After spending hours in Green Bay, Ali is ready for the bright lights of the Windy City. Ali walks slowly, thoughtfully, down a lonely pier and then, magically, runs into Frank. All the piers, in all the city, she had to walk into this one. Ali runs into his arms, but doesn't quite give him the full leg wraparound she gave Roberto. Probably because Frank's jacket is a little too small and clashes with his cardigan. Also, the neck on his t-shirt is so low that it looks like a V-neck, but is not a V-neck, which is strangely disturbing. Wait, maybe it's a wife beater. Wait, who wears a cardigan and a beater except girls and aged Mafia dons? Anyway, Frank and Ali hop on a boat cruise of the Chicago sites. They have beer! They also have a boatload of Frank's neuroses. He makes crazy eyes, pulls his hair, gnashes his teeth and begs Ali to choose him! Right now! Forget the rest of the show! When Ali finally says, "I like you," or something equally innocuous, Frank perks right up. You like me? You really like me? It's like he took a perky pill with a self-esteem chaser. Does anyone find this an attractive trait? Does his mom even like this? Stay tuned!
Over at Frank's house, Frank gets a big old bear hug from his dad, despite the fact that HE LIVES IN THEIR BASEMENT and you would think they would be sick of him by now. Frank's family dinner is a jovial affair that seems to involve beer and Manwich and no vegetables. But they laugh a lot, which makes up for any culinary lapses. Frank's mom pulls Ali outside for some girl talk. They spend a lot of time complimenting each other and laughing about how well Ali fits in with the Frank family.
Inside, Frank and his siblings perch awkwardly in what have to be new chairs in a newly-decorated room what with the rice paper screen and pagoda-shaped coffee table. THIS! This is what I hate about home visits! You know Frank's poor mom cashed in a favor with a home decorator friend who suggested that they divide up the living room to add an Asian-themed sitting room complete with red lacquered lanterns and cherry blossom motifs and vaguely Asian wall art. It looks like the Taiwan Hilton, except, you know, worse. They probably went to Pier 1. This is unfortunate. I am too distracted by the décor to pay attention to whatever I-really-like-her-but-I'm-cautious over analyzed rigmarole Frank is dishing out today. Frank's sister beckons Ali outside while Frank gets grilled by his dad inside. These episodes are also hateable because of their complex choreography. It's like a So You Think You Can Dance routine comprised entirely of boring people talking to each other.