The One Where Michael Leaves: Michael Bluth (Jason Bateman) and his son George-Michael try to leave their misanthropic family once again but George Senior’s (Jeffrey Tambor) escape from jail leaves the Bluth Company in turmoil. Family matriarch Lucille puts Gob Bluth in charge but Michael ends up doing all of the work.
The One Where They Build a House: Michael wants to prove the company’s strength by building a mock home to get investors interested but the plan is coopted by Gob, who is the Bluth Company president. Gob wants to impress his new girlfriend and the investors and has Michael, George-Michael, Buster, and actor Tom Jane help build the mock house. But in the end, an argument between Michael and Gob over who would cut the ribbon leads to a hilarious scene involving a giant scissors and a big fake rock that harkens back to an earlier game of rock-paper-scissors.
Amigos : Lucille’s private investigator (Martin Mull) tracks fugitive George Senior to Mexico with his conspicuous Bluth Company stair car. Gob’s own private investigator, Ice, also finds George Senior and the gang ends up in Mexico in search of their lost father. Gob realizes that he has no friends and Michael finds it difficult to find time with his son who is now dating Ann.
Good Grief: Bounty hunter Ice reveals to the Bluths that George Senior is dead in Mexico, but George Michael finds him buried in a side lot to the house (similar to the way the Army found Saddam Hussein). This is the beginning of the story thread involving George Senior’s stay in the family attic. Buster struggles with his father’s death when Gob performs an off color magic trick at his memorial service.
Sad Sack: George Senior’s stay in the attic causes problems for Michael, who has to keep it secret from the family. George Senior has Michael investigate whether Lucille is interested in his twin Oscar and attorneys for the federal government work at getting a deal done to bring in George Senior. The negotiations end with a recognition that the incriminating evidence is not what it appears to be.
Afternoon Delight: Gob’s power trip results in an ugly scene at the Bluth Christmas Party, while Michael resents his son’s relationship with his daughter and tries to have fun at the party. Gob alienates the staff by bragging about his expensive suits and fires the entire staff after a poorly planned roast results in hurt feelings.
Switch Hitter: George Senior tries to keep Gob in the Bluth Company to win the softball rivalry with Sitwell Enterprises, but Michael’s need to rebel against his meddling father leads to Gob’s defection. Gob is wooed by Stan Sitwell (Ed Begley Jr.) but George Senior’s meddling leads Gob and Michael to reconcile during a botched softball game. The character of Stan Sitwell is one of the best on Arrested Development because he is a perfect character foil for George Senior and the condition that makes him bald provides for some great sight gags.
Queen for a Day: Unfrozen company stocks lead the Bluth Company into a crisis. Michael tries to save the company by convincing Lucille Two to sell back her stock but Gob’s intervention leads to his return as president and her majority ownership of the company. Tobias tries to run a dance club, but it fails when he tries to take his love of Broadway street dancing to the mean streets of Los Angeles.
Burning Love: George-Michael tries to impress his religious girlfriend by holding a record burning party, but Michael tries his best to keep his son at arm’s length from Ann. Meanwhile, Lucille gets Michael to agree to buy her at a charity auction, but he bids on the attractive Sally Sitwell instead. However, his deal with her father Stan to buy her leads Sally to turn down the offer.
Ready, Aim, Marry Me : Martin Short makes a great appearance in this episode as Uncle Jack, a wealthy octogenarian who is brought in by Michael to save the company with his substantial funds. Jack agrees to help out if he can get a date with Lindsay. Michael and Tobias trail Lindsay and Jack, as well as Lucille Two and Stan Sitwell, before Gob and Buster come crashing in to save Lucille from Sitwell.
Out on a Limb: In an act of defiance, Army bound Buster swims into the ocean against Lucille’s wishes. However, a runaway seal with a bow tie (a detail that ties the seal to Gob’s failed magic act) manages to rip off Buster’s hand, leaving him deformed and surrounded by insensitive relatives.
Hand to God: Buster tries to make light of his lost hand, but the family finds it difficult to get used to. Michael’s affair with Maggie Lizer (Julia Louis Dreyfuss), a lying attorney, puts his relationship with Sally Sitwell into jeopardy. Maggie’s pregnancy, along with her blindness, prove to be fake and Michael is left with egg on his face.
Motherboy XXX: When George Michael tries to keep his Uncle Buster (who recently lost his hand to a seal) company, Lucille tries to take him to the annual Motherboy competition. Michael is worried his son will end up like Buster and tries to stop Lucille with an Army trained Buster. In the end, Buster realizes that he belongs with his mother Lucille and saves George Michael the embarrassment of dancing with his grandmother while dressed a gypsy.
The Immaculate Election: George Michael decides to run for student body president but is going to be destroyed by the popular Steve Holt. Michael enlists the disgruntled Gob, recently fired as president of the Bluth Company, to run George Michael’s campaign but a poorly made campaign video and an admission of an embarrassing habit by George Michael leads to his loss of the presidency. The campaign video, featuring George Michael practicing his light saber skills, is one of the funniest bits on the show because it incorporates the insensitivity and lack of regard for political correctness that is on the edge of every character.
Sword of Destiny: Michael’s trip to an emergency room leaves Tobias to act as George Senior’s proxy at the Bluth Company, who just lost a major land deal. Gob tries to regain his position in the Magician’s Alliance and gain notoriety by performing a trick with his new assistant Buster. However, Buster is believed to be the real magician when Tony Wonder (Ben Stiller) asks him to headline a magic show.
Meat the Veals: Michael tries to break up an imminent engagement between his son and the plain Ann Veal by having her parents meet his family. But a misunderstanding with Mrs. Veal, an attempt by George Senior to win back Lucille, and the return of Gob’s puppet Franklin convince George-Michael that the marriage would be a mistake and Michael realizes that he can’t put so much pressure on his son.
Spring Breakout: Kitty returns to take back a piece of George Senior, a cooler filled with George Senior’s spirit, in order to have a child of her own. Meanwhile, Michael tries to get Lucille into alcohol rehab and Gob tries to save the family by sneaking George Senior out of captivity.
The Righteous Brothers: George-Michael’s relationship with Maeby gets more uncomfortable when her job with a movie studio requires her to edit an American remake of a French film about incest between two cousins. Michael and Gob are involved in trying to bring their father to captivity, but Michael is turned in by Gob after Gob finds out that Michael didn’t listen to a CD he made for his brother. In the end, George Senior switches places with Oscar, who is jailed as the supposedly caught George Senior.
Special Features: The show’s fast pace and complicated story lines make the featurette “Season One in 3 Minutes,” a good primer for those uninitiated to the storytelling style of Ron Howard and Mitchell Hurwitz.