"The Cabin Show" is the first episode of Arrested Development's third season.
Michael postpones camping with his son to look for his father in Reno. Meanwhile, Lucille goes off her medication; G.O.B. meets a fellow disappointed son; and Maeby and George Michael can't help being thrown together.
Michael Bluth begins his day with something he’d never seen before: good news about the Bluth Company. Television financial expert Jim Cramer upgraded Bluth Company stock from triple sell to don’t buy. Michael tells Lucille he is going to prison to gloat about the good news. He had sold the property for the family cabin to keep the company afloat, and the move paid off. The success will allow Michael to spend more time with his son, George Michael.
Lucille also wants Michael to spend more time with her son, Buster. Buster has been snoring, and it is keeping Lucille awake at night. Furthermore, after mistaking Tom Cruise for a doctor talking about the evils of medication on The Today Show, she has quit taking her postpartum medication and is stressed out. Michael suggests that she relax by visiting the cabin before it is relocated.
As Lucille walks out the door, G.O.B. appears from behind it. He complains that he never knew about the cabin because George never took him there. Michael reveals that despite his father’s promises, he has never been to the cabin either, because something always came up. The two argue about who’s plight is sadder, and G.O.B. promises that if he ever has a son, he will take him to the cabin. Michael offers to take G.O.B. to the cabin so they can see it for the first time.
As Michael heads off to prison, he discovers George Michael asleep in the stair car. George Michael says he is sleeping in the stair car because he wants to see his father, but in fact, since sharing a kiss with Maeby, he has been trying to avoid her, and needed some place to sleep. Touched, Michael decides to take George Michael to the cabin instead of G.O.B., much to G.O.B.’s disappointment.
At the prison, Michael eagerly tells his father about the company’s success, not knowing it is actually Oscar, George's twin brother, that is in jail. Oscar tries to convince everyone that he is the wrong twin, but nobody, including Michael, believes him. Oscar has even started a website, imoscar.com, to claim his innocence. Michael ignores Oscar’s pleas and announces his intentions to take his son to the cabin. Oscar understands, saying that Michael’s son comes first, and Michael suddenly realizes that he really is Oscar.
Michael returns to the office to figure out how to free Oscar. He finds Lindsay and the employees celebrating the good news about the company. Lindsay tells Michael she will use the new money to buy a car, and shows him several copies she has made. She claims she needs a new car because Tobias has left her. Michael tells her she only wants Tobias because she cannot have him, and if she has him, she would not want him.
Michael finds G.O.B. in his office, and tells he and Lindsay that it is actually Oscar in jail, and that George is on the loose. Michael asks if anyone has heard from their father. G.O.B. had secretly received a letter from a group called S.A.D. that reunites fathers and sons. Having not read the letter, G.O.B. now thinks it is his father’s way of secretly contacting him. Michael calls the family’s lawyer, Barry Zuckerkorn, to find out if he knows where George is. Barry’s assistant informs Michael that Barry has gone to Reno to meet George.
Michael decides to go to Reno to find his father, but it means canceling his plans with his son. George Michael suggests that since the Cabin is in Lake Tahoe, near Reno, they could combine the trips. Michael thinks that is a bad idea, but notices his son seems eager to go on a camping trip. He suggests that instead, George Michael could pop a tent in the front yard with Maeby. Michael’s suggestion makes Maeby and George Michael extremely uncomfortable.
G.O.B. arrives at the S.A.D. center, expecting to find his father. He sits down on a bench next to Steve Holt, who is also expecting to find his father. The Narrator reveals that Steve Holt is actually G.O.B.’s son, and he has been trying to track down G.O.B.. The two do not realize they are looking for each other, but, upset that their fathers have not shown, decide to go on a son-son camping trip to the cabin.
