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Episode 217: A New Leaf

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Air Date February 5, 1992
Written by Rob Ulin
Director Mark Brull
Roy Hess and his coworkers enjoy "the plant"
The Sinclair family at their lowest
Robbie implores the viewing audience to help put an end to "preachy sitcom endings"

Following a fierce argument with Earl, Robbie storms out of the house to meet Spike and discovers an appealing leaf that when ingested makes them both effusively happy. Upon returning home, Earl is surprised to find Robbie in such an elated state until he samples some of Robbie's leaves. Expecting to find father and son at war, Fran is puzzled when she discovers Earl and Robbie arm in arm. Suspicious of the tantalizing leaves, Fran exhibits cautious restraint and becomes increasingly concerned when her family happily decides to remain at home rather than go to work or school. Earl's lack of concern after discovering he's been fired forces Fran, who refuses to become co-dependent, to abscond from the house and leave a delirious Earl, Robbie and Charlene to hopelessly fend for themselves. Having run out of leaves, they are forced to recognize what they've become, but Spike tests their resolve when he uncovers fresh leaves. Will they choose their lives or the mysterious plant?


Robbie's head spikes have grown, and Earl wants to cut his spikes. Robbie doesn't want them cut, and, after an argument with Earl, leaves the house. Robbie and Spike find some plants that they haven't seen before, and after eating them, they become unusually happy.

Robbie soon comes home, bringing the happy plant home. He makes up with Earl, and gives him some of the plant, making Earl happy as well. Fran is pleased to see that Earl and Robbie have made up. Earl brings some of the plant to work to share with his co-workers and B.P. Richfield. Since Earl is late, Richfield fires Earl, making it the happiest day of his life.

At home, Earl, Robbie, and Charlene (who has tried the plant by now) start to foolishly wonder things, like why numerical systems are based on ten if they have eight fingers, and whether they are being watched on TV. The Baby, who hasn't had any of the plant, starts to get very hungry, as the others ignore him. Fran comes home surprised that Robbie and Charlene aren't at school and Earl isn't at work. She informs them that she couldn't afford groceries becasue there wasn't any money in the account, and finds out that Earl had been fired and that they ate all of the food. Fran starst to think that the happy plant isn't such a good thing, and drags Earl to work to get him his job back, only to find that Mr. Richfield had eaten some of the plant by now, and lives life like a hippy. Richfield decides to make Earl his assistant, but then he gets a phone call, informing him that he's fired.

At home, Fran decides to stay at Monica's house, and takes the Baby with her, choosing not to come back home until they stoped eating the plant. Soon, the side effects start to wear off, and they start to feel bad. They go back to the forrest to get some more plants, but then they find Spike, and after realizing how foolish he looks from eating the plant, choose to give up the plant, and Fran burns the plants.

Then, the show wraps up, as Robbie talks to the audience about the dangers of drugs, and how when most sitcoms have anti-drug shows, they are too serious. Robbie tells the viewers to not do drugs, and help put an end to preachy sitcom endings like this one.

Guest Stars


  • Taped on November 24, 1991.
  • Leif Tilden and Bill Barretta receive choreography credit for Earl and Robbie's dance scene, "It's a Most Unusual Day."
  • For the instant streaming release of the episode on Netflix, the "Purple Haze" scene is altered. The song is removed and replaced with Richfield (played by a different voice actor) singing "I'm a Happy Guy."

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