Welcome to the “Arrested Development” Rewatch. Leading up to the release of Season 4, Zap2it
will be taking a look back at the 53 episodes that made the show one of our
most beloved TV comedies. We continue with episode 5 of Season 1, “Charity Drive,” which first aired Nov. 30, 2003. Watch the first three seasons of “Arrested Development” on Netflix.
Note: “Charity Drive” was the fifth episode FOX aired during Season 1 and is fifth on Netflix as well. But it was actually the sixth episode produced and appears in the “correct” order — following the episode “Visiting Ours” — on the Season 1 DVD.
Plot: Michael discovers that the Bluth Company never filed important permits for a new project. He also realizes biking to work in a heat wave is not a good idea, so he decides to use his father’s car. The only problem is Gob, Lindsay and Buster have secretly commandeered it for their own selfish reasons. Meanwhile, Lindsay is determined to prove she’s charitable to Michael and Lucille instructs Buster to bid $10,000 for a night with her at an upcoming charity auction. He accidentally winds up bidding on Lucille 2 (Liza Minnelli) instead. Also, Gob chips his tooth on a candy apple and develops a whistle.
Secondary characters introduced: Lucille’s new maid Lupe (BW Gonzalez) replaces her sister Luz — fired by Lucille for taking her daughter to the hospital. And this was technically Judy Greer’s first appearance as George Sr.’s assistant Kitty, but since FOX aired this episode and “Visiting Ours” out of sequence, her proper introduction actually happens in the “next” episode.
Milestones: Gob introduces his “Hamburglar-type” character Mr. Bananagrabber. Michael tells Gob he needs a favor. Buster reveals his rape whistle. An early hint of Michael’s repressed attraction to Lindsay pops up when he tries to avoid eye contact with her charity calendar.
Huge mistakes: By the end of the episode, both Michael and George Michael have been arrested for trying to help other people — Michael for giving a ride to Helen, a woman he mistakenly believes is Lucille’s maid (Helen thinks he’s kidnapping her), and George Michael for following Gob’s orders to break-in to the permit office (which George Michael agrees to as a misguided attempt to impress Maeby). Also, Gob gives Michael the animation rights to Mr. Bananagrabber.
Most sexual tension: A toss-up between George Michael and Maeby during their big break-in and Buster doing everything he can to avoid Lucille 2’s advances.
Next on “Arrested Development”: “Michael gets a lucky break when Helen makes the same mistake he did” [she identifies the wrong white man in a prison line-up], “and Gob kicks himself for a bad business decision” [cue animated Mr. Bananagrabber].