The Gregory Hines Show

CBS (ended 1998)


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Episode Guide


  • Season 1
    • I'll See You All in Health
      After a heart attack scare with James, Ben recommends that he start taking better care of himself. But when Carl reminds him that it's been five years since he's been to a doctor, Ben decides to set a good example for his father, and see the physician who works with Carl's girlfriend, Naomi, to prove that he's the picture of good health. Instead of seeing that male doctor, Ben is shocked to see Naomi herself, since the guy Carl recommended is in London. After nervously going ahead with the check-up, Ben gets his test results, and learns that his cholesterol level is dangerously high. Suddenly health-conscious, he changes his (and everyone else's) diet, and makes Carl keep him company at the gym. Carl is the first to throw in the towel in the support department, and James and Matty quickly follow suit by ordering a pizza -- which they hide from Ben. The pizza ends up giving James heartburn, so he's forced to come clean when a fearful Ben drags him back to the hospital, believing he's really having a heart attack this time. At the hospital, James gets Ben to admit that he's gone overboard with the health crap, 'cause everyone's got to go sometime. Meanwhile, Ben is disappointed in Matty for getting caught cheating off a girl that his teacher thought less of. But when he sees Matty's class photo -- and sees how particularly well-developed the girl is -- Ben realizes what Matty was staring at, and gives him tips on how to handle a crush.moreless
    • Ben-Her
      Episode 21
      When Ben turns down an offer to spend the night at Kyra's place after walking her home, he wonders if there's something wrong with him. Nicole consoles him by saying that he might not be ready so soon after Sarah's death. Meanwhile, Matty brags to a skeptical Ben that he's found a way to see two girls at the same time without either one knowing about the other. When Kyra walks Ben home on their next date, he tries to kiss her and invite her in, but she finds ways to dodge both advances. Unsure if she rejected his offer to get even with him for rejecting hers or if she just isn't interested, he turns to Alex for advice. Kyra drops by Ben's place of work to explain why she couldn't come in. To prove she likes him, they do it. In the office. Yet, after his big break, Kyra starts cancelling every date he's made with her in quick succession. Matty's double-dating fantasy starts to unravel when the schedules of his two girls conflict with one another, and Ben worries that he was so bad in the sack (or rather, on the couch) that Kyra's looking for a way out. Ben, Alex, Nicole, Carl and Carl's girlfriend, Naomi, go to a fancy volunteers' banquet where Ben and Carl are up for awards, and Kyra actually manages to show. She admits to Ben that he was magnificent, and when he asks why she keeps cancelling on him then, she tells him that it's called her life -- and besides, he's cancelled on her before. Realizing their love is mutual, they rush into a closet to do the deed again. While they're tearing off articles of clothing, Carl wins his award, and interrupts their act by calling out Ben's name to help him accept it. The lovebirds plan to continue their romance around one another's lives, and Matty's pair o' babes find out about the other -- and both want to have a "threesome."moreless
    • Mug the One You're With
      Ben takes out a mugger to protect Matty, making him a hero in his son's eyes, and an object of envy in Carl's. Ben just wants to put the incident behind him, but he doesn't get his wish after Matty brags about it in school, his class goes to the publishing company for career day, and all they want to talk about is how Ben beat up a bad guy. Ben and Carl go to Nicole's for dinner, where Nicole plans to give Ben a surprise party for his heroics, but she's forced to cancel the celebration when he tells her that, despite his write-up in the paper, he doesn't want to be thought of as a hero. The festivities are ruined, anyway, when he gets served a summons -- the mugger is suing him for using excessive force, rendering him "unable to work." Operating as Ben's attorney, Carl plans to file a countersuit over the mugger, Francis Shelton's, frivilous lawsuit, but Ben the peacemaker asks that he not, so as to get the matter settled quickly. Acting on behalf of Francis is Gloria Newberry, the unscrupulous lawyer whom Carl lost his biggest case to. Even though the suit is nonsense, Gloria asks for a $50,000 settlement. Ben's pacifist routine doesn't last long when Francis starts needling him by saying he's a bad father, so Carl takes matters into his own hands, and tells the terrible two he'll see them in court. Realizing she doesn't have a legal leg to stand on, Gloria drops the suit -- to Francis' chagrin. To stop Matty from getting so excited about violence, Ben admits to him that he was secretely scared during the incident.moreless
    • Sister-in-Law, Sister-in-Law
