The Pinewood Derby is a long-standing, father-son tradition. So when Marty finds out that Max already built a car with his grandfather Dominick’s help, he’s pretty bummed out. And then he finds out that Debbie’s been cleaning up Marty’s home improvement disasters with Dominick’s help as well. With Marty’s masculinity in question, he takes his family camping to prove he’s a man’s man like his dad was. He also invites the Bird-Kersees -- he wants witnesses of his manliness.
Larry accepts the invite with little prodding; Reggie’s nuts about texting with Gisele and Dick is obsessed with the toaster lately, so Larry’s excited to sever the kids’ bond with technology.
The little hiccup here, of course, is that Marty isn’t very good at doing anything out in the wild.
Dominick: I bet even your boyfriend President Osama is handier than you are, and he went to Harvard. Supposedly.
Marty: Dad, you have to stop reading those emails.
Marty: We turned to my dad for everything. This family turns to me for nothing. Last time I tried to send Abby to her room she giggled and poked my belly.
(Everyone’s in the Bird-Kersees’ living room)
Larry: I don’t understand. A weekend of primitive shelter and no basic comforts? Just sounds like life around here.
Jackie: Yes, isn’t this camping?
Marty: Guys, this is the lap of luxury compared to what most people have.
Larry: Whatever you have to tell yourself.
Amber: Tell me again why living like homeless people is considered a vacation?
Abby: Daddy, isn’t camping scary? I mean, you’re outside with spiders, bears and snakes.
Marty: That’s why Daddy bought a headlamp.
Abby (to Debbie): I have some concerns.
Without his phone to text every last detail of his trip to Gisele, Reggie’s keeping a journal so he can catch her up later. Amber finally wrangles him to hang out a little, it’s clear that these two still have feelings for one another -- though neither acts on them.
So what about Marty’s screw-ups? Like she does at home, Debbie’s fixing them behind Marty’s back. But when her cover’s blown, Marty feels even less manly than before.
But that all changes when a bear wanders into their campsite. Marty performs like a champ, shooing it away and protecting the family. Especially in relation to Larry Bird, who pretty much just ran away immediately.
Marty: Come on guys, no more of this junk. We are not eating anything this weekend that I’m not catching with these bad boys. (He holds up the fishing poles)
Amber: Aww. It’ll be Abby’s first diet.
Amber: Swimming’s just fun.
Reggie: Hmmm…no thanks. I’d rather paper text.
Amber: Paper texting is not a thing! You’re just writing a letter!
(She walks off)
Reggie (writing in the journal): “Think Amber preparing to menstruate. LOL. Winky face.”
Amber: There are two kinds of people in this world. The kind who blow off everyone the minute they get a boyfriend or girlfriend, and the cool kind.
Jackie: You all look so cozy. Dick, are you sure you want to sleep with the Weaver kids?
Dick: Oh yes. I’m looking forward to smelling the humans’ sleep breath.
Max: And I’m out.