Season 1, Episode 13: Beef Consommé


Original airdate February 15, 2004
Written by Richard Rosenstock & Chuck Martin
Directed by Jay Chandrasekhar
Production Code #1AJD12


“Tensions between the Bluths reach boiling point, just as the family’s required to peacefully gather in court for George Sr’s hearing. While Gob’s hunt for the elusive “Hermano” heats up, so do things between Michael and Marta when the two confess their feelings for each other. George Michael also makes a big decision about his love life after learning Maeby may not be related to him by blood. Meanwhile, Lindsay helps Tobias confront his biggest fear, and Lucille’s feud with a newly emancipated Buster continues to simmer.”

NOTE: Deconstructing Arrested Development openly discusses spoilers when relevant (which can include episodes that come later in the series). Readers who have not seen the series in its entirety are advised to proceed at their own discretion.


Beef Consommé is the first of Arrested Development’s three mid-season finales, the others being season 2’s Out on a Limb, and season 5’s Premature Independence (season 3 never technically had one due to its erratic broadcast schedule, while season 4’s simultaneous release method and experimental format also render it ineligible). In the case of all three episodes, the show concludes a major story arc (the Gob/Michael/Marta love triangle, Buster’s enlistment in the army, Lindsay’s run for congress) while also tying up some minor ones and setting up a few plot threads remaining episodes of the season. It’s that final point where Beef Consommé deviates from the others; there’s a little bit of place-setting – as is typical for Arrested Development – but this episode is largely about clearing the table for the next course. Granted, there are always story arcs that carry over from the front half of the season into the back half (ie. George Sr’s conversion to Judaism), just as moments from early in the season will pay off much later (ie. George Sr’s admission of “light treason”), but Beef Consommé draws a very clear dividing line between story arcs in a show where these are often more blurred.


This episode also marks the conclusion to the show’s first two-parter, as mentioned in the previous deconstruction. It’s the first time the writers have gone into an episode having most of their ducks already in a row. While the Gob/Marta/Michael love triangle still takes several more twists and turns in its closing chapter, the result is an episode that feels like it has a bit more breathing room than usual. The same could be said of Marta Complex too, though both episodes still manage to retain the show’s typically brisk pace. As is commonplace for Arrested Development’s two-parters, Beef Consommé opens with a recap of the previous episode (with some additional recapping in another early scene). If you’re coming off of the Netflix run, the brief and breezy nature of the Fox run’s recapping proves much more palatable for repeat viewings (the season 4 remix undoubtedly being the most egregious offender in this regard). Here, the narrator summarizes only the most important details in as few words as possible before throwing us right back into the swing of things; Michael is reeling after his disastrous turn of events with Marta at the end of the previous episode, Gob is still in pursuit of “Hermano,” George Michael is now following up on Maeby’s origins, while Tobias struggles with the caveat for the film role he recently landed. George Sr’s hearing is the only new thread introduced here, and it’s established immediately in the opening scene (it’s also the one storyline geared towards setting up the rest of the season, as George Sr’s trial becomes a focal point in the ensuing episodes).


The courtroom scene is something of a rich tradition in Arrested Development. There’s at least one in every season, and with the show’s deep bench of amusing lawyer characters, they’re usually comic gold. This first instance is a little different, though, with the focus being on what’s happening behind the bar than the legal proceedings themselves. To that end, the conclusion on the courthouse steps actually kicks off another of the show’s traditions, in the form of Michael and Gob’s fight. It’s a scene iconic enough to receive callbacks in multiple episodes down the line, boiling the brothers’ complex relationship down to its most primal elements and showcasing just how ridiculous these two men really are (more on Michael and Gob later). Even though Beef Consommé is largely winding down the show’s ongoing narratives, it’s still building up quite a lot between its central characters. It’s a bit of a ying to Marta Complex’s yang – Beef Consommé shifting focus back onto the inter-family relationships after Marta Complex put that focus on their love lives.

