Should a spouse support his or her partner unconditionally?
Such was the debate between Mike (Michael J. Fox) and Annie (Betsy Brandt) in “Teammates,” Thursday’s (Oct. 24) episode of NBC’s “The Michael J. Fox Show,” resulting from Annie calling out a neighbor who pushed his way into their apartment building’s elevator before they could get out.
The neighbor later cold-shoulders the eager-to-please Mike — inspiring Mike to try to make amends by telling him Annie was “off her meds” during the elevator showdown. Annie then is surprised when the man greets her warmly, expressing compassion for her “bipolar disorder.”
Mike doesn’t choose the most advisable words by explaining to her, “I was just trying to clean up your … .” And a mildly furious Annie finishes his sentence with, “Mess!,” leading Mike to tell her she’s sometimes “a little hard on people, and I have to smooth things over from time to time.”
Dismayed to learn Mike also has done that before, Annie posits, “One could argue that I am all that stands between civilized society and chaos,” prompting Mike to compare her to Batman. She stresses, “We’re supposed to be a team,” but he wades into even deeper water by suggesting he doesn’t have to agree “when I think you’re wrong.”
And thus, the button that really launches Annie is pushed. “It’s good for me to know that we no longer have to get each other’s backs,” she declares. “Good, good, good, good, good.”
She also evens the score by telling Eve (Juliette Goglia) she can attend a concert Mike doesn’t want her to go to, after Annie had backed him up earlier. And it gets worse for Mike: Annie torpedoes the notion she’s ill, the excuse he’s been using to get out of a Karaoke Night planned by Harris (Wendell Pierce).
At the event, Annie shows she enjoys karaoke by getting up and performing — not exactly on key — Pat Benatar‘s “Hit Me With Your Best Shot,” then Lionel Richie‘s “All Night Long.” Mike decides he wants “to have Annie’s back the way she’s had mine all these years”; he tries to push “oldest intern” Doug (Jason Kravits) off the stage to sing back-up for her, but eventually determines Doug is better-suited to the job.
Annie ultimately concedes to Mike that she “may have gone a little too far with the guy in the elevator,” but she also admits she loves confrontation. And she and Mike agree to her suggestion that they both “stick to what we do best” … which she reaffirms by telling the elevator guy to “suck it” upon their return home.
Mike’s closing words of wisdom liken a family to a team. “You may not win every game,” he reasons, “but no matter what happens, you go through it together.”