      Ben gets a surprise visit from his baby sister-in-law, Julia Bullock. She's a drifter slash swindler who owed him $1000, and skipped town without paying him back. The first thing she gives him upon their reunion is a check for the amount of the loan, and the second is an apology for her irresponsibility, claiming she wants to be more responsible from now on, especially now that he's widowed. Hoping to let bygones be bygones (and make sure her check actually clears), Ben offers to let her stay with the family temporarily, and she accepts. Since she plans to look for a job while she's in Chicago, Ben offers her a temping gig at the Home Court Press, as their new temp, Dolores, is so scary that both he and Alex want to fire her... if they can actually figure out how. Julia announces that she's found herself an apartment, and she's going to sell her car to afford it. Because she needs it for work, Ben gives her her check back for the time being. He's shocked to come home and find that she threw a big housewarming party, complete with beer, without telling him. Even though Carl and Matty were having a good time, Ben asks Julia to throw her guests out, and when she won't, he does it for her. He then tells her that he can't trust her, and hints that she should follow her guests out the door. After she moves out, Matty gives Ben the silent treatment, because he wanted his aunt to stay. They soon make amends, and Ben decides to pay a visit to Julia's new apartment to do the same with her. She apologizes to him for throwing the party, and promises to change. But since he knows full well she won't, he tells her to stay as is. He then demonstrates tough love by refusing to co-sign for her apartment (after she thoughtfully listed him as co-signer without consulting him), forcing the movers to take all her furniture away. Deep down, she understands, and thanks him for giving her a second chance.moreless
    • Anita the Hun
      Anita the Hun
      Episode 18
      Matty gets in trouble at school, making Ben have to come down and talk with his tough English teacher, Anita Hunsley -- or, as the kids affectionately call her behind her back, Anita the Hun. As it turns out, Ben and Anita knew each other from way back when as camp counselors, before Anita got married and assumed a different surname, a surname she kept after her divorce. While Matty is forced to brush up on his Shakespeare, Ben hits him with a surprise -- he's invited Anita over to the apartment to catch up on old times. That's something that James thinks isn't a good idea, since Ben wanted Anita when they were teens. Anita manages to win Matty over when he finds out she's a hockey fan, too. In private, Ben confesses to Anita his teenage crush on her, and is excited to hear that she had one on him. But before anything happens, they both call it a night, realizing Matty's father shouldn't be dating Matty's teacher. Hartek bullies Matty at school after he finds out that he not only got a good grade on Anita the Hun's pop quiz, but she was over at his place. Just when it seems that things will finally go well between teacher and student, Ben gets called back to school; Matty glued all of Anita's stuff to her desk. Ben grounds Matty, who doesn't tell him why he did it at first. But at home, Matty finally admits to Ben that peer pressure over Hartek calling him a "Hun lover" was the reason. Ben offers some advice for how to deal with Hartek -- run away. Instead, the next time Hartek starts trouble with Matty for getting a good grade on a test, Matty stands him down and admits that he likes Anita, and Hartek backs off. Anita then gets transfered to Pennsylvania, thereby ending hers and Ben's forbidden romance.moreless
    • Get Smarter
      Get Smarter
      Episode 17
      Matty joins a study group, and begs Ben for some money to attend a lecture. When Ben presses him for more info, Matty confesses that it's a mostly-girls study group, and one of those girls just so happens to be Christy Putnam, a girl he's had his eye on for a long time. To help him score points with the smart crowd, Ben recommends that he invite the whole group over to the apartment to study. After "smartening" the place up, the kids -- Christy, Amber and Harrison, the token Asian -- arrive. But when his buddies actually study, Matty finds himself way out of his brain league. Meanwhile, Alex deals with his own romantic troubles in the wake of his girlfriend, Courtney, dumping him. Since he won't stop moping around, Ben, Carl and Nicole all decide to cheer him up and help him forget about her by inviting him to watch a PPV boxing match with them at Ben's place. During the game, Alex won't stop talking about the one that got away, so it's a big relief to the others when he up and leaves early. Thinking he might be going to Courtney's house, Ben calls her up to warn her, only to learn that she dumped Alex because she's getting married. Matty is mortified when he gets the lowest grade in his study group's history test -- a "B" -- and fears that Christy thinks he's a dumb jock. Now Ben has to juggle two crises: breaking things to Alex, and convincing Matty that he's smart. Matty surprises Ben by skipping out on a hockey game, because he's hell-bent on cramming for his next test. Ben helps him remember historical dates by making up a Def Jam History Rap for him, and he gets an "A" this time around. But the news is bittersweet; as it turns out, Christy loves dumb jocks, and hooked up with one of Matty's teammates while he was at home studying. Matty realizes he needs to be himself in the future, and Alex gets over Courtney by picking up some chick from Ben's building.moreless
    • Wahunthra
      Episode 16
