Sue auditions for the choir of a show; Frankie is asked by Brick to attend his class presentation dressed in a costume; and Frankie believes she has finally sold a car.
Frankie, acting as the family cheerleader, encourages Sue to try out for the swim team. Meanwhile, Frankie comes up with a promotional idea at work to fill a car with jelly beans; and Sue learns she needs glasses.
An ill Brick thwarts the romantic anniversary plans for Frankie and Mike, as does a lovesick Sue, a learner's permit-toting Axl, a pair of crazy aunts and their diaper wearing dog.
Sue finally finds her calling -- selling thousands of dollars in sausage and cheese samples -- earning her a trip to the state capitol. However, when the school fails to recognize her for her accomplishment, Frankie urges her to fight for the trip she earned. Meanwhile, Brick's first girlfriend ends up being very bossy towards him.
Michael gets involved in various activities, finally choosing a block party lawn mower contest, after Brick's teachers determine that he is socially challenged.
Mike insists that Axl fix the front door after he accidentally breaks it down. Meanwhile, it's time for Sue's school picture and she's not exactly photogenic.
When the Heck family works to get trash into the passing garbage truck, Frankie accidentally hits Brick with a beer bottle, which leaves a small scratch on him. When Brick mentions at school that the scratch is from a beer his mother threw, a social worker is called to look into the family.
Frankie's hopes for the perfect Thanksgiving are ruined when Mr. Ehlert makes the staff work on the holiday. Meanwhile, Frankie and Mike meet Sue's first boyfriend, and Axl loses Brick in a corn maze.
Frankie sets out to get her kids to stop arguing with one another. Meanwhile, Aunt Edie makes a terrible mistake at the quarry, which leads to Mike debating whether or not to fire her.
While Frankie rehearses for her Christmas midnight mass solo, Mike agrees to handle getting Christmas ready. However, Frankie becomes jealous when she thinks that Mike is doing a better job than she usually does. Meanwhile, Frankie and Mike try to get Brick into the holiday spirit.
Sue is desperate to get a pair of jeans in order to fit in at school, which Frankie and Mike fight over whether or not to indulge her need, as well as Axl's want for a car. Meanwhile, Frankie and Mike let Brick take care of Doris, Aunt Edie and Aunt Ginny's dog, in order to teach him responsibility.
Sue has a run-in with the neighbor boys, but Frankie tries to avoid a confrontation with their trashy neighbor at all costs. Meanwhile, Axl tries to bribe Brick into completing a book report for him in exchange for teaching Brick how to kick a ball.
Mike loses his job when the plant shuts down after Mike finds a dinosaur bone in the quarry. As he sets out to find a new job, Mike is put off by how technology has changed the ways that one goes about searching for a job. Meanwhile, Frankie tries to save Brick when he decides to run for school historian.
Frankie decides to stop yelling at and nagging her kids, as long as they do all of their school work without her telling them to do so. Meanwhile, Mike gets hired as a night driver delivering snack cakes with Bob.
It's Valentine's Day, and Frankie and Mike get to spend the evening at home together when Brick is invited to his first sleepover, Sue is invited to her first boy-girl party, and Axl has a date night with friends. However, Frankie and Mike's night together doesn't go as planned.
When Mike discovers that Brick is a spelling wiz and won the school spelling bee, he puts all his efforts into training him to win the regional bee, which could ultimately lead to competing in the Scripps Spelling Bee. But as the family gets set for their road trip to Chicago for the regional bee, Frankie and Mike are horrified when they realize they forgot one thing -- Sue's birthday.
Frankie and Mike are excited to discover that Axl has found the perfect girlfriend, Morgan, and that he's in love. But just as they start to get used to his new, sunny outlook on life, Morgan does the unthinkable and breaks up with him, leaving Axl completely heartbroken. Meanwhile, Sue learns that she's not the greatest of baby-sitters when she's put in charge of watching Brick and freaks him out -- as well as herself -- by letting him watch a scary movie.
Frankie worries about her job when a motivational consultant is asked to speak to the sales staff; Mike gives advice to Sue's ex-boyfriend and helps Brick with a school project.
Mike receives tickets to a basketball game that falls on the day of the funeral of Frankie's uncle; Brick tries to avoid a birthday party.
Mike and Frankie decide to cut unnecessary expenses, including their cable TV; Brick and his fellow socially challenged friends are forced to socialize during recess.
Frankie worries that Axl will be heartbroken when his on-again and off-again girlfriend re-enters his life; Brick must watch over a baby chick for a school project.
Mother's Day for Frankie is anything but serene when she finds herself doing more for Mike and the kids and less for herself. But she learns that the apple doesn't fall far from the tree when she escapes the family for a few hours to go to her mom's and ends up acting like a child by making her mom wait on her hand-and-foot. Meanwhile, Sue feels guilty when she steals a motivational magnet from a store whose message actually enticed her to shoplift it
The Heck family BBQ is being planned as spring rolls around and Mike decides it's time for him and Brick to try to be more social at the event, as Frankie has pointed out that Mike's own social ineptness has been passed on to Brick. Meanwhile, Axl sets out to clean the family pool in order to entice the girls to stop by for a swim -- in their bikinis; and Sue finally finds someone who totally understands her -- church youth group leader Reverend TimTom -- but when she learns he may be leaving the parish due to budget cuts, she attempts to raise money to help finance his stay
After attending year-end school parent-teacher conferences, Frankie and Mike are shocked to discover that Brick may be held back from going to the third grade because the school librarian, Mrs. Nethercott (Betty White), has it out for him due to 31 unreturned books. Meanwhile, as Axl's aptitude test results reveal him to be academically gifted, Frankie makes it her mission to get an overlooked Sue the recognition she deserves when none of her teachers even realize that she's in their classes,
Frankie comes up with a plan to stay on top of her kids' schedules; Brick's new teacher (Doris Roberts) accuses Frankie of being overprotective.
