|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 (started nine years after this episode was produced). He intends to turn her into a "lean, mean, cleaning machine" just like him.
Spring cleaning is Danny's favorite time of the year, but this year, he is overdoing it even more than ever.
After gathering the "troops" in the kitchen, the "General" assigns an area to each family member, with Michelle being his "special helper". After they get their assignments the "troops" sound off (see Quotes).
After all the cleaning is done and over with, 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, including D.J. remarking that they turned "sweet, little Michelle" into a "junior neat freak", and Jesse remarking if she cares if the chimney is clean, to which she replies, "Yes I do and so does Santa Claus." 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 rest of his 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, which he says went back to his mom (Claire – see Trivia). He says that when he turned 5 years old, she gave him his own vacuum cleaner attachment set, and called him her "special helper". This, in turn, caused him to do the same to Michelle, and he realizes that he has to make some changes in his life (see Quotes). He notes that "this is the dawn of a new man".
Back home, Jesse and Becky try to teach Nicky and Alex how to crawl. Jesse makes it even more interesting by turning it into a race. Only problem is, while he's moving, they're not. Without warning, the twins start crawling right before everyone's eyes, just as the girls announce that Danny's back.
When he enters, 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 is done, Danny tries to be as sloppy as he can. He starts by taking Joey's bag of potato chips, munching on them, and leaving a trail of crumbs on his way to the kitchen, to which Stephanie can only remark, "Who the heck is that guy?"
When everyone follows him, they find him drinking out of the milk carton, and then asking the family to eat mint chocolate chip ice cream out of the carton, 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 would get sick (from Danny's germs).
Eventually, Danny slips up and mentions something that he heard Joey say during the meeting. When Danny adds to his finding a balance by trying to mess up his room a little, Joey asks him what he meant back in the kitchen. Danny initially says that he does not know, and Joey calls him out on it: “Yes, you do. You heard me say it”.
He then heads up to his room, and starts disorganizing everything (or, in his words, "unorganizing"), from his closet to his bed, and even dumping the box of baking soda from his sock drawer down on the floor. When the family sees what he is doing, they all remark that they do not like "the new Danny" and would rather have "the old Danny" back, as he is what keeps the family running with nine people living in the house now.
With that, 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. Stephanie mentions such, as she pointed out that Michelle was still making her bed (as in D.J.'s old bed), and she was still in it! Danny holds true to his promise to balance himself, and Jesse asks him to go take a shower.
That night in her and Stephanie's room, as they sit on Stephanie's (neat) bed 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.
["General" Danny has gathered the "troops" into the kitchen, including Becky for the first time. He puts Post-It notes on their clothing that show what area(s) each member is responsible for cleaning.]
Danny: Each area of responsibility has been personally selected to reflect the strengths and abilities of each member of the cleaning crew.
Joey: Oh, man! I got toilets again?
Jesse: Well, who knows them better than you, really?
Michelle: What's my job, daddy?
Danny: What's your job? You're daddy's special helper. [He kisses her.]
Michelle: I'm daddy's special helper.
Stephanie: Well, pin a rose on your nose.
Danny: OK, troops, dirt is the enemy. Get out there and make me proud.
Michelle: On your mark, get set, clean!
[The "troops", sans Michelle and Danny, sound off as they march off.]
Joey: [singing] Grab your Brillo and your broom!
All: [singing] Grab your Brillo and your broom!
Joey: [singing] Danny is a Looney-Tune.
All: [singing] Danny is a Looney-Tune.
Joey: Sound off!
[Fades to next scene with everyone cleaning]
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)