      Ben becomes awestruck after a manuscript falls into his lap about a fearless Masai Princess called Wahunthra. At Nicole's, he and Alex meet with its beautiful, unpublished author, Toni, and her much more talkative, plus-sized agent, Joyce. Ben's fascination turns to disappointment, as he had felt a strong connection with Toni through her writing, only to see she's nowhere near as communicative in person. But the dinner isn't a total wash, since there's chemistry between him and Joyce. They'll be having a lot of time to get to know each other better, since she visits the Home Court Press to say she's giving them the book rights. When she gets defensive after Ben says that he wants to meet with Toni again to discuss making edits, he realizes that "Joyce" lied to him - she is Toni. After he calls her on it, she admits she hired someone to play her, because she felt she didn't embody the beauty that is Wahunthra. He quickly wins her over by telling her that she does. But later on in private, he steals a kiss, only to have her rush off in a hurry. After unsuccessfully seeking advice from James, Ben finds out Toni pulled the book. Carl tells him that she's probably insecure about her weight, and may feel he's leading her on. So Ben sets up his own lie, tricking her into meeting him at Nicole's. He apologizes for his unprofessionalism, but she tells him it has nothing to do with that; he is just too far out of her league. He promises her that she isn't, and convinces her to give him a shot. Meanwhile, James takes Matty to cash in a bond he bought for him on his 2nd birthday. Since he's been studying stocks, Matty plans to invest the dough in the stock market. After he makes $50 investing in athletic shoes, Matty's success goes straight to his head, and in his quest for mo' money, he intends to sink the rest of the bond into candy eyeballs. Feeling it's a bad idea, Ben tries his hardest to talk Matty out of it.moreless
    • Per Chance to Dance
      Ben is nervous about an upcoming television appearance on "Book Chat." His anxiety leads to a recurring dream where he's about to get on an elevator, and a group of tap dancers surround him, show off their stuff, and ask him to join in, only for him to say that he can't. Ben figures the dreams will end once the appearance is over and done with, and repeatedly turns down Alex's offers to join him on vacation in the Caribbean to clear his mind and scope out hot babes, using Matty's basketball game as one of many excuses why he can't go. Ben knocks 'em dead on "Book Chat," and brags like there's no tomorrow to Carl and Alex, who both assume they'll never have to hear about his dream again. Matty sprains his ankle, forcing him to have to sit out sports for a few weeks. So he tells Ben he should go with Carl to the Caribbean. But even with one excuse out of the way, Ben still refuses to go -- and the dreams continue. Wondering why they won't stop now that the TV gig is in the bag, Ben realizes there must be some other reason, especially once he finds out that Matty faked the injury in hopes that he would go on the trip. He comes to the conclusion that he's scared of going on his first vacation without Sarah. But at Matty's urging, he changes his mind, and decides to go. And the next time the dancers in his dream ask him to join in, he does -- as do Alex, Angela, Nicole, Carl and Matty.moreless
    • Carpe Diem
      Carpe Diem
      Episode 14
      Matty braces himself for a Sadie Hawkins Day dance by dodging the calls of the many interested girls who aren't named Diane. Carl finds romance of his own courtesy a woman who rents videos from the same store he does. And Ben makes it a trifecta by lighting up to a younger woman, Allison, who pitched a media plan to him. She beats him to the punch by asking him out. Matty's spirits sink when Ben tells him Diane called to ask him to the dance, only to pick up and hear that it's not Diane, but Diana, whom he's now stuck having to take. Ben eagerly awaits going to Allison's place for the first time -- only to get there and find her daddy, Jack, with her, waiting to grill his daughter's date. When Ben tries to explain the age thing and that he's just dating for fun, he only succeeds in putting his foot in his mouth. But once Jack's out of the picture, their first date is smooth sailing. So smooth, in fact, that when it comes time to end, she asks him to take her to a nightclub. Since that's not his department, Ben turns to Nicole for help, but as he soon learns from Allison, the club Nicole recommended is also the club where Allison's boyfriend, Eric, bartends. Since Ben's always been a monogamous kinda guy, he worries Eric might be more fun than he is. Alex and Carl remind him that he said he was never looking for a long-term commitment, and point out that if Eric was that much fun, Allison probably wouldn't be seeing both of them. Yet, when Eric calls and leaves a message on Allison's answering machine, Ben realizes that he's no good at dating for fun, and breaks up with her. Allison then shocks him by dropping by his place to say she broke up with Eric, so they could have a long-term commitment -- forcing Ben to break her heart. And Ben blows things once again by calling Diane, Diana, after Matty brings home the former, whom, due to the latter's allergies, he ended up going to the dance with.moreless
    • James Stevenson Stands Alone