Axl has just made the varsity football team, much to Frankie's delight, and she looks forward to a life-long dream of dressing up and walking him out on the field with Mike during homecoming. However, when she learns that Sue's first cross-country meet is the same day, Frankie and Mike must each make a Sophie's Choice-like decision on which kid's activity to attend. Meanwhile, Mike gets Brick to rake up the leaves in the yard but is thrown when, instead of taking them to the dump, Brick wants to set them free in the forest.
While shopping for baby diapers for Sue, who has run out of them on a baby-sitting job, Frankie is completely humiliated when a clerk assumes she's shopping for adult diapers. Meanwhile, after getting on Mike's case to get a physical exam because she thinks men tend to fall apart faster than women as they age, Frankie proceeds to throw out her back and hides it from Mike, who tells her he received a clean bill of health from the doctor; a clueless Sue falls for Axl's friend, Sean, who barely notices her existence; and Brick begins to test all of the age-old urban legends parents tell their kids - such as not to swallow a watermelon seed for fear one will grow in their belly - after discovering Frankie has used these white lies on him in the past.
When Axl is suspended for skipping school, Mike decides it's time to teach his son a lesson about life and makes him go to work with him at the quarry. But Mike's master plan backfires when Axl likes the job so much that he wants to quit school and lead the life of a quarryman. Meanwhile, Frankie is devastated when she fears that she accidentally prayed away Sue's cross-country team after it's cut by the school; and while practicing a magic trick, Brick makes the main TV remote disappear - and can't figure out how to make it reappear.
Frankie convinces the family to host a Japanese foreign exchange student.
Frankie is excited over being invited to an adult neighborhood Halloween party. But will she be able to get Mike to dress up in a costume, or will he have his own idea of fun? Meanwhile, a melancholy Sue's spirits are lifted when she discovers that Reverend TimTom is back in town and hosting a Halloween church event; things don't go quite as planned for Axl, his friends or their dates as they head out to an exclusive haunted house party; and Brick chooses a unique Halloween costume that is not easily defined.
Frankie and Mike are speechless when, on his ninth birthday, Brick demands to hear the true story about the day he was born, which has remained a mysterious Heck family secret. Meanwhile, Axl's new manager at the movie theater turns out to be a conundrum - hot and dumb - which leaves a confused Axl wondering if her hotness trumps her incompetence.
Brick is sick and tired of being forced to accompany Frankie on her weekend errands and pleads with her to let him stay home alone. Meanwhile, Mike is torn over how to deal with Sue's friend when he overhears her diss his daughter, and with his fellow teammates all growing beards for the football playoffs, Axl tries to grow one of his own - with mixed results.
Mike begrudgingly invites his brother, Rusty, who is temporarily living in a tent, and his father, Big Mike, who has recently broken his hip, to join him for the annual Heck family Thanksgiving. But when Frankie observes the macho Heck men's non-communicative nature, she encourages a not-so-receptive Mike to engage them in a real conversation and express their feelings. Meanwhile, Brick is ecstatic when he discovers that Bob is bringing his girlfriend, Linda - the local librarian who loves books as much as Brick does - to Thanksgiving; and Sue wants to start a mother-daughter tradition of baking a pie for the holiday, but ends up getting more sliced up than the crust.
The Hecks count down the 12 days of Christmas with Frankie's parents, Pat and Tag, when they come to town to spend the holiday with the family - much to Mike's dismay. But when Frankie decides that she wants to take the focus off of the gifts and make it a simple Christmas, Pat and Tag have other ideas.
After years of being at their kids' beck-and-call and never having time for themselves, Frankie and Mike decide to take charge of their lives and regain control over the Heck household. But Axl, Sue and Brick don't plan on going down without a fight.
Mike gets mad at Frankie when she inadvertently pays $200 for eye cream; Axl cares for a mechanical doll for health class; Sue and Brick try to repair a hole in the wall.
As the Super Bowl approaches, Mike is thrilled when Brick takes his advice and studies up on football in order to understand and talk the sport. But Axl thinks his little brother is taking over his turf by being Mike's football buddy - a position Axl used to cherish. Meanwhile, Frankie thinks her professional career is looking up when Mr. Ehlert chooses her to accompany him to a managerial seminar, and ex-boyfriend Brad asks Sue to be his dance partner for the school's annual Square Dancing with the Stars.
As Valentine's Day approaches, Frankie becomes elated when elusive son Axl asks her to accompany him to help pick out a present and choose a restaurant to impress his mysterious new girlfriend - who may be way out of his league. Meanwhile, Mike inadvertently spills the beans about Brick's crush on fellow student Autumn, which totally humiliates his extremely shy son; and having neglected to get a name or email address, Sue begins a diligent search for the boy she kissed during a Halloween hayride.
Fearing that a friendless Brick could be missing out on his childhood, Frankie makes it her mission to find a suitable friend for him. Meanwhile, after Mike forbids Sue from seeing an R-rated film, she goes against her father's wishes and sneaks into a movie theater with her friend, Carly; and Axl and his band need a hot chick to appear in their online music video and try to shoot footage of their sexy biology teacher, Ms. Devereaux without her knowledge or consent
After Sue wins a family trip to New York, Murphy's Law goes into full effect when the Hecks board a plane and fly to the Big Apple.
