Welcome to “Arrested Development” Rewatch. Leading up to the release of Season 4, Zap2it will be taking a look back at the 53 episodes that made “AD” one of our most beloved TV comedies. Watch the first three seasons of “Arrested Development” on Netflix. Today we’re covering the Season 1 episode “My Mother, the Car,” which premiered Dec. 21, 2003.
Is Lucille Bluth really as terrible a mother as she seems? Short answer: Yes. “My Mother, the Car” focuses primarily on the relationship between the Bluth matriarch and her children, with Lucille repeatedly failing to throw herself a surprise birthday party. The chemistry between Jessica Walter and Jason Bateman really comes to the forefront here, though David Cross‘ Tobias is noticeably absent. It’s nice to finally get a sense of the central Bluth dynamic in this Season 1 episode.
Plot: It’s Lucille’s birthday, but Michael won’t give her the money to throw herself the extravagant party she wants. Instead, she covertly plans a surprise party… that none of her children except Michael show up to. After a second failed party attempt, Michael lets Lucille drive his car home despite the fact he knows she’s a terrible driver, and she gets in a crash. Lucille pins the blame on Michael and drugs him to keep him in the dark, which leaves it to GOB to reveal their “horrible mother’s” true intentions. Meanwhile, sexual tensions rise between Buster and Lucille 2 and George Michael and Maeby, while Lindsay finally visits her father in prison.
Bluth Company status: George Sr. has Lucille smuggle gold bars into prison so that he doesn’t get strangled in the shower or stabbed… in a manner of speaking.
Notable guest stars: Liza Minnelli as Lucille Austero and Patricia Velasquez as Marta.
Memorable line: “You’re my third least favorite son.” — Lucille Bluth
Milestones: “My Mother, the Car” marks the first introduction of George Michael’s new favorite movie, “Les Cousins Dangereux.” Yet another one of Buster’s many useless skills is revealed as we find out he was a member of an archaeological dig where he found a massive rock. Lucille does her best to make her children love her by guilting them with the line, “I’ve been a horrible mother.”
Huge mistakes: Lucille becomes infamous for driving straight into a parallel parking spot, which earns a place of honor on “World’s Worst Drivers.” Despite knowing that, Michael makes the mistake of letting her drive his car, and then pays the price.
Most sexual tension: Buster and Lucille 2 finally consummate their relationship with a “wild ride” of kissing, but Buster is to ashamed to tell his mother. In fact, at one point he even jumps through a plate glass door in order to avoid his mother seeing him with her neighbor. Ah, true love.
Best narrator commentary: “Buster had recently brought the rock home from an archaeological dig, but had yet to find a way to get it out of the car.”
Next on “Arrested Development”: George Michael and Maeby sneak back into “Les Cousins Dangereux” but are kicked out only moments before the same happens to Lucille and Buster. Michael accidentally backs his car into GOB, and was definitely the one driving that time.