      Matty gets a new--and older--Spanish tutor, Maria, but he's too smitten with her to concentrate on the español. James hears from his doctor that he's got bunions which require surgery. He doesn't want to take time off from his old-fashioned barbershop, so Ben offers his and Carl's services in running the place temporarily. The barbershop is exactly as it was when the two last saw it 30 years ago. Complete with James' crochety, old co-worker, Junior Braush... who hates Carl. After he gets a "D" on his Spanish test, Matty isn't content with Ben's suggestion that he find another tutor. While Nicole takes care of a demanding James during his recovery, Matty asks her for advice on how to ask Maria out, as he's not sure if she likes him. Nicole tells him that he can invite her to the restaurant for a grown-up dinner on her. With business at the barbershop nearly dead, Ben advises James that he should think about closing shop, as he's barely breaking even (no thanks to SpeedyCuts opening up at the nearby mall). James doesn't want to retire, but does agree to Ben's second suggestion -- modernize the place. After getting back on his feet, James is frightened by Ben's modern touches, but soon sees his son was right upon learning that most of his clientele are dead, and living customers don't have the patience for his leisurely trims anymore. So he hangs up his scissors. Maria quits tutoring to spend more time at cheerleading practice, but luckily for Matty, she accepts his offer. Although James doesn't think he should interfere, Ben doesn't want to see Matty's heart get broken, yet his words fall on deaf ears. So Matty finds out the hard way that Maria isn't interested on their disastrous date. Ben and Carl throw a going-out-of-business party for James, and all of James' surviving customers show up to brag about his cuts. Their fond memories make Ben and Carl realize how much the shop means to James, and they persuade him to unclose it. And a dejected Matty tells Ben that he was right.moreless
    • Love Thy Neighbor
      Love Thy Neighbor
      Episode 12
      Matty starts a 2-week internship at Nicole's, for a school program. While he, Ben, Carl and Alex are out having dinner, they are shocked to see James hanging all over a younger woman. And not just a younger woman, but their neighbor, Mrs. Davis. Although Ben is easygoing about the whole thing, a territorial Carl doesn't want anyone else trying to take their mother's place. When the brothers plan to tell their father that they know, James surprises them by saying that he knows they know; he spotted them spying. Ben asks him to invite Mrs. Davis to Nicole's, so they can get to know each other better. Matty is miffed that the only thing Nicole lets him do is fold napkins. Ben starts to feel more like Carl when he bumps into James fetching the paper at Mrs. Davis' apartment -- in his robe and slippers. Matty gets excited when Nicole lets him pour beverages, so much so that he repeatedly messes up. James brags to Ben that what he thinks he saw is exactly what he saw. Carl changes his tune about Mrs. Davis when she mentions how she likes to feed stray kittens and how his mother must have been a saint. Only now Ben doesn't want them seeing each other. When Ben can't keep his mouth shut, James and Mrs. Davis end up storming off before dinner. Since Nicole can't bring herself to fire Matty, she makes Ben do it. But before he can, Ben is relieved when a depressed Matty saves him the trouble, and tells him that he's planning to resign as Nicole's busboy. Ben goes to Dottie's apartment to apologize for his actions. Instead of finding James there, he finds Carl there, having breakfast. Mrs. Davis tells Ben that she's a yoga teacher, and she's been teaching James. When James comes "home," Ben apologizes to him, too, and James tells him he didn't want to bring up Mrs. Davis until he knew where things were going. After talking it over with Ben and the other busboys, who all had trouble at first themselves, Matty decides not to quit -- to the consternation of Nicole.moreless
    • To Volunteer Is Human
      Carl brags about his new client, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Matty's choir has been selected to go to D.C. to sing at the nationals. They'll need $5000 to go, so the choir parents are planning a big fundraiser -- which used to be Sarah's department. Ben is eager to offer his services as volunteer, but all Matty wants him to do is write a check. At school, Ben meets the treasurer, Sharon Glazier, and chairperson, Candice, and tells them he's volunteering. He also meets Roger, one bitter parent whose wife forced him to volunteer. Ben suggests holding a silent auction, which the others think is a great idea. The committee is looking for a new chairperson, so Ben again volunteers, which they don't think is a great idea. At least not until after he offers to bake cupcakes -- like Sarah used to. Matty is invited to audition for solo, but Alex puts the fear in him that he might not be good enough. So Ben tells him the soloist always gets the girl. The committee come over to the apartment for a meeting, and Ben gets drunk with power and starts making all sorts of suggestions that send everybody but Sharon fleeing. Matty comes home bragging that he got the solo -- which drives her away, too. That's when Ben learns that she's the mother of the other kid who was up for it. When word gets around, Matty suspects the choir won't be going. So Ben begs Carl to break attorney-client privilege, and introduce him to Kareem, whom he hopes to use as marquee auction damage control. Carl eventually caves, and together they go to Kareem's hotel. After they get a guy off Kareem's back, he's happy to repay the favor and do it. But a blizzard puts a damper on Ben's plans to hold the auction at Nicole's. So Ben hooks up a speakerphone, intending to hold the auction that way. Nicole and Alex don't have the heart to tell him that a snowplow cleared the road, and all the attendees hightailed it outta there. When Ben assumes the auction is a flop, Kareem volunteers the $5000 himself. And Matty lets it slip that Sarah's cupcakes were store-bought.moreless