Frankie once again goes head to head with Brick's third grade teacher, Ms. Rinsky, when Brick gets a D on his math test and Frankie thinks poor teaching skills are to blame. But Frankie wonders whether or not she can make the grade when Ms. Rinsky requires that she and Mike attend a class to test their own math skills. Meanwhile, while begrudgingly watching over their crusty, old aunts, Axl and Sue mull over a plan to accompany Aunt Edie on a search for a time capsule she buried when she was young.
Spring Break turns out to be anything but peaceful when the Hecks try to clean up 20 years of junk accumulated throughout the house. But digging through the past leads to some things that were better left forgotten. Meanwhile, Brick opens up a lucrative neighborhood information stand, giving advice on everything for a dollar per query.
Guest Stars: Jen Ray
as Nancy Donahue |
After receiving multiple warnings about leaving his dirty, smelly socks lying around the house, Mike has finally had enough and punishes Axl by forbidding him to play in the final school basketball game of the season. But everyone assumes that Mike is being petty when they discover that Axl could end up beating his father's record for most free throws landed in a season if he does play in the game. Meanwhile, Sue is ecstatic - but Frankie and Mike are suspicious -- when she wins an MVP trophy for cross-country, and Brick is humiliated when he's forced to wear hand-me-down clothes from his rebellious cousin.
Obsessed with the upcoming Royal Wedding, Frankie shocks her family when she treats the event like the Super Bowl and begins purchasing commemorative chotchkies - as well as an expensive HDTV - to enjoy the festivities. Meanwhile, Brick tries to teach Sue how to become an on-air reporter when she decides to try out as an anchor for the school's Shucker News Team, and Mike has a mutiny on his hands at the quarry when he's forced to make cutbacks and takes away the one thing his workers care about - free pretzels.
Mike and the kids present Frankie with the perfect Mother's Day gift - a day to herself. But when her day off goes awry, Mike offers a do-over with the family, which comes with its own set of glitches.
After learning that Axl text-invited the wrong girl to prom and plans to solve the situation by standing her up, Frankie and Mike demand that he meet the girl face-to-face in a timely manner to gently break off the date - or face the music and take her to the big event. Meanwhile, Sue and her friend, Carly, try in earnest to fit in with the school's "B" crowd during lunch, and after a successful first show, Brick begins to bore Frankie and Mike with his impromptu one-man plays.
Frankie and Mike attempt to cure Brick of his irrational fear of crossing over bridges. Meanwhile, Axl is pitted against nemesis Sean Donahue when a lifeguard position opens up at the local public pool, and Frankie is ready to pull her hair out when she tries to help an indecisive and emotional Sue pick out a two-piece bathing suit to wear on the pool's opening day.
With only three days left until summer vacation, Frankie is ecstatic that she's made it through another school year with the family. But her happiness turns to panic when she and Mike learn that Brick needs to write a daily journal and turn it in to Ms. Rinsky or risk not moving up to the fourth grade; that Axl hasn't fulfilled his required 30 days of community service; and that, because of an error, Sue must prove that she never took a sick day from school in order to receive a perfect attendance award at her middle school graduation ceremony.
With school about to start in a few days, Frankie realizes that she and Mike have barely spent time together with the kids over the summer, so she insists that they take a short family vacation. But when Mike decides that the perfect family getaway is a camping trip, memories of their campsite honeymoon 19 years earlier -- which was ruined by Nicky, a sad-sack former high school acquaintance of Mike's -- come flashing back.
Special Guest Stars: Ray Romano
as Nicky Kohlbrenner |
In the third-season opener, the Hecks goes on a camping trip, which sparks honeymoon memories for Frankie and Mike, whose honeymoon campout was spoiled by Mike's gloomy former classmate (Ray Romano).
Special Guest Stars: Ray Romano
as Nicky Kohlbrenner
With Sue now in high school with Axl - who is totally embarrassed by her presence - Axl decides to play a mischievous trick on her, which earns his perfectionist sister a number of tardy slips. Meanwhile, Mike sets a meeting with Brick's new fourth grade teacher, Mr. Wilkerson, after learning that he's allowing his son to skip gym; and Frankie and Mike bicker over which one of them is really the boss of the family.
After being mortifyingly humiliated and grossed out due to a family member's actions, Frankie has a meltdown and decrees to the family that major changes need to take place in every aspect of the Heck household - and then packs up and abruptly leaves. But Frankie's not gone for good, as she heads to her mother's house for a little TLC and motherly advice to help her through the humiliation.
Frankie cracks down on Axl and forces him to focus on his future when she learns that the school PSATs are right around the corner and he hasn't even begun to study for them. Meanwhile, Sue once again tries out for a school activity that may not be a perfect fit for her - cheerleading -- and Mike tries to toughen Brick up when he learns that his son is being bullied at school.
As the Heck home begins to literally fall apart, Frankie and Mike consider leaving homeownership behind and moving the family to an apartment. Meanwhile, Axl tries to fake Frankie out by pretending that he's sick in order to get out of taking a school test - and must later convince her that he's well enough to attend a party that evening; Sue and her ex-sort-of-boyfriend, Brad, volunteer to prepare a school skit about showing the dangers of texting and drinking while driving; and Brick tries to offer a little bit of levity by spouting off Shakespearian quotes.
After being embarrassed over wearing a childish costume at a high school Halloween costume party and being ignored by the guys, Sue asks a flabbergasted Mike for his advice on what boys want when it comes to girls. Meanwhile, Frankie reluctantly volunteers to take Brick's socially awkward school social skills group trick-or-treating, and Axl and his friends devise a plan to trick rather than treat the neighborhood kids on Halloween.
