Arrested Development: Charity Drive   Rewatch 
July 9, 2014 3:55 PM - Season 1, Episode 5 - Subscribe

Michael trades in his bicycle for his father's car and ends up giving a ride to a terrified stranger who mistakes Michael for a killer.

Really, Netflix? Are we watching the same show?

In this episode, the first of seven written by Barbie Adler, we meet Kitty Sanchez and Lupe; Buster makes a terribly grand (and accidental) gesture towards Lucille Austero, and G.O.B. has a run in with a candied apple.
posted by Lorin (18 comments total)
To be fair to Netflix, those things did happen.

Poor Lindsay, trying to put her... well, not her money where her mouth is, but trying to do something real, instead of the same old nonsense she's been doing for so long.
posted by RainyJay at 4:24 PM on July 9, 2014

Sold, to the man who truly knows what charity is.
posted by duffell at 5:52 PM on July 9, 2014 [1 favorite]

Whistling GOB: I have some conditions. Terms. One condition and one term.
posted by John Cohen at 6:32 PM on July 9, 2014 [4 favorites]

Why would a banana grab another banana? Those are the kinds of questions I don't want to answer.
posted by duffell at 7:37 PM on July 9, 2014 [3 favorites]

The Amazon episode summary isn't any better. It's actually factually incorrect:

Lucille's scheme to upstage her rival, Lucille Austero, at a bachelorette auction backfires when Gob mistakenly bids $10,000 on the wrong Lucille.

I think we can write a better one ourselves.
posted by carsonb at 10:21 PM on July 9, 2014 [1 favorite]

The Amazon episode summary isn't any better. It's actually factually incorrect:

Lucille's scheme to upstage her rival, Lucille Austero, at a bachelorette auction backfires when Gob mistakenly bids $10,000 on the wrong Lucille.

Yep, and the same mistake is made on the DVD, as noted in the Wiki.

The Wiki also notes an obscure mistake in the episode:
The prop used for Buster's archaeological dig is a porcelain copy of a Homo erectus skull which Buster breaks with a distinct porcelain sound. A real fossil would not likely be hollow. More importantly Homo erectus lived approximately between 1.4 million to 300,000 years ago throughout Africa, Asia, Parts of Europe and some Pacific islands. There has never been evidence of Homo erectus in The Americas.... According to current scientific knowledge, Homo sapiens is the first and only homonid species to inhabit the Americas and arrived between 15,000-12,000 years ago.

posted by John Cohen at 11:26 PM on July 9, 2014

Those synopses are almost willfully unfunny, but I guess it's not their job to be funny. It is a testament to the density of the show that any given episode could be summarized a dozen ways.

I love whistling G.O.B. and his pathetic attempt to find a replacement for the Bluth banana. "You should call this one a G.O.B., guy." (What is the official style guide on his name anyways? I know the wiki favors G.O.B. but, whatever, so not important!)

I believe the show is written by a writers' room, but it's still interesting tracking who is credited with writing which episode. As a huge Simpsons nerd, I don't know how I've never made the quintessentially nerdy list of AD episodes organized by writer and determined my favourite.
posted by Lorin at 11:36 PM on July 9, 2014

What is the official style guide on his name anyways? I know the wiki favors G.O.B.

Officially, according to the text on the screen when he's introduced, it's "G.O.B." — but then I mispronounce it as "Gee, Oh, Bee." Also, for a character we're going to be referring to a lot, "G.O.B." looks too cluttered. Wikipedia writes it "Gob." That seems technically correct, but I split the difference and write "GOB."
posted by John Cohen at 12:08 AM on July 10, 2014 [2 favorites]

It helps to recall that GOB for (George Oscar) Bluth is a riff on JEB (John Ellis) Bush.

This episode really solidifies one of the best parts of the show's premise, the idea that the Bluths need to break out of their warped little bubble but also that they are utterly incapable of surviving outside it. It's not that they 're unaware of their hypocrisies; they're just so comfortable in them and feel so entitled that even their attempts to change get pulled back into the gravity well of their, er, Bluthness.
posted by kewb at 3:59 AM on July 10, 2014 [3 favorites]

You had me wondering if I had skipped an episode, as the description here was even more mismatched to the episode I watched than what some of you seemed to experience. Turns out the DVD (which I was going off of) and Amazon both put "Visiting Ours" before "Charity Drive," while Netflix does the reverse, and Netflix's order matches the original broadcast order.

I've made a huge mistake.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 4:34 AM on July 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

I'm starting to wonder if the Iraq War references were intentional or just part of the zeitgeist.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 8:20 AM on July 12, 2014

OK, late on this one, but here are my favorites from this episode. You know, I had in my head that this was one of my least favorite episodes, but I sure did have a lot of favorite lines from this one!

GOB to GM at the banana stand: Give me a GOB
GM does the cheer response: GOB!