Perhaps that distinction is somewhat contradictory, seeing as most of Arrested Development’s ongoing romantic relationships are between family members; the marriages of Lucille/George Sr and Lindsay/Tobias, and the will-they/won’t-they between George Michael and Maeby. The others are generally confined to limited multi-episode story arcs, if that (case in point, this two-parter was preceded by an episode with a one-off romantic interest for Michael, and is immediately followed by another). Many conventional sit-coms do this, bringing in a series of love interests for the main characters over a show’s run, who then vanish once the story arc concludes. True to the format, Marta is never heard from again after this episode. Admittedly, this was never a particularly suspenseful plot for the show – presumably, most viewers possess enough awareness of these formulas to know a minor romantic interest introduced in season one probably isn’t going to be sticking around for the long haul. Especially not in a show like Arrested Development, which has no interest in giving its characters any long-term happiness. Marta is the first of several “revolving door relationships” on this show, and her arc is one of the most self-contained in the series; the storyline has always been more about Michael and Gob than anyone else, and the most significant lasting impact of this arc is the lingering distrust between them as a result of what transpires in this episode.


The one relationship in Arrested Development that really doesn’t fit into any of the aforementioned categories would be Buster and Lucille’s on-again off-again courtship, though Marta Complex had already put a pin in that story arc for the time being. While Liza Minnelli’s availability may have been a factor in that decision, it was ultimately a smart call, given how completely overstuffed Beef Consommé would’ve been with another story arc to conclude. Unlike Marta, Lucille 2’s romantic pursuits are far from her only link to the Bluth family, so the door’s left wide open for Lucille 2 to return at any point. Their break-up has set another story arc in motion, though; Buster living in the model home. His presence at this location proves important in this episode, as it allows him to run into Gob and tell him what “Hermano” really means – something Buster has learned while nursing his crush on Marta, established in the previous episode. Aside from this, Buster’s newfound role in the Marta storyline largely exists for laughs (and it is very funny to see Tony Hale bringing his inimitable manic energy to an already ridiculous fight scene); similarly, his emancipation from Lucille is played more like a background detail here, with no real developments occurring in that storyline. With Annyong’s introduction one episode away, this marks a rare transitory period for Buster – a character who’s wrapped up in a long-form story arc more often than not. If anything, his minor subplot in this episode – wanting to be punched in the face (a feat Gob manages to achieve in the second act) – is continuing a small journey he’s been on since Bringing Up Buster, as he’s been consciously trying to get more life experiences under his belt.


As mentioned, the A-plot is much more of a Michael/Gob storyline than anything else. While the Pilot placed more focus on the Michael/Lindsay relationship, Michael’s first on-screen interaction in the series is with Gob, and theirs is the sibling relationship that gets the most time in the spotlight in the long run. It’s understandable why the writers shifted their focus, given just how intricate and multi-layered the pair’s dynamic is. Much of it ties in with what’s been highlighted in previous deconstructions; Gob’s ongoing desire for his father’s approval. In Gob’s mind, Michael is “the favorite,” and while he’s not necessarily wrong there, it tends to manifest in needlessly spiteful and petty ways. This typically results in Gob screwing Michael over in some capacity, despite the fact that he craves Michael’s approval too, and Michael generally treats him better than most of the other Bluths do. It’s why so many of their interactions see Gob taking a number of emotional turns; his perception of everything is so twisted, it’s as if his brain contorts several times over with everything Michael says or does, leading to actions as destructive as they are unpredictable.

Here though, Gob actually has a legitimate reason to be mad at Michael – or at least he would have, had he not outright told him to “go for it.” When Michael and Marta initially hook up behind Gob’s back though, they both know it’s wrong, and the situation clearly gets to Michael. It’s likely that a large part of Michael’s infatuation with Marta is his subconscious tendency to deny himself happiness, particularly where his love life is concerned. Of course, Gob was never a good partner to Marta in the first place (as the episode’s final act makes clear, she’s far too good for any of the Bluths), but there’s depth to this love triangle nonetheless, at least in how it relates to the brothers. In the end, Michael and Gob make amends upon being criticized by an outsider; exhibiting the kind of “we can say that about each other, but you can’t” mentality that generally makes “dysfunctional family” shows work. Nothing solidifies Bluth bonds quicker than attacks from third parties, even if the two may continue to argue over who Marta preferred more moments after they’re both rejected.


