Funky and Crazy Harry watch TV; Crazy Harry and John at a comics convention; Funky toasts his 25th “soberversary” and laments getting old and fat.
John shows Crazy Harry a collection of Flash Gordon comics (“with Jungle Jim toppers!”). Crazy is inspired to perform his “happy dance”, which apparently traumatizes anyone who witnesses it. Les and Funky go jogging in winter.
January 14-February 2
Darin makes it known that he is happy; the universe punishes his happiness by causing his adoptive father to suffer a stroke. Fred is rushed to the hospital. In the waiting room, Fred’s wife Ann shares with Darin and Jessica that rather than falling in love, she and Fred “just fell into place”, and rather bitterly suggests that her marriage to Fred meant sacrificing her own dream of being a sportswriter. Later, Darin ruminates on his adoptive parents’ “doubts and unfulfilled ambitions”. Fred, confined to a wheelchair and unable to speak intelligibly, is released from the hospital and moved into Darin’s old room. Ann will be his speech therapist.
No sooner is Fred settled in back at home than his heretofore unknown estranged daughter Kerry shows up at the door. We learn that she is the product of Fred’s first marriage, and that Kerry’s mother, for reasons we are not told, prevented Fred and Kerry from having any contact. After a short visit with Fred, Kerry and Darin talk over coffee. On Sunday we are treated to a depressing scene of Fred in his chair, looking out the window at a snowy day.
The Dinkles and Becky travel to the Ohio Music Education Conference. John “batches it” (stays home and lives like a bachelor).
February 25 – March 3
Linda, Les and Cayla watch Bull’s Lady Scapegoats suffer defeat at the hands of the Holy Toledo squad. Since Summer and Keisha have moved on, the team once again sucks.
“Grab bag week”: Cody and Owen miscellaneous hijinks, and Dead Skunk Head John and Funky talk about pizza. Bonus Stroke Joke!
After a Skype session with a smirking, sarcastic Darin, Pete fantasizes an adventure in space with Flash Gordon and Dale Arden vs. the Lord of the Late.
Sunday, Les explains to Cayla why he’s such a good typist, followed by a week of Westview High School hijinks: Jim steals the chair of a laid-off colleague, Owen and Cody lose a bizarre bet with Bull, Cody and Owen run the school’s newscast, and Les is an absolute prick to his students.
March 30-April 7
Bullying arc: Owen is troubled when he witnesses goth gurl misfit Alex being bullied at school by Wedgeman and his crew. He seeks advice from John, who instructs Owen in the “Lone Rangers Creed”. Back at school, Owen intervenes on Alex’ behalf, and is surprised to see the bullies back off, unaware that it’s because Mr. Bushka is standing behind him.
The good news: Hollywood has picked up the option on Lisa’s Story, which is to be made into a cable TV movie. The bad news: Les, who insisted on writing the screenplay, is seized by writer’s block.
April 22-May 4
Darin and Jessica announce that they are expecting a baby. Jessica decides this is the perfect time to start working on her long-delayed documentary about her dad, John Darling, who was murdered when she was a baby. Darin’s biological father Frankie gets wind of the Lisa’s Story movie and arrives in Westview to cause some trouble.
Frankie stakes out Montoni’s and conspires via phone with his cohort Lenny before taking a seat inside the pizzeria. He inquires of Rachel about Darin’s whereabouts, only to learn that Darin’s in a meeting. Frankie departs, leaving his business card. Darin calls the number on the card and Frankie introduces himself as Darin’s long-lost “bio-dad”, requesting a face-to-face meeting. Darin refuses, but is talked into it by Jessica. Frankie uses the occasion to pitch the idea of a “reality TV show” about their father-son reunion. Darin angrily refuses, and Frankie resorts to “Plan B”: doing the show without Darin’s cooperation, portraying Darin as rejecting his long-lost dad.
The Entire Month of June
Jessica apologizes to Darin for forcing him to go through with the Frankie meeting. Jessica’s father, John Darling, who was murdered when Jessica was a baby, makes an appearance in a Sunday flashback. Darin and Jess summon the Moores and the senior Fairgoods to alert them to Frankie’s plot. Nobody in the room has a clue how to thwart Frankie until feeble Fred murmurs “Pm nd Jff”…their former neighbors and the daughter and son-in-law of Ed Crankshaft.