    • Three's Not Company
      The Stevensons are visited by Ben's long-time friend, Michael -- who lost a race to him many years ago -- and his young daughter, Pauley. When Matty is reunited with Pauley, he sees how nicely she's developed, and develops a crush on her. They're spending the weekend in Chicago, because one of the country's top ad agencies wants to steal Michael away from his current advertising gig in New York. Ben notices Matty's crush when Michael and Pauley sleep over at their place, and recommends how to make the first move. Michael, who hasn't lost his competitive spirit, challenges Ben to a jog, which wears them both out. Realizing they're too old for competitions, Ben tries to tell his buddy that not everything has to be a contest, to no avail. Weitzman throws a wrench into Matty's designs when he says that he really likes Pauley, and wants him to tell her so. Matty turns to Ben for advice, and Ben says that he's going to have to decide for himself whether Weitzman's friendship means more to him than Pauley's body. Especially since he already promised Weitzman he would tell her. When Matty hints at his friend's feelings, Pauley says that dating Weitzman would be weird... like dating her own brother. She then crushes Matty's dreams, by blurting out that it'd also be like dating him. Ben questions his relationship with Michael to James, who hints that maybe they should drift apart. Carl informs them both that Michael didn't get the job. Ben consoles Matty about his unrequited love, and Matty fills him in about how Michael's been unemployed for six months. Michael lies to Ben, claiming he got the job, but turned them down because their final offer was insulting. Ben doesn't call him on the lie, letting Matty know that he didn't for the sake of their friendship. So Matty does likewise with Weitzman, and tells him that he told Pauley, and she likes him, too, but, unfortunately, she and her father are going back home. Ben does good by giving Michael the number of another New York ad agency.moreless
    • The Man Called Uncle
      Ben begins to feel unneeded when he leaves Matty in Carl's care while he and Alex work overtime filing tax returns, and Matty has more fun with Carl than he ever had with him. And worse, now that Carl pulled a trick to get Matty in to meet Denzel Washington on their outing, Matty doesn't even want to spend time with Ben. Ben worries that he doesn't even know his own son anymore after Paige drops by the apartment with Matty's stuff. They broke up, and Matty didn't tell him. But he did tell Carl. Ben crushes Matty's heart by not allowing him to go with Carl to Funk Fest, because it coincides with his Bugspo field trip, and is angry with Carl for not backing him up. When Matty belabors the issue later, Carl tells him that he couldn't get tickets. Stress over the I.R.S. makes Ben fume at Carl, who storms off after telling Ben that he's crazy. Alex and Nicole help Ben see that he should change his tune, and take Matty to Funk Fest himself, to help console him over the breakup. Ben returns to being the apple of his son's eye when they're at the event, then tries to one-up Carl -- or at least match him play-for-play -- by pulling Matty backstage, promising him that he'll get him in to see L.L. Cool J or Coolio. So he tries the same trick on the security guard that Carl used to get Matty to see Denzel. When it doesn't work, Ben sneaks Matty in backstage himself, getting them thrown out of Funk Fest in the process. Ben asks Matty why he didn't tell him about his breakup, and Matty says he just forgot, now that he's got a crush on someone else. Christy Putnam. And Ben's the first to know. On their way out, Ben and Matty bump into Carl and James. When James is able to take Matty backstage with the guard's approval, Carl confesses three things to Ben. One, his tickets didn't fall through, but he felt compelled to lie to Matty when Ben wouldn't let him go. Two, he has no trick for getting Matty into things; the cousins of all these famous people are clients in his firm. And three, as the uncle, he doesn't get the unconditional love that a father gets; he has to earn it. Ben makes him feel special by telling he means the world to Matty, and all is well.moreless
    • Eight and a Half Months
