Season 9, 200th episode; Can Tanners teach Becky's snobby cousin's family the best things in life are free? "Smash Club" reopens after "Same Place, New Faces" fire. Whole main cast in for milestone episode; Other Season 9 ones in profile
A/N: As I've said, schedules mean performers playing D.J. and Kimmy are in college except for the 1st ("Some Things Will Never Change") and last episodes ("Tanner All-Stars") so I have D.J. always mentioned as being there but off screen, as she'd likely go to San Francisco State like in books and live at home (which is much less expensive. (Candace could play Pam in "We'll Always Have Christmas" if her part is filmed around Thanksgiving, and would be optional in a couple others). John Stamos would be in 6-8 (I've written 2 with him optional). This is one he'd be in, & it can be filmed before school & under wraps till airing. Since they planned to split the Olsens, Kelli is here so both can appear, as often when they have time.
In looking for a good milestone episode idea, I thought it best to show them trying to show someone else how to show unconditional love, which lets them discuss series memories (footage from them would be optional). RKORadio's Sam was mentioned in my "Hippos Are Man's Best Friend" as adopted in the TV Universe by Karen (Steph's dance instructor from "Lust in the Dust") and there wasn't much possible conflict there anyway, so I didn't use her. I couldn't find ages so I guessed they were 9-11 & thus not quite in high school 3 years later, so not quite old enough to be left alone for a weekend.
I refer to too many episodes to name, plus book "My Almost Perfect Plan" (Michelle makes All-Star travelling soccer team). Caleb possibly being semi-canon is explained in note before "Tanner All-Stars." This airs right before "Thank You For Being A Friend."
The Best Things In Life Are Free (200th ep.)
(Teaser – Eating the Table? - Jesse, Becky, Nicky, Alex)
Jesse Katsopolis and his wife Becky were starting to set up a picnic table outside the tanner home; they lived in the attic, as Jesse – along with Danny tanner's best friend, Joey Gladstone -was helping to raise his brother-in-law Danny's girls – D.J., 18, Stephanie, 13, and Michelle, almost 9. Their boys, Nicky and Alex, almost four, were also helping.
"I'm glad we brought the boys back early from Michelle's soccer game before they got restless; the rest will be here any minute," Jesse said.
Becky looked up. "Can you boys go and get ketchup and mustard for the table?"
Nicky was shocked. "Mommy, we're gonna eat the table?"
Alex, thinking of D.J.'s boyfriend, turned to Nicky. "Steve's eating with us. So, he might." Nicky nodded in agreement, with Alex copying.
Becky smiled and said, "Another memory for the baby books."
"I got Nicky and Alex to bed before I checked my homework," Michelle told D.J., Stephanie, and D.J.'s best friend Kimmy, along with their boyfriends Steve, Caleb, and Duane as she walked up to them. The others were playing a board game.
"Great; I knew you could do it," D.J. said. She spoke and put an arm around Michelle as the youngest Tanner sister came up to her. "It seems like yesterday Steph was your age helping you while Kimmy and I babysat."
"When can I babysit like you? I know you love me like I am; but, I'd like to do stuff like that," Michelle said.
"Well, Michelle, you know what to do more often now," Stephanie pointed out. "But, you have to be older to handle logistics better."
"What's that?' Michelle asked.
D.J. explained. "That's how to get done what you want to do. It's hard at your age to concentrate on all the things you need, let alone act in an emergency."
Kimmy added, "Yeah. You have to be able to do more than call D.J. for help. Of course, that was always my plan; but, I got through it."
"Yeah, except that time with Nicky and Alex I got all your pay because you didn't like to do stuff babies need," Stephanie reminded her.
"Good point," Caleb, fourteen, said, offering that, "it involves decisions. You got homework done before bed, that's what matters."
"And, at your age, we help you make decisions." D.J. noted. "It's dark earlier now, so you play outside if you don't have too much, instead of doing it all and wasting time in front of the TV. It's just that tonight, you'd have had the chance to hang with us if you'd done it earlier."
Kimmy spouted, "My parents never cared about that; I wasted all my time no matter what."
"It's like your Uncle Jesse and Aunt Becky still have dates, especially tonight with him busy getting the Smash Club ready to reopen," Steve said. "They know how to keep their love going. D.J. and I broke up once since we didn't know how to build a deeper friendship or keep it fresh. Now we're a lot better at it," he said, sharing a very fond look with D.J..
"Right; you have to watch so things don't get bad enough there is an emergency. That's why I don't mind Caleb courting me. We're building our friendship first, so I have less to worry about," Stephanie remarked.
