Michael Bluth is the only member of the Bluth family with a sense of responsibility or anything resembling a work ethic. He was raised in a spoiled, dysfunctional environment of ill-gotten wealth but took it upon himself to rise above his family's standards. He is frequently forced to support his family through their various outlandish problems and financial shortcomings and is met with derision when he brings his own problems to them.
He expects to take over his father George Sr.'s home building company, but instead George is arrested at his own retirement party and goes to prison, under investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission for stealing from the company and committing "light treason."
It falls to Michael to try to hold his family and the company together.
Michael is a devoted, occasionally over-protective father but often inadvertently neglects his teenage son George Michael as the result of the company and family responsibilities. When this happens, Michael tends to over-compensate with forced bonding. He tries to be a part of his son's life, but is oblivious to his hopeless crush on his own cousin, Maeby.
Michael's own love life is a sad state, with his attempts at romance going comically wrong. He dates Maggie Lizer, the blind woman prosecuting his father, in order to find out what evidence she has against him. He pursues Gob's girlfriend Marta Estrella when he sees how poorly Gob treats her, only to accidentally convince Gob to treat her better. He romances Beth Baerly, a teacher of George Michael's without knowing that his son had a crush on her and accidentally romances a beautiful woman who may be mentally handicapped. He meets Rita Leeds at Wee Britain and falls for her but believes she is spying on his family and tries to have her deported. Hilarity ensues.
Michael constantly threatens to abandon his needy family due to their selfishness and frequent attempts to undermine him, but he never seems to leave. Despite the dysfunction in which he grew up, Michael believes that family is the most important thing and goes to great lengths to keep his together.
Background: As a child he worked at Bluth's Original Frozen Banana Stand.
He is a widower, having lost his wife Tracy, his high school sweetheart, to cancer when she was young. With his father in prison, his mother, Lucille, views him as an annoyance who says "no" instead of someone trying to save their company. His older brother Gob is an aspiring magician, and a poor one at that, and his younger brother Buster has a complicated Oedipal relationship with their mother, among many other issues. He is not as close as he once was to his self-involved twin, Lindsay, although they bond over their annoyance with their mother.
His birth name is "Nichael" due to a typo on his birth certificate.