Frankie and Mike are convinced that slacker son Axl will blow his interview with a football scout, which could earn him a scholarship to college. Meanwhile, Sue and Brick begin a texting marathon - and rack up some serious charges - when they discover that Aunt Edie accidentally gave them her cell phone; and Frankie tries to be completely attentive to the family's needs when she realizes that she's more considerate to outsiders than her own kin.
Frankie is thrilled when she learns that the Orson Community Theater is putting on a production of "The Wizard of Oz," and that kids don't need to audition to be munchkins, as they will be automatically cast - which is a perfect scenario for a hapless Sue. But things quickly go awry when Frankie is cast in a singing role and learns the director is not happy with Sue's performance and may cut her from the play. Meanwhile, Brick asks his unreliably quirky Uncle Rusty (Norm Macdonald) to attend his school's Special Friends Day - with disastrous results.
Frankie's parents, Pat (Marsha Mason) and Tag (Jerry Van Dyke), invite the Hecks to spend a few days at their house to celebrate Thanksgiving together. But the festivities begin to fall apart quickly when Frankie's sister, Janet (Molly Shannon), and her family also join in, and soon the siblings are at each other's throats over their widely differing parenting techniques. Meanwhile, Mike tries to offer some advice to Axl on how to pick up girls when he witnesses his son trying to impress a pretty mini-mart cashier - and fails miserably; Brick attempts to prove his innocence when he is accused by Janet of damaging her daughter's expensive toy; and Sue is stoked when Frankie, Pat and Janet invite her to take part in their gossip sessions.
On a tipsy whim - and against Mike's wishes - Frankie decides to throw a Christmas Eve party at the house; Mike buys Frankie a much needed new dishwasher for Christmas, but has a hard time keeping it a secret when she begs him to replace the old one before the party; Sue calls on Reverend TimTom to explain the meaning of Christmas to Brick when he reads the Bible and begins to question it; and Axl gets annoyed with Bob when he tries too hard to be cool in order to befriend him while working together on a Christmas tree lot.
After realizing that no one keeps their New Year's resolutions, Frankie decides that they will be assigned anonymously to each family member, and an all-you-can-eat buffet feast will be the reward for those who can abide by their chosen resolution for a week. But chaos soon ensues when Frankie must spend more time with Brick, Mike needs to smile more, Axl has to keep his bedroom clean, Sue needs to stop trying out for things she'll never make, and Brick must stop reading all of the time.
After attending Aunt Ginny's funeral, Frankie begins to fear that the family is missing out on important life milestones and vows to begin celebrating all of them. Meanwhile, Axl accidentally eats Brick's Indiana dough school map project and is tasked with creating a new one, and Sue discovers that one of the boys on the wrestling team has a crush on her.
With Indiana hosting the Super Bowl, Frankie is devastated when she hopes to land a plum assignment as an official volunteer and ends up with a less-than-stellar position. Meanwhile, the entire Heck household takes advantage of the Donahue's new car while they are out of town, and a scary, close call with the car causes Sue to profess her true feelings to her new boyfriend, Matt.
Frankie and Mike decide to try a fresh approach to Valentine's Day by having dinner out with friends. But a clueless Mike angers Frankie by refusing to present her with a simple romantic gesture. Meanwhile, Axl can't think of a life-changing moment that's occurred in his life when he's assigned to write a school paper on the subject, Brick is tasked with writing a report on love, and a hapless Sue doesn't understand why her new boyfriend has suddenly turned into a bad kisser.
Frankie pulls out all of the stops in an effort to get an over-excited Sue tickets to a Justin Bieber concert, Mike is thrilled over Brick's enthusiasm to win the school's spelling bee and coaches him for the event, and Axl and his friends attempt to break a road sign's 15-mile-per-hour speed limit - on foot.
Axl, Sue and Brick call a sit down meeting with a shocked Frankie and Mike, accusing mom of being a nag and dad of giving out crazy punishments without ever hearing their sides of the story. In return, all they ask is for a chance to do what they're supposed to do - on their own - without constantly being harassed by their parents. But the kids learn to be careful what you wish for when Frankie and Mike agree to their terms and find themselves taking a relaxing break from responsibility.
Because this year is a leap year and Sue's birthday falls on February 29, she is overly excited about celebrating her big day in a big way. But given her parents' track record with celebrations, Sue may need to lower her expectations. Meanwhile, Frankie discovers that tough husband Mike has been taking care of a stray cat at work for years, Brick falls for a pretty girl in his social skills class, and Axl becomes enthralled with vacuuming the house.
Brick takes a job as a newspaper delivery boy from the town's veteran newsman (Edward Asner) in order to buy himself night vision goggles, and Axl tries to convince Sue that a long distance relationship will not work between her and boyfriend Matt when his family moves away from Orson. Meanwhile, Sue tries to adjust to wearing a full-on headgear, and Frankie discovers that Mike has been secretly hoarding batteries for years.
When the Hecks attend a new church, Frankie is inspired by the pastor's sermon about getting one's business in life completed before death rears its ugly head. So she makes it her mission to ensure that her family puts it into practice. To that end, Mike wants to thank his dad for being there for him and his brother after their mom died, Sue starts up her own baby-sitting service, and Brick thinks a new bed will meet the requirement, while Axl believes that helping Brick get his new bed will fulfill his. But Frankie finds it difficult to figure out what it is that she should be doing to fulfill her own life's destiny.
Sue finds a kindred spirit in her awkward school guidance counselor, Jane Marsh (Whoopi Goldberg), who inspires her to reinvent herself. Meanwhile, Frankie is ecstatic when she and Mike buy a much needed new bed but is gobsmacked when her stubborn husband insists on assembling it himself; and Brick attempts to call the President to outlaw the Presidential Fitness Challenge, which would force him to accomplish some strenuous physical exercises at school.
