|Michelle a la Carte|
|Season 7, episode 20|
|Air date||March 15, 1994|
|Previous||Love on the Rocks|
|Next||Be Your Own Best Friend|
Stephanie gets a broken arm after slipping on a discarded slice of pizza in the parking lot outside a skating rink. As Danny guides her in through the front door, D.J. brings Alex and Nicky into the living room, and the boys notice the "big boo-boo". D.J. jokes that if anyone asks, Stephanie should say that she missed the landing on a triple-toe loop. Danny suggests she change her pants if she's going to stick with that story (as the camera zooms out to reveal a big red triangle on her jeans [pizza sauce]), as she heads upstairs.
As they're working on her car, Kenny comes back to insult Michelle again, making comments about how girls should not be doing things like entering a soapbox derby race. When Becky demonstrates the car and tries to prove otherwise, the front left wheel falls off. And due to those comments, Michelle feels like dropping out of the race (much to the studio audience's groans).
Elsewhere, D.J. and Steve Hale decide to try to give friendship a try after their recent breakup, but all he wants is his CD back.
Meanwhile, as Stephanie works to regain her strength following her accident (see Opening Teaser), she gives Joey ballet lessons as a way to help him improve his skills in ice hockey. During the lessons, he ends up accidentally ripping the seat of his pants. Luckily, by practicing over and over, he gets really good at it, and, after he gives Michelle back the tape he borrowed from her (see Trivia), Jesse and Danny apologize to him for making fun of his wanting to learn ballet.
Feeling guilty about what they had said, Jesse and Danny also apologize to Michelle (saying that sometimes people make a joke, but don't realize they're sending out a bad message) before encouraging her to not give up.
Becky reminds her (as the inspirational music plays) that being a girl makes her special. She also adds that she can be a good mechanic and build just as good a car as the guys can. And Michelle agrees, as they hug (and the audience lets out an "Aw"). So they get to work on putting the finishing touches on her car.
The day of the race, Michelle has butterflies. But the rest of the family (sans Joey and the twins) show up for her support.
The elimination/quarterfinal heats soon begin, and she makes it past that stage. She then makes it to the semifinals (which her friend Denise also makes it to, and stays around for the rest of the race), and then the finals. In the final race, it's Michelle against Kenny, who has never lost a race. Denise, who lost to Kenny in the semifinals, tells Michelle to give him "No mercy."
After a pep talk from the rest of the family, and despite being behind midway through per D.J. (her words of "She's behind!" can barely be heard through the roaring crowd), Michelle races past Kenny, and wins the championship "by a rose" (hence the rose that she took from Becky's bouquet and placed at the hood of her car; see "Trivia" below). After the race, all Kenny can muster to Michelle is a simple "Congratulations", as he walks away, head hung low, and his perfect streak finally broken and put to a stop dead in its tracks (no pun intended). Everyone runs out onto the track to celebrate Michelle's victory near her car at the finish line, as she hoists her trophy (and the applause from both the crowd and audience continue as the camera zooms out and the EP credits appear).
[After hearing that Becky is going to help Michelle build a soapbox car...]
Kenny: [to Michelle] Excuse me? Did I hear right? You're gonna let a girl help you?
Denise: And what's wrong with that?
Kenny: Everyone knows that girls don't have 'car brains'. They have 'Barbie-doll brains'.
Michelle: Barbie has a Corvette.
Kenny: Yeah, but Ken built it! [He laughs and walks away.]
[Danny and Jesse peek in on Joey's ballet lessons with Stephanie.]
Danny: Last time I saw Joey bend over that far was when an Oreo rolled under the couch.
Stephanie: OK, I think we're ready for the bar exercise.
Jesse: I'm ready for the barf bag.
Stephanie: [to Joey with a smile, after seeing how well he’s doing with his ballet lessons] Somebody’s been practicing.
Joey: Thank you for noticing. Steph, I just imagined myself as a squirrel on the first day of spring, gathering nuts.
The music from Michelle's tape is "The Dance of the Reed Flutes" (also "The Dance of the Mirlitons") from The Nutcracker ballet, composed by Peter Ilych Tchaikovsky, and based on the story "The Nutcracker and the Mouse King" by E.T.A. Hoffman.
The announcer's "by a rose" remark is a play on "by a nose", which means a close finish. To illustrate this, the camera freezes "instant-replay" style at the exact point when both cars are about to reach the finish line, but Michelle crosses first.