Hal gets a devastating phone call that his father has died, but because he never knew his father well and the way he and the rest of his relatives mistreat Lois over the years, he does not shed a tear. So instead of caring about his father's recent death, his biggest concern is that his sons will feel the same way when he dies. So he makes sure they will love him forever, by spoiling them with buying unnecessary and overpriced things, letting them miss school, having the break the rules, etc.
The Wilkerson family is fussing over a bunch of coupons for pizza, while Hal is on the phone with the restaurant. Due to them being a very poor family, they are unable to order what they want from the restaurant, without using a bunch of coupons. This leads to a ton of confusion and so they haggle with the guy on the phone and try to make some kind of over complicated compromise. Another person calls them on the phone while this is happening and when Hal addresses it, he hears that his father, has died, much to his shock.
The next day, The Wilkerson Family go to his funeral but nobody seems to care about it because none of them knew his father. Even Hal is completely indifferent to his death. When Hal comes back home, he immediately goes into his room and starts watching TV, not even thinking about his father's death. This concerns with Lois, who is pretty thrown off by the fact that he doesn't care about this. She asks Hal why he is so laid-back with the fact that his own father has just died and he says that it was because his father was very uninvolved in his life and he never had any memories of him or reasons to like him or even care about his existence. She tries to convince him that he has at least some negative emotions for his death, but she finds nothing. That night, Hal has a dream where he's dead and at his open casket funeral. He dreams that Malcolm, Reese, and Dewey are at his funeral and they care for his death just as little as he did to his father. His dream gets taken to extremes when the boys start making fun of him, drawing on his face and manipulating his body, just making a bunch of jokes about him and not even remembering who it was that died. He wakes up from his dream and he takes this dream as a message, saying that he needs to make sure that he doesn't do to his boys that his father did to him. He decides to spend way more time with his children, having tons of fun and making good memories in order to leave a good impression of him on them so that they will miss him when he dies.
The next day, he comes into the boys' room and he lets them skip school, (unbeknownst to Lois) and takes them to the mall, buying every single overpriced, meaningless thing that they boys want and letting them all have a bunch of fun and he returns home with the boys, just in the nick of time. Lois is entirely unaware of what they were doing, because all day, she was too preoccupied with trying to see how she could make Hal realize what a horrible loss it was that he's experiencing. At the end of the day, Hal asks the boys if they would miss them if he died, and they all raise their hands, excitedly. Malcolm starts to get suspicious when he asks this. The next day, Hal again takes them on another crazy adventure, doing a ton of fun stuff instead of going to school and Malcolm figures out exactly what's going on. He explains it to Dewey and Reese and they take full advantage of it. The next day, Reese and Dewey act like they don't remember a single thing about what Hal did to them yesterday and pretend to lose care in their father. Hal freaks out and only tries even harder to make them remember them, by putting them up to even more fun and exciting shenanigans. Malcolm realizes that what's happening is wrong and refuses to continue letting himself do this with his dad. He goes to school and tries ignoring the whole thing.
Meanwhile, Lois is still working on getting Hal to feel sad about his father, so she invites Abe over to help. He thinks that a phone call from Leonard Nimoy, a cast member of Star Trek: the Original Series will cheer him up. Instead, George Takei calls up in his place. When Hal realizes that Malcolm is not enjoying anything that he's doing, he sees this as one of his kids starting to not care about him and so he keeps trying to do something about it.
Malcolm doesn't want to mention that he knows what's going on, and tries to stop him by just telling him to, which of course, doesn't work. When Hal tells him that he'll be getting him a new car, he becomes overjoyed and is unable to try and stop him. They go to the dealership store and when Hal is asked to sign his name in agreement to get Malcolm his car, he starts to remember things about his father. He remembers that although they were minor and didn't have any significance, he had some good memories of his father. Malcolm keeps pressuring him to sign off on getting him his car, but Hal completely loses control and starts bursting into tears, finally crying over the death of his father, putting an end to Malcolm's chances of getting a car.
- Bryan Cranston was nominated for an Emmy for an outstanding performance in this episode.
- Hal's father, Walter Wilkerson dies in this episode.
- Leonard Nimoy and George Takei make guest appearances in this episode, with Leonard's voice being heard over the phone and George Takei showing up at the door at the end of the episode.
- Malcolm's need for having a car in this episode is revisited (Malcolm's Car).
- This is the only episode of the series directed by Christopher Kennedy Masterson.
- Although he directed the episode, his character did not actually appear.
- Jamie has a non-speaking cameo in this episode, with his only appearance being seen, coming home after going to Walter's funeral.
- Come on Feel the Noize by Quiet Riot plays during the montage of Hal and the boys partying.
- The rest of the family say that they've never met Hal's father, despite the fact that they did in the episode Family Reunion.