Brick gets anything but good luck after he finds an evil four-leaf clover; Frankie makes a decision to find a caregiver for Aunt Edie after she almost burns down her house; Axl tries to devise a plan that will keep his status as a lady's man in play after he once again accidentally invites "weird" Ashley to the prom; Mike gets upset with his dad, Big Mike, when he's accused of being too soft on Brick; and Axl is horrified when his friend Darrin asks Sue to the prom.
It seems like Frankie truly has eyes in the back of her head when she busts both Sue and Axl for making some bad choices that they thought no one would ever find out about. But when it turns out that she's using Brick to be her snitch, Mike is completely against it. Meanwhile, Axl's weekend getaway to the lake is in peril when Sue discovers him sneaking into the house in the middle of the night and coerces him into doing whatever she commands -- otherwise she will tattle on him; and when Frankie is stuck at work, Mike is forced to attend Parent Day at Brick's school.
Frankie and Mike are surprised to receive an invitation to Mike's brother Rusty's (Norm Macdonald) fast approaching wedding. But their surprise turns to panic when they discover that he has listed the Heck house as the site of the ceremony. Meanwhile, Axl and his friends decide to become their own bosses and set out to form their own company to garner summer jobs, and Brick is upset with Mike when he finally accepts an invitation to a fellow student's party but is not allowed to go because it falls on the same day as the wedding.
Frankie's plans to recreate the magic of her own childhood summers are foiled when Mike lets it slip that Axl is his favorite Heck child, and Frankie tries to coax the kids into telling them who their favorite parent is. Meanwhile, when Frankie and Mike discover that Axl failed English during the past school year, they force him to make it up in summer school, otherwise he could jeopardize any chance of getting a college sports scholarship after graduation; Brick takes up growing a tomato for his summer project; and Sue tries to bond with a reluctant Mike and to get him involved in different activities with her -- which she plans to document in a giant scrapbook.
Summer continues with August and the Heck family summer comes to a surprising conclusion at a county fair.
When Frankie is suddenly fired from Ehlert Motors, she embarks on a quest not to repeat mistakes from the past by taking any crummy job that comes her way, deciding to go instead to tech school to secure a real career. Meanwhile, school has begun and Axl is starting his Senior year in high school, Sophomore Sue takes on the task of mentoring new freshman Jenna (Bailey Buntain, "Bunheads"), and Mike is upset with Brick when he can't be bothered to put his book down to meet some of Mike's friends after a softball game.
When Brick develops yet another quirky tic that begins to overshadow his whispering, Frankie and Mike are urged by the school therapist, Dr. Fulton (Dave Foley), to get him a small pet so that he can learn to bond with it, which in turn will help him bond with people. But when they present Brick with an ill-tempered bunny, the tiny animal teaches the Heck family the true meaning of evil. Meanwhile, as the Homecoming dance approaches, Axl finds himself dating cheerleaders Courtney and Debbie - but he doesn't know which one of them is actually his girlfriend -- and Sue tries out for school mascot.
Trashy neighbor Rita Glossner (Brooke Shields) returns and is about to rain fire upon the Heck household when she accuses Frankie of stealing her hose. Meanwhile, Sue takes a peek at Mike's paycheck and is so shocked at how little he makes that she decides to call off her first official road trip to Cincinnati for her school mascot duties in order to save money; and while Brick learns about the birds and bees in school, Axl shocks his little brother by explaining the whole process in graphic detail.
As Halloween approaches, the Hecks get quite the scare when Sue receives her learner's permit, and it's time for Frankie and Mike to teach her how to drive. But when a freaked-out Sue loses her nerve, she ends up running over Axl's foot, which could put an end to his high school football career and his hopes for a scholarship. Meanwhile Axl looks forward to voting in his first election, and Brick undergoes an unexpected transformation when he eats too much Halloween candy.
-- Everybody Hurts
Frankie is made an example of in front of the entire class when she doesn't make a good impression on her first day of dental assisting school with no-nonsense teacher Mrs. Armwood (Jane Kaczmarek). Meanwhile, because Axl's broken foot may end any chance of his receiving a college sports scholarship, Frankie and Mike insist that he up his grades and get himself a tutor; and Sue and Brick think they've stumbled upon an expensive item inside an old safe and try to get big bucks for it from a local pawn store employee (Rick Harrison).
Frankie tries to do a good deed for Thanksgiving by inviting a couple of Marines to celebrate the holiday with her family. But with Frankie's parents, Pat and Tag (Marsha Mason and Jerry Van Dyke), constantly bickering, the good deed may not go unpunished. Meanwhile, while Axl grapples with his growing feelings for tutor Cassidy, he receives the good news that his foot is healed and he can play in the big game; Sue tries to track down the thief who has stolen the chicken head off of her school mascot uniform; and Brick becomes mesmerized by a book on the making of the film "Love Story".
Christmas doesn't seem so merry to Mike when he helps brother Rusty (Norm Macdonald) move some furniture into the Heck house garage and discovers that Rusty doesn't actually own the items. Meanwhile, Frankie hatches a plan to take a part time holiday job in a department store in order to get an employee discount to buy presents; Axl turns the garage with the stolen furniture into his own bachelor pad; and Reverend TimTom makes a bold choice by casting Brick in a holiday play and tasks an overly zealous Sue with baking cookies for the event.
As their 20th anniversary approaches, Frankie begins to think that Mike may be tiring of her company and is purposely trying to avoid her. Meanwhile, Sue frantically tries to coax Axl and Brick into helping her set up an anniversary party for their parents, and Brick falls into a non-responsive state when Axl tells him the ending of a book he's been waiting years to read.
