Family Meetings: Chapter 4
by Creedog VanDrey
Category: Arrested Development
Summary: GOB's ex-wife introduces her son to the family.
Spoilers: 2X14 "The Immaculate Election" through Season 3.
A/N: I don't know whether to apologize for or highlight the ballooning size of these chapters. My intention was just to add a little padding to the family meetings, but I never expected so much new material to emerge. I fully expected to reuse most of the jokes from my previous series.
Old Habits Try Hard
This is the story of a wealthy family who lost everything and the one son who had no choice but to keep them all together. It's Arrested Development.
Michael was preparing for his work day when he noticed something unusual.
Lindsay, wearing an apron over a maroon skirt and pink blouse, is in the kitchen, cooking.
"Lindsay, you're awake. And dressed."
Lindsay turns from her work and replies tiredly, "Yep. There's coffee. I had to make some. These early mornings are going to kill me yet."
Smiling, Michael comments, "Lindsay, I am so proud of you. I've had to drag you out of bed every morning all week and today you actually beat me up."
"Oh, I woke up at the same time. The walls are thin and that horrid golden oldies stuff you listen to could wake a coma patient."
"You slept in the twin room? Our first night as a married couple and we sleep in different rooms," Michael jokes.
"Hey, for the first month of our marriage, Tobias and I only slept in the same bed for the first night."
Michael walks up to the stove, where Lindsay is cooking sausage links. "Smells good."
"It's sausage, Michael. There's instructions right there on the box. Only an idiot could screw it up."
Lindsay had been practicing cooking and had been through two boxes of breakfast meats before getting it right.
Tuesday: Lindsay dumps charred sausage patties into the trash while the smoke detector goes off.
Wednesday: Lindsay dumps charred bacon strips into the trash while the smoke detector goes off.
"Smells good," Michael compliments.
"Yeah, it's turkey sausage. Healthier. And no pigs have to die."
"You do realize that turkeys don't shed the links, right?"
"Well, screw turkeys. They can bleep my bleep."
"I think one tried once, didn't it?"
In the late 70s, George, Sr. bought some farming properties, hoping to build a sprawling trailer park, which at the time was the fastest-growing area of the housing industry. He mistakenly thought this was because trailers were becoming popular rather than a result of the recession.
1979: George, Sr. and the four Bluth children are herded out of the car onto a deserted farm. George, Sr. looks around in disgust. He kicks a poultry house, and a single turkey runs out, racing toward the children. Buster screams at the top of his lungs and manages to climb on top of the car, where GOB soon follows, putting himself behind Buster and offering him up to the charging turkey. Michael and Lindsay jet off in opposite directions and the turkey decides to follow Lindsay.
"And Mom really didn't help," Lindsay growled.
1979: Lucille, with Buster in her lap suckling on milk from a sippy cup, comments to a scratched up Lindsay, "Well, I'm sure the turkey was just trying to make friends. You two have so much in common. All day, it's just 'gobble, gobble, gobble.'" Lindsay, mortified, rushes out of the room. Michael complains to his mother. GOB just snickers.
Lindsay turns back to the sausages, and asks Michael, "Could you make sure the kids are awake?"
"And by 'the kids,' you mean our teenage children and Buster?"
"Yeah," Lindsay remarks in an obvious tone.
Neither Buster nor Michael's and Lindsay's children could really be considered "kids." Buster was 33 and George Michael and Maeby…
George Michael and Maeby are asleep, spooned together in the top bunk.
There is a distant footstep and George Michael awakes immediately and jumps down into the bottom bunk. Groggily, Maeby asks, "George Michael, what's wrong?"
"I heard my dad walking up the stairs."
"There's no way you could hear—"
Maeby is interrupted by a knocking on the door. "Hey, kids, can I come in?"
"Sure, Dad!" George Michael replies, his voice falsely high and cheerful, as he throws a comforter over him.
"Hey, you two up already? Well, it looks like everyone's waking with the sun. Listen, Aunt Lindsay's making breakfast, so hurry on down while it's hot."
"Sure, 'cause thinks are not hot in here," George Michael answers.