If there’s a theme that really characterizes this initial run of 13 episodes, it’s forbidden love (as Buster says in this episode, it’s even the approximate English translation for the title of Marta’s telenovela). Between George Michael’s impossible crush on his cousin, Buster dating a woman who changed him as a baby, and now Michael pursuing a woman who’s only just left his brother, every relationship that’s blossomed on the show so far can be considered taboo in some capacity (not to mention Gob and George Sr’s various acts of infidelity). It’s no secret that Arrested Development loves veering into such territory, but this episode actually takes the taboo out of the show’s most provocative “will they/won’t they” – at least for now. Not only does George Michael (and the viewer) come out with the belief that the cousins are likely not biological cousins, but this also marks the end of George Michael actively pursuing Maeby. …At least for now. He realizes that, despite the evidence suggesting she’s not his blood relative, they share a special bond as cousins in the wake of the Bluth family’s collective madness, one that’s too important to risk; even if he clearly has second thoughts about his decision afterwards. While the ultimate verdict on their blood relation is withheld until the series finale, this mid-season finale marks the perfect time to put George Michael’s feelings for Maeby on ice, and start fleshing out some other traits for both characters.


George Michael isn’t the only character who exhibits some personal growth here. In a very rare occurrence, Tobias may actually make the most progress of any family member in this episode, via a series of equally sweet and funny scenes between him and Lindsay. As teased at the end of Marta Complex, his never-nude disorder hastily goes from running gag to major plot point, when he discovers his new role of Frightened Inmate #2 contains a nude scene. As Lindsay tells Tobias, “I understand you not wanting to do it on film, but you can’t even get dressed in front of me,” he responds with a sincere assurance that it’s not her (“I can’t get undressed alone. I can’t get undressed by myself”). She then takes it upon herself to help him overcome his fears, in what turns out to be a surprisingly emotional turn for both characters. We don’t often see Lindsay and Tobias as a supportive, functional couple, but when we do, the pair can be downright endearing. Personal growth is a rare thing on this show, and it tends to only happen in these rare moments where characters are genuinely there for each other. Granted, the “On the next” makes it clear that Tobias has made no strides in tackling his most impairing personality flaw – his total lack of self-awareness (and Tobias returns to the cut-offs next season) – but regardless of how significant this progress really is for him, these scenes are an enlightening window into the Fünke marriage.


In the end, Beef Consommé provides a satisfying conclusion to many of this season’s long-running arcs, and manages to get a few subtle nods in to most of the episodes that preceded it. All in all, if the episode did need to function as a season or series finale, it certainly wouldn’t be the worst place to leave things. And yet, it’s difficult to envision an iteration of the show where the first season ends here (particularly considering what superior a finale Let Them Eat Cake is in comparison). Would the writers have devoted more time to fleshing out the storyline of Buster living in the model home? Would the show have still implemented its tradition of George Sr. being in a different form of imprisonment each season? I’m not even sure Mitch Hurwitz could say with certainty what routes Arrested Development would have taken in this scenario – and thankfully, we need not ponder, for the extension of the first season order is one of the few major wins during Arrested Development’s treacherous time on Fox. It’s also worth noting that the show really begins setting up its long game from the next episode onwards – particularly in relation to the big reveal at the end of the season – and the rest of the season does a lot to expand the show’s world, while upping the audacity of its broader setpieces. Conversely, Beef Consommé is a relatively understated installment (setting aside the physical comedy of the brothers’ fight, that is), making it the perfect bow to put on Arrested Development’s most understated era.



BlueDot2 BARRY: It would help if you all showed up, looking like a loving, supportive family.
LUCILLE: For how long?
BARRY: Ten minutes, tops.
LUCILLE: See if you can get it down to five.


