Just to preface, this is probably up in my top ten favorite FH episodes of all time (Maybe one day I'll actually assemble this vague list I've made reference to), so it will be hard for me to hate on, but I'm sure I'll find a way.
UgSnot and Denise are watching TV with a Funny Buddy commercial. For only $2 a minute, they can buy a crappy joke that nobody will laugh at. This tedious scene is also accompanied by an extremely annoying laugh from both girls. Denise says she asked her dad for permission to call because she's not a manipulative little shit; on the flip side, UgSnot got "permission" from Danny because she asked him while he was vacuuming. God, she sucks.
At school, Stephanie is talking to the Jennifers, one of which is TOPANGA! God, I FLOVED "Boy Meets World." And I'm talking about Flove with all sincerity, no snark. Brilliant show. Anyway, the girls are interrupted by the class lowlife Charles who makes this snappy assessment: "2 Jennifers and a Stephanie: 3 people, 1 brain, no personality!" Zing! Stephanie shoots right back with "What do you think of the human race?... We'd like an outsider's opinion." Finally their teacher breaks it up, and segues to a writing assignment she just came up with on the spot: finding the best in people. The goal is to interview each other and find the best qualities in one another, and for inspiring the assignment, Stephanie and Charles will be partners.
Back at the house, DJ, Steve and Kimmy are hanging around the kitchen table and Jesse comes in to be his hip Uncle self. Turns out Jesse and Steve both have to read and write a book report on Catcher in the Rye and whine about it. Dude, it's not even that long of a book. Everyone ignores DJ when she tells them to just suck it up and read the damn book and instead opt for the Gibbler method. No, not rent the movie (that IS the Gibbler method, but it's not on video). But the OTHER Gibbler method: each reading half of the book, just like she did with Cathy!Santoni! for their report on Much Ado About Nothing. DJ quips that Cathy read "much ado" while Kimmy read nothing.
Joey comes in with the twins who he just took from the playground. He empties their shoes of all the sand, and says he just doesn't know what it is about sandboxes as he empties his own loafer of a bucketful of sand. Haha get it? Because Joey's just a big kid. Ugh. You suck, Gladstone. To make this scene go from bad to worse, Ug and Denise come in with Funny Buddy's joke of the the day: "What did one penny say to the other? Let's get together and make some sense/cents!" Ugh. I thought I hated puns, but it turns out I hate UgPuns even more!
Steph comes home from school and is venting to Dannny about Charles, "the Obnoxitron." Danny thinks Steph must be exaggerating and he can't be that bad. DJ and Kimmy come in and Steph turns to her eldest sister for advice citing her experience with someone rude and crude. Kim awesomely and confusedly asks, "Deej, do you have a friend I don't know about?!" DJ tells Stephanie that if she just spends some time with and gets to know them, they might not be so bad. Kimmy still doesn't get it and is getting frustrated, "Who IS this person?!" Danny tries to provide an anecdote about a guest he and Becky had on the show, but it turns out that nope, some people are just jerks.
Charles arrives and Stephanie, ever the apple polisher, says it's nice to see him. Charles flatly retorts, "Yeah, wish I felt the same." He steamrolls right ahead and when he sees Danny, "I see where you get your looks" "Thanks." "I didn't say good looks." Bwah! After they leave to go upstairs, Danny relents that maybe there isn't good in everyone, and Becky adds that Charles needs to be taught some manners. Kimmy on the other hand, is salivating and wants to know if he has an older brother. God, I love Kimmy.
For the record, let it be known that badass Charles is rocking a black backpack with what appears to be hot pink piping.
While Stephanie and Charles are getting underway on their assignment, Ug comes in to tell Steph she's in big trouble with Danny for forgetting to take out trash and that he'll deal with her later. And that little brat is relishing in the thought way too much. Go away Ug. Charles' demeanor softens a bit and tells Stephanie to think of something funny because that always helps him when he's getting it. Stephanie isn't getting what "it" is, and Charles clarifies he mmeans getting pounded by his dad. Steph still isn't quite getting it, and asks if he means his dad hits him. Charles refuses to say anything else until they both learn that they have dead mothers in common. Charles admits he gets hit sometimes but its his own fault for ticking his dad off. Turns out last week, ol' Chuck was sporting a black eye from "walking into a door... a door named dad." Steph urges him to tell someone, but he makes her promise to keep his secret. Just then, Charles looks down at his watch and panics when he realizes he's going to be late and didn't phone his dad. He runs off and cue the sappy music as we zoom in on conflicted, pensive Stephanie.
