Pier Pressure

Pier Pressure

Infobox Arrested Development episode
episode_name = Pier Pressure
episode_no = 1AJD09
airdate = January 11, 2004
writer = Mitchell Hurwitz & Jim Vallely
director = Joe Russo
guest_star =
Liza Minnelli as Lucille Austero Steve Ryan as J. Walter Weatherman Curtis Blanck as Young G.O.B. Jason Aaron Tinero as Young Buster Michael Bartel as Young Michael Caitlin Sedio as Young Lindsay

season = 1
:"For the Doctor Who audio drama, see Pier Pressure (Doctor Who audio)."Pier Pressure" is the tenth episode aired of TV comedy series "Arrested Development".


Michael Bluth is disappointed by his son, George Michael's latest grade, A-minus, on a math test. Conversely, Lindsay is quite impressed with Maeby's C-minus, noting that she didn't even study. Michael tells Lindsay that she's not setting enough boundaries, but Lindsay says Michael is as bad as their father, George Sr., who used a one-armed former employee named J. Walter Weatherman to scare his children into learning what he considered valuable life lessons. G.O.B. comes in with his own problem. He needs to borrow money to repay Hot Cops, a stripping agency he used to work that claims he never delivered on a gig. His mother, Lucille, also needs a favor, as she needs someone to help her doctor some receipts of purchases made using company money before giving them to the SEC. When Michael says he can't, she goes to ask Lindsay. Lindsay refuses, but when she sees Maeby's latest grade, a D-minus, she decides to send Maeby to do the work as punishment.

Overhearing George Michael yell at himself as he struggles with a math problem, Michael realizes maybe he's pushing him too hard and tells him to take some time off and relax. George Michael grows bored, though, and decides to go back to work in the banana stand the next day, where he is confronted by his uncle Buster. Buster tells George Michael that his girlfriend, Lucille Austero's vertigo is acting up, and by trying to fight it without medicine, she's experiencing some nausea. So he decided to ask George Michael, the most streetwise kid he knew, to obtain some pot (marijuana) for him to give to Lucille. George Michael, surprised, tells Buster that he has no idea where to find illegal drugs, which Buster refuses to believe, seeing as the Bluth Banana Stand used to be a well-known location for drug dealers due to its shape, which resembled a big yellow joint. Michael finds his son working and chides him for not taking time off, giving him $20 to spend on himself. Buster pretends to agree with Michael, and gives George Michael $225, which Buster intends him to use to buy pot.

Maeby is spending time with Lucille, examining jewelry. Lucille finds a brooch that Lindsay always wanted and decides to give it to Maeby. Maeby is excited at the chance to make her mother jealous, but is bothered by a remark Lucille makes about her freckles. Shyly walking around the docks, George Michael doesn't find G.O.B. on the yacht and leaves a note asking if he can buy him some pot. G.O.B. did, but tells Michael about it first. Michael quizzes his son, who nervously denies all knowledge of nefarious acts. Michael knows that George Michael is lying to him and reconvenes with G.O.B. - who is now smoking the pot he bought - to ask what he should do, when he gets an idea, and decides to teach his son a lesson like his father used to teach them. Michael visits his father to get access to the one-armed man so he can teach his own son a lesson. But George Sr. refuses, telling Michael that his lessons were wrong, and that Michael should just talk to his son. But Michael is still set on the lessons, and decides to do it himself. With G.O.B.'s help, Michael hires some Hot Cops to stage a fake drug bust.