BlueDot2 MARTA: I’m so ashamed that I was so disrespectful to your brother.
MICHAEL: Oh, who cares? Nobody respects him.

BlueDot2 Michael and Marta’s failed attempt at physical relations is a glorious disaster, as reminders of Gob keep getting in the way…


… But in a more subtle piece of phallic imagery, it’s the presence of Gob’s wand in the bed that finally makes Michael confront the morality of the situation.


BlueDot2 Arrested Development slipped a lot of things past the censors during its run on Fox, but it’s still hard to believe they got away with this piece of dialogue, when Maeby walks in on her parents arguing:

LINDSAY: I’m saying every time something starts to go well for you, you blow it!
TOBIAS: Nothing has ever gone well for me, and you know that!
LINDSAY: That’s my point, you (notices Maeby) …handsome cowboy, you.
TOBIAS: Oh great, and now you’re mocking me, you selfish (notices Maeby mid-word) count-ry music loving lady. …Hello Maeby.


“Nice cover.”

BlueDot2 MAEBY: Don’t talk to me about my mom. She’s crazy, both of them are. Sometimes I wish we weren’t even related.
GEORGE MICHAEL: Hey, you know, maybe we’re not. Because when you think about it, we don’t really even look like each other.
MAEBY: No, I was talking about my parents. God, what’s wrong with this family?!
GEORGE MICHAEL: (to himself) Maybe we’re not family. And maybe that’s very, very right…

BlueDot2 This brief exchange may be the biggest laugh of the episode:


BlueDot2“You may not be good with women, but you are great with other people’s women, I’ll give you that.”

BlueDot2 MICHAEL: You can’t just ignore her. Maybe you should talk to her. She is your girlfriend.
GOB: Exactly! And I want to keep it that way. For all I know, she’s calling to break up with me. I don’t answer the phone, that doesn’t happen… And it’s all because of you, fratello. That’s Italian for “brother,” yeah. Now all I gotta do is find this “Hermano” guy… I’m gonna kill him.

BlueDot2 “I’d like to think that we’re all, y’know, intelligent, mature… (looks at Buster) um… adults…”

BlueDot2 BUSTER: Mom always taught us to curl up in a ball and remain motionless when confronted. That’s what I did in high school when I almost got into a fight.
MICHAEL: I think that was about being attacked by bears.
BUSTER: Yeah, I know.


“Hey, rich kid, give me your lunch money.”

BUSTER: …But sometimes I wonder what it would be like to get into a fight today.
MICHAEL: Well, you’d be a much bigger ball.

BlueDot2 “There is so much in life that I have not experienced. And now that I’m away from mom, I feel like this is my chance to live. I want to dance! I want to make love to a woman! I want to get a checking account! I want to know what it feels like to get my face socked in!”


BlueDot2 MICHAEL: They just read the charges, and we look like a loving family for, like, six minutes.
LUCILLE: Ten minutes.
MICHAEL: We couldn’t get that down, huh?

BlueDot2 George Michael’s not on board:


BlueDot2 GEORGE MICHAEL: So, uh, I-I’ve been thinking about that, ah, that conversation we were having the other night about, uh, where Maeby came from, and uh, I was just wondering if you could, you could finish that thought.
TOBIAS: …Yes, okay, uh… Well, have a seat. Uhhh… ummm… When a… man… needs to prove to a woman that he’s actual… When a man loves a woman, and he actually wants to make love, uh, to her, something very, very special happens, and uh, with deep, deep concentration and-and great focus, he’s often able to achieve an erec…
GEORGE MICHAEL: I’m sorry, I’m, I’m going to stop you. I know what you’re, uhh… I-I’m, I didn’t mean babies in general.
TOBIAS: Oh! Well, that’s good. Because it was about to get a little, ugh, gross.

BlueDot2There’s something inexplicably hilarious about the grunt Buster does at the end of the first act, while bracing to be punched in the face:


BlueDot2 GOB: I’m not going to hit you. You’re not the brother Marta’s cheating on me with.
BUSTER: Oh. Who is?
GOB: How should I know, Buster?!