Michael furrows his brow.
"Dad," George Michael looks down at the sheets, "could I start doing the laundry? I want to do my part, you know?"
Michael smiles, "Sure, buddy; you know, you really are a responsible young man. See you downstairs. I gotta wake your Uncle Buster." As he leaves, he mentions to himself that he hopes Buster isn't wearing his hook.
"Why'd you volunteer for laundry?" Maeby asks, climbing down from the top bunk.
"Well, uh, I don't really know how else to explain the state of my sheets. Or why neither of us is wearing the pajamas we went to bed in."
"Oh," Maeby replies knowingly, "well, that's why you don't steal third on an infield hit to the shortstop. You get tagged out. Don't worry about it. Why do you think we have two beds?"
"I'm pretty sure that's because our parents don't expect us to be sleeping in the same one."
"Yeah, probably that." Maeby looks into the closet, asking, "Hey, have you seen my lilac suit?"
"You took it to work last Sunday. You were scheduled to interview with Variety and they cancelled. Did you leave it in the car?"
"I must have. It's going to be wrinkled."
It was wrinkled, but not because Maeby left it in the back of the car.
Last Sunday: Maeby arrives at Balboa Towers in her car, talking on her cell phone. She grabs a garment bag without looking at it and takes it up to the empty penthouse.
"You mean Page is there right now? She's interested in the hockey script? I'll be right there." Maeby hangs up the phone and leaves the garment bag on the couch.
Later, Tobias walks in and unzips the bag. "Ooh, and it's in my color, too! Must be a present from my new roomie! I wonder what I should get him in return. Maybe one of those trick wands that go limp and stiff." Tobias mimics this with his finger.
Tobias wore the suit to his next audition of a doomed Partridge Family remake.
Maeby pulled out another suit, "I guess I'll have to wear the red one. Hope it doesn't send the wrong message."
"I like the red one."
"That's the wrong message that I'm trying not to send to Ron Howard."
Ron Howard did not get the wrong impression. He is also married. Happily married. With four beautiful children. They take after his wife.
Downstairs, the family is eating breakfast together.
"I'm so proud of this family," Michael states. The reactions from his family members show that he's said this out of the blue. "George Michael, you volunteered to help around the house by doing the laundry. Lindsay, I had my doubts when you volunteered to cook all our foods, but you've done spectacularly."
Lindsay had been making the family breakfast every morning and packing edible lunches every day. However, after one failed attempt at dinner…
Monday evening: Lindsay dumps a burnt-to-a-crisp lasagna into the trash and orders pizza.
…she outsourced the dinners to local restaurants that offered delivery. Hoping to hide her mistakes, she presented all the dinners as her own by serving them on the house's flatware.
Tuesday evening: Lindsay serves Chinese food on serving platters; the white boxes it came in are sitting visibly in the trash can.
The family humored her.
"So, Buster," Lindsay asks, "what are you doing today?"
"I have school."
Michael points out, "I thought your disability scholarship didn't kick in until the fall."
"Michael," Buster remarks dismissively, "I don't mean I'm going to school. To learn. I'm teaching school," he states matter-of-factly.
"When did this happen?" Michael asks logically.
"Funny story actually."
It was a funny story. Buster, after visiting his mother in prison, saw something he liked at the crosswalk.
The day before: There is a beautiful red-headed woman waiting at the crosswalk as a Glinda's Foods truck drives through the intersection.
Glinda's Foods distributed Buster's favorite brand of graham crackers, so Buster followed the truck to its ultimate destination: the Milford School. Being a true Milford man, Buster had no problem entering the school.
Buster easily slips by the two resource officers and follows a sign pointing to the cafeteria. On his way there, he passes by the principal's office. The door opens suddenly, knocking off his prosthetic hand. The principal walks out and greets Buster enthusiastically, "Hey, are you the sub?"
"Uh, yes," Buster replies weakly.
"Great. Your classroom is right down the hall. Thanks for coming on such short notice."