      It's Halloween, and Ben dresses up like one of the Pips in preparation for a big party he's throwing. A big party to which Alex happened to invite Maya Angelou, who's in town for a book-signing gig. Matty and his new hockey teammates -- who are all two years his senior -- go out to their own party, dressed as a hockey fight. Carl the pirate hits on all the uninterested women at Ben's party, while Nicole the genie fights off the advances of all the men interested in her. Alex and Angela are there, too, as Count Dracula and Xena the Warrior Princess, respectively. Ben never does get to see Maya Angelou (nor do we), but he does get to meet the lovely Kyra Lewis, who's dressed up like a pregnant Madonna. Ben falls head over heels, but his stomach turns flips and somersaults when Kyra goes to the publishing company in normal attire, and he sees the pregnancy thing was no costume. When the soon-to-be-single-mother realizes he didn't know she was eight and a half months along, she apologizes and plans to leave his life, but he asks her out anyway. Ben worries that Matty is crusing for a bruising being the only 12-year-old on a 14-year-old's hockey team, especially after his teammate, Hartek, roughhouses him and he starts looking worn-down. So he buys Matty a bunch of extra padding to make sure he can't get hurt. Or move. After she gets Ben to take her to a club, Kyra isn't too pregnant to shake her booty. Or too pregnant for the two of them to share a romantic kiss. But she is too pregnant to stop her water from breaking right on the dance floor. Ben rushes her to the emergency room, and bumps into Carl, who, coincidentally, had to take Matty in after he hurt his leg in practice. Ben makes Carl keep Kyra company while he checks on his son. Matty tells Ben that he wants to go back to his old team with his same-age teammates, and is relieved when Ben tells him that he's not a disappointment to him. Kyra has a baby boy, and Ben makes sure she knows that he's there for her if ever she needs anything.moreless
    • Sofa, So Good
      Sofa, So Good
      Episode 7
      Ben goes to a ritzy furniture store with Alex and Matty to buy a new lamp for Matty, and Ben becomes smitten with the saleslady there, Cheri. After Alex pushes him to ask her out and Matty wanders off, Ben tells Cheri that he's interested in buying a new sofa. It becomes clear that she's interested in him, too, when she offers him her 30% employee discount on an expensive, leather couch he likes. Matty is upset when Ben refuses to let him have a minibike, because they're dangerous, even though Weitzman's parents bought one for his brother, and are now giving it away. Nicole is crushed when she learns that Alex is going to marry his new, 21-year-old girlfriend, Courtney -- but she gets over it quick once Ben tells her that his date is handing out 30% discounts at a store which Nicole loves. So, when Ben and Nicole have their first date at Nicole's, Nicole sucks up by giving them 30% off the meal. It's a disaster, as Ben quickly realizes that Cheri has more balls than he does, and she never shuts up. She also has a complex about men, which proves quite the bitch after he recommends they not see each other anymore. Ben and Matty have an argument when Matty brings home the minibike anyway, without consulting him first. So Matty throws it up to Ben that he brought home the sofa without consulting him first. When the two patch things up later, Matty promises to bring the miniback back to the Weitzmans, but Ben refuses to do likewise and bring the sofa back to the store. Alex is furious when Ben announces that he broke up with Cheri (who's sending him threatening letters), and a sneaky Nicole tries to get him to mend ways with her. After Matty refuses to sit on the new sofa, Matty tearfully reminds him that he gave away mom's couch like it was nothing. Since Ben sold Sarah's sofa to Cheri's store, he's in a bit of bind when he tries to get it back from her. After she chews him out for dumping her, she regretfully tells him that someone else came in and bought it. Luckily for them both, that someone was James.moreless
    • Catcher on the Train
      Ben's birthday is coming up, and Matty knows just what to get him after Ben spots his favorite author, Samuel Lawrence, sharing a subway car with the Stevensons. Although Samuel wrote the most influential book of Ben's childhood, "Leaving the City," Ben can't bring himself to talk to the elderly writer, since Samuel has quite the reputation for being a recluse. Matty drags Weitzman along to the subway in hopes of running into Samuel again, so he can ask for the man's autograph. Ben is down about his second birthday without Sarah, and doesn't want the gang to throw him a party -- which they do anyway. Matty and Weitzman find Samuel, and Matty asks him to sign Ben's copy of his one and only book. Samuel wants money for the deed, but since the kids don't have enough, he agrees to do it in exchange for Matty's yo-yo. Ben is ecstatic when Matty gives him his gift, but it doesn't end there -- Matty brought home Samuel, as well. The Stevensons share a pizza with the guy, and Carl decides to avenge a "C-" he received in school by trying to get Samuel to look at a paper he wrote on "Leaving the City," to find out whether or not he deserved it. Unfortunately, Ben's birthday gets ruined when he tells the famous author that he's a publisher, and a volatile Samuel yells that publishers are the scum of the earth, forcing Ben to throw his boyhood hero out. But Samuel forgot his bag at the apartment, so Ben decides to do right and return to the subway to wait for Samuel in order to return it to him. Even though Samuel is a bitter, jaded, one-time author who's disowned his past and ultimately refuses to read Carl's paper, the two manage to work out their differences before Ben bids him adieu. And Ben realizes that he can have a happy birthday without Sarah.moreless
