The Break-Up is the seventeenth episode of season one.
Frankie and Mike are excited when they find out that Axl has a new girlfriend Morgan and that he is in love. But just as the family is adjusting to his new bright outlook on life, Morgan dumps him, leaving him heartbroken. Meanwhile, Sue learns that she isn't the best babysitter when she looks after Brick and lets him watch a scary movie.
Frankie Heck has a “Sucker List.” It’s filled with the names and numbers of people who only call when they want something. You’d be a sucker to answer the phone when these folks pop up on your Caller ID. But Mike isn’t Sucker List-savvy, so he takes a call that ropes Frankie into running the snack bar at Axl’s basketball game. Sucker!
The snack bar supervisor is an overly-perky cheerleader named Morgan, who happens to be Axl’s girlfriend of six weeks. Frankie should have known her eldest son was in love. There were signs. He even tried to tell her once during Grey’s Anatomy. But there’s no talking during the McDreamy scenes.
Frankie and Mike love Morgan. She’s the perfect girl for Axl. They just can’t figure out what she’s doing with him. Morgan is so driven and Axl is so parked. Nevertheless, these two crazy kids are in love. Or they were in love until Morgan realizes that she needs to be with someone who’s a little more focused. She breaks up with Axl which leaves him crying in his mom’s arms.
When Mike comes home, he wants to know why Axl is crying. This utterly humiliates the lovesick teen. Frankie tries to convince him that there’s nothing wrong with a man shedding some tears. To prove her point, she plays a recording of a tearful message Mike once left her while they were dating. Playing in the background is the classic 1981 hit Hold On Loosely from .38 Special. Great tune, sad setting. Now, Mike is the one who’s humiliated.
After days of avoiding Axl, Mike realizes that he may actually be able to help his son. He says, “For whatever reason, women love it when men cry. It’s why your mom sees every Sean Penn movie that comes out.” Mike claims that his tearful message to Frankie is what helped him get her. We can see the wheels spinning in Axl’s head. He’s hatching a plan to win back Morgan.
While babysitting Brick, Sue wants to watch a scary movie called “Revenge of the Pod Zombies.” Brick weasels his way into watching the fright-fest with his sis. That was a mistake. The movie is way too scary. Now, neither of them can sleep at night.
At the next basketball game, Axl seems to be channeling his heartache into his play. The kid’s having the game of his life. The entire family cheers him on from the stands until Brick asks Sue to take him back to the bathroom. She loses sight of him in the dark, empty school corridor. Finally, she sees him staring unflinchingly at a flickering light at the end of the hall. Sue believes Brick has turned into a zombie. She runs away screaming.
With the game on the line, Axl has the ball. He can win it all if he sinks the final shot. With time ticking away, Axl dribbles across midcourt but takes a detour on his way to the hoop. He heads to the sideline to tell cheerleader Morgan that he won’t take the shot until she takes him back.
The fans in the stands are screaming for him to shoot the ball. But Axl won’t leave Morgan. Much like the .38 Special song, he’s gonna hold on loosely, but he won’t let go. Turns out, he won’t have to. BUZZ! Time has expired. It’s game over, for both Axl’s team and his chances with Morgan.
This couldn’t possibly get any more embarrassing for Frankie and Mike. Wait, yes it could. Sue comes running onto the court. She screams, “Help! The Pod Zombies got Brick.” As it turns out, Brick wasn’t possessed by the undead. He was simply staring ahead trying to memorize the fire escape plan in case the zombies set the place on fire. The poor kid was wasting his time. Everyone knows that zombies are afraid of fire.
As for Axl, a couple of cute classmates thought his desperate gesture to Morgan was quite romantic. One girl asks if he’d be willing to lose a game for her someday. They all head off for some pizza as the rest of the family tries to ward off the angry mob of fans shaking their car. It could be worse. They could all be zombies.