Buster had misunderstood the principal, thinking he'd asked if Buster was "The Stub," a nickname that GOB had taken to calling him. Buster had done so well with the children, that he'd been asked to continue substituting indefinitely.
Buster, wearing his hook, screams out, "Why won't you all just do your fractions?!"
The frightened children comply.
Michael prepared his family for the night's family meeting.
"Am I in trouble?" George Michael asks fearfully.
"No," Michael answers firmly.
"Did Uncle GOB impregnate another one?" Maeby guesses.
"Yes, but don't spoil the surprise for the rest of the family."
That night, GOB introduced his family to his new son.
"So, what's this little bastard's name anyway?" GOB asked as he held the child as arm's length. The entire Bluth clan was gathered in the model home living room, where a "Family Love Baby" banner is hanging on the wall.
"Gobby," the mother replied, not the least bit offended by the "bastard" remark.
Everyone in the room tilts their head, including Sara, who looked embarrassed for her client.
"You stuck on that?" GOB asks.
"Heck no. It sounds like a Harry Potter character. I just wanted to name him after you, and all I could remember was… 'Gobb'."
Michael steps in to explain, "Well, 'GOB' is short for George Oscar Bluth II."
"Hey, if I'd known that I woulda called him that. Is it legal to change a kid's name?"
Sara gets up and hands her a legal document, "Yes. Sign here." To Michael, she explains, "I've had that sitting in my binder for months." They share a smile.
"So," Michael asks, with obvious intention, "do you guys maybe want to give little GOB Jr. a godfather?"
GOB Jr.'s mother replies, "Oh, I named Judge Ping the godfather."
"The guy who processed your divorce?"
Sara explains, "Well, it turns out that GOB Jr. was conceived on the couch in his office, so it was either name him godfather or buy him a new leather sofa."
GOB pondered, "Did he not care about his desk?"
"I don't think he knew," GOB's ex-wife speculates.
"And what about…" GOB wonders further.
Sara states loudly, "Let's not push our luck. I could use something to drink."
"Right this way," Michael states, walking to the kitchen with Sara in tow.
"You have a lovely home," Sara comments as Michael hands her a soda.
"Thank you. It's Bluth-quality construction." He taps the wall and a cabinet panel falls off. "Bluth-quality construction is not very good. Sitwell Enterprises will actually be building more of these units and I'll move the family into a new one that actually up to building codes."
"Good to hear," Sara notes, awkwardly standing.
"You didn't come over just to compliment my home, did you?" Michael asks suavely.
"No," Sara admits sheepishly, blushing, "I came over to ask you not to let GOB be with his son alone."
"Oh, no," Michael replies, "GOB will never be alone with GOB Jr. We had another family meeting just to discuss that."
"And, um…" Sara struggles to put her thoughts into words, unconsciously making a hook with her finger.
"Buster is not allowed to be with him alone either. And not within ten feet at all while wearing his hook. He knows he doesn't get his nightly juice box if he misbehaves."
"Good, you've put my mind at ease. About GOB Jr. at least."
"You know, Sara, not that I'm not thrilled you came, but you didn't actually have to. There were no legal issues to discuss."
"Oh, you misunderstand. She's not really my client. The U.S. Army pays me to keep her out of trouble."
July 2004: GOB's ex-wife, in Army fatigues, points at a half-dressed Abu Gharib prisoner.
"That sounds like quite the Liz Lemon job."
Cue jazzy saxophone music.
Sara remarks, "I had more crazies to deal with at my last job."
Michael comments sympathetically, "Well, you've met my family. Trust me, I feel for you."
"Yeah, I didn't want to say anything, but my heart does go out to you."
Michael smiles warmly, "I appreciate that. Oh, advance warning; GOB may try sleep with you."
"Well, he'd be barking up the wrong tree. I'm Lesbian, if you understand my meaning."
Disheartened, Michael replies, "Yeah, I know what that means."
Sara asks, "Hey, uh, where's your restroom?"
Michael answers, "Um, back into the foyer, take a left."
"Thanks," she answers, getting up from the chair.
Lindsay plops down in Sara's seat and sing-songs, "Somebody's got a crush."
