Siblings is the ninth episode of season one.
Frankie encounters three perfect siblings and vows to make her children stop fighting and become a loving family. Meanwhile, Aunt Edie makes a costly mistake at the quarry, and Mike considers firing her.
When Frankie is late for a booster club meeting, she discovers she’s been elected chairwoman of the winter wreath sale. The job is a holly jolly hassle. At the meeting, Frankie observes two sisters jump into their big brother’s arms. There’s nothing like the sight of three siblings lovingly frolicking around the room. And there’s never anything like that sight at the Heck house.
When Frankie comes home, she finds Axl, Brick and Sue watching the same TV show on three different sets in three different rooms. It seems they can’t agree on the proper volume level. In fact, they can’t agree on anything...EVER! Frankie wants her kids to start loving each other. Drastic measures must be taken.
Frankie wants the family to eat dinner together. But wait, there’s more! She wants the family to eat dinner together...at the table. But wait, there’s more! She wants them to eat dinner together...at the table...without watching TV! It’s been awhile since they did that, as evidenced by the fact that Brick doesn’t have a chair.
Frankie’s attempt to engage everyone in some pleasant dinner conversation tanks big time. Utterly defeated, she tells her kids to throw out their plates and go watch TV. Frankie feels that maybe her kids aren’t close because they slacked off on a lot of the family stuff. Mike’s solution to the problem can be summed up in one word: Sports!
]Mike drags the family outside for a game of touch football. Things get off to a slow start but turn around once teams are chosen. It’s Kids vs. Adults! Axl, Sue and Brick totally gel as a team. Soon they’re doing trick plays and touchdown dances. Then they head inside to have dessert together...at the table...with the TV off! Aunt Edie comes down to the quarry to help Mike close out the books for the year. When she accidentally doles out huge bonus checks to all the workers, Mike realizes that he has to fire her. So, he does. But it doesn’t take. See, Edie is losing it a little and she doesn’t quite understand the concept of mandatory retirement.
How do you fire someone who won’t stop working? Well, you don’t. You simply give them a new assignment. Mike takes the ledger away from Edie and replaces it with a 500-piece jigsaw puzzle. That should keep her busy for awhile. Then again, Aunt Edie does find a corner piece right off the bat. She’s very good at her job.
Back at home, the kids are hooked. They had such a good time playing football. Now they want to play every night. Frankie and Mike are exhausted, but they don’t want to destroy the sibling love they created for their kids. So they play. And play. And play. Finally, Mike can’t take it anymore. He fakes an injury, pops a beer and relaxes on the couch.
Frankie isn’t sure what’s making her angrier—the fact that Mike was bailing on the family by faking an injury or that she didn’t think of it first. Frankie tries to skip out on the game by saying she needs to work on the winter wreath sale. When the kids decide they don’t want to play together anymore, Frankie loses it. They’re right back where they started. She spikes the football in frustration and it bounces back up to nail her in the nose. It’s the suburban version of the agony of defeat.
The kids can’t stop laughing about the football folly that led to their mom falling to the ground and rolling into doggy doo. It wasn’t the bonding plan Frankie had intended, but she had given her kids a story they could share and enjoy for a long time. She’s such a good sport.