Arrested Development: Season 3, Episode 11

Family Ties (10 Feb. 2006)

TV Episode  |  TV-PG  |   |  Comedy
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Michael's quest to locate the mysterious "N. Bluth" leads him to Nellie, a prostitute who he believes is his long-lost sister, and the woman who just might be able to clear everything up. ... See full summary »


(as Bob Berlinger)


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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Congressman John Van Huesen
Employee #1


Michael's quest to locate the mysterious "N. Bluth" leads him to Nellie, a prostitute who he believes is his long-lost sister, and the woman who just might be able to clear everything up. Meanwhile, Buster's fake coma incurs the wrath of real doctors. Written by halo1k

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis






Release Date:

10 February 2006 (USA)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


This is the only episode in which George-Michael is bleeped. However, it's not for swearing. It's for mentioning Veronica Mars (2004). A little over a month after this episode aired, Michael Cera, who plays George Michael, along with Alia Shawkat, who plays Maeby, guest starred in an episode of Veronica Mars. See more »


[Michael has a long, boring talk with Nellie]
Narrator: Yeah. While that's going on, let's see what's happening with the rest of the family.
[We see George-Michael doing his homework]
Narrator: Nothing there.
[We see George Sr. clipping his toenails]
Narrator: Or there.
[We see Buster in the hospital faking a coma. Adelaide crawls into bed with him]
Narrator: Oh my! Let's go back to Michael.
See more »


References Veronica Mars (2004) See more »


Bridal Chorus
Composed by Richard Wagner
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User Reviews

AD blows me... away
17 August 2015 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

One of the last and best episodes of season 3, Family Ties serves as the second part of the four-part season 3 finale (formerly known as the series finale). In it, Michael's search for the mysterious N. Bluth leads him to believe he has an abandoned older sister, Nellie. The woman he suspects is Nellie Bluth is played by Justine Bateman, Jason Bateman's real-life sister. (Jason Bateman had lobbied for Justine to appear on the show as a love interest for Michael, whose religious beliefs would prevent them from being intimate and save the Batemans from real-life incest). As a guest star, Justine is highlighted on the back of the season 3 DVD, along with Scott Baio and over Charlize Theron. Her character is indeed more agreeable than Theron's, and she showed a lot of cleavage. Nellie is really a prostitute.

There are delightful hints as to Nellie's career, with her contact info calling her a conslutant, and to the identity of her pimp Frank. There is some fun with this after the reveal, with the "blow away" joke done is a subtle matter, invitations to put Nellie in any position, and by keeping up the prostitution theme with "Girl Michael." Still, it feels right that Nellie isn't really having sex with these characters, but instead listens to them crying. Every season, there has also been a speech mostly bleeped out, taking the bleep jokes to another level. Buster ranted about his mother in Bringing Up Buster, GOB (presumably graphically) lectured his employees on sexual harassment in Afternoon Delight, and Maeby gives a verbal middle finger accepting an award in season 4. Here, Nellie sets up ground rules at the Bluth Company office, which is hilarious for part of the same reason the one in Afternoon Delight is, because it's so inappropriate for a workplace setting.

The Tobias and Lindsay subplot has its own charms, though the "Girl Michael" joke may have been pushing it- it's hard to buy thinking Girl Michael is a woman, despite his long hair and feminine mannerisms. Also notable is the "finishing each other's sandwiches" joke, which Mitch Hurwitz used once before in an episode he wrote for his last sitcom, The Ellen Show (and which popped up again in Disney's Frozen). This episode's great, so bring on season 5- and bring back Franklin.

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