"Aw, is my wife jealous?"
"I think we'd be smart to have an open marriage. So, you like Sara?"
"She seems nice, but it turns out she's gay."
Lindsay rubs his shoulder, "Sorry." After a moment, she asks, "She's a lawyer, right? That's a well-paying job. So, is she single?"
Michael's expression turns to confusion. "Lindsay, you're not gay."
"I experimented in college."
"Once. When you were drunk. And later, when you were drunk again, you told me the truth: you freaked out halfway through and only did it to get guys."
"And it worked. I had guys lined up. Everyone went home happy."
"Except your roommate. She dropped out after first semester and became adult actress."
"That actually doesn't surprise me," Lindsay remarks. "I figured I'd give it a shot." She abruptly brings up, "You know that long lunch I took today?"
"Yeah, you left a quarter to twelve and didn't come back until 3:30. Then you left at four."
"It's Friday. Everyone coasts on Friday."
"It's Thursday. What did you do during your long lunch?"
"I participated in a protest."
"Lindsay," Michael growls.
"Hey, I was petitioning for better rights for people like us."
"Crazy former nouveau rich who frequently get in trouble with the law?"
"People with civil unions."
"I'm betting they were all gay."
"I didn't pay attention, but it did seem like a lot of them were. And Ellen DeGeneres was there. Maybe some of her gay rubbed off."
GOB pops up between them, "You were married to Nancy Drew over there for fifteen years." He indicates Tobias, who's wearing a wrinkled lilac pant suit.
"It was sixteen," Lindsay corrected.
"Seventeen," Maeby corrected drolly before walking into the kitchen.
"GOB, did you need something?" Michael asks.
"Well, not everyone was paying attention to me, and I just wanted to… fix that."
"You've got our attention now, GOB. Did you need to say something?"
"That's right!" GOB proclaims loudly, attracting everyone attention, "I do have something to say." He strides dramatically back into the living room, where he comes face to face with Steve Holt, holding his new baby brother in his arms. "Steve Holt, you are a bastard and there's nothing that can be done about that anymore. But I will not let the same happen to this little guy."
Steve Holt enthusiastically cheers, "Right on, Dad!" He raises his fist triumphantly in the air. GOB Jr. is now being held by one arm, so Maeby plucks the child out of Steve's arm and carries it to the couch with George Michael.
GOB then strides to his ex-wife, kneels down on one knee, takes her hand, and asks, "Will you…" He pauses for several seconds, trying to pull some bit of information out of thin air. He mouths, "Dammit" to himself and finishes aloud, "You wanna get married again?" he asks nonchalantly.
His ex-wife stares suspiciously at him for several seconds and abruptly starts screeching and jumping up and down. "Yes! Yes! Yes!"
Sara walks out of the bathroom at this point and walks over to Michael and Lindsay. "What happened?"
"GOB proposed," Michael answers.
"Bleep," Sara mutters, resigned.
It was then that Michael realizes what he now thought was obvious.
He looks at Sara, looking utterly devastated, as she watches her client leap into the arms of her new fiancé and start to kiss him in a truly disgusting manner.
And that's how the family meeting became an impromptu engagement party.
Tobias mentions, "You know, if I were not an actor, and still in psychology, I would have been delighted to get you two on the therapy couch for some nice couples analrapy sessions."
Giddily, GOB's new fiancée comments, "Aw, too bad, Dr. Funky, I would have been okay with that."
Michael sees George Michael and Maeby giggling in the corner and walks over to them. They separate when Michael appears.
"So, looks like there's going to be a new Mr. and Mrs. Bluth."
George Michael hiccups. "What are you talking about, Dad? Something didn't come in the mail, did it?"
In unison, George Michael and Maeby self-consciously brushed their bangs across their foreheads, highlighting the gold bands on their hands.
"Are you two wearing wedding rings?" Michael asks.
After a split second of looking dumbstruck, Maeby points out, "They're promise rings."
"Ann said we should get them," George Michael adds.
Michael frowns, "I didn't think you'd be too keen on Ann after the whole debacle with your Uncle GOB."
