The Big Chill is the twelfth episode of season two.
Frankie unknowingly pays $200 for eye cream, which angers Mike. For a school health class, Axl needs to take care of a mechanical infant doll, while Sue and Brick try to repair a hole in the wall.
Frankie stops by a department store to fix up her face. She says, “Now, you might think that pretending to buy makeup so you can use all the free testers is dishonest, but I prefer the term resourceful.” It beats using the lipstick at the bottom of her purse. And by that, we mean she was originally finger-scooping the globs of gloss stuck in the lining. It was like trying to score one last brush-worth of toothpaste from a flattened tube.
A saleswoman talks Frankie into an impulse buy. She spends 20 dollars on a teensy-weensy container of face cream. The stuff really makes you look younger when you stare at your reflection in a toaster. Frankie’s feeling pretty good about treating herself until she realizes the cream didn’t cost 20 bucks. It was actually $200! Frankie didn’t realize it at the time. She was tired, though not according to the toaster.
Frankie tries to return the product before Mike goes ballistic. But the saleslady is savvy to her refund-seeking strategies. She has no choice but to tell her hubby. Now, Mike Heck isn’t the type to scream and shout. He calmly tells Frankie that he’ll have to pick up some night shifts delivering Little Betty snacks to make up the money for that makeup money. Mike doesn’t say much more after that.
Trying to make things right with Mike, Frankie gets a part-time acting job at Orson Heritage Village. She plays a 19th Century wife to a guy named Obadiah, who hopes she’ll give birth to their 20th child come spring. But Mike’s still not speaking to Frankie. However, he does call her at work when he discovers Bob knows all about their little feud. Obadiah is confounded as his butter-churning wife speaks into her cellular demon device. Guess they didn’t have unlimited minutes in the 1800s.
Axl must care for a mechanical baby as part of an assignment for health class. He’s been carrying the little tyke around on his back. More accurately, he stuffed the crying doll into his backpack. The kid’s a mangled mess. Both Frankie and Mike refuse to assist Axl with his parental responsibilities. Brick’s not into the whole crying baby scene either, so he moves into Sue’s room.
Sue and Brick start throwing items against her bedroom wall. They are torturing Axl by making noises to wake up his baby. Good plan, poor execution. There’s now a hole in Sue’s wall that needs to be fixed. Brick reads up on some home improvement techniques. All they have to do is pull out all the loose pieces before applying the spackle. But they’re ALL loose pieces. The once-little hole becomes a huge one in record time.
Brick swipes the screwdriver Axl was using to reattach his baby’s head, which is falling apart in an attempt to quiet it. Sue promptly drops the tool inside the wall. Brick follows his sister’s lead by dropping an egg into the extremely hard-to-reach area. Sue makes even more holes to reach the runaway egg. Soon the whole wall comes crumbling down. Hey, at least they got back the egg. And the screwdriver!
Speaking of screwdrivers, it’ll take more than your standard Phillips-head to repair Axl’s disassembled baby. A frustrated Frankie tries to quiet her mechanical grandchild by rocking the torso. Mike comes home to coddle the kid’s detached head. This leads to a little heart-to-heart where Frankie learns that Mike isn’t mad that she made a mistake. He’s upset because they can’t “afford” to make a mistake.
Mike thought they’d be a little better off than they are at this point in their lives. Frankie makes him realize that, in truth, they are. Back when Axl was born, all it took was a loss of five dollars to send them over the edge. Now it takes 200. That’s progress! They’ll make it through this current crash crunch using their tried-and-true technique of embracing denial and watching lots of TV.
Denial works well for the kids, too. Axl asks his class to accept his beautiful, duct-taped baby even though she’s different from other kids. Sue and Axl create a colorful poster collage to cover the cave entrance that once served as a bedroom wall. As for Frankie and Mike, they’ll continue to find resourceful ways to improve their lives. After all, folks have been doing so since the times of Obadiah!