Arrested Development: Pier Pressure   Rewatch 
July 21, 2014 1:44 PM - Season 1, Episode 10 - Subscribe

When Buster asks George-Michael to buy him marijuana to treat Lucille Austero's vertigo, Michael stages a phony bust to teach George-Michael a lesson.

In this episode we meet the Hot Cops (who "push the tension to the last possible moment before they strip") and learn the perils of not leaving a note. George Sr., perhaps wizened by religion, can't help teaching one last lesson. Lindsay's attempt at discipline almost succeeds when Maeby is forced to spend an afternoon with Gangy. So, head on down to the Big Yellow Joint ...
posted by Lorin (9 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I was gonna smoke the marijuana like a cigarette.
posted by Think_Long at 2:00 PM on July 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

A serious contender for best episode of the first season, maybe even of the whole show. The main plot is basically a 20-minute long screwball comedy, predicated on an elaborate conga line of good intentions, half-truths, fake cops, real cops, fake drug dealers, real drug dealers....

There's also something kind of interesting in how the episode plays out the intergenerational dynamics of parenting--both Lindsay and Michael turn to their parents' methods of discipline (Michael by seeking out JWW, and Lindsay more directly by unloading Maeby onto Lucille for the day), but it backfires because both George and Lucille use this as an opportunity to exact their terrible parenting onto their kids (via the meta-lesson and trash-talking Lindsay to Maeby.)

(Notable, too, is that both George Michael and Maeby seem to have internalized the "always leave a note" rule, presumably in lower-trauma ways than their parents did. Michael and Lindsay have to be doing something right, or at least less wrong.)
posted by kagredon at 2:09 PM on July 21, 2014 [3 favorites]

Everyone sticks to their basic skill sets, to the things they've learned work, but in new combinations (George to George Michael via Michael; Lucille to Maeby to hurt Lindsay) with varying effects (Michael and Maeby learning lessons more than anyone else).
posted by RainyJay at 7:10 PM on July 21, 2014

Agreed this is a contender for best episode of the season. And the parent-child dynamics being passed down:

Are you proud of me?
Very proud...minus.
posted by freejinn at 8:34 PM on July 21, 2014 [5 favorites]

George Michael trying to close his book without losing his place, and Gob with the marijuana's cold out here.

Buster: yeah, make a mistake. Take $225 from me.
posted by freejinn at 8:42 PM on July 21, 2014

I wish they had done a DVD commentary for this one. I wish they had done more in general, but I've been spoiled by stuff like Simpsons, Futurama (even Community) that have commentary for every single episode. It does seem odd they didn't pick this episode, with so much going for it.

Maeby's C m-i-n-e-s, while not really a reference, somehow recalls Homer Simpson's S M R T and always gets a laugh. I love everything about George Sr.'s conversion, the best of which is yet to come but:

George, Sr.: Tonight? No, it’s Yontif, the first night of Yom Kippur.

Michael: Dad, that’s just one night, and it’s back in September. That’s okay. You’ve only been a Jew for about two days.

Claiming i'ts Yontif is another one of those stupid lines that has worked its way into family parlance as a way of weaseling out of some social obligation.

PS. I made y'all contacts, so if you happen to have any inspired or useful ideas about tagging... I sure don't!
posted by Lorin at 10:01 AM on July 22, 2014 [2 favorites]

Gob with the marijuana's cold out here.

That's Jason Bateman's favorite moment in the whole series (at least the first 3 seasons). Warning: that link automatically starts playing a video ad before it gets to Jason Bateman.

Both Bateman and Mitch Hurwitz have called this their favorite episode of the series.

It's the episode that sealed the deal for me, when I was first watching the series straight through, long after it was canceled. For the first few episodes, I couldn't understand all the hype. Then I started to get more into it, but it wasn't till the end of "Pier Pressure" that I was firmly convinced it was something special. Michael tells his son he can tell him anything. George Michael not-so-hypothetically asks: what if he said he was in love with his cousin? And the one line that sold me on the show was Michael's response, after an awkward silence: "Hey ... you taught me a lesson!" Such a brilliant twist on the "lesson" theme of the episode, and such a painful juxtaposition of Michael, obliviously relieved, while we know what George Michael is thinking: he can't even talk about his forbidden crush to the person he's closest to — he's going to have to keep this a secret for a long time.

This was the only episode in the original 3 seasons with any reference to George Michael's double first name being the same as the full name of "the singer/songwriter." (Does anyone know why the show gave him such an odd name? Hard to believe it was just to let him make a one-time joke about people confusing the two of them.)

I had to rewatch it multiple times before I got this joke (Lindsay talking to her mom about the brooch): "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."

Sadly, the actor who played J. Walter Weatherman, Steve Ryan, died at the age of 55 in 2007.
posted by John Cohen at 12:56 PM on July 22, 2014 [2 favorites]

My guess is they gave him the name for at least 3 reasons, one of which was to make a joke of never referring to it. Another was to carry on the tradition of the first born Bluths being a George, plus another family middle name, like GOB.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 8:46 PM on July 22, 2014

This was the episode that convinced me, on my first watch through the show, that I loved the shit out of this goddam show.
posted by shakespeherian at 4:49 AM on July 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

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