Buster finds George Michael, who tells Buster that the drugs are on G.O.B.'s yacht and Buster can pick it up. But Buster, who thinks G.O.B. doesn't respect him enough to do him the favor, insists that George Michael has to get it. And Lindsay finds out her daughter got the brooch she always wanted, and worse, was getting along with her mother, who criticized and insulted Lindsay her entire life. But when Lucille begins to do the same thing to Maeby, Maeby decides she's spent enough time with Gangee, taking the brooch and leaving. Later that night, Michael goes over the final details with G.O.B., who tells him not to worry, since this kind of thing happens on the docks all the time. A boat flashes a light, somebody drops off a bag. George Michael boards the yacht and G.O.B. flashes the lights. Quickly, two men appear with a bag of pot and George Michael reluctantly completes the deal. That's when the Hot Cops - plus one "construction worker" spring into action - cranking some music and dancing around. Michael appears and tells George Michael a lesson has been instilled. But Buster, deciding to stand up for himself, comes forward and admits that the weed was for him, not George Michael. Michael, upset with Buster, tells him to take his son home.

Just as they leave, though, two real drug dealers, having seen G.O.B.'s light flashing, come forward with a supply of weed looking to make a deal. But before G.O.B. can explain, a police boat comes up, flashing its lights. The dealers, thinking they were set up, pull out their guns, and Michael and G.O.B. become trapped in the middle of a gun battle. The brothers are terrified, until one of the dealers loses an arm, and they look up to see the face of J. Walter Weatherman. Michael realized that, once again, his father had taught him an elaborate lesson - not to teach his son lessons. That night, back at the model home, Maeby gives her mother the brooch, glad to have a mother who doesn't treat her the way Lucille treats Lindsay. And Michael tells George Michael that he should have told Michael what was going on, and that he should always feel comfortable to be honest with him.

Episode notes

*This episode is one of the most popular episodes of both the first season, and the entire series run of "Arrested Development". Mitch Hurwitz himself called this episode (along with the other episode featuring J. Walter Weatherman's "lessons", Making a Stand) his favorite episode of all time.
*The title is a play on the homonyms “pier” and “peer.” It also refers to peer pressure, which often involves drugs.
*Tobias does not appear in this episode.


*In an online clip of the "G.O.B. Hot Cops" flashback, there is no music til he starts the boombox, and then it plays Cherry Pie by Warrant instead of the original music used in this episode.


*"Randy's Donuts" - The plaster donut Buster is shown trying to eat his way through is at this famous Los Angeles landmark, seen in numerous movies and television shows, and parodied on The Simpsons.
*"George Michael" - George Michael mentions for the first time the famous singer-songwriter with whom he shares a name. It is interesting that this shared name was not mentioned until the tenth episode, since the similarity is often the first thing a new fan thinks of when they hear George Michael's name.