BlueDot2 MICHAEL: Mom wanted me to tell you she doesn’t care whether you live or die, but if you’re not dead, she would like to see you at the courthouse tomorrow in a blue sweater.
BUSTER: Damnit! I hate the blue sweater.
MICHAEL: She said it would look nice with the grey pants.
BUSTER: Damnit! She’s right.

BlueDot2 According to the narrator, visiting Lucille for lunch is “the ultimate sacrifice.”

BlueDot2 “Where am I?”


“Am I in… two thirds of a hospital room?”


BlueDot2 “My brother said we can do it. …That didn’t come out as romantic as I’d hoped.”

BlueDot2 Buster’s new amor quickly becomes prohibido:


BlueDot2 MICHAEL: It’s just my mother, she’s probably worried about my dad’s… hearing.
MARTA: Oh… With my dad, it is the vision.

BlueDot2 “George Michael realized that, no matter how much it upset him, he didn’t want to take Maeby’s family away from her…”


BlueDot2 LUCILLE: You’re my husband and you belong back at home with me.
GEORGE SR: You really love me.
LUCILLE: Call it what you want, I’m tired of paying Lupe to clean one dish.

BlueDot2 “Sorry, sorry, sorry, I’m so late! I had another hearing. Here’s the good news: I think I’m going to get off. I have a good lawyer. (kisses Lucille) You look great in red.”


BlueDot2 “Oh, for god’s sake. He’s on his own for two days, and he joins a gang.”


BlueDot2 GOB: I got news for you, pal. Marta’s been interested in Michael. That’s right; dull, nothing going on upstairs… Michael.
BUSTER: I know. I saw them making out at her front door.
GOB: What? When?
BUSTER: Just now. (sighs) The stuff I’ve gotta work out with Marta just keeps piling up.

BlueDot2 JUDGE PING: (reading George Sr’s charges) …Conspiracy, racketeering, evidence tampering, fraud, theft, grand theft, petty theft…
BARRY: Wow, I-I, I did not get that page.

BlueDot2 BARRY: (running past George Sr.) What are you doing? They’ll add ten years to your sentence.
GEORGE SR: They’ll never catch me!
OFFICER BRENT: Oh, good. (apprehends George Sr.) I’ve got to get you back in your cell. It’s getting kind of crazy out there.


BlueDot2“…That too.”


BlueDot2 The brothers’ brawl has already been covered above, but it really can’t be overstated just how funny Buster’s “participation” in the scuffle is.


BlueDot2 MARTA: It’s over. Both of you. It’s over.
BUSTER: Wait, wait. What about… wh-what about me?
MARTA: I’m sorry, I’m not totally sure who you are.

BlueDot2 MICHAEL: We’re brothers, that’s gotta count for something…
GOB: That counts for everything.
MICHAEL: I’m not gonna throw it away over some woman.
GOB: (chuckles) Especially not my woman.

BlueDot2 “Now, will someone please have the decency to punch me in the face?!”


MICHAEL: …Well, it’s effective.
GOB: It really is.

BlueDot2 Tobias quietly overcompensates:


“Oh, please tell me there’s some coffee left. I slept very well last night.”


BlueDot2 During the “On the next,” you can clearly see most of the cast stifling their laughter; Will Arnett and Portia de Rossi both cover their mouths, and Jason Bateman turns his head away from the camera.


BlueDot2 A beef consommé is a soup-like dish that needs to simmer for an extended period of time when being cooked. The title alludes to the fact that this episode resolves/concludes several plot points that have been simmering for a while now, while also serving as a more direct nod to the brothers’ “beef” (as in the slang term for a quarrel or fight).


The dish itself is alluded to in dialogue throughout the episode, as Gob compares himself to prime rib and Lucille compares Maeby’s conception to soup (with both instances occurring in kitchens, no less). Tobias also says the word “beef” aloud at one point, using it in another sense when he scans the rewritten script to see if his part has been “beefed up”; a phrase which, itself, could serve as a double entendre about Tobias’s subsequent discovery of the nude scene.

