Arrested Development/Family Ties

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Family Ties
Season 3, Episode 11
Airdate February 10, 2006
Production Number #3AJD11
Writer(s) Ron Weiner
Director(s) Bob Berlinger
← 3x10
Fakin' It
3x12 →
Exit Strategy
Arrested DevelopmentSeason Three

Family Ties is the eleventh episode of the third season of Arrested Development, and the fifty-first episode overall.

Guest Stars: Justine Bateman (Nellie Bluth)


Plot Overview

After discovering a photo of himself as a child with a girl named Nellie, Michael becomes convinced that he has a long lost older sister, and that George Sr. has been using her to hide embezzled funds. Meanwhile, the rest of the family work on their marriages: Tobias and Lyndsay try to rekindle (or kindle) the passion in their marriage, while Maeby and George Michael deal with the aftermath of their accidental one.


Arc Advancement




  • Mr. F: Lyndsay compares Michael's theory on his abandoned sister to his previous paranoia over the mysterious Mr. F, and the "Mr. F" music appears twice.
  • Making a Stand: When he calls himself "Baby Buster," Buster is recognized from the videos he used to star in.
  • Afternoon Delight: Nellie gives a highly censored speech to the Bluth Company employees very similar to the one GOB gave in Afternoon Delight.
  • The Bluth Company employees hang a banner that reads, "Workers love Nellie," a reference to earlier in season 3, when the Bluth family welcomes Michael to a surprise party with a banner that reads, "Family love Michael."


The Show

Behind the Scenes

  • This was the second in a set of four episodes that aired on Friday, February 10th, 2006 (opposite the opening ceremonies of the 2006 Winter Olympics), that marked the end of original Arrested Development episodes on FOX.

Allusions and References

  • Family Ties: In addition to referring to Nellie as a potential Bluth sister, Justine is Jason's real-life sister. It is also the name of the show, Family Ties that Justine starred in the eighties as Mallory Keaton alongside Michael J. Fox and Meredith Baxter Burney.
  • Jibber-Jabber: GOB uses phrases like "I pity the fool" and "jibber-jabber," catchphrases of The A-Team and Rocky III star Mr. T.
  • BASIC: When Michael boots up the obsolete computer, he's greeted with "Gob's Program: Y/N?" which repeats the same word over and over again. This is likely a reference to simple programs written in the BASIC programming language. BASIC is a simple language which was taught in many schools. Schoolchildren almost universally enjoyed the ease with which one could create an infinite loop printing out a humorous line of text. GOB's program would look something like this:
 10 ? "Penus"
 20 GOTO 10
  • KAYPRO: Tobias recognizes Michael's old computer, and pronounces it the same as a popular brand of sexual lubricants (K-Y Jelly). Strangely, it doesn't react well to moisture.
  • Oh my: Buster's fake coma being "put to its greatest test" is possibly a reference to the film Kill Bill, where Uma Thurman's character suffers similar abuse.
  • Veronica Mars: The censored "off-network private eye high school private eye drama" is Veronica Mars, which airs on UPN.

Memorable Moments