Callbacks/running jokes

*"Abbreviated cursing" - Buster abbreviates the word "screwing" to "s-ing" in this episode. He later abbreviates the word "rape" to "R" in The One Where Michael Leaves, and "bitch" to "B" in Ready, Aim, Marry Me.
*"Big Yellow Joint" - The song inspired by the shape of the Bluth Banana Stand. It would later be repeated in Afternoon Delight, Meat the Veals and Prison Break-In.
*"Buster says hey" - Buster greets George Michael by saying, "Hey nephew".
*"Family first" - George Michael repeats this phrase to Michael, who we first see tell his son this motto in the Pilot.
*"Hot Cops" - The first mention of the stripper agency that G.O.B. once worked for. The next would be in Best Man for the G.O.B.
*"Ice cream" - More instances of the Bluth family showing their love for this frozen dessert.
**Michael tells Lindsay that when George Michael gets an "A", he gets ice cream.
**Lindsay offers to take Maeby out for ice cream, who then wants Lucille to take her out for ice cream.
*"Lucille calls Lindsay fat" - Lucille continues her insults about Lindsay's weight.
**Lucille says that a diet is the best defense against criticism and suggests that Lindsay wear sleeves to hide her arms.
**Lucille says she never gave the elephant brooch to Lindsay because she "didn't want to invite the comparison."
**Lucille also makes a crack about Maeby getting too fat when Maeby suggests going out for ice cream and Lucille says, "...your chubby little wrist is already testing the tensile strength of that bracelet." Maeby responds by leaving the penthouse with a note that ends, "Love, Fatty"
*"Judaism" - George Sr.'s misguided newfound Judaism, first seen in Storming the Castle, is referenced several times.
**He tells Michael he can't teach a lesson today, because it's Yomtov, the first night of Yom Kippur, but Michael replies that Yom Kippur is only one night, and it was "back in September".
**He says that George Michael is "a scholar like his grandfather".
**He sends Michael away because he has to prepare for the Sabbath (Saturday), but Michael points out that it's actually Tuesday.
*"Leaving a note" - After George Sr.'s lesson to his children in this episode, it marks the first of many instances where one of the characters leaves a note for another, as in Beef Consommé, Staff Infection, and Shock and Aww.
*"Lessons" - This is the first instance we see of George Sr. using J. Walter Weatherman to teach his family lessons. We'd see him again in Making a Stand.
**We see him teach them to always leave a note and to not yell. George Sr. implies that his last lesson was to not leave the door open while the air conditioner is running.
*"Marijuana" - This drug would be referenced many times over the course of the show, especially in episodes involving George Sr.'s twin brother, Oscar.
**G.O.B.'s comment "Might just be a few stems." in regards to cheap marijuana refers to the practice of including the non-psychotropic marijuana seeds and stems in a bag to increase its weight.
**G.O.B. says, "It's cold out here" in an attempt to cover up his breathing out what appears to be marijuana smoke.
*"Smoke it like a cigarette" - George Michael's weak attempt to use drug lingo is said again by George Sr. in Sad Sack.
*"Vertigo" - This is the last time we would see Lucille Austero's vertigo, which would later be cured in Queen for a Day.

Hidden/background jokes

*"Affairs" - We hear numerous references to George Sr.'s various affairs.
**Lucille tells Maeby that a necklace "is from when Pop-Pop yelled out, 'Oh Melanie!' when he was making love to Gangee".
**Lucille holds a brooch which makes her recall, "the week when we had the au pair".
**Later in the episode when Lindsay sees the brooch, she says, "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."
*"Cold" - When Michael goes to talk to George Michael, G.O.B. can be seen looking at the bag of marijuana suspiciously. When Michael returns, G.O.B. is holding in a large breath. He finally coughs, and releases a puff of white smoke from his mouth. G.O.B. feebly attempts to pass this off as cold air by saying "It's cold out here."
*"Financial Gain" - Buster gives George Michael $200, but when G.O.B. tells Michael, his first answer is that he got $200 which he quickly changes to $100.
*"Like Father, Like Son" - Michael's comments to his father, "Dumb. Dumb Michael. Dumb." directly mirror George Michael's words from earlier in the episode.
*"Missing Limbs" - J. Walter Weatherman's dog only has three legs.
*"Nausea Study" - Buster's folder on the nausea study he participated in has a note on the cover that reads "PROPERTY OF BUSTER BLUTH: If found, please contact Lucille Bluth in California (She'll pay for the charges)"
*"Notes" - There is a note on the refrigerator that reads "I finished the milk. Will get more - George Michael"

Character cameos

*Jase Wirey was a contestant on the reality-series Big Brother 5, and appeared in an uncredited, non-speaking role as a Hot Cop.
*This was Steve Ryan's first appearance as the armless J. Walter Weatherman, but he would appear again many episodes later in Making a Stand.

Foreshadowing/Future References

*J. Walter Weatherman's loss of a limb may have inspired Buster's loss of his hand in Out on a Limb and Hand to God
*This episode is later heavily mirrored in the Season 3 episode Making a Stand.


*Snierson, Dan (Feb. 17, 2006). "Best of Bluth: The best of "Arrested Development"—The Fox series creator Mitch Hurwitz picks his five favorite episodes". "Entertainment Weekly", p. 66. http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,1158373,00.html

External links

* [http://the-op.com/episode/110 The-OP.com]
* [http://www.fox.com FOX]
*imdb title|0515235|Pier Pressure

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