BlueDot2 This is the final appearance of Patricia Velasquez as Marta Estrella, though it’s arguably not the last time we see the character. In season 3’s Forget-Me-Now, there’s a montage of Michael’s ex’s with captions of each of their names, one of whom is “Marta,” played by a third uncredited actress. There’s no actual confirmation as to whether or not this is the same Marta; the joke is simply a nod to the fact that Marta was portrayed by two actresses (distinguished by fans as “Marta 1.0” and “Marta 2.0,” this would effectively make her Marta 3.0).


This episode also marks the first appearance of Judge Lionel Ping, played by prolific actor Michael Paul Chan (of his vast resume, he is best known as Lieutenant Michael Tao from the TNT shows The Closer and Major Crimes). He returns in five other episodes throughout seasons 1 and 2; Altar Egos, Justice is Blind, Out on a Limb, Hand to God and Motherboy XXX.

Recurring cast member Henry Winkler also makes his second appearance of the series as Barry Zuckerkorn here.

BlueDot2 The song Gob’s singing on the stereo at Marta’s house is John Paul Young’s Love is in the Air (though the part where he counts to 12 and misses 11 is all Gob, of course). Buster’s “gang” also plays a mariachi cover of the song later, during his failed attempt to serenade Marta.


Marta isn’t the only person Gob gifts with a CD of himself singing, either. He would do the same for Michael in the season 2 finale, The Righteous Brothers.

BlueDot2 The previous episode’s “On the next” did contain a scene where Tobias learned of the nudity requirement for his new film role, though it plays out quite differently here (the former scene had Carl Weathers giving him the news in person in the model home kitchen, while here, he finds out by reading the rewritten script in George Michael’s room).

While the “On the next” footage generally does factor into the show’s continuity, there are the occasional instances where they contain non-canon scenes that function more as previews of upcoming plot points (Lucille 2’s “Let’s go for it” at the end of Key Decisions being a prime example). As such, Beef Consommé’s version of the scene should be considered the canon one.

BlueDot2 The DVD commentary indicates that, during one of his takes for the line “I let my fists do the talking,” Will Arnett instead substituted the line “I let my fists do the fisting.” It is possible this wasn’t a serious anecdote, given the very jokey nature of the commentary, though I’m inclined to believe it. After all, we know for a fact that, during at least one take for the Pilot, Arnett changed “or candy” to “or cocaine!”


BlueDot2 The recapping of Tobias’s psychological condition has gotten more condensed with each episode since In God We Trust (where the premise was formally established). Here, the narrator simply summarizes the plot point in one sentence: “Tobias was a never-nude, which is exactly what it sounds like.” It’s a direct callback to the aforementioned episode, where Lindsay first divulged to Michael that her husband is a never-nude, and Michael responded “Is that exactly what it sounds like?”

BlueDot2 While talking to Buster, Gob repeatedly helps himself to the contents of the model home kitchen, eventually doing so with a packet of raw spaghetti:


It establishes one of the show’s less overt running jokes: The Bluth family’s total ineptitude at cooking. They really don’t understand the basics about food preparation at all. As the joke continues throughout the series, George Sr. attempts to boil food in a hot tub in season 2’s Burning Love, Lindsay creates multiple off-putting meals in season 3’s S.O.B.s, and several characters eat Parmesan cheese lathered in mustard throughout season 4, with the Fünkes also serving up a still-alive – and lightly singed – duck in A New Start, and various instances with Buster in Off the Hook (one of which involves raw pasta again).

BlueDot2 Lucille quotes a line from the musical Gyspy; “How do you like them egg rolls, Mr. Goldstone?” It’s specifically from the song Rose’s Turn, which she was listening to in the previous episode.

BlueDot2 Barry continues to have legal troubles of his own, first established with the mention of his assistant’s lawsuit against him in In God We Trust.

BlueDot2 Barry’s line, “Oh, we’ve got Ping,” gets repeated later this season, in Justice is Blind (with a slight variation; “Oh, we’ve got Ping again!”).