George Michael clenches his teeth and squeaks out, "I'm over it."
Maeby adds, "She's always preaching forgiveness." Maeby folds her hands demonstratively, "We didn't want to be hypocrites."
"Abstinence until marriage," George Michael cheered.
"Whoo-hoo!" Maeby cheered in agreement.
The truth was that Maeby, who looked much older when she wore suits and tasteful makeup, had started to get takers to her common deflection, "Marry me." When she found herself unable to lie herself out of the situation, Maeby tried a new tactic: she told the truth and had begun stating she was married. To make this more believable, she and George Michael had purchased inexpensive wedding bands from the local discount store.
Earlier that day: Maeby tells George Michael, "You do realize I'm the one who has to deflect lecherous forty-somethings. Why did you get a ring?"
"I wanted to support you."
The two of them had forgotten to remove them once they got back to the model home for the family meeting.
George Michael and Maeby, ironically, were becoming less and less abstinent. This actually fulfilled the promise of their "promise" rings, as they were still legally married.
Lindsay, tipsy, walks over and hands George Michael and Maeby two glasses of champagne. "It's just sparkling cider," she lies to Michael.
Michael didn't believe her, but let the matter slide.
Tapping his glass, Michael announces, "Well, I wanted to make a brief toast to the happy couple. There's not much I can say but… to the future and…"
"To the future!" GOB proclaims.
"Yeah, I guess we'll just leave it at that," Michael mutters.
Behind him, George Michael and Maeby clink their glasses together, and whisper, "To the future," to one another, sharing a secret smile.
On the next episode of Arrested Development…
Michael gets something he's always wanted…
"Look, Mikey," GOB states, "Dad's not here, so screw him. Unless he walks through that door in the next 30 seconds, you're my best man."
...only to lose it…
George, Sr. bursts in through the door moments later.
GOB turns to Michael apologetically, "Tough luck, bro." He turns away and races to his father, "Dad, guess what!"
Lindsay returns to an old habit…
That night, Lindsay drunkenly stumbles into Michael's room, where he's passed out in bed. She crawled under the covers and wraps herself around him.
Tobias enjoys some alone time…
Inside the penthouse, Tobias, wearing only a pair of cutoffs and Lucille's robe, is dancing around the apartment with a cosmopolitan in his hand, and singing "Me and My Baby" along with the stereo.
…only to be interrupted…
Oscar walks in. Tobias clenches closed his robe quickly.
"Hey, no," Oscar replies affably, "this is an open robe zone. Look, could I possibly stay here tonight? My trailer burned down, all the way to ashes." He is strangely calm about this.
"Well, sure, GOB moved in with his lady love, so you are more than welcome to take Mother Lucille's room." Tobias points with the hand he was holding his robe together with.
Oscar surveys his attire with a confused expression. "Say, do we have any turkey sausages?"
…and Buster enjoys his nightly juice box.
Buster, with a grape juice box in his hand, crawls on top of the stair car's cab and then manages to pull himself onto the landing at the top of the stairs, singing "Me and My Baby" the whole way up.
A/N: This one was a riot to write. I really hope that the news renews the interest in this show, because there is just not enough AD fanfiction out there.
Jason Bateman … Michael Bluth
Portia de Rossi … Lindsay Bluth
Will Arnett … GOB Bluth
Michael Cera … George Michael Bluth
Alia Shawkat … Maeby Fünke
Tony Hale … Buster Bluth
David Cross … Tobias Fünke
With Jeffrey Tambor … George Bluth, Sr.
And Jessica Walter … Lucille Bluth
Special Guest Star
Amy Poehler … Wife of GOB
Tina Fey … Sara Panayiotou
Justin Grant Wade … Steve Holt
John Rothman … Principal Milford
Jay Johnston … Resource Office #1
Jerry C. Minor … Resource Officer #2
Curtis Blanck … Young GOB
Somer Dice … Young Lindsay
Michael Bartel … Young Michael
John Aaron Tinero … Young Buster
Bryce Dallas Howard … Beautiful Redhead