Kimmy teased, "Next week his dad's taking you in his old Model F to that new movie, 'The Wizard of Oz,'" referring to the time period she thought courting was from.
"Kimmy, that's a Model T," D.J. reminded her.
"I thought it was named for Henry Ford. Does 'Ford' have a silent T?" Kimmy asked.
"Are you thinking of the Edsel? It was named after his son," Steve said.
"Kimmy doesn't like to think," Stephanie said. "Sometimes only one person thinks something is an emergency; like Uncle Jesse with Aunt Becky's snobby cousin and his family coming."
"His girls were mean. Joey and I were nice and they ignored us," Michelle complained.
"Your cookies were still a good try. Some people need a lot of help," D.J. complimented her.
Jesse and Becky came in the front door, while Joey and Danny came in from the kitchen as well. "Hey, everyone. Joey, good to have you back; how'd your comedy go?" Jesse asked.
"Great, thanks," Joey said.
"Except when I picked him up at the airport, he was throwing his voice and making like all his puppets were talking. I couldn't get a word in edgewise," Danny said.
Michelle told Joey, "It's nice your agent got you some shows, even if some are on weeknights. Uncle Jesse's really worried about tomorrow."
"Won't you be able to re-open?" Joey asked worriedly.
"Yeah, but I just don't want Becky's snobby cousin to ruin it complaining I'm not rich enough to get the big stars," Jesse lamented.
Becky spoke soothingly. "Jess, that's not what you want the club for, anyway. You want it to be for the whole family, and have new groups."
"She's right, Jess; you have your own niche. You'll do great," Danny assured him.
The next afternoon, Joey was in the kitchen eating a snack with Nicky and Alex. As he spoke, Jesse came in from the living room. "Boys, watch and I'll teach you how to imitate a sprinkler," he said as he prepared to pour a glass of water into his mouth.
"You will not!" Jesse commanded as he walked up to them. "I got problems."
"Are you being a math book, Daddy?" Nicky asked.
"Michelle says they say that," Alex explained.
Jesse shook his head as D.J. entered with Kimmy. "No; you know the main act I had booked? Their plane's delayed by mechanical problems; they won't be able to make it."
Kimmy said, "Get those old ladies from last time. I'm sure at least one's not on oxygen yet."
"You suggesting it sends up red flags all over," Jesse teased. "Nah, some said they seemed too risqué; besides, I promised to have bands that had a chance to go places, not ones that look like rockers coming out of retirement."
D.J. offered somebody she knew. "Remember that group at San Francisco State that did great parodies? They could be the next Weird Al. You booked them for a few weeks from now, but I'm sure they'd be able to move it up for an opening."
"I don't know, Deej; I wanted real music; enough rock for the young people, maybe some Beach Boys thrown in. I have to hear enough humor from Joey," Jesse complained.
"Well, Jess, young people love to laugh. If it's clean, why not?" Joey asked.
"Right; besides, you don't want a disaster like last time," Kimmy spouted.
Jesse gave her a look, then said, "Yeah, call 'em, Deej." D.J. and Kimmy went upstairs as Danny and Becky came in from the living room, along with Becky's cousin Donald, his wife Darlene, and their children, Debbie and Darla. "Why did you have to come?"
"Didn't REbecca tell you? We have tickets for our favorite tenor tomorrow night," Donald began as Stephanie and Michelle came in the door with Stephanie's boyfriend Caleb. "Since our nanny is caring for her elderly mother, we decided to come a night early to see your opening and take advantage of Rebecca's hospitality by having our girls spend Saturday night here. I'm sure you could use extra cash." Michelle made a face.
"Hey, girls, how was school," Danny said as they hugged. Michelle and Stephanie said "fine," then got fruit cups from the fridge and began to eat as the conversation continued.
Jesse put his hands on his hips. "For your information, I do not need your money. Now, we'll be very happy to watch your girls, but Rebecca and I have very important jobs in the media, and I own a prominent entertainment club."
"Oh, did you manage to make it into the Fortune 500 recently?" Darlene asked.
"Would either of you like a snack?" Stephanie asked.
"We wouldn't eat here. We're leaving for an exclusive restaurant," Debbie said. The girls, while not quite in high school, had already developed very refined tastes in some ways. They were still a bit young to be left alone for a weekend, but as before, they didn't mind; they figured they'd be happy just playing their games.
Michelle spouted, "You're supposed to say 'No, thank you.'" When Darla asked "Why?" Michelle rolled her eyes.
"Well, Darling," Donald said with a laugh, "I'm sure that he's booked a group that is known the world over, among the highest of the low class."
"What's he talking about?" Alex wanted to know.
Nicky shrugged. "He said high then low. Must be yo-yos."