The newspaper bit after Michael mentions that Tobias left the stair car at the airport, the headline reads: "Actor" Causes Massive Delay in Major Flight Grid

Two sticks and extra chocolate, is it Mardi Gras?

What is there a chat room that you guys all...?

One condition and one term!

Lindsey is wearing a Neuter Fest t-shirt when she goes to clean up the wetlands

The fact that this is Michael talking to his kidnap victim: You know, I guess it would just be a guy who grabs bananas and runs or, you know, a banana who grabs things...

That bananagrabber cartoon. "Look, a seagull!". The bananagrabber is on a Segway. He is grabbing a banana from a frog.
posted by freejinn at 9:29 AM on July 12, 2014

OK, since this is the end of an already slowed down thread, I am going to mention this here because I can't see how a discussion of the Arrested Development series can't address this, but it is a touchy subject on MetaFilter that leads to fighty things. If a mod reads this and decides to nuke it from orbit, I get it.

But one thing that cracks me up every time in this episode every time is Buster and his rape whistle.

It is but a very small example of how the series is full of rape jokes.

I've seen this show referenced on MeFi a lot, and it seems to be a perennial favorite. But this community also seems like a place that has no stomach for rape jokes, and I've always wondered how the rape jokes never came up with respect to AD.

There is a lot overall that I have to say about how the show hits on controversial subjects, but just dipping a toe in the water here and maybe this is something we want to leave out of any FanFare discussions?
posted by freejinn at 9:45 AM on July 12, 2014

The amount of effort to produce even such a small snippet of animation for a show like this is kind of mind-boggling. And it's for a stinger at the end of the episode! And even though they say "On the next episode of Arrested Development" it never makes another appearance (to my knowledge), so it was totally and completely a throwaway joke.
posted by carsonb at 9:45 AM on July 12, 2014 [2 favorites]

And the bananagrabber has the whistle in his talk like GOB after the candy apple!
posted by freejinn at 9:48 AM on July 12, 2014 [1 favorite]

I don't want to come off like a rape joke apologist—I'm not and I don't like rape jokes. I hadn't thought about how the series is filled with rape jokes before, but going forward I will pay attention to that sort of thing.

In this particular instance I don't think Buster having a rape whistle is a rape joke. "Rape whistle" is what that thing is called; it's used to signal any sort of distress. Buster is a sheltered, overprotected ninny who cowers and hides when the door bell rings and therefore would naturally want to be equipped to signal any sort of distress. The appropriate tool in such circumstance is a rape whistle. And since even the slightest thing makes him feel distress, he's at a constant low-level, perhaps just enough to warrant a little toot and a quiet 'help!'

I feel ill-equipped to really evaluate this though, so any guidance or alternative interpretations would be appreciated.
posted by carsonb at 9:58 AM on July 12, 2014

I get what you are saying carsonb, and yeah I say very small example because it's not really much of a rape joke as a standalone, but I think is clearly a preview to Lucille's rape horn and the jokes surrounding that in the future (Buster: "yeah, like anyone would want to R her").

To be clear, I have a pretty high tolerance I guess for that kind of thing...and don't know if that is it, or I am just an apologist for the show in general let alone some of its jokes.

Another example: I have worked with people with intellectual disabilities pretty much my whole career, and I am pretty much a scold on casual use of that other R word. This show has a whole story arc on the subject, which could be so offensive if done wrong, but is so freaking hilarious.
posted by freejinn at 10:19 AM on July 12, 2014

(Buster: "yeah, like anyone would want to R her")

To me, this is a fascinating example, because I find the line absolutely hilarious — but then I imagine the politically correct scolding I'm going to receive for laughing: rape is never funny! Well, I wish I could view the world in such clear-cut, black-and-white terms. But I don't think humor is so simple that we can say one topic is or isn't funny. Humor isn't completely meaningless or trivial, but its meaning comes in complex forms. It's a vehicle for wrapping our minds around disturbing topics. When we joke about death or war, it's not because we don't take those subjects seriously — it's because we have been taking them so seriously, that it's a relief to finally find anything light in them. I remember hearing a similar joke which I found offensive — many years ago, a comedian joked that a certain famous woman had made an allegation of sexual assault, but "her sexual-assault days are over." How can I say that's offensive, but Buster's joke is OK? Well, that comedian was implying a wrong-headed view that it's somehow a compliment to be targeted for sexual assault — that it means you're still attractive, and therefore, the aging woman in his joke shouldn't be taken seriously because she's not attractive enough to be sexually assaulted. I can't laugh at the comedian who directly expresses that view: there's no distance between him and his wrong attitude, so I don't want to join him, which would be sharing in his wrongness. When I laugh at Buster expressing a similar attitude, I'm laughing at him, not with him. I'm comfortably sitting at home, far away from the character, looking down on his unhealthy love/hate relationship with his mom which allows him to make such a foolish comment.
posted by John Cohen at 10:07 PM on July 12, 2014

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