Previously, On Arrested Development

NPR's guide to the running gags from the show.


trick vs. illusion

G.O.B. is offended by the first term, and insists upon the second.

  • Occurrence of a joke
  • Joke in the background
  • Foreshadowing
  • Combined joke

13 episodes feature this joke:

Season 1

  • 1: Pilot

    Michael: "So this is the magic trick, huh?" G.O.B."Illusion, Michael. A trick is something a whore does for money..." [sees children] "... or candy!"

  • 2: Top Banana

    G.O.B. calls his fireball illusion "my least consistent trick."

    Related Joke: ... messes up a trick.

  • 9: Storming the Castle

    Marta: "The magic?" Michael: "Oh, the tricks! The little tricks. Those are great."

  • 15: Staff Infection

    Lucille: "Well, it’s important to the company that I keep up the image of my lifestyle." Michael: "Illusion, Mom."

Season 2

  • 9: Burning Love

    Sally: "Still doing your little tricks?" G.O.B.: "Do you consider this to be a little trick?" [squirts her with lighter fluid]

    Related Joke: ... messes up a trick.

  • 14: The Immaculate Election

    GOB: "I’m calling it 'Tricks...' let me finish... 'Around the Office.'"

  • 15: Sword of Destiny

    Buster: "Now, our magic trick." G.O.B.: "Illusion." Buster: "Silence, slave! In this magic trick, I'm going to put a sword through my assistant's tummy. May I have the trick sword, please?!"

Season 3

  • 2: For British Eyes Only

    Michael: "Tricks." Tobias: "Illusions, Michael!"

  • 6: The Ocean Walker

    Michael [watching Rita walk on water]: "Is that your trick, G.O.B.?" G.O.B.:"No, Michael, that's not my trick." Narrator: "On the next Arrested Development..." G.O.B.: "It's my ILLUSION!"

  • 8: Making a Stand

    Michael: "We're gonna wait till after lunch for the tricks." G.O.B.: "That's not a trick, Michael ... it's a business opportunity!"

  • 11: Family Ties

    G.O.B.: "She turns illusions for money."

  • 12: Exit Strategy

    G.O.B.: "And now I would like to behold one of the late great Jesus’ biggest illusions, The Burning Bush."

Season 4

  • 7: Colony Collapse

    I will be performing one of my magical illusions.

    "If what Jesus did was a trick. I say it wasn't. It was an ILLUSION."

    "It's an illusion. Tricks are what whores do for [interrupted] ..."