    • Boys' Night In
      Boys' Night In
      Episode 5
      Matty asks Ben if he and Weitzman can catch a train to a Blackhawks game -- in Detroit. The farthest Ben allows him to travel to see it is their living room sofa. Carl tells Ben that he broke up with Jeanette, and claims he's okay about it. But he isn't okay about it, so Ben helps him partake in his favorite post-breakup, pick-me-up activity: poker. Since he told Matty he's responsible enough to do a lot of grown-up things, if not go to Detroit, Ben agrees to let him, and not James, housesit while he goes over to Carl's for their late-night poker game -- which hurts James feelings when he finds out he doesn't get to babysit that night. After grilling him on what to do in emergency situations, Ben leaves, worried that he made a mistake. Carl, Ben, Alex and Nicole are joined by Carl's co-worker, Doug Baker, and the five of them settle in to play a little poker. Even with Ben's mind centered on Matty, he still manages to beat the cards off the others. Until Alex happens to ask Doug what kind of law he practices, and Doug mentions that the big money is in household accidents. That makes Ben repeatedly call Matty, but since Matty's talking to Weitzman on the phone, Ben can't get through. So he calls their neighbor, Mrs. Martin, and begs her to go over and check up on him. Ben irritates his poker buddies with his constant blabbering about Matty, and soon inadvertently succeeds in breaking the game up early. When it's down to just the two of them, Carl confides in Ben that he regrets breaking up with Jeanette, as he wants to be married. After a thunderstorm hits, Matty gets scared being alone, and calls up James to come spend time with him, since he didn't want his grandpa being all alone himself. When Ben gets home, he tells Matty he did a grown-up thing... but still won't let him go to Detroit. Meanwhile, Ben and Alex meet with eccentric author Jack Powers to discuss their plans for his new Gorillas in the Mist-esque book, "Among the Apes." Jack's been living among the apes for so long that he now acts like one.moreless
    • Epilogue to a Kiss
      Since Ben has never met Paige's parents, James suggests that he invite them over to the apartment for dinner -- a suggestion which sends Matty's jaw crashing to the floor. Ben has to promise that he won't embarrass him in front of them before Matty grudgingly agrees to it. Ben greets Paige and her parents, Gary and Carolyn Taylor, two very stiff, pretentious doctors. After providing a pseudo-intellectually unstimulating conversation, the Taylors have a conniption when Ben says that Matty and Paige excused themselves to play videogames in Matty's bedroom -- which is verboten in their uptight household. The night goes straight downhill after Ben announces that he saw Matty and Paige kiss. Since Ben wasn't disapproving, and wasn't around when it happened, Gary and Carolyn fly off the handle, break up the budding Romeo and Juliet, tell Ben off, and drag away an unhappy Paige, making an even more unhappy Matty mad at his father. Hoping to patch things up, Ben calls the Taylors later, expecting that the storm has calmed. But they're just as foul-tempered as they were at dinner, and they both forbid Paige from seeing Matty again. Ben turns to Alex and Nicole for support, but doesn't get it, since they both suspect more is going on than Matty's admitted to. Their comments make Ben wonder if maybe the Taylors didn't overreact -- especially after he learns for the first time that Carl got laid before he did. Gary comes over in a rage to inform Ben that Paige ran away. Before a panicked Ben can start looking for him, an even more panicked Matty calls home (behind Paige's back) to let Ben know where he is, so he can come to his rescue before Paige makes him run away with her. Ben calls the Taylors back, and the three of them rush to the bus station to stop the kids before they get on a bus to Cleveland. The Taylors are in for a rude awakening when they find out it was Paige's idea to run away; she didn't want to be apart from Matty. After the Taylors take her home, Matty tells Ben that he was having "feelings" with Paige that frightened him, and Ben responds that someday he'll be ready to handle them. The Taylors agree to let the kids see each other -- but only under constant supervision.moreless
    • Flirting with Disaster
      Carl introduces the family to his new girlfriend, Jeanette, who's a professional cellist. Ben enjoys her company, since she's not only a musician, which he wanted to be, but an aspiring writer, as well. Alex and Nicole, who came over to watch a Bears game, pull Ben aside long enough to alert him to the fact that he's flirting with Carl's girlfriend right in front of Carl. Which isn't a first for him. Ben swears his actions are innocent, but he's shocked the next day at work when Alex tells him that Jeanette was flirting back. Ben's revelation isn't helped by Carl asking him for a favor -- look at Jeanette's book. Fearing Alex was right, Ben refuses to at first, but eventually caves. Jeanette goes to Ben's office to see what he thought of her book. While he's trying to state his opinion, she gets shamefully close to him, cracks up over something