"Actually, we happened to have a very prestigious… new, but soon to be good… group cancel, but we got someone just as good," Jesse hedged as D.J. and Kimmy came downstairs.
Kimmy proclaimed, "The parodies are all set for tonight. Weird Al, eat your heart out."
"Oh, parody, that's even better. I love a good laugh at the expense of another performer for the lowest common denominator," Donald said pridefully.
"Is that guy with the long German name making another of those movies?" Kimmy inquired.
"They are not making another 'Terminator.' But, I used the word 'denominator,'" Donald explained haughtily, "which is a math term."
"Oh, yeah. I remember that from school. Hey, wait a minute," Kimmy suddenly realized, getting a confused look. "How can you divide by a person?"
Donald snickered. "You should just let her talk to people; she could provide your entertainment herself. Anyway, we need to get going, but in case we got too busy touring, we wanted to stop by and provide Rebecca with instructions and our girls' favorite activities. Most of which are beyond your pay, but we're sure you'll manage." They left.
Jesse sighed as they were leaving. "Come on, Joey; let's get down to the radio station for our show. I might need you to encourage me on this grand re-opening now."
"No problem, I can promote parodies easily," Joey pledged as they left out the back door.
"That's what I'm afraid of," Jesse kidded him.
"You still have a chance tomorrow night," Caleb encouraged Stephanie and Michelle.
"We tried last time," Michelle told him.
Caleb clarified. "My dad says sometimes people need more than just actions. You need to show kindness, but then explain why."
"There was a teacher in Nelson's private school," D.J. spoke, holding up a finger for emphasis. She told Caleb before going on, "I met Nelson at the beach and went with him one summer. Anyway, she always emphasized being kind to others, no matter who they were. Michelle's riding friend, Elizabeth, had her too."
"I guess they did say 'thank you' when we wished them good luck. But, we don't have a whole school year," Michelle said tiredly.
"No, but you never know when one evening will make a difference," Caleb countered.
Stephanie sighed. "You have to get them to notice you first. All they'll do is play video games."
Danny came down into the living room the following evening. "Your sleeping bags are set up in Steph and Michelle's room," he said to the girls.
"Okay," Debbie said, not looking up from the video game she was playing with Darla.
Michelle came from an area behind the TV, along the wall opposite the stairs going up. "Maybe you'd like a choice. Would you like Disneyland in California, after the airline gave us a refund and we went there? Disneyland a couple years later? Or Disneyworld in Florida?" They ignored her. She sighed and turned toward Danny. "This isn't working. I've tried five albums."
Becky had an idea as she stepped in from the kitchen with Kelli, Michelle's friend from soccer. "Debbie, Darla, instead of us just baking cookies for you, how about we help you bake cookies?"
Kelli added, "We can do it together!"
"We told you, we prefer store bought," Darla said.
Michelle asked, "Have you ever tried to make cookies? It's so nice to bite into one you made yourself. And then you can share with your friends. Mmmm." She rubbed her stomach.
Joey had put the album away, and was now standing behind Michelle. "Good sales pitch. But, what Jesse and I learned was, you have to know what your audience wants."
At that moment, Jesse, D.J., Steve, Stephanie, and Caleb came in the door. "Great second night. We all came home early 'cause it was going well so they didn't need me, and Caleb wanted to help you guys encourage our guests," Jesse said happily.
"How's it going?" Stephanie asked.
Kelli answered, "Not so good. Michelle and I have had fun. But, not with them."
Joey continued. "I was just about to ask Debbie and Darla, why do you prefer store bought?"
"Why work when someone else can do it for you?" Debbie asked.
"Whoa," Kimmy proclaimed, "you're just like me."
Darla explained. "Store bought aren't gooey."
"But when they're fresh is when they're yummiest." Michelle shook her head. "It's hopeless."
"I didn't pray so much for you so you could give up. Did you ask about their family?" Caleb wondered. The other Tanners nodded. "Friends back home? Vacations?"
Danny shrugged. "They kept saying we'd have nothing in common."
"They didn't even want to play with us," Joey said, getting funny looks. "I tried some of my puppets; they smiled but not much else."
"Thanks again for letting Kelli spend the night, Dad," Michelle said.
"You're welcome. I thought maybe it'd feel like a slumber party to them," Danny said.
Stephanie turned to D.J.. "Except it sounds like they only care about the slumber part."
"Well, I'm not giving up," D.J. said decisively. "I remember when Uncle Jesse and Joey moved in, I lost hope; I moved into the garage. But, I learned we could make it. Did we struggle? Sure; I had to do more than I expected with Dad grieving and ignoring things. Would I have done some anyway, like take Steph to her Honeybee party? Sure. I should have accepted Steph more and been proactive in general with my sisters. I'm still learninghow to live. But, we made it." D.J. snapped her fingers as something came to her. "Girls, do you know what I'm talking about?"