BlueDot2 While Arrested Development uses a lot of mockumentary techniques in its format/presentation, it is very rare for characters to overtly acknowledge the camera. This episode contains one of the most notable instances, when Judge Ping asserts that “there are no cameras allowed in my courtroom” – staring directly into the lens as he utters the word “cameras.”


This is followed by a smash cut to the courtroom exterior, with the camera operators desperately attempting to peek in when Michael enters. That is, until the doors close again, and we’re left lingering on the shot while the skirmish audibly erupts inside.


BlueDot2 This is the second time George Sr. has tried to escape while under police custody, following his first failed attempt in In God We Trust. He would do so again in Justice is Blind, before eventually succeeding in the season finale, Let Them Eat Cake (in addition to the multiple escape attempts he makes while under house arrest in season 3).

BlueDot2 While this is our first time witnessing a brawl between Michael and Gob, we would come to learn in season 3’s Making a Stand that the brothers have a longstanding history of thoroughly impolite dust-ups. They were typically instigated/manufactured by George Sr. and distributed to the public for profit in the form of the VHS franchise “Boyfights.” The episode even contains footage of a child-aged Michael and Gob replicating this shot:


As adults, the brothers would come to blows again in season 2’s The Righteous Brothers (which again takes place in front of the courthouse, and continues Michael’s odd tendency to jump into fauna during their fights) and season 4’s A New Attitude. In addition to this, Buster’s desire to be punched in the face would be reiterated – and fulfilled – later this season, in Best Man for the Gob (an episode that also sees Gob punch Michael in the face when he erroneously believes a romantic partner has again left him for Michael).

BlueDot2 Although Tobias overcomes his psychological condition in this episode, he eventually relapses in season 2’s Sad Sack (with Lindsay later learning of the fact in Spring Breakout), and remains a never-nude through to the end of the series.

BlueDot2 Beef Consommé has a total runtime of 21 minutes and 49 seconds, and is rated TV-PG-LSV.


BlueDot2 We get a brief glimpse at a page from a Spanish dictionary early in the episode, which features a few diagrams. Mustached doppelgängers of Michael and Gob can be seen next to the Spanish words for “brother,” along with a black-haired Lindsay lookalike for “beautiful,” and a man sporting cut-offs who strongly resembling Tobias for “hermaphrodite.”


BlueDot2 Michael tells Marta that sleeping with her behind Gob’s back would be “very, very wrong.” This dialogue is later replicated by George Michael, who says that Maeby not being his cousin would be “very, very right.”

BlueDot2 There’s a note on the fridge informing the family that the milk has been used up; a reference to Pier Pressure (specifically the first J. Walter Weatherman flashback, provoked by that exact scenario). It seems Michael passed one of his father’s lessons down to his own son after all:


BlueDot2 Buster tells Gob that there’s a character on El Amor Prohibido by the name of Tio, who he believes plays Marta’s brother. Buster may have figured out the definition of “hermano,” but ultimately proves to have just as tenuous a grasp on Spanish as any other Bluth; “Tio” translates to “uncle.”


The narrator later uses the phrase “the actor who played Tio” when Gob confronts the man in question, suggesting his comprehension of Spanish isn’t much better than the Bluth family’s.


The fact that the actor in question also portrayed Mexican-American boxer Oscar De La Hoya may serve as a very subtle piece of foreshadowing regarding Gob’s own tio, Oscar (who had not yet been introduced – or even explicitly mentioned – though the show had established Gob’s full name as George Oscar Bluth, along with the Bluth family tradition of naming males after existing relatives).

BlueDot2 Gob going back on his words to Michael – “Go for it” – mirrors his turn in Key Decisions, when he opted to stay with Marta after almost breaking up with her.

BlueDot2 When Gob confronts Michael in the courtroom, Judge Ping can be heard continuing to read George Sr’s charges: “Resisting arrest, resisting arrest at sea…” This would presumably imply that George Sr’s arrest in the Pilot was not his first brush with the law (unless the other charges refer to the events of In God We Trust, though one would assume they’d be read in the reverse order if that were the case). The distinction of “at sea” as its own charge may also tie in with the show’s “maritime law” runner, which begins in a few episodes’ time in Altar Egos.

