  • This is also the only episode (along with the extended version) in the entire series, to be available uncensored.
  • This Episode is rated TV-PG-L.


  • When the camera moves to Buster banging the drum in Lucille's apartment, the audio is going much faster than he is banging.
  • Lindsay's earrings change between the scene with George Michael in the attic and the next scene where Michael asks her to stay.


→ See 96 pictures from Pilot at Images from Pilot.


→ See more videos from "Pilot" at Category:Videos from Pilot.
1x01 Meet the Bluths04:10

1x01 Meet the Bluths

1x01 Imposition03:51

1x01 Imposition


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 Four

Start a Discussion Discussions about Pilot

  • They used a real house in the pilot.

    4 messages
    • Same for Lucille's penthouse. The pilot was filmed before any sets were built, using real locations. When Fox gave them the greenlight, t...
    • That's so cool :)

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