Axl is shocked to discover that he and Sue are enrolled in the same Life Skills class. And things only get worse for the Ax-Man when he is assigned to work with his sister on a big class project. Meanwhile Brick's school therapist, Dr. Fulton (Dave Foley), tries to teach him how to reach out to his fellow students in order to make some friends; and Frankie and Mike find themselves dealing with an unreasonable insurance company after they discover a tree branch has fallen and broken the windshield of Frankie's car.
Feeling guilty over not being able to spend enough quality time with each of their kids, Frankie and Mike decide to dedicate each day of a three-day weekend to one of their offspring. Unexpected revelations emerge when Axl takes them to a paintball range, Sue talks them into an exhausting itinerary consisting of 17 separate activities, and Brick tries to bring them to a "Planet Nowhere" sci-fi book convention.
Mike is upset with Frankie when he discovers that she set him up on an adult playdate with a new neighbor who shares the same interests. Meanwhile, when the school cheerleaders announce that they're taking over cheering for the wrestlers - thus putting Sue and her Wrestlerettes out of business - a determined Sue demands a cheer off; and Brick makes a lovesick Axl begin to question whether he's intellectually stimulating enough for his smart, new girlfriend.
While other kids begin receiving college acceptance letters and Axl still hasn't, Frankie and Mike begin to worry that their son's chances for a sports scholarship have passed him by. Meanwhile, Sue is determined to prove that smiling is contagious as a hypothesis for a school science project, and a relentless Brick begins pestering his parents for an iPad.
As Valentine's Day approaches, Axl takes Boss Co., with partners Sean and Darrin, to the next level by offering their services to help guys break up with their girlfriends. Meanwhile, Brick becomes upset with Frankie when he discovers that she has thrown out all of the school artwork he has made over the years, Sue is thrilled when ex-boyfriend Matt invites her to the school's Valentine's Day dance, and Mike accidentally sends a romantic text meant for Frankie to a co-worker at the quarry.
As Frankie prepares for her upcoming annual tradition of watching the Oscars on TV, she becomes concerned when Brick informs her that he's taking a three-day school bus trip to Chicago, and she worries that his unique quirkiness could lead him to become separated from the group. Meanwhile, Sue wants to find out if Axl's friend, Darrin, has feelings for her.
After accidentally breaking the family room window, Axl, Sue and Brick decide to band together and place the blame on the neighborhood bad seed Glossner children. But Frankie and Mike know that the kids aren't being truthful and put together a wheel of pain, in which the kids must spin the wheel and land on a consequence, hoping that one of them will break down and confess -- which puts Sue's "Sue-weet 16 Party" at risk. Meanwhile, Frankie needs to please her no-nonsense dental assisting school teacher, Mrs. Armwood (Jane Kaczmarek), in order to obtain a prime dental rotation spot.
Frankie's sister, Janet (Molly Shannon), comes to the rescue and offers to help run the Heck household while Frankie studies for her dental assisting school finals. But the sheer amount of disorganization in the house throws perfectionist Janet for a loop. Meanwhile, when Cassidy's ex-boyfriend pays an unexpected visit from college, Axl tries to take the high road and not act like a jealous boyfriend; and Sue wants to legally change her middle name -- which is also Sue -- in order to have a normal name on her driver's license.
Frankie can't hide her disappointment over whom "The Bachelor" chooses to marry and ends up moping around the house for days about it; Mike tries to toughen Sue up when she joins the school's tennis team and continually compliments her opponents during their matches; and Axl and Cassidy try to figure out where their relationship stands after their big fight.
After successfully graduating from dental assisting school, Frankie attempts to interview for a job but discovers that, when asked about herself, she doesn't quite know how to describe who she is. Meanwhile, when Axl gets his band their first paying gig at the Orson Dollar Days, Sue becomes a 'Yoko' to boyfriend Darrin's 'John' and begins to offer unwanted advice to the group; and when Brick informs Frankie and Mike that he has joined the Prairie Scouts, Mike ends up reluctantly having to lead his quirky troop's camping trip. Jack McBrayer guest stars as Dr. Goodwin, who interviews Frankie for a possible job.
After discovering that Sue's life, as defined on Facebook, is pretty pathetic, Frankie creates an online alias (or two or three) and tries to make her daughter as popular as possible. Meanwhile, after reading Tuesdays with Morrie, Frankie's healthy dad, Tag (Jerry Van Dyke), coerces Mike into listening to his long-winded life stories on a weekly basis; and Axl and Brick attempt to garner interest in getting a bunch of baby bunnies and kittens adopted by producing a viral video starring the animals in a James Bond knockoff.
As Mother's Day approaches, Frankie wants to ensure that Mike gets her something she actually wants for a gift and informs all of the kids of her wish so that at least one of them will clue in a clueless Mike. Meanwhile, Sue asks Reverend TimTom for advice when she begins to resent her friends' happiness over getting their driver's licenses after she has repeatedly failed the test, and Cassidy stuns Axl with some bad news during the prom.
While waiting in line at the power company to pay a late bill and dressed in her lab coat for her new dental assisting job, people mistake Frankie for a doctor and let her cut in front of them so that she can finish her business quickly and get back to saving lives. But when one of those people shows up at Dr. Goodwin's (Jack McBrayer) office for a dental checkup, Frankie tries to keep up the charade, which leaves her new employer completely perplexed. Meanwhile, Axl discovers that Sue has a perfect attendance record at school and convinces her to ditch a day to live life on the edge; Dr. Fulton (Dave Foley) tries to find out why Brick is so opposed to going to middle school; and Mike and Axl's fishing trip takes a turn for the worse when a distraction causes Mike to crash the boat he's towing, wedging it into a ditch.