Debbie gave her a look as they finally put down the games. "What are you talking about?"
Stephanie's eyes brightened. "I get it, Deej. Do you girls know about our mom?"
"I think I heard she died," Darla guessed.
"You're right. That's why we want to interact with you," Becky explained.
Debbie glanced at her. "Why? Nothing's happened to our parents."
"Yeah, I know, kid," Jesse said. "I know you don't think we have much in common. But, I didn't think I had much in common with them till I moved in here. I tried to leave once, but I realized bein' here opened parts of me I didn't know were there."
"See, that's what they have that you'll want. Not cookies or games, but love," Kelli said.
"Maybe that's where we've gone wrong. It's good to start by offering to make cookies, or play together. But, this time, maybe we should have been sharing right away. So you can help your parents learn something," Danny suggested.
"What do they have to learn?" Darla asked insistently.
"To be nice," Michelle began, "caring…"
D.J. halted her. "Michelle, I'm sure they are all that to people like them. We want you girls to understand how to love everyone," she told Debbie and Darla.
Joey concurred. "That's why we've been nice to you even though you're strangers and a little mean to us. When I was growing up, I would have given anything for that; then I met Danny and he and I became best friends. Because he had that."
"Same with me," Kimmy admitted. "Your dad's right; I'm a walking comedy routine, I'm so dumb. But, D.J. has always cared about me. I don't know where I'd be without her."
"As long as we're admitting things… how would your parents have reacted if you backed a car into the kitchen when you were eight?" Stephanie asked Debbie and Darla.
Debbie and Darla both shook their heads. "I don't know," Debbie admitted.
Stephanie added that, "Our dad yelled, sure. He said he'd have to punish me big time, and I had to do almost all the spring cleaning with him, it seemed. But, I'll never forget what he said." She looked the visitors square in the eyes. "He said he'd always forgive me, and always love me, no matter what. Because you can always put up a new wall or something. But, there's only one of me; and I could never be replaced. And, he'd never want to."
"Maybe your parents would be as forgiving as Mr. Tanner was; some are," Steve offered. "But, do you see what Stephanie's saying?"
"People can't be replaced?" Darla offered.
"Exactly," Danny said. "Every person is important; including the two of you; not because of what they have, but because they're people."
Becky added, "That's why it's important to treat others with respect and kindness. No matter how rich they are or anything. If you don't like baking cookies, you don't have to; but you have to at least be friendly and considerate."
"Yeah; we tease Kimmy 'cause she's used to it; she got teased so much at school she relates to people by teasing back and forth, except for her really close friends," Jesse noted. "But, it's not right to act so superior."
"What we're saying," D.J. summarized, "is that the best things – people, unconditional love, kindness, forgiveness - they're all free. Our mom always said 'Give away a smile, it's free.' And, then you get plenty back. And, in order to get those best things, you have to accept them from others and be willing to give them yourself."
Debbie and Darla had been quite pensive for a while Once the others were done talking, Debbie said lowly, "I guess we never thought like that."
"Will you forgive us as well as your dad forgave you that time?" Darla wondered.
"I've been waiting to hear that," Michelle said with a huge grin. She hugged both. "Sure I do."
"Of course we forgive you," D.J. said during the group hug that followed; others concurred.
Jesse confessed, "I didn't have a lot of hope. But, you were right, Caleb. Maybe we couldn't do it on our own, but their hearts were touched somehow." He fingered the cross necklace he often wore. "This was Pam's; I asked for God's forgiveness right after she died. Then I ran a few times, even tried to be Dr. Dare again. D.J.'s willing to learn. I had to be dragged kicking and screaming on the inside to do the right thing a few times. But, He stayed with me."
"That must be hard knowing you'll never see her again," Debbie said sorrowfully.
"Our mom? I'll see her in Heaven," D.J. said. "See, she'd asked for forgiveness from God, too, for the times she fell short of His perfection. Just like our uncle mentioned, and like I did. I fall short sometimes because I'm human. But, He works in me, and I'll always have Him in me. We still mourn and miss her, but it's different; we know it's not the end."
Caleb expounded on that. "See, God wants a personal relationship with you. He made this world perfect, but gave people freedom to choose, so bad stuff came into the world. We all turn from Him. But, He loves and forgives us, and wants to help us through tough times. Like Steph tells me she prayed to Him to find Mr. Bear, which her mom gave her when Michelle was born. And, He let him be found. God gets us through bad times, like if a person dies. He'll take you to His perfect Heaven when you die, too. But, only if you've asked Him to forgive you for your sins, and save you. He took the punishment for your sins what He – Jesus Christ, who was God in flesh - died on the cross, and rose again. Just call on Jesus to forgive you, and turn from those sins and invite Him into your heart and let Him work inside you."