Michael arrives in Reno, looking for his father. Unexpectedly, he finds Tobias working at Swallows, a family-style restaurant by day and an anything-goes, pan-sexual bazaar by night. Tobias confesses that he missed out on a role with the Blue Man Group in Las Vegas, so he came to Reno to audition. Furthermore, Kitty has left him after Tobias found blue hand prints on her. Tobias says he wants to get back together with Lindsay, and Michael agrees to arrange that. He also figures that George must hiding as a Blue Man, and be responsible for the blue paint on Kitty.
Michael calls Lindsay to tell her he has found Tobias. Knowing that she only wants what she cannot have, he convinces her Tobias does not want to come back. Lindsay decides that she will go to Reno to get Tobias herself. She drags George Michael and Maeby along in the stair car. Tobias calls Lindsay while she is on the road, sending mixed messages about whether he wants to see her. Lindsay turns the stair car around after each comment by Tobias, forcing the already uncomfortable kids to fall on top of each other, before finally deciding to keep going to Reno.
Michael goes to the Blue Man show, looking for George, but finds Barry. Michael fires Barry, who fears he may have to resort to prostitution to make ends meet.
Lindsay arrives at the hotel in Reno and leaves the kids in the stair car, forcing them to finally face facts. Maeby suggests they are acting weird because they didn’t finish the kiss, and George Michael agrees. They decide to finish the kiss, but Lindsay calls them to the hotel. Deciding to meet back in the stair car the next morning, Maeby heads to the room, while George Michael stays in the stair car.
G.O.B. arrives in Reno with Steve Holt, hoping to get the key to the cabin from Michael. Michael, confused about Steve Holt, reads G.O.B.’s letter and informs him that Steve Holt is G.O.B.’s son. G.O.B. runs off in fear, and Michael spies George Michael sleeping in the stair car. Thinking his son drove up to Reno to be with him, Michael is determined to be a better father than G.O.B., and decides to take George Michael to the cabin. They were an hour out of Reno when George Michael woke up. George Michael is devastated to find out he has lost his chance to be with Maeby, but Michael is too excited about the camping trip to notice his son’s disappointment.
As Michael is forcibly taking his son out to the cabin, Lucille is ready to forcibly throw hers out. Fed up with Buster’s snoring, she hits his bed with a tripod. However Buster was not in his bed. Worried about what she would do when Buster returns, Lucille decided to drive out to the cabin. On her way to the cabin, Lucille discovers that Buster is sleeping in the back seat of her car. Buster explains he was sleeping in the car so his snoring would not bother Lucille, but he left a recording of his snoring so she would not know he was gone. Buster and Lucille decide that a night at the cabin might be the exact shot in the arm their relationship needs. In Reno, Tobias was trying to find a way to convince Lindsay that he was not only a Blue Man, but still with Kitty.
Michael and George Michael finally arrive at the cabin, only to find the bedrooms have already been moved. George Michael, still upset about being taken away from Maeby, reveals that he has not been sleeping in the stair car because he misses his father, but because he is in the middle of a girl problem. Michael promises to help his son figure out his problem tomorrow morning, re-assuring George Michael that they will not be moved by his family again. But when Michael wakes up the next morning, he finds that the cabin has been moved from its location, and it is being driven on a truck by George, who says that he cannot allow his son to release Oscar, otherwise the police will once again be after him.
- Henry Winkler as Barry Zuckerkorn
- Justin Grant Wade as Steve Holt
- Anthony Desantis as James Alan Spangler
- Judy Greer as Kitty Sanchez
- John Beard as Himself
- Jim Cramer as Himself
- Michael Savage as Suspect
- Peter & Paul Vogt as Twins
- William B. Bassett as Cab driver
- Brandon Johnson as Swallows manager
- Gary Kraus as Reunion dad
- Les Misérables - On ImOscar.com, Oscar's inmate number is 24601. This is the prisoner number of Jean Valjean in the book Les Misérables, written by Victor Hugo in 1862.
- Susan Smith - Lucille is watching a news story about Susan Smith, who drowned her sons by letting her car roll into a lake with her sons inside.
