Top Banana (Arrested Development)
|Arrested Development episode|
|Episode no.||Season 1
|Directed by||Anthony Russo|
|Written by||Mitchell Hurwitz
|Original air date||November 9, 2003|
|List of Arrested Development episodes|
"Top Banana" is the second episode of the television sitcom Arrested Development. It is the first episode of the series to open with the show's title sequence. The story takes place a week before the banana stand is burned down. George Sr. attempts to control the Bluth company from prison using his recently paroled cellmate T-Bone.
The local news station reports that the Bluth banana stand burned down. To reveal how it happened, we flashback to a week earlier. Michael visits his father at prison to ask the location of some papers so he can run the business. George says, "There's always money in the banana stand," then asks Michael to give his about-to-be-released cellmate a job.
George Michael asks for more hours at the banana stand to escape his intense feelings for his cousin Maeby. Michael promotes George Michael to manager. Seeing Tobias, Lindsay and Gob still lazing on the couch, Michael asks whether they are attempting to find work. Lindsay says her job is supporting her husband, so Michael, wanting to set an example, has his son hire Maeby as his banana stand employee. Maeby spends her first day taking money from the register and, after George Michael explains that the cash in the register must match the number of bananas, throwing out bananas so the numbers will match. Meanwhile, Michael visits his mother to ask about business records he needs. She vaguely tells him they're in a storage unit, then asks Michael to give his brother Gob a job to make him feel important.
The next day, Tobias looks for acting work to his dismay. Michael notices him despondent and points out a flyer advertising open auditions. Tobias snatches it and Michael spots another flyer that gives him an idea. He calls his mother and says the SEC wants to drop by and check if she recently bought any big ticket items with company money. He then follows Luz, the maid, as she is sent to hide the evidence in the storage unit. Meanwhile, Tobias has arranged an audition for a local "Fire Sale" commercial and Lindsay goes along for support. Tobias bombs the audition (he acts as if there is an actual fire); Lindsay gets the role instead. Michael arrives to find the storage unit in flames.
At home, Lindsay giddily informs Michael of her new acting role and Tobias tries to put on a brave face, then excuses himself to cry in the shower. Michael confides to Lindsay that he thinks George Sr. is trying to run the company from prison, so he heads off to confront him. On the way out, he gives Gob a very important job: mailing a letter to the insurance company (Gob later defiantly throws the letter into the sea). Michael confronts George Sr. about the burned-down storage unit, telling him that he's not giving T-Bone a job and he won't let his father run the company from prison. His father brushes him off, repeating that there's always money in the banana stand. Michael informs him that George Michael is running the banana stand, and T-Bone goes to work with George Michael and Maeby at the stand. Maeby and George Michael sneak off for dinner, where he begins to add up the numbers; he panics when he realizes his dad will obviously know they've been stealing money. Maeby tells him to relax and just figure out what George Sr. would do in this situation.
Michael drops by the banana stand and sees T-Bone at the helm. Michael asks T-Bone point blank if he burned down the storage unit and T-Bone readily admits to it. Frustrated, Michael heads to the beach to think, Gob confronts him about being treated like a "goofball," Michael commiserates with Gob, telling him that George Sr. still treats him like an employee. At that moment, Maeby calls Michael to inform him George Michael is about to do something irresponsible. Michael arrives at the banana stand to find his son is preparing to burn down the stand. George Michael admits that he screwed up the banana stand and apologizes profusely. Michael realizes what he was doing to his son what his father did to him. Thinking of an opportunity to take back some control, Michael tells him to light it up anyway. Michael, George Michael and Gob watch as the banana stand burns. Later, at prison, Michael gloats that he torched the banana stand and George should remember who's in charge now. Irate, George Sr. tells his son that the walls of the stand were lined with $250,000 in cash, and demands to know how much more clearly he could have told him that "there's always money in the banana stand."
Battle Nations, a popular iOS game, made a reference to the Banana Stand by making it a building you can make and earn money from. It has direct quotes and references to this episode such as "There is always money in the banana stand" and the fact that it costs $260,000. (It really only costs $10,000, but its the lining in the walls that makes it cost that much)