"Are sins like being selfish and mean and not caring about others?" Darla muttered. Several nodded. "Can I ask Him to forgive me right now?" Debbie said she wanted to, as well.
"Of course; He's always ready to hear anyone call on Him to save them, anywhere," D.J. said.
Stephanie agreed. "Just like Dad was to forgive me. I had consequences from what I did. But, for his forgiveness, I just went to him and received it," she said as Debbie and Darla bowed and called on the Lord to receive that forgiveness.
Around lunch the next day, Donald and Darlene arrived at the Tanner home. Donald spoke as D.J., Stephanie, Michelle, and Kelli came through the kitchen with Debbie and Darla. "Thank you, Jesse, for allowing us the extra rest. Hey, girls, I understand you were with Jesse and Rebecca's nieces. I knew even people of Jesse's caliber could find something that you enjoyed."
"Yes. We learned why we shouldn't talk down to people like that," Debbie told him.
Darla added, "People can't be replaced. They're special no matter who they are."
"What?" Darlene said. Donald still had a confused look from Debbie's comment.
"By the way, Mom," Debbie said, "do you have Nanny's mom's number?"
"We'd like to call and see how her mom's doing," Darla noted.
Donald was confused. "But, why? I mean, you told me, but…"
"Let's just say your girls have a lot to show you," Jesse reported.
"You have our numbers and the youth leader's, right?" Stephanie asked. "I have a feeling this could take a while."
Debbie pointed out, "We even have cell phones." This was several years before they became common among everyone.
Danny noticed that as he finished coming downstairs. "Why would you need cell phones? You're not doctors or lawyers or media people or even in high school yet."
"They'll help, though. I don't know if Mom and Dad will let us ride a bus to church like we did this morning," Darla commented.
"Well, even if you wanted to, what's wrong with a limo? I mean, riding a bus like…" Darlene said as Rebecca, Joey, Nicky, Alex, and Kimmy entered from the kitchen.
Donald was still in shock. "What on earth happened last night?"
"We learned other people matter. It's how the Tanners get through stuff. By caring about others," Debbie said. "The important things don't cost anything, don't wear out, and never even need batteries."
Darla nodded in agreement. "We'll show you. You can start by signing the cards we made for Nanny's mother. People like them need a lot of love at times like these.""
Donald sighed as Darlene paid Jesse for babysitting. "Just grab your bags and come on," Donald grumbled as he left, with Darlene following.
"Thanks so much for teaching us. I'm sorry we weren't too nice before," Debbie said as they began hugging the Tanners.
"This has been the best vacation ever," Darla proclaimed. "We'll be in touch. Thanks."
"You're welcome," Michelle said, echoing the others, as Debbie and Darla left. She grinned very broadly as she turned to the others. "We did it!"
"We sure did," Danny said.
"What was it, Mommy?' Nicky said.
Jesse and Becky each picked up a twin as Alex said, "I just know there was lots of hugging."
Becky told him, "We just taught them the love we have for each other."
"Yeah, see, they never knew about that. They only loved money, but now at least their girls know you gotta love people no matter what they look like or what they have or anything else."
"I think we really made a difference," Joey agreed.
Michelle turned back. "How long will it take for their parents to learn to be nice to everyone?"
"Part depends on how good of a job their girls do of showing how they treat others right," D.J. replied. "Best case, it's really fast; worst case, they're like Elizabeth, and it'll take something big to make their parents start to see the light like Elizabeth's mom has."
Danny picked Michelle up and said, "But no matter what happens, what your mom always said about giving away those smiles is true."
Stephanie concurred. "It took a lot of effort; but, I think they understand now."
"So, now they're learning to love everyone no matter what," Michelle finished for her. "I'm so glad we love each other like that!"
"Me, too," Danny said as they all hugged.
Author's end note: I thought about a 2-parter where the parents were injured in a car wreck, but that seemed a little too cliché and convenient. I think this works better because it shows people can start to care about others without a major shock. And, in November, 1995 it might have even led to calls for a spinoff. Sorry, I don't have any spinoff plans, though. :-) As it is, for the story of a couple kids trying to live wholesome lives in a family filled with problems, you'll have to read my "Discovering Grace," mentioned in my profile, though the problem is different there. I might have ideas for a sequel, too, I don't know, but my author spotlight is given as my website now.