The next day Charles isn't in school, and Stephanie's teacher tells her she'll be getting a new partner because Charles had an accident. Steph is immediately worried and asks her teacher for me details, and learns that he "fell down the stairs." A distressed look washes across Stephanie's face and for a moment it looks as though she's going to tell her teacher about Charles' home life, but backs away to keep her promise.
Becky, DJ, Steve & Kimmy are in the kitchen and UgSnot and Denise come in with more of their lame jokes that no one wants to hear. The teens go so far as to outwardly groan and Becky makes them listen and pretend to laugh. Today's gem? "What's a frog's favorite soda? CROAK-a-cola!" Now I'm groaning. Jesse comes in to go over their respective halves of Catcher in the Rye with Steve. Steve's dingbat synopsis of the entire first half is "Funny man." Lesson learned, next time the guys should read the whole book themselves. Reading half is like stopping eating a pizza after only six slices. Oh Steve, you and your impending heart failure. Jesse relays it's like the time he walked in halfyway through Tootsie, and asked himself "Who is this ugly woman?" Steve, dim as all get out tells him, "Hey you know in Tootsie, that was a guy." It looks like Jesse's brain hurts.
Danny just got the phone bill and it's astronomical due to all the Funny Buddy charges. Knowing what a hack comic Joey is, Danny goes to confront him. Joey is immediately defensive and says every time someone leaves cheese in the hamper it's his fault. I don't even wanna know, Gladstone. Danny retorts, "The gouda was in your pants!" "Oh, like you never left a wedge of cheese in your pants!" Actually, I can proudly say that I haven't, Joey. So Joey may leave cheese in the hamper, but he didn't call no Funny Buddy.
Ug and Denise come in with another joke, "How do you know an elephant's been in your refrigerator?" But oh snap! Danny's got the punchline! "By the footprints in the butter." Okay, that's not even like remotely funny. Danny busts Ug for the calls and when he finds out she knew they cost money but did it anyway (on account of she's soulless) he's pissed. She tries to get off by saying she'll never do it again and tries to dip out, but Danny says sometimes saying your sorry isn't enough. Because Ug just doesn't know when to quit being a little shit, she brats that sometimes it is. Danny sends her up to her room, and says her bedtime will be an hour early all week, no buts.
Ug stomps upstairs angrily and holy shit! Danny actually showed a spine to Princess Michelle, but this one time event was just a means to foil the Charles situation. Ug is running her mouth off about how mean and terrible Danny is, and Stephanie tells her to STFU. They're bickering goes back and forth as they get louder.
Uncle Jesse, finally attempting to read Catcher in the Rye in its entirety, hears the commotion and storms in to break it up, calling the girls Itchy and Scratchy (w00t w00t, "Simpsons" shout-out! How pop culture savvy!). Jesse pretty much says Ug was punished for good reason, and to suck it up. Man, why couldn't all episodes have the adults not taking shit from Michelle like this? Jesse then notices Steph is still worked up about how lucky they are to have a father like Danny because some kids get it much worse. Jesse asks where all of this is coming from, but Stephanie doesn't want to say. Jesse tells her to use common sense and her best judgment. She asks him to keep a secret and he tells her he cant keep it unless he knows what it is. Stephanie laments that that's what she should have told Charles. Finally she caves and tells him about Charles' father, and Jesse is immediately incensed and says they have to report this, or else he's going to go beat Mr. Abuser's ass himself. Stephanie protests, but Jesse explains if they don't say anything they're only helping the abuse happen again, and what will happen to Charles if they don't tell is worse than if they do.
A week later, Charles is still not back in school and Stephanie is concerned. Jesse tells her that he made some calls and found out that Charles was put in foster family. Stephanie angrily lashes out at Jesse, but he shoots that misdirected anger right down because it's not their fault, because they weren't the ones hurting Charles. Stephanie wonders why, if it's not her fault, does she feel so lousy. Jesse sadly tells her it's because it's a lousy situation. He awesomely tells her, "I know how hard it was, but thanks to you, thanks to Stephanie, Charles' father can't hurt him tonight." Aww, I kind of love when the guys are awesome at this parenting stuff.
Steph just can't wrap her brain around why Charles' father was so mean, and Jesse says he can't understand how anyone could hurt their child. I'm not ashamed to say that this whole scene is very touching, and I may or may not be a little verklempt. DJ interrupts this tender moment to tell them that Danny's home and it's time for dinner. Steph goes into the kitchen and gives Danny a big hug and kiss, just because. Danny says he'll take a free hug any time and Jesse looks on shmoopily and its hard for me to really hate on a Steph-centric episode where she once again proves how awesome a kid she is... especially compared to UgSnot.