BlueDot2 Gob can be seen spitting his food back into his bowl during Tobias’s act of overcompensation in the “On the next.”


BlueDot2 Some additional material was removed from the opening scene in the prison, where the narrator reveals another character is experiencing relationship woes:

“Their attorney, Barry Zuckerkorn, was also distracted, having recently gone through a break-up when he’d been caught with his mistress by his girlfriend, Carla…”


“Devastated, he returned home, only to find his wife en flagrant herself.”



It’s the rare piece of deleted footage that actually changes our understanding of a prominent character, since it’s definitely odd to think of Barry as being married at any point (even if this scene presumably ends said marriage as soon as it’s established); not to mention later episodes paint him as a man with far less heteronormative proclivities. As such, I’d consider this scene completely non-canon; though it is interesting to think of Barry’s actions in later episodes as being those of a recently-divorced man going further and further off the deep end.

BlueDot2 For those who own the season 1 dvd, there is some extended footage from this episode hidden in disc 3 as an Easter Ann (despite the episode itself being on the second disc). To access it, go to Special Features, followed by the Deleted & Extended Scenes menu. Once there, highlight any of the four episodes listed, then press right. If you’ve done this successfully, you should now see that Tobias is selected, left of the menu:


Now just press play (or enter/select/etc.), and you will initiate two full minutes of footage of David Cross and the rest of the cast shooting the episode’s “On the next.” Multiple takes of the scene play out in full as everyone struggles to maintain composure, and it’s exactly as hilarious as it sounds!




Deconstructing Arrested Development is in no way affiliated with Imagine Entertainment, The Hurwitz Company, Netflix, 21st Century Fox, Disney or any subsidiaries thereof. It is a completely unofficial fan-made project.

7 thoughts on “Season 1, Episode 13: Beef Consommé

  1. TOBIAS: Oh great, and now you’re mocking me, you selfish (notices Maeby mid-word) count-ry music loving lady. …Hello Maeby.

    For me, this is the best bit of word play the show ever landed and ones really does wonder how they got it through. Maybe because of how quickly it goes by. I loved the last scene where as you pointed out, Gob’s spitting out his food but you can see Michael and Lindsley starting to lose it, all three details I’d never seen before, so maybe I just miss a lot of stuff.

    One thing interesting was when George Senior says that in the court house “maybe I should just stay ion prison so my family can be free,” which would seem to foreshadow the season 3 ender, but that’s awfully far planning for a show that might have been cancelled after this episode. It does still make it funnier when he tries to flee though, obviously caring about no one than himself.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There was a similar gag on a South Park episode that aired two months prior to this; Jimmy (who has a speech impediment) is relaying a message from Stan to Wendy after she breaks up with him – “You’re a continuing source of inspiration to me” – and gets stuck in a stutter loop at precisely the worst part of that sentence. Though obviously, the fact that Arrested Development is on network tv makes their getting-away-with-it considerably more impressive!


  2. A great episode that really could’ve functioned as well as a season finale as it did a mid-season finale. Also I either didn’t know or had forgotten that was Oscar de la Hoya as the actor who played Tio (I don’t follow boxing) but if anyone was going to knock out a Bluth might as well be him. Its too bad the Barry scene was deleted, it fit in with the context of the episode but if anyone was going to be cut for time I suppose it’d be a recurring character over anyone else. It does add some amusing depth to him though!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Other way around; the narrator says the actor who plays “Tio” had also picked up a separate role playing Oscar de la Hoya! (Sorry for the misleading phrasing on that note – it can be hard to remain coherent when the show throws “characters who are actors playing characters” stuff at you!)
      I can’t actually find a credit for the actual actor himself though – a downside of having a non-speaking role in AD. This episode’s credits is very bare-bones actually, despite there being quite a few bit parts in it.

      Liked by 1 person

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