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Face off

Spelling Bee My Baby

Season: 9 Episode: 14
Total Episode Count: 147
Prod. no.: 7AJN13
First Aired: March 24, 2013

Featuring: Francine Smith, Steve Smith
Also Appearing: Roger, Hayley, Stan, Klaus, Akiko, Toshi, Mrs. Yoshida, Jeff Fischer, Principal Lewis, Mah Mah Ling, Bah Bah Ling, Greg Corbin, Terry Bates, Libby, Nathan, Dennis, Robby, Pam Deakins, Marty Nipples, Brigid Hendricks, Beetman, Brett
Musical Numbers: Over the Rainbow

Director: Rodney Clouden
Assistant Director: Chris Robertson
Writers: Lesley Wake Webster
Storyboarders: Erik Kuska, Rudi Berden

Roger's Disguise: Mexican waiter from "A Piñata Named Desire"

Plot: When Steve and his mother come over to invite Toshi out, they find Mrs. Yoshida tasking the kids with music lessons to get them into a good college as she insults Steve and Francine. Francine finds that Greg and Terry share Mrs. Yoshida's skepticism and frantically tries to find a talent that Steve is good at. Failing, she finds that Steve is good at spelling when she tries to remember a password. After Steve wins the Pearl Bailey High School spelling bee, Akiko flirts with Steve while Francine brags to Mrs. Yoshida who points out that Akiko would destroy Steve in a match. Francine cracks down on Steve's recreation time to get him ready for the bee. Frustrated, Steve sneaks out and bumps into Akiko who is hiding as well and they share a kiss. They win their respective matches and meet in the Nationals. Akiko wants Steve to sneak out just before the Nationals, but Francine suspects foul play and forbids Steve to go out at first until Steve threatens to quit the competition and she gives in. When Steve gets there, he finds a note from Akiko that shoots him down and he goes crying for home. Francine gets him to practice his spelling to toughen up to beat Akiko in revenge, but Francine reveals later that she has Akiko captive in the basement and forged the note.

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On the big day, Akiko is discovered after she logs in through a video game that Francine left her and freed by her mother who rushes her to the match. Akiko tries to explain but Steve won't hear it and she becomes determined to beat him. In private, the mothers face off using Oriental weapons from the Smithsonian's collections and Mrs. Yoshida brags that she can't be beaten because she is Asian, but pauses when she finds out that Francine was raised Chinese. They fight until Francine's father tells them that the two kids are the only ones left. Akiko misses a word but Steve, seeing Akiko's mother rip into her for misspelling a word, muffs his word intentionally to keep Akiko in the match due to not wanting to ruin Akiko's chance of getting into college as Francine admits that she kidnapped Akiko. As Akiko hears their conversation of Steve's sacrifice for her, throws her word as well. They both misspell words to keep from winning as the night goes on. The moms both admit they have good kids but start to fight again.

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Meanwhile, Stan and Roger play an intense game of badminton, but when Steve is dragged off by Francine they need a line judge. They consider Hayley, but in denial, she is convinced she needs to prepare for Jeff's return. They decide to rush her through the five stages of grief so she can get her mind into their game. Roger manages to get Hayley into anger at the price of being beaten. Skipping bargaining, Roger gets her into depression by playing a slide show in Jeff's memory. After a near-death experience, Hayley accepts that Jeff is gone but still blames Roger and Stan and takes their shuttlecock, forcing Roger through the five stages of grief himself. As Stan ponders if Roger is finished, Roger tells him that his species has six stages and kicks him in the crotch. As Stan lies writhing in pain, Roger points out that wasn't the sixth stage.

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