Frankie attempts to interview Funky, Bull, and Crazy Harry to get some dirt on Lisa, but they all deny remembering her. Summer and Cayla arrive home from school. “Jff” Murdoch visits Westview to share his recollection of witnessing teenage Frankie and Lisa in a domestic dispute one night thirty years ago in “Lover’s Lane”. This recollection leads to the discovery of young Lisa’s journal, which details her abuse and impregnation at the hands of Frankie. Jessica videotapes Summer reading aloud from her late mother’s journal, and Darin threatens to post the whole sordid thing on YouTube if Frankie goes ahead with the reality show. Defeated at last, Frankie and Lenny pack up and leave town.
Les and Funky go jogging. On Sunday, Dinkle conducts the Westview Community Band in a program of Sousa marches.
Harry plans a surprise 50th wedding anniversary party for himself and Harriet at Montoni’s. Planning this rather simple and inexpensive event causes Harry tremendous stress. All of Westview turn out to celebrate. Harry makes good on his promise (albeit 50 years late) to take Harriet on a Niagara Falls honeymoon.
At their favorite table in front of Montoni’s, Les and Cayla (and Funky) discuss Les’ writing career.
July 29-Aug. 11
Wally enrolls at community college. After playing his trombone in the community band, Wally proposes to Rachel. He gives her an I.O.U. instead of a ring; Rachel fashions the note into a ring which she wears on her ring finger.
Becky conducts the annual band camp, with Harry Dinkle up her ass the whole entire time. Sunday: Owen reveals that he doesn’t know what “glass” is.
Bull returns as coach of the Westview HS Fighting Scapegoats football team.
The Westview faculty learn (through an article in the newspaper and after the school year has begun) of more draconian budget cuts that threaten “art, gym, music and lunch.” Bull somehow has enough clout to save the band by making them part of the “pay-to-play program”. Jim the art teacher must augment his salary by working as a greeter at “Sprawl Mart”, and the marching band starts accepting tips.
Westview’s “Merchants’ Day”: two shoppers mistake the Komix Korner for a place of business. Cayla gifts Les with an Apple “Smart-Pad”.
Bull’s return as head coach does nothing to improve the fortunes of Westview’s historically terrible football program.
Bull catches trenchcoat-wearing loner Jarod Posey smoking a cigarette in the WHS boys’ room. Jarod’s detention is spent at the football field, where he exhibits a powerful throwing arm. Bull installs Jarod as starting QB. His new teammates shun him, but Jarod confidently takes the field waving a “number one” finger. With the Scapegoats down 43-0 with five seconds to go, Jarod fakes a handoff and scores the ‘Goats’ only points. In the deserted locker room post-game, Jarod mutters his thanks to a smirking Coach Bushka.
Sept. 30 – Oct. 6
Owen escorts Alex to Westview’s Zombie Homecoming Dance. Sunday, a little boy tries and dislikes Montoni’s anchovies.
Funky plotzes during the Lisa’s Legacy Run.
Annual Battle of the Bands Monsoon. Sunday: Funky delivers pizza to his Dad at The Home.
Wedgeman bullies Alex for the pills he’s seen her consume after lunch (they turn out to be laxatives). Owen surreptitiously videos the incident, leading to Wedgeman’s suspension from the football team.
Oct. 28-Nov. 10
Funky and Rachel discuss social media. Via Skype, Cory complains to his mom about the lack of “supplies” at Camp Alamo. Holly decides to ship him a care package, which includes issue #7 of Starbuck Jones, given to her by the mom of Cory’s Army buddy Rocky, who turns out to be a girl.
We learn that Les still has not completed the Lisa’s Story screenplay that he insisted upon writing. Cayla helpfully fetches Lisa’s Journal down off the shelf. Sunday: at Camp Alamo, Cory tells a fellow soldier about his annoying “‘rents”, all the while keeping a family portrait tucked inside his helmet.
Nov. 18-Dec. 1
Jess goes into labor. Flashbacks recall the wacky circumstances surrounding the births of both Darin and Jessica. Jess gives birth to a boy whom they name Skyler. The Fairgoods celebrate Thanksgiving with the baby, his parents, and Fred’s long-lost daughter Kerry. Les uses the occasion to once again mope about his late wife, and Summer gifts her newborn nephew with her own favorite childhood toy.
Cory informs Holly that he’s been transferred to a mine-clearing unit. Holly responds by undertaking to complete her son’s collection of vintage comic books. Her search brings her to Komix Korner, where John educates her on comic collector terminology before gifting her with a reading copy of Starbuck Jones #123.
Funky, Rachel and Darin decorate Montoni’s for Christmas.
Cory returns home for Christmas; Montoni’s treats the homeless to a Christmas pizza dinner; Wally presents Rachel with a real engagement ring; Becky helps hubby John at Komix Korner; “Rocky” is Cory and the Winkerbeans’ guest for New Year’s Eve.