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Arrested Development At Its Best: Season 1's Most Memorable Episodes
“Pier Pressure” is one of the best episodes of television outright, and isn’t limited to this list in any way. This of course has much to do with the first appearance of the one-armed lesson-messenger J. Walter Weatherman, played by the late Steve Ryan. By sharing in George Sr.’s beliefs that children are better taught through fear than affection, Weatherman has become one of the series’ most beloved characters, and he literally has around two minutes of total screen time. With these horrifying experiences tied to why one shouldn’t yell, I can’t imagine how George Sr.’s lessons about safe sex went. I suppose G.O.B., Lindsay and Buster are all reasons why you should “Always remember to wear a condom.”
”We ought to put that on our family crest.”
The plot for “Pier Pressure’ – the title itself is already pulling double meaning – is pure farce, and deals with Buster asking George Michael for marijuana in hopes that it would help Lucille 2’s raging vertigo. And so George Michael goes to G.O.B., whose judgmental point of view doesn’t affect the fact that he actually was the best person for George Michael to go to. Perhaps the young man wouldn’t be doing any of this if it wasn’t for Michael’s slightly elevated scale of acceptance when it comes to George Michael’s school grades. Like father like son, both characters beat themselves up over dumb decisions, and both characters are ineffectual against making these dumb decisions.
“Oh my God, this guy’s arm…”
But no one can ever get anything around old George Sr. himself, who runs things from jail like a mob boss in a criminal drama. Instead of just talking to his son, Michael attempts to ape his father’s skills by setting up an elaborate lesson-building scenario involving G.O.B.’s Hot Cops stripper friends to “bust” George Michael for his weed dealing. And when that goes about as smoothly as you can imagine, the shit really hits the fan as Weatherman and his team appear, fooling everyone into thinking a violent drug deal is actually happening. “And that’s why you don’t teach lessons to your son.”
On the flip side of things, we get Lindsay’s vague attempts at parenting come back to haunt her as she sends Maeby off to help Lucille for the afternoon and the two of them get along swimmingly. A scene that deals more obviously with family dynamics, it takes place while Lucille is doctoring SEC receipts. What other show smashes the SEC and brooches into the same scene? Of course, Lucille’s harsh forms of judgment will always render her a loner in his own family. It’s no wonder George Sr. was cheating on her all the time, as we learn in this episode. “And this is from when your Pop Pop yelled out ‘Oh, Melanie,’ when he was making love to Gangy.”
I love George Sr. and G.O.B. in this episode. George Sr. continues to pass himself off as a religious man, despite being erroneous on days of worship, and it’s more than obviously just a ruse to give him something to do with his days. G.O.B. meanwhile is both a good brother and bad uncle by telling Michael about his son’s request for marijuana, but then he’s a bad brother and a terrible uncle by actually buying (and smoking some of) the weed and pocketing a hundred dollars. G.O.B. does a lot of horrible things, especially to children, and this episode strung them out end to end. I’d love to have heard the conversation between him and whatever Hot Cop he talked into setting the pier scene up. One of them brought a boom box to a drug bust. This episode is amazing.
Things That Make The Episode Memorable
“That’s why you always leave a note.”
“There goes my chance at a good job and a happy life full of hard work like you always say.” Poor George Michael.
Isn’t it weird how Buster will occasionally say things like “s-ing” instead of “screwing,” yet he has the most intensive bleeped-out comments in the series? “Well, let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.”
Even in a special school that gives pictures for grades, Maeby still gets a C-.
“That was supposed to be for me. She was my au pair. I’m the one who cleared my throat and pointed to the laundry room.” Such a strangely dark line.
J. Walter Weatherman petting his three-legged dog with his detached prosthetic arm.
Lucille 2 fights her vertigo by grabbing a ship steering wheel affixed to her wall.
George Michael once more confesses his feelings for his cousin to Michael, who only sees it as a mini-lesson that telling the truth isn’t always the best option.
“Big yellow joint…big yellow joint…”
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