Back to School is the first episode of season two.
Frankie and Mike try to be pre-emptive and explain Brick's eccentricities to his new teacher, but they end up getting accused by her of being over protective. Meanwhile, Frankie, who is tired of trying to wake Axl up every morning, gives him an alarm clock, and Sue shows her support for the cross country team.
When you’re a mom, the most glorious day of summer is usually the last one. Just ask Frankie Heck. She desperately tried to quash the “I’m bored” cries that came from her kids all summer long by telling them to make use of their sweet above-ground pool. So they stuck a bull’s-eye on the side and start shooting arrows at it. Anybody got some duct tape?
It’s total chaos in the Heck house that first back-to-school morning. Frankie vows to change her ways. She longs to be like those “other” people. She wants to be a parent who doesn’t send her kids off with nail scissors and a lip pencil to use as school supplies. She vows to transform her disorganized ways. Think it’ll take?
The kids think grandma has come for a visit when they smell breakfast food cooking the next morning. But it’s the new Frankie Heck who’s makin’ that bacon. And that strange noise emanating from Axl’s bedroom clock is something called an alarm. It totally freaks him out. Brick is also freaked by the fact that Frankie got him a new backpack. His old one was such a trusted friend which has now been tossed into the trash.
Frankie makes sure Sue has all that she needs to get her new cross country sweatshirt. She also freezes enough brownies to cover an entire year of bake sales. Frankie tries to do a preemptive strike with Brick’s new teacher, Mrs. Rinsky (guest star Doris Roberts), by briefing her on his “quirky” qualities. This doesn’t go well, as the teach has some strong opinions about Frankie’s parenting. Anyone else feeling a little sitcom déjà vu?
The battle between Debra and Marie…er, uh…Frankie and Mrs. Rinsky continues with Brick getting caught in the middle. Mrs. Rinsky accuses Frankie of being a glommy mommy. The only way she’ll forget their conversations ever happened is if Frankie agrees to skip all school functions for the rest of the year. It’s a deal.
Change is met with varied responses from the Heck kids. Axl barbecues during the night because that alarm clock threw off his entire sleep system. Sue makes it known that she’s part of the fall athletic pep rally by always wearing her brand new cross country sweatshirt even though it’s still super summer hot in Orson. And Brick continues to struggle with the challenges of breaking in a new backpack.
Frankie realizes that she needs to get that backpack back to make her youngest son happy again. Too bad Axl has already taken the trash out to the curb. Axl never takes the trash out to the curb! He was just following Mike’s advice to support Frankie so that he can get what he wants somewhere down the road.
Speaking of roads, the trash truck is cruising down the one in front of the Heck house. Frankie takes off after it and dives into the back. She has to save that backpack from a smelly, grimy, dirty death. Victory! Frankie finds the backpack and brings it home. Too bad Brick has decided to keep his new backpack, as the old one smells pretty rank.