- Lucille later lets her car roll into a lake with Buster still in the back.
- Tom Cruise - Lucille stops taking her medication after seeing Tom Cruise on The Today Show, referring to a real-life incident June 24, 2005 in which Cruise got into a heated argument with Matt Lauer after arguing for the rejection of psychiatric drugs as dangerous. Lucille refers to Cruise as "Some sort of scientist."
- Reno is known as "The Biggest Little City in the World." The slogan on the cab that Michael gets into says "Make the biggest little mistake of your life," and G.O.B. later says "I've made a huge tiny mistake."
- Banner - The Bluth Company has the “Mission Accomplished” banner, celebrating the “Don’t Buy” rating. The banner shows up in several episodes.
- Chant - The Bluth employees chant "don't buy, don't buy."
- Gob's promiscuity - Gob slept with about 10 girls in senior year of high school, and got three of them pregnant (two had abortions).
- "Come on!" - Lucille utters the phrase when she finds out Buster is sleeping in the car while driving to the cabin.
- Hiding - George, painted blue, is hiding in front of a giant Blue Man decorated wall. This is a callback to Season 2 where Tobias would follow Lindsay wearing blue makeup and hiding in blue spots.
- "I've made a huge mistake" - G.O.B. says that he's made a "huge tiny mistake" after learning that Steve Holt is his son.
- Incest - Maeby gets over George Michael by making out with Steve Holt, who is also her cousin. Maeby and Steve Holt continue their relationship in "Forget-Me-Now".
- Letter - G.O.B. does not read past the first paragraph of the letter from S.A.D. The second paragraph clearly states, "We wish to reconnect you with a son that you may or may not know you have in a non-judgmental, non-threatening environment." In "Queen for a Day", most of the Bluths sold their share of unfrozen stock because none of them had read past the first paragraph of the letter they’d just received, which warned them not to sell in the second paragraph.
- "Lindsay only wants what she can't have" - Michael tells Tobias to not call Lindsay because "she only wants what she can't have," a claim earlier made by Lucille.
- Pop-pop - In Season 2, George Michael said he had "Pop-pop in the attic," to which Michael replied, "The mere fact that you call making love 'Pop-pop' tells me that you're not ready." In this episode, Michael says, "I almost had Pop-pop in Reno," to which George Michael says (after missing another opportunity to be with Maeby), "Me, too."
- Robot - G.O.B calls Michael a "robot" in this episode when Michael doesn't respond to G.O.B's tears. This occurs again in "Exit Strategy" and "Development Arrested".
- Steve Holt's father - In this episode, Steve Holt and G.O.B. learn they are related, something the audience discovered in "The Immaculate Election".
- "That was a freebie" - Lucille's comment after realizing Buster isn't in his bed refers to Maeby's usage of this phrase in season three. The phrase will be repeated several times throughout the season.
- Is Tobias gay? - More jokes are made at the expense of Tobias’ sexuality:
- Tobias works at Swallows Restaurant, a family-style restaurant by day and an anything-goes, pan-sexual bazaar by night.
- When talking about his relationship with Kitty, he says "with all the sexual intercourse," as if it were foreign to him.
- As Tobias approaches Michael in Swallows, he says, "May I interest you in a smoothie or an amyl--Michael!" The word after "amyl" is probably "nitrite," referring to poppers, a popular recreational drug among gay men.
- Tobias's nametag has his name followed by that of the restaurant, thus reading "Tobias Swallows," a reference to fellatio.
- Tobias refers to himself as a cocktail waitress.
- Barry's tricks on the street - When Michael fires Barry, Barry wonders if he can get by "turn[ing] tricks on the street." He knows he can at least earn $50 "making out" in L.A. When Lindsay discovers Tobias making out with Barry in "On the next...," Barry says, "That'll be $50."
