Forced Family Fun is a two part Season 3 premiere episode.
Frankie insists the family take a few days of vacation before school starts. But Mike's suggestion of a camping trip brings back bad memories of their honeymoon camping trip.
It's the first day of school and the entire Heck family is thoughtfully expressing just how much they'll miss each other as they head out into the world. They even share a big family hug on the porch. Okay, we know what you're thinking. What the heck happened to the Hecks?!
It was a very eventful summer for just about everyone except for Frankie and her family. Axl was busy abusing his power as a lifeguard, Sue spent her days hanging at the mall and Brick scored his dream job helping out at the library.
Frankie wants her family to spend some quality time together before school starts. Mike says the only vacation they can afford is camping. Hard to believe he would suggest such a thing. Frankie says the last time they went camping was the worst night of her life. That may have been because it was their honeymoon.
Horror and disappointment engulf the kids when they learn they'll be going on a two-day camping trip. They settle down after Frankie threatens to bump it up to three. The vacation gets off to a rough start after Frankie forgets to bring the blue snack bag. Future high school freshman Sue drives Axl crazy with all her questions about this new adventure. And Mike wants Brick to stop reading about nature and experience it instead.
Mike forces Brick to take his nose out of his book long enough to gaze upon the lake. After the two men cast their fishing lines into the water, Brick reels in his very first trout. He wants to invite the folks in a nearby Winnebago to join them for dinner. But Mike wants to keep it just them. Frankie finds this ironic considering what happened on their honeymoon. Brace yourself for a flashback!
Frankie and Mike's wedding night in the woods started out more rainy than romantic. Then it got a little crowded when Nicky Kohlbrenner (guest star Ray Romano) wandered by. The guy used to be the manager on Mike's high school basketball team. Nicky is a bit of sad sack, so Mike invites him to stay for dinner. Needless to say, Frankie isn't thrilled.
Back in the present, Axl and Sue are still feuding so Frankie breaks out a board game. Actually, it's remnants of many board games. Nobody really knows the rules, but it ultimately doesn't matter. It's game over once there's another big family blowup. Frankie says, "You're ruining Battle-Boggle-opoly!"
Once again, Frankie is in the midst of another horrible camping adventure. As it turns out, Nicky Kohlbrenner stayed way past dinner during that fateful honeymoon night. When the rains came down again, Mike invited him to stay in their tent. This led to Frankie and Mike's first big fight on their wedding night.
Frankie tried to make up with Mike after Nicky was gone. Unfortunately, Mike was the one who skipped out of the tent, so she nearly consummated their marriage with the former high school basketball manager. This new info leads to another present-day fight. Everyone goes to bed angry.
Sue wakes Frankie up in the middle of the night to let her know that she's officially "matured." Best not to let anyone else know though. Unfortunately, an outside visitor figures it out for himself. Frankie remembers Brick reading something about how bears may be drawn to menstruating women. Frankie screams, "Wake up! Wake up! Sue got her period! There's a bear outside!"
The family scrambles to the car to hide from the giant grizzly. Everyone is there but Brick, who had said he was going to look at the stars. Fortunately, the celestial bodies were in a book he was reading in the backseat. The bear begins shaking the car until the family starts singing "99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall." This drives the creature back into the woods. It seems nobody likes that song. Whew!
So, that's the story of how the entire Heck family came to appreciate each other on the first day of school. Frankie wonders how long it'll last. When she sees Axl drive away leaving Sue in a cloud of exhaust fumes, she suddenly has her answer.