Almost everything GOB ever said was quotable. These 11 stand out.
The other day I found myself in a Panera Bread, wondering how, in the post-Atkins world, a place so bread-centric could be so crowded. And then I thought of GOB Bluth, during the brainstorming session where he and Tobias were trying to come up with a good business idea, saying, “People love to carbo-load.”
As much as that was intended as a joke… maybe GOB knew what the American people really want. For every lettuce-wrapped burger that’s added to a fast food menu, there’s a Domino’s pasta-filled bread bowl. For every salad that’s ordered in this country, there’s a decent chance the word “taco” preceded it.
So, in the tradition of my 11 Most Profound Quotes in Simpsons History list, I decided to mine the genius of George Oscar Bluth II, the undisputed king of Arrested Development… and share some of his (not caged) wisdom about life, love, responsibility, parenting and geologists. Come on!
1 | On father-son relationships
GOB: Well, I will tell you this, Michael. I don’t have a son–
Narrator: He does.
GOB: But if I ever do, I’m either going to take him to the cabin in the woods, or I’m going to promise to take him and then not take him. But the one thing that I will never do is not tell him that I’m taking him to a cabin in the woods, and then not take him!
Narrator: GOB was growing up.
Of course, once GOB finally admitted that Steve Holt was his son, he really did everything in his power to avoid him. Which is kind of like not telling him that he’s taking him to a cabin in the woods and then not taking him.
But GOB’s more of a do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do kind of guy. All of the characters on Arrested Development are, including Michael. Especially Michael. (Which is part of what made him such a good central character for the show. Shows hit the next level when the audience starts to realize the straight man is actually just as insane as the other characters. For references, see Seinfeld, Jerry.)
2 | On finding women to date
Narrator: GOB had been a pageant judge for years.
GOB: You can’t believe what it does for your sex life.
Michael: I don’t want to hear it.
GOB: I don’t want to say it. First place chick is hot, but has an attitude, doesn’t date magicians. Second place is someone weird usually, like a Chinese girl or a geologist. But third place, although a little bit plain, has super low self-esteem. So I step in and, uh, lay her crown upon my sweet head.
I love that, in GOB’s mind, a woman who’s weird is either Chinese or a geologist. (That’s especially strange for me because, in the past five years, I actually dated both. Yep, a geologist. And you know what? She was one of the weirder girls I ever dated. Again, GOB’s joke-of-a-line is spot-on.)
3 | On success
Michael: Well, I’m just different than you, GOB. You know, I’m not going to, you know, siphon gas out of some girl’s car like you used to in high school just so you can show up and say, “Car troubles?”
GOB: It’s called “taking advantage.” It’s what gets you ahead in life.
Knowing GOB’s not-so-veiled sleazy side, I’m sure this siphoning gas move was just one of his many, many dirty tricks. Sorry– illusions.
4 | On charity
Michael: GOB, you’re going to burn through this money and have nothing, all right? “You give a man a fish, he’ll eat for a night. If you teach a man to fish…”
GOB: He’ll want to use your yacht, and I don’t want this thing smelling like fish.
He hasn’t quite mastered the principles of charity yet. (He also doesn’t quite get the Ten Commandments — when he tries to quote one, it comes out as “Thou shalt protect thy father, and honor no one above him unless it beith me, thy sweet Lord.”)
5 | On the give-and-take of relationships
GOB: I’ve got this Christian girlfriend now, and she’s trying to get me to be a better man and reconnect with my son. And I’m trying to get her to renounce God and [bleep] me. And I just want to prove to her that I’m worth it.
I think, at some point early on, every budding relationship has some form of this moment. Especially if you’re in a budding relationship with your nephew’s extremely religious, bell-shaped ex-girlfriend who recently came in third in a beauty pageant.
6 | On responsibility
GOB: I should be in charge. I’m the older brother.
Michael: Do you even want to be in charge?
GOB: No… but I’d like to be asked!
I think we’ve all been in this place — having our jealous side kick in and make us really want something we don’t want (if only to say “no” to it). It’s like on Seinfeld when George wanted the guys from the carpet cleaning cult to recruit him, but they wouldn’t. Or when you’re at a strip club and the broken down, 1963-born stripper sizes you up and passes you by without even asking you to buy a dance.
7 | On dating an much older woman
Lucille Austero: What you did to me at lunch today — you were ashamed to be with me.
GOB: No! I was ashamed to be SEEN with you. I like being with you.
The way he says this, you can tell he genuinely believes that’s a legitimate, viable, placating thing to tell the woman he’s dating. It’s a real shame it’s not — because it sure would save a lot of people a lot of excuses.
8 | On dating a much younger woman
GOB: Excuse me. Look. I blew it, okay? But I bought a yearbook ad from you, doesn’t that mean anything anymore?
I like this jab at the relativity of what’s important at different points in life. I remember sitting in student council meetings having bloodbaths of arguments over whether or not we should add a tug-of-war to the school’s annual Spirit Week. Seriously.
9 | On overcoming fear
GOB (after punching Buster in the stomach as he goes down a slide): Now, when you do this without getting punched in the chest, you’ll have more fun.
Buster: Thanks, brother.
It’s like The Simpsons scenario where an eagle starts pecking Moe in the face so he begs him to attach somewhere else… the eagle goes for the groin… and Moe quickly asks him to go back to pecking the face.
10 | On absolute truth
GOB: A young neighborhood tough by the name of Steve Holt’s gonna be here any minute.
Michael: Your son.
GOB: According to him.
Michael: And a DNA test.
GOB: I hear the jury’s still out on science.
If you watch the right TV shows — mostly on networks owned by the same people who greenlit Arrested Development — you just might find some corroboration for that idea.
11 | On love
GOB: My God, what is this feeling?
Michael: Well, you know the-the feeling that you’re… that you’re feeling is-is what many of us call “a feeling.”
GOB: But it’s not like envy, or even hungry.
Michael: Could it be love?
GOB: I know what an erection feels like, Michael. No, it’s the opposite. It’s… it’s like my heart is getting hard.
Until he finally got a heart boner, the only feelings GOB knew were envy, hungry and an erection. He’s not the world’s deepest man. And this is, quite simply, one of the funniest exchanges ever on Arrested Development.