he said that wasn't a joke, spills water on her chest, and has her blouse unbuttoned. But when Ben tells her that he gave her the wrong impression at his apartment, and he wasn't flirting with her, she blows up over his suspecting that she was coming on to him in return, and starts to storm off. However, after thinking it over, she realizes that maybe she was subconsciously flirting back because she wants to end her relationship with Carl. So she goes off to do just that. After she's gone, Ben goes to Carl's apartment, assuming that Jeanette did the deed, what, since Carl looks upset, and he said that Jeanette was there. Ben's then surprised to find Jeanette still there. She didn't break up with Carl after all, and wants to keep seeing him. Meanwhile, at Carl's recommendation, Matty decides to get something nice for Paige for their monthiversary. So he buys her a ceramic frog, to remind her of the one they dissected in biology. But before he can give it to her, she presents him with her gift -- the first note he ever passed in class. Oh, and an interactive Playstation, too. In a panic, he realizes he can't give her the frog alone. So he gives her the frog and a very expensive watch Ben bought him.moreless
    • Basketball Jones
      Basketball Jones
      Episode 2
      Ben and Alex wait at Nicole's to close an autobiography deal with basketball superstar Will Jones -- which makes Ben testy when the guy fails to show up on time, interfering with his plans to coach Matty's basketball team. Ben tries to bail on the dinner, but Alex and Nicole both force him to stay long enough for Will to arrive. After Ben tells Mr. Jones why he can't stay, Will asks Alex to reschedule; he wants to watch the game. Matty's team, the Home Court Pressers, are on a losing streak, no thanks to Matty's chubby friend, Weitzman. Ben agrees to let Will deliver their half-time pep talk -- unaware that he's going to give them a vitriolic "You suck, losers" speech. After Will breaks Ben's clipboard, announces that he's a bad coach, and sends the kids back on the court, an infuriated Ben blasts him for ruining the team's self-esteem, since he had spent all season boasting that losers always win. But Will's speech pushes the kids to their very first win, and Ben feels useless when they all start cheering on Will, while ignoring everything Ben taught them. The next day at work, Ben ruins Alex's day by saying that he killed the book deal. But when Will shows up at the company demanding an apology from Ben, and Ben refuses to give him one, Will hugs him, and excitedly says that he's exactly the kind of person he wants selling his book -- the kind with the "killer instinct." Like Ben's team. Ben begins to see how destructive having that instinct can be after Matty becomes a very sore winner at Monopoly. Moralistic Ben doesn't even want to put out Will's book, now that the guy is Matty's hero. Certainly not after Matty asks him to cut four people from the team, starting with Weitzman. So Ben tells Alex he doesn't want to publish Will's book, to which Alex replies that he'll publish it without him then. But Alex regretfully changes his tune to Will's face, and they both pass on the book. Ben goes back to coaching, and puts the ball in Matty's court in regards to Weitzman. Matty can't do it, realizing that winning isn't everything after all.moreless
    • Pilot (a.k.a. Square One)
      Even though he specifically asked them not to fix him up, Nicole and Carl do just that, and hit him with a surprise blind date at the restaurant Nicole runs, Nicole's. The lucky woman, Cindy Pruitt, gets herself so choked up over hearing about the death of Ben's wife of 18 years, Sarah, that she runs off mid-date in tears -- which is fine with Ben. He comes home to witness Matty kissing his lab partner, Paige, without either of them seeing him. So he pretends like he saw nothing, and tries to get Matty to admit to him what happened, to no avail. Nicole goes down to Ben's publishing company, the Home Court Press, to apologize for the bad date, but when she and Alex each want to fix him up again, Ben asks them to lay off, because he wants to find someone himself. Like, perhaps Elizabeth who works upstairs. Ben has no idea how to ask her out, but he finds himself one step closer when her elevator gets off at his stop. Ben nervously prepares for his first date in 20 years, wondering what to talk about with Elizabeth, but he knows there are no easy answers when James, a widower himself, doesn't have any good advice. With help from one of Carl's borrowed stories, Ben thinks the date was smooth sailing, and decides to ask Elizabeth out on a second one this weekend. But when she makes excuses, he assumes he struck out. Yet, she shocks him by calling him back later, asking him for that second date on a worknight. At his place. With Carl, James and Matty all elsewhere, Ben makes the apartment tres romantic for Elizabeth's grand arrival. She starts things off by kissing him, then turns on some piano music, and makes a pass at him. An even more nervous Ben fends off her advances, and tells her he's not ready to have sex with her yet. She then admits that the reason she can't see him on weekends is because she's married. That kills the mood and ends the affair, but Ben thanks her for showing him a good time, if nothing else. Matty finally admits to Ben that he and Paige kissed.moreless