- Blue Man Theater - After Lucille leaves the apartment after beating who she thought was Buster with a tripod, there is a still shot of the theater in which George is performing as a Blue Man. The actual theater that is shown is not in Reno, but is the Varsity Theater in downtown Ashland, Oregon.
- Cupcake - In the flashback where Lucille is off her medication, she is unwrapping and eating a cupcake. She tells Michael, "I did go off it [the drugs] in the early ’90s, but I didn’t like what happened to me. I must have gained three pounds," referring to her apparent indulging in her sweet tooth.
- G.O.B.'s Segway - G.O.B.'s Segway is seen lying on the ground when he and Steve Holt make fun of the statue and when they leave the park. In a deleted scene in "Righteous Brothers", G.O.B. says that he broke the Segway's kickstand so he has to lie it on the ground.
- Oscar's latest entry - The following text appears as the last entry in imoscar.com: "It's been a week since my last entry. I can explain. Last Thursday, I was counting ants in the prison yard and it was a scorcher but I remember, I started killing the ants with my feet, yelling, 'Die you little black bastards, die!' I got stabbed - a whole lot."
- Ringtone - Lindsay's ringtone plays the Arrested Development theme song.
- S.A.D. - The letter from S.A.D. reads in part: “Congratulations, you’ve been contacted for a father-son reunion... at the S.A.D. center on the corner of Hyde and No. Hope.”
- Swallows - As Tobias approaches Michael in Swallows, he says, "May I interest you in a smoothie or an amyl--Michael!" The word after "amyl" is probably "nitrite," referring to poppers, a popular recreational drug among gay men.
- Furthermore, the nametag on the manager who approaches him later reads "David Spitz," another fellatio reference.
- The maid's sweatshirt - In the 1994 flashback, Lucille’s maid (neither Lupe nor Luz) is once again demonstrating a family maid wearing an outdated clothing item, this time wearing a Bush/Quayle sweatshirt even though Bush/Quayle lost the 1992 election.
- Yearbooks - Several students are visible in the yearbook. Each has an entry under “Nickname,” “Hopes to One Day,” and “Quote.”
- George Oscar Bluth's nickname is “G.O.B.,” he hopes to one day “Go camping with my dad” and his quote is “Sit on it."
- Eve Holt's nickname is “Eve Holt!,” she hopes to one day “Finish High School” and her quote is “My life is over.”
- More at Yearbooks#Captions
- → See more quotes from "The Cabin Show" at Transcript of The Cabin Show.
- This episode introduces the family cabin. The cabin had not appeared previously, but would appear several times in Season Three.
- Jim Cramer has a cameo as himself, the host of Mad Money. He would appear later in "Development Arrested".
- Oscar makes his first appearance in Season Three. He would not be seen again until "Prison Break-In".
- Reno Sunset - After an interrupted kiss with Maeby, George Michael decides to stay in the stair-car to "watch that famous Reno sunset." When Maeby responds that the car should be facing the other way, George Michael responds, "Yeah, but there's mirrors. It'll actually look closer." This is a joke on the common warning of size-distortion appearing on many car mirrors: "objects in mirror are closer than they appear." George Michael's comment reverses the size-distortion; the sunset would actually have appeared farther away.
- There are inconsistencies about how much time has passed since "Righteous Brothers". Oscar has been in prison for two months, and Tobias has had time to move to Las Vegas and then to Reno. However, the sinkhole in the living room is still there, and George Michael and Maeby seem to be dealing with the immediate aftermath of their kiss. Also, in "Fakin' It", nine episodes later, the Narrator says it has been two months since George Michael and Maeby kissed.
- Steve Holt doesn't recognize G.O.B. as his father, even though he was given a photo of him in "The Immaculate Election".
- This may be a reference to G.O.B. and their similarities as G.O.B. frequently forgets the appearance and existence of his wife. Steve has a similar forgetfulness.
- → See 82 pictures from The Cabin Show at Images from The Cabin Show.
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