As graduation day approaches, tension begins to build between Frankie and Axl when he ignores her requests for answers about the graduation party she's planning for his special day. Meanwhile, Sue hopes that the sixth time's the charm as she once again attempts to pass her driver's test; and during his final days of elementary school, a forgetful Brick is reminded by Vice Principal Dunlap (Marion Ross) that he's the class historian and is responsible for putting together a slideshow highlighting the last four years of school for the school assembly.
Against Axl's wishes, Frankie insists on having the entire Heck family along for the ride as they drive to his college to move him into his dorm. But the short drive turns into an eternity when Sue freaks out after discovering that Frankie forgot to fax in her essay to be a candidate for Junior Peer Leadership Advisor, and Brick proves once again that he can't be trusted when he keeps losing his new cell phone.
The first day of school is upon the Heck family, and Sue finds herself feeling a sense of freedom she's never felt before with Axl not around to make her campus life miserable. But Brick, who is beginning middle school and afraid of getting a swirlie, avoids the bathroom at all costs. Meanwhile, Frankie becomes jealous of Mike when she discovers that Axl calls and returns his texts but won't do the same for her; and Sue's feelings for Darrin surface once again when Mike calls him over to help fix the air conditioner.
After Frankie and Mike are forced to return the church van when it's discovered that their car has been repaired, Sue - who has been driving the other car - begins to freak out because she'll have to start taking the bus again. But when her parents tell her that she could get her own car if she got a job, Sue ends up working as a potato girl at a local mall eatery. Meanwhile, Frankie and Mike are called into Brick's principal's (Rachel Dratch) office and are informed that he has not attended any of his classes - and much to the family's dismay, Axl begins to spend his nights back home when he becomes fed up with having to deal with his horrible college roommate.
The citizens of Orson, Indiana celebrate the Orsontennial - the town's 100th anniversary. During this momentous event, Frankie and Mike find themselves begrudgingly trying to drive a giant cow float in the parade; Axl, Sean and Darrin resurrect Boss Co. and attempt to make some big bucks by setting up a VIP area to view the festivities; Sue, still crushing on Darrin, tries to make him jealous by pretending to be dating Brad again; and Brick tries to earn himself a place in Orson history by entering a contest to come up with the town's new motto, which will be used for the next 100 years.
As Halloween approaches, Sue holds a seance during a sleepover with her fellow Wrestlerettes and swears that she's seen the ghost of Christopher Columbus and one of his ships; Axl finds himself being hazed by the football team and not allowed to enter his own Halloween party that's being thrown in his dorm room; and the family tries in vain to give Brick advice on how to ask out a girl he likes to go with him to a Halloween dance.
Frankie is upset over constantly being made fun of by her family and finds some solace in the unconditional love she gets from a rescued dog. Frankie and Mike are stunned when Sue makes the high school volleyball team -- but, as always, there's a catch, and when Axl discovers that he is failing three of his four college classes, he calls on Brick to help him with his studies.
A busy thanksgiving dinner sees Axl trying to find a way to tell his parents he's dropped 3 out of 4 of his classes. Frankie's dad, Tag admits he can't afford the cruise he was planning. Sue is hiding a secret from her excursion with Frankie, who's trying his best to control his behavior. Then in the middle of everything unannounced guests arrive with Dr. Goodwin and Uncle Rusty's wife and kids arriving. Brick is determined to include lime green jello salad in his meal.
Frankie and Mike jump at the chance of house-sitting for Frankie over the weekend - without the kids. However the technology driven house proves too much for them to handle. Sue has been left in charge of Brick whilst their parents are away, has trouble of her own when the Glossner kids invade the house. Axl, Darrin and Sean go on a road trip for Axl to reconnect with Cassidy.
Axl's home from college for the holiday season but would rather spend time with his friends then his family. Frankie sets him up a schedule so that both parties are satisfied. Sue has a allergic reaction to the Christmas tree. Brick finds himself running a mini Ponzi scheme in order to pay a debt back when he lies about how much wrapping paper he has sold.
Frankie and Mike become concerned about Brick when he starts expressing a host of irrational fears spawned by a constant stream of news alerts showing up on his refurbished iPad. Meanwhile, Sue is both disgusted and intrigued when Derrick Glossner continues to surprise her with spontaneous kisses, and when Darrin attempts his own spinoff of Boss Co, Axl and Sean successfully shut down the new operation but end up having to finish the difficult job that their competition had started.
The ultimate prank battle is on between brother and sister when Sue discovers that Axl stole the high school's Thundering Hens mascot head over a year ago, forcing Sue to wear an embarrassing chicken head in her role as the school mascot. Meanwhile, a friendless Dr. Goodwin tries to make friends with a reluctant Frankie and invites her to accompany him to after-work social gatherings, Frankie agrees to attempt to find her dog Colin Firth's owner if Mike tries - and fails - to make friends with him; and Brick tries to muster some interest in a recommended book on Debbie Reynolds.
With the bus drivers on strike, Principal Barker asks the parents to form carpools to get the kids to and from school. But with time management not being one of Frankie's strong suits, her carpool kids find themselves facing the possibility of being on the receiving end of some tardy slips - which could ruin their chances of being invited to the "No Tardy Party." Meanwhile, Axl hits the books and becomes an expert in Astronomy - a class he's not even taking - in order to tutor a hot student, and when Mike receives two IU basketball tickets, he tries to find someone to accompany him to the game, not realizing that Sue really wants to go with him.
