Thanksgiving is the eighth episode of season one.
Frankie's plan to have an idyllic family Thanksgiving backfires when Mr. Ehlert demands his staff work over the holiday. Brick goes missing in a corn maze.
For Frankie Heck, the best part of Thanksgiving is the day after. Black Friday. She devises a battle plan for the family so they can take full advantage of the sales when the stores open at midnight. Sue is to cover housewares and Axl is on sporting goods. Brick is small and can weave through the crowd, so he’s on electronics. You gotta love a woman with a plan.
Sue has a boyfriend named Brad. Mike is worried that Sue is too young to date until he meets the boy. Brad’s overly-effeminate ways alleviate Mike’s fears that he’ll try anything inappropriate with his little girl. “Think we should say something to Sue?” Frankie asks. Mike says, “No, she’ll figure it out eventually…or he will.”
Mike heads over to his dad’s house to invite him over for Thanksgiving. He dreads this ritual, as his dad always politely declines the invitation saying he doesn’t want to impose. It always gets to the point where Mike must beg him to come. But it’s the one thing Frankie asked him to do. So Mike invites his dad, but he doesn’t beg.
Mr. Ehlert announces the dealership will be open on Thanksgiving. Frankie must work the evening shift which means they’ll just eat early and she’ll have to meet Mike and the kids at the mall at midnight. Then Frankie finds out the Black Friday sales actually start at six on Thanksgiving night. This coupled with the fact that she promised to take Brick to the corn maze throws off her whole schedule. They’re pretty much going to be eating dinner at dawn.
Axl wants to go snowmobiling with his friends, Sue wants to spend turkey day with Brad and all Brick really cares about is the corn maze. When Mike announces that he’s not sure if his dad is coming for dinner, Frankie loses it. Since no one else seems to care about the holiday, she cancels Thanksgiving.
While Frankie is at work on Thanksgiving morning, Mike decides to rally the family to save the holiday. Easier said than done. Mike will start cooking while Axl takes Brick to the corn maze. The thing about corn mazes is it’s easy to get lost. So…Axl loses Brick. After a frantic search, the little guy is found and Axl is the happiest we’ve ever seen him. Seriously! He’s scarily giddy!
The Heck house slowly fills up. Aunt Ginny and Aunt Edie arrive and promptly fall asleep. Sue’s boyfriend pops in with a centerpiece he made from the bounties of nature. Even Big Mike Heck pulls up in his pickup. But he doesn’t come inside until Mike finally begs him. Yep, there’s no stopping tradition.
When Frankie marches into the office to tell Mr. Ehlert how ridiculous it is to be open on Thanksgiving, he breaks down in tears. His wife left him and he didn’t want to face the holidays alone. They end up sharing a drink and even a few laughs. But then Frankie finds out that he’s not working Thanksgiving because his wife left him. Quite the opposite. His wife left him because he’s working Thanksgiving. A totally tipsy Frankie tells off her boss and heads home.
When Frankie stumbles in through the front door, she finds her entire family seated at the dining room table with a holiday spread that would make Martha Stewart proud. At that moment, she knows that they care. Of course, she’s drunk so there’s no guarantee she’ll remember it.
After dinner, Mike and the kids head to the mall to snatch up all those holiday bargains. They come home to show all their purchases to Frankie as she lies passed out on the bathroom floor. Mike got a power sander for 80 percent off and Sue scored big time in housewares. Yes, it was a happy Thanksgiving after all!