|The Trouble with Danny|
|Season 5, episode 22|
|Air date||March 17, 1992|
|Writer(s)||Ellen Guylas & David Pollock|
|Previous||Yours, Mine and Ours|
|Next||Five's a Crowd|
As he prepares for the annual spring cleaning, Danny gives Michelle her very own cleaning belt, and he has a secret for her...D.J. and Stephanie have never appreciated the beauty of tidiness, but Michelle can help her father take the tradition of Tanner cleanliness into the 21st century. He intends to turn her into a "lean, mean, cleaning machine" just like him.
Spring cleaning is one of Danny's favorite times of the year, but this year he is overdoing it worse than ever. Everyone, except for Michelle and Danny, gathers in D.J.'s bedroom for a meeting about this, and some hurtful things are said about Danny. What they do not know is that Danny is in D.J.'s closet installing shelf paper, and overhears the whole meeting.
This causes him, without the family's knowledge, to pack up and head for the mountains, where he meets and rides a donkey named Norman, with whom he communicates about his family's hatred of the annual spring-cleaning ritual.
When he returns, the family tries to hug him, but noticing he was in the wilderness, they just wave the odors out and back away from him, thinking he smells like a donkey. When that's done, Danny tries to be as sloppy as he can, but then slips up and mentions something that he heard Joey say during the meeting, and Danny is forced to admit that he was in the closet at the time of the meeting. The family apologizes for hurting Danny, and he admits that he needs to find a balance between clean and dirty instead of going too far in either direction—and so does Michelle.
He starts his balance by taking Joey's bag of potato chips, munching on them, and leaving a trail of crumbs on his way to the kitchen. When everyone goes follows him, they find him drinking out of the milk carton, and then using the bottle of chocolate syrup to make a happy face on the fridge door. And even more surprising, he asks the family to eat milk chocolate chip ice cream out of the carton (the Breyer's name edited out to avoid product placement) just like he drank the milk! Kimmy, who stops by, also joins in with Michelle, but the rest of the family just watches speechlessly, realizing that if they joined in, they'd get sick (from Danny's germs).
That night in her and Stephanie's room (as inspirational music plays), Danny mentions to Michelle what he talked about to the family, in that he wants her to be more like her sisters than him... and by that, he does not mean dirty, he means to be herself. He also reminds her of an old proverb: "Too much of a good thing can be a bad thing", and in this case, him being a "neat freak" all the time turned out to be a bad thing—not just to him, but to the entire family. To that end, Michelle decides to sleep with all her stuffed animals, and he lets her do that, but only if she sleeps in her own bed. She does get in her own bed and he tosses all her stuffed animals her way (as the audience applauds).
Kimmy: What's wrong with you people? How can you get this house any cleaner? It's already the cleanest house in America.
Jesse: For the first time, Gibbler actually is makin' some sense.
Kimmy: Had to happen sometime.
Danny: What an eye opener. [to Norman the donkey] You should've been in that closet with me. The people I love most in the world think I'm nothin' but a compulsive, neurotic, ramblin' jackass. No offense. [Norman makes a certain movement, which seems to mean 'None taken'] How did I get so messed up? Guess it goes back to my mom. On my fifth birthday, she gave me my own set of vacuum cleaner attachments. She used to call me her special helper. Oh, my God ... that’s exactly what I’m doin’ to Michelle. She’s probably gonna grow up and write one of those tell-all books, Daddy Cleanest. I gotta make some changes in my life.
Danny: You know, maybe I went too far the other way. I got to find a balance between Captain Clean and Sergeant Sludge.
Stephanie: And could you help Michelle find a balance? Today, she made my bed—and I was still in it.
- The last time Danny is seen as a neat-freak
- The only time Michelle acts completely like a neat-freak
- The second episode to have Danny's "Christmas" (spring cleaning); the first was in "Goodbye Mr. Bear" (season 2)
- In the scene where Danny is on the hill thinking about his life while riding Norman, he mentions his mom (last appearing in season 3's "Granny Tanny"), who apparently is revealed to have been a total neat freak (whom Danny takes after)