The episode opens with a shot of Warren sitting on the front steps of a house. He's fidgeting and twiddling his thumbs and staring at the road in anticipation, possibly waiting for a life to arrive. Instead, a beige Mercury Cougar pulls into the driveway and an equally beige Carol Vessey gets out. Warren rockets to his feet, runs his fingers through oily hair and smoothes his windbreaker. "Welcome home!" he squeaks, his voice the victim of Puberty's cruel five-act drama. "Did you have a sweet vaco?" he shouts, grabbing Carol's bags and clumsily shouldering them. Warren is so excited and nervous that he's tripping all over himself. Carol laughs tolerantly but doesn't do anything to discourage him, because it's fun to emotionally abuse people who worship you. Eagerly, Warren explains that he's taken care of the mail and the plants, and "the newspapers are stacked so neatly it just might blow your mind." Then he pauses, as if he can't believe he said "blow" to Carol Vessey, but also wants to point out the many ways in which she could blow his mind -- or, blow his "mind," nudge nudge, wink wink. Carol catches sight of a sad little towel lying on the porch, and Warren very seriously explains that he couldn't find a red carpet to use instead. Carol's mind is blown. She shakes her head and pays Warren for the mind-job.
Warren stumbles inside the house with Carol's bags and watches her read mail. "If you need me to stay over tonight and help you reorient yourself to your surroundings," Warren begins, all fidgety and pseudo-suave, "then I could run out and grab a bottle of Merlot, whip up some sizzling fajitas " Except he pronounces the "j" in "fajitas." Warren is smooth as a nail omelet. Carol suddenly asks why it's so freezing in her house, and Warren helpfully explains that he shut off the heat for savings. Carol freaks and bolts to the basement, saying, "You can't shut off the heat in winter! The pipes may freeze." She finishes the sentence at the foot of the basement stairs, staring at a relentlessly leaking pipe and a fast-forming swanky new swimming pool. "Hmm, I wonder if that's what happened here," Warren muses. Wow. He puts the "hopeless" in "Warren Cheswick."
You'd think the credits would pop up here, but you'd be wrong.
Ed and Mike are eating breakfast and reading the morning paper. Ed loves world news. Ed loves nothing more than a heated debate about the state of affairs in Bosnia, the political leaders of Yugoslavia, and the kind of questions that shake us to the very core of our values. To wit: "Who would win in a fight -- a strong, tall man, or an invisible fat man?" Ed asks. I'm sure Plato already covered that. Or maybe it was Gene Roddenberry. Mike immediately picks the strong and tall man. Then Ed kinks the shit out of that tidy scenario. "What if the invisible man has a whip?" he says mischievously. Mike: "Is it an invisible whip?" Nancy was walked in and is eavesdropping. "This is the worst McLaughlin Group ever," she laughs. I have to disagree. I live for the day McLaughlin's three chins wiggle with glee when he yells, "WRONG! Invisible and fat beats strong and tall like rock beats scissors." Ed notices in the paper that a Mr. Schaeffer is being sued for feeding dimes into parking meters. Well, he's clearly reading the Wall Street Journal, then. Mike and Ed exposit that Mr. Schaeffer is the nice old codger from the Stuckeyville soda shop, a man who always used to give Mike an extra pickle. Nancy gazes fondly at her husband, unperturbed that he used to take the pickle and like it. Nancy suggests that Ed offer legal help to Mr. Schaeffer, and Mike giggles that Ed's an ambulance chaser.