Excited and hungry over receiving a squatter's coupon at an all-you-can-eat buffet, the Hecks head off to church with the intent of hitting the restaurant immediately after the service. But much to their dismay, they find themselves being counseled by guest minister Reverend Deveaux when a family squabble takes place during the sermon, and with all of their pent up issues, they may never get out in time to attend their grand feast.
Mike has decided he doesn't want to attend a dinner been held for 20 years of dedicated service. Sue tries to get her fellow students to connect more with one another. Axl has a mysterious message left on his phone from a girl he was at a party with the night before. However he was too drunk to remember anything about her. Brick finds a new outfit in his cousins hand-me-down box.
After being forced by his work to take a paid vacation, Mike tries to relax but finds his alone time being invaded by Brick, who wants to cash in and implement all of the personal gift coupons he has given his dad for Father's Day and birthdays over the years. Meanwhile, Frankie is livid when she discovers that Axl has been hanging out at the Donahues for the past few days and didn't let her know that he was even in town, and Sue is horrified when she discovers that someone has given her service at Spudsy Malone's a bad review online and overreacts in her efforts to better please the customers.
Frankie is gobsmacked when she is handcuffed, arrested and taken to the police station. But when she discovers that her arrest was over an unreturned library book, she sets her sights on the only person she suspects to be the real guilty party - Brick. Meanwhile, Sue doesn't know how to express her feelings of disdain to Reverend TimTom over his new partner and girlfriend, Reverend Tammy, and Axl and Cassidy reunite during Spring Break but find themselves mostly kissing and not talking to one another.
After bumping into some old acquaintances on a walk around the neighborhood, Frankie and Mike realize that they are more interesting and charming with them than they are with each other and search for a way to remedy the situation. Meanwhile, Sue ends up with multiple dates to the prom because she is too nice to turn down any of the boys who asked her, and Brick enlists Axl's aid in preparing an "outside the box" book report.
Songs: The Chevin
-- Beautiful World, Bora York -- Dreaming Free
After being goaded by his friend Bill Norwood into taking an assistant coaching position on the girls soccer team that Sue is now a member of, Bill has to back out of his duties due to work, and Mike becomes the new head coach but discovers that the girls care more about their various personal issues then the game itself. Meanwhile, after discovering that a mysteriously hideous smell in the house is emanating from Brick, Frankie must attempt to introduce her pungent son to better hygiene, and Axl is completely perplexed by a picture Cassidy painted for him as to whether it means they are still together as a couple or broken up.
Frankie pleads with a mean and unyielding Rita Glossner to take down her wind chimes, whose noise is driving the Heck family crazy. Meanwhile, Axl and Hutch find a ratty, old couch abandoned on the street and try to figure out a way to retrieve it, instead of complaining to a pretzel manufacturer for skimping on the salt, Brick instead commits himself to coming up with a new pretzel snack idea for the company, and Sue informs the family that she and Darrin are dating again.
With high school graduation less than two years away, Sue finds herself becoming super stressed out when she hunkers down and frantically tries to earn a scholarship to help pay for college. Meanwhile, upon figuring out that business is down because she forgot to send out all of Dr. Goodwin's dental appointment reminder cards, Frankie tries to find a way to secretly send them out without her boss finding out. After Mike misinterprets a situation and scolds a girl for picking on Brick, Brick demands that Mike formally apologize, and Axl and his football buddy, Hutch, eat the Hecks out of house and home in order it try to bulk up so that they are big enough to be picked again to play on the team next year.
Feeling that her mind has been turned into Swiss cheese over the kids' never ending demanding requests of her, Frankie sets up office hours in which they can only voice their needs between 5:00-6:00 p.m. Meanwhile, an overprotective Mike keeps a stern eye on Darrin to make sure he doesn't take advantage of Sue, and Brick invites his surprising new friends over to the house for a book club meeting.
Sue is determined to win herself a car and enters Ehlert Motors 'Hands on a Hard Body' contest, in which the last person whose hands never leave the car wins. Meanwhile, Mike and his perpetually down-on-his-luck brother Rusty, find time to bond again when they take a road trip to Chicago with Brick to attend his Spelling Bee, and Frankie has to travel to Axl's college dorm to help him locate a missing desk or risk losing her $200 deposit.
While Sue counts down the days until the Hecks depart on their road trip to Walt Disney World (she won the trip in a "Hands on a Hard Body" contest), Brick begs his parents to take a detour to North Carolina so he can meet his online girlfriend, and Axl anxiously awaits the posting of his final grades as a college freshman.
When the Hecks arrive at Walt Disney World, a good time may not be had for all when a series of misfortunes threaten to put a damper on their trip.
Sue and Brick start their school lessons one week late after Frankie mixes up the dates. Sue has her braces removed; Mike loses a game; Brick looks for his perfect book bag.
Frankie and Mike look for second jobs so they can send Sue to a good college. Sue and Brad want to put on a meaningful senior play that everyone will remember.
Brick wants to go to a school dance, much to the surprise of Frankie and Mike. Axl has not much time to choose a major, and he has no idea what to choose.
Frankie puchases a discounted dining-room set online as she and Mike celebrate their wedding anniversary. Axl and Hutch look for a third roommate.
Frankie and Mike are shocked when Brick invites a girl over to the house. Sue wants to organize a screening of a film in a pumpkin patch.
Frankie has to wash dishes with a hose after the kitchen sink packs up. Sue has to learn a complicated dance routine so she can pass phys ed.
With the house requiring some repairs, Frankie thinks that the family should have Thanksgiving at the local buffet.
Frankie leaves Brick and his school project to watch Axl in his first college football game.
Fed up with having to decorae for the holidays, Frankie decides to opt for a minimalist Christmas.