The Atomik Komix team, including “new” artist Ruby Lith, spend the New Year’s holiday working on their latest title, Wayback Wendy.
Mason flies Les and Cayla out to California to discuss his plans for finally turning Lisa’a Story into a movie, including casting his Starbuck Jones leading lady Marianne Winters in the title role. While the men discuss the movie’s casting, Cindy and Cayla walk along the beach talking girl stuff.
January 19-February 2
Dinkle and Becky at the Ohio Music Educators Association convention.
Kitch Swoon visits the offices of Atomik Komix with “a niced-sized check for one of your artists.” Jess, who is in the office to take Darin to lunch, thinks the check is meant for her hubby, but it turns out to be for Ruby. Darin does get a check, which he blurts out is about how much he’d already spent on other artists’ work. Chester realizes that he already owns the rights to Miss American, and it is decided that Atomik will reboot the comic, with art by the original artist, Ruby. Chester returns to Ruby the Miss American cover art he’d purchased at the Dibbs Gallery.
Funky and Holly are watching basketball on TV. Funky goes into the kitchen to make hot chocolate, and misses the game-winning shot.
Dinkle shares with Becky that he has been reading a book about squirrels.
Buck Bedlow visits the widow Bushka, who presents him with the tiny, battered football helmet that Bull wore when he took his own life.
Summer arrives home to learn that Les is in New York with Mason, scouting locations for the Lisa’s Story movie.
March 30-April 4
Funky at the gym with a different trainer.
Buck helps Linda get rid of the last of Bull’s stuff. After she treats him to lunch at Montoni’s, Linda rejects Buck’s inept romantic overture and sends him on his way to die alone.
Mr. Moore’s journalism class gets a visit from cartoonist Batton Thomas, creater of the comic strip Three O’Clock High.
Mason summons lackadaisical Les to Hollywood for “pitch meetings” for the Lisa’s Story movie.
April 27-May 3
Mason drags Les to their first pitch meeting, with two hoodie-clad Hollywood hipsters who turn down the project because it won’t “bank in China.”
Next stop on the pitch meeting trail is with mogul Alan Silver, who also passes on the project.
Over lunch at the Chateau Marmont, their pitch is enthusiastically received by Cassidy Kerr from Pink Entertainment.
While running laps at the high school track on a hot day, Funky imagines a conversation with a jogging robot.
Ruby brings her phonograph to the Atomik Komix studio, and a Hoagy Carmichael record inspires Pete to create a new title to be called “The Stardusters.”
Les is followed from home to school and back again by a black car driven by a mysterious figure. Les angrily confronts the driver, who turns out to be Mason, studying Les’ routine in preparation for his role in the Lisa’s Story movie. Cayla invites Mason to stay for dinner; Mason sees the Lisa tapes on a bookshelf, but Les refuses to allow Mason to use them for the movie.
Back in Hollywood, Mason and movie lady Cassidy Kerr conduct “chemistry reads for the Lisa role” (even though Mason’s already cast Marianne Winters). Cindy and Les sit in director chairs and look on.
June 29-July 5
Dinkle and some other old fart talk about retirement.
July 6-August 1
Filming begins on Lisa’s Story. Les is taken aback by the sight of Marianne made up to portray Lisa; later he coaches her on how to deliver a line. Mason gives Les a cameo as a waiter in a restaurant scene, and Les struggles with his six-word line. The action abruptly shifts to a golf course in Malibu, where one golfer’s club hits a rock, striking sparks that will start a wildfire. Lisa’s Story filming takes a break to allow Mason and Marianne to do publicity for the Starbuck Jones sequel. Pete receives his invitation to the premiere.
As the wildfire (and news of the wildfire) continues to spread, Pete invites Jeff to join him and Mindy to Hollywood. The kids check into a motel and Jeff decides to hike to Bronson Canyon, a filming location for the 1935 movie serial The Phantom Empire, unaccompanied except for an imagined version of his boyhood self. Meanwhile Marianne arrives at Mason’s place to sunbathe with Cindy.
By now the wildfire has grown enormous and threatens the Hollywood hills. Mason and Les depart the studio and speed back to Mason’s home, driving through a literal wall of flame (twice) to rescue the helpless wimmen. Mason drops Les and Marianne off at his boat at the marina, then he and Cindy set off to retrieve Pete and the others.
Aboard Mason’s tiny, unnamed boat, Les bonds with Marianne. He apologizes for his reluctance over her being cast to play Lisa, and gives Marianne permission to view the sacred Lisa Tapes. Mason picks up Pete and Mindy, who informs Mason that her dad Jeff is still wandering the canyon.
As the flames threaten the Hollywood sign itself, Jeff and his imaginary childhood self are rescued by robots who emerge from the cave and carry them to the subterranean kingdom of Murania. In reality, they take refuge in the cave where Jeff is rescued by firefighters.
August 30-September 6
Aboard Mason’s boat, Jeff and Les check in with their respective spouses. Les asks Cayla to ship the Lisa Tapes (now on DVD!) to Hollywood so that Marianne can study for her role. Les returns with Mason and Cindy to survey the aftermath of the fires. Jeff returns home and presents Pam with a souvenir rock from Bronson Canyon.
Mason, Marianne and Cindy all take part in the Lisa’s Legacy Run. Funky finally wins a medal for finishing third.
September 14-October 25
Rachel arrives at Montoni’s for “date night” with Wally, who is not there because he’s taken Adeela to the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles to get her driver’s license. This somehow triggers an alert at Immigration and Customs Enforcement, who have Adeela on their “hot list.” ICE agents order a pizza in order to trap Adeela and take her in for violating a deportation order. The gang gather at Montoni’s with lawyer Amicus Breef to discuss how to prevent Adeela’s deportation. Holly spots a picture on Montoni’s wall from that time President Clinton visited the pizzeria; Funky happens to still have Bill’s phone number and calls him. Adeela is returned to her friends and ICE agents return the insulated bag.
The Pizza Monster returns to Montoni’s and wins a showdown with Mr. Monster.
Montoni’s “day manager” Wally oversees installation of a ramp for disabled customers.
Harry Dinkle, piano teacher.
Crazy Harry swings by Montoni’s to pick up Donna’s anniversary gift: a bottle of Montoni’s Salad Dressing.
Dinkle has flashback nightmares about his days selling band turkeys door-to-door. On Thursday, he and his family enjoy their traditional Thanksgiving meatloaf.
November 30-December 6
End of year burnoff of standalone gags set in and around the high school featuring Les and Jim the science teacher.
Cayla ruins winter break for Keisha and Summer by getting them jobs wrapping gifts at the mall.
Tony Montoni returns to the restaurant to supervise the Christmas decorations.
Christmastime in Westview. Becky chats with Dinkle before John arrives to pick her up. Cory, Rocky, and Mort celebrate at Funky and Holly’s house and get snowed in. Funky and Holly have gained even more weight over the holidays.