My Mother, the Car

My Mother, the Car
"My Mother, the Car"
Arrested Development episode
Episode no. Season 1
Episode 7
Directed by Jay Chandrasekhar
Written by Chuck Martin
Production code 1AJD07
Original air date December 21, 2003
Guest stars

Liza Minnelli as Lucille Austero
Patricia Velásquez as Marta Estrella
Mark Blankfield as Dr. Miller

Season 1 episodes
November 2003 – June 2004
  1. Pilot
  2. Top Banana
  3. Bringing Up Buster
  4. Key Decisions
  5. Visiting Ours
  6. Charity Drive
  7. My Mother, the Car
  8. In God We Trust
  9. Storming the Castle
  10. Pier Pressure
  11. Public Relations
  12. Marta Complex
  13. Beef Consommé
  14. Shock and Aww
  15. Staff Infection
  16. Missing Kitty
  17. Altar Egos
  18. Justice Is Blind
  19. Best Man for the Gob
  20. Whistler's Mother
  21. Not Without My Daughter
  22. Let 'Em Eat Cake
All Arrested Development episodes

"My Mother, the Car" is the seventh episode aired of TV comedy series Arrested Development.



Michael Bluth, fed up with his mother Lucille's extravagant spending, says she cannot throw a lavish birthday party for herself. But when Lindsay, prompted by Lucille, suggests a surprise party, Michael agrees on the condition that Lindsay visit George Sr. in prison. They have been somewhat estranged for the last several years; she thinks he only recognizes her good looks. At the prison, no one notices her; thinking perhaps she has lost her touch, she goes shopping for an outfit to wear for tomorrow's prison visit.

Meanwhile, George Michael is finally getting beyond his crush on his cousin Maeby; the two sneak into an R-rated movie. Then a trailer plays for a French movie about love between two cousins. George Michael decides to get a fake ID from his uncle Gob so he and Maeby can see the French cousins movie. Meanwhile, Michael drives his mother to her surprise party; nobody else shows up. Lucille is hurt, so Michael arranges a second surprise party, insisting that all his siblings be there. When no one shows up for that one either, Michael and Lucille bond, both feeling unappreciated by their family. Feeling sorry for his mother, Michael agrees to let her drive, even though her license has been revoked for multiple accidents and reckless driving. When Lucille sees a man riding a Segway, she assumes it is Gob and decides to "give him a scare." The car wrecks; Lucille drags an unconscious Michael into the driver's seat so that she won't be blamed. Michael has hit his head on the giant rock Buster had left in the backseat and suffers short-term memory loss.

Worried that her son will regain his memory of the accident, Lucille insists that he recuperate in her apartment; she bribes their family doctor to give him heavy painkillers. Next door, Buster, who is secretly dating his mother's neighbor and rival Lucille Austero, also gets injured when, from Austero's balcony, he spies his mother on her own balcony and jumps through the window to get out of sight. Meanwhile, George Michael tells Gob about Michael's accident while asking for the fake IDs; Gob decides to take the yacht to South America for the summer. Lindsay continues to visit her father in prison, growing increasingly frustrated that none of the inmates take note of her sexy outfits. On her third visit, George Sr. begs her to stop, and reveals that he had been paying off the inmates with gold Krugerrands to behave in Lindsay's presence; but her repeated visits are bankrupting him. Touched by her father's gesture, Lindsay finally reconnects with George Sr.

Michael remembers seeing Gob on the road and trying to scare him, but still thinks that he was the one behind the wheel. Feeling guilty, he calls his brother and tells him he can live on the yacht. Gob realizes that Michael has been duped by Lucille, and cancels his escape plans. With Gob's help, Michael remembers the truth. They confront Lucille, who admits her guilt and says that she was afraid of losing Michael's new-found respect and admiration. Michael suggests that she stop manipulating her children, but Lucille decides that manipulation is easier.

Cultural references

  • AARP - formerly the American Association of Retired Persons, AARP is an organization that works to further the interests of Americans 50 years and older.
    • The usher's statement, "You’re too young to be holding that ticket," is directed at Buster, indicating that Lucille used her AARP card to purchase tickets with a Senior Citizen discount for both of them.
  • The program Lucille was featured on, FOX's World's Worst Drivers, is a nod to the type of reality television that Fox has historically aired, such as World's Wildest Police Videos and When Animals Attack.
  • The title of this episode is a play on the title of the 1960s sitcom starring Jerry Van Dyke called My Mother the Car.
    • Gob and Lindsay are watching this show on television when Michael confronts them for not showing up at Lucille's surprise dinner. The show's theme song, composed by Paul Hampton, can be heard in the background.
  • Lindsay says she went to "Neiman's," a reference to the U.S. upscale retailer known for its extravagant pricing.
  • Michael asks his mother jokingly if there are gold bars in the bag she has trouble lifting. Later we find out it is actually gold Krugerrands, which are a type of gold coin imported from South Africa.

Character cameos

  • This is the only appearance of the Bluth's family physician, Dr. Miller (played by former Fridays castmember Mark Blankfield), first mentioned in "Key Decisions" by Lucille regarding Buster.
  • The actors in the Les Cousins Dangereux trailer bear some slight resemblances to George Michael and Maeby.


  • In this episode, we find out that Gob is cheating on his girlfriend Marta, which will become a major problem with Michael in "Storming the Castle."
  • George hesitates over calling Lindsay his daughter, instead calling her his "little girl." This foreshadows later revelations about her parentage.

Call backs/Running jokes

  • "I don't think so." - When Gob says, "I was halfway to South America...," Michael asks, "You were going to South America?" Gob says, "I don't think so" instead of "yes." This situation mirrors a similar one in the pilot, when Gob says, "Lindsay has been staying at the Four Seasons for a month; she's probably charging it to the company." To which Michael replies, "Lindsay has been in town for a month?" and Gob answers, "I don't think so."
  • This is the first time that Lindsay's "slut" tank top was used in the show.

Episode notes

  • Although this episode comes after "In God We Trust" in both broadcast and production order, it appears before it on the Season One DVD. Technically, "My Mother, the Car" should come first, as Buster and Lucille Austero start their relationship in this episode, and go on their first date. Additionally, "In God We Trust" contains many references to Christmas, but this episode aired much closer to the holiday.
  • The title of this episode refers to both Lucille's car accident and the sitcom My Mother the Car.
  • Tobias does not appear in this episode.

External links

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