Man With a Plan – Operation False Freedom
By: Julie Mante
When Andi (Liza Snyder) and Adam (Matt LeBlanc) meet with Emme (Hala Finley)’s kindergarten teacher Mrs. Rodriguez (Dianna Maria Riva) for the end of the year conference, Andi is surprised to hear that her daughter had an incident with a student named Leo. Adam is in a hurry to leave so Andi does not find out about it. When Andi pushes Adam for an explanation, he tells her that last month this older kid named Leo was picking on Emme so he advised her to pick on him too. Emme called Leo “lazy bones.” Andi does not understand what the big deal is until she realizes that Leo uses a wheelchair. Adam is quick to say that his situation is not permanent. He is only using the chair because his leg is broken. After Adam and Andi finish Teddy (Matthew McCann)’s conference, Andi notices that the school library is closed. She is confused because their eldest daughter Kate (Grace Kaufman) said she would be studying there today. Andi is worried because Kate knows that she has to check in with them if her plans change. When Andi texts Kate, her daughter tells her that she is at the library and she is almost finished with her homework. Adam and Andi are furious that Kate lied and are anxious to confront her when she returns home.
When Kate returns her parents are calm at first, but when she repeats her story of studying at the library Andi confronts her. She knows that Kate was not at the library because it was closed. Kate is annoyed that her parents are hovering over her every move. She’s fourteen years old and wants to be treated like an adult. When they ask her again about her whereabouts, she stuns them by saying that she was actually at the public library, not the school library. Adam lies and tells her that he and Andi went there to look for her, but Kate knows they are lying. She asks them if they checked the first and second floors of the library and Andi says that they checked both. The library only has one floor so Kate knows that they did not look for her there. Although they are embarrassed, Andi and Adam decide to let the incident go.
Adam and Andi believe Kate is lying, but they have no way to prove it. Adam feels if they find some way to look at her cell phone, they will learn the truth. Andi feels it is wrong to invade Kate’s privacy, but Adam still feels they should check her phone. Andi disagrees and thinks they should give Kate space and let her learn from mistakes which makes Adam scoffs. Lowell (Matt Cook) stops by to drop off artwork that Emme left at school. When Andi asks Lowell what he thinks about looking at his daughters’ phones without their permission, he replies he would be put a GPS microchip inside his daughters’ bodies if he could. Adam uses Lowell’s words to back up his idea and as proof that he is not that crazy. Adam thinks it is wrong for Kate to lie to them. She has to know that her parents are smarter than her. As a compromise, Andi agrees not to look inside the phone but to install a tracking app into the phone so they will know where Kate is. Adam agrees. When Adam suggests that they should put a tracking app on their own phones, he is surprised to learn that Andi already has one on his phone.
At night, Andi and Adam plan to sneak into Kate’s room so they can take her phone to install the tracking app. When they open the door, Adam grabs the phone and hands it to Andi. As they attempt to leave, Kate wakes up and asks them why Andi is holding her cell phone. Adam pretends that he could not find his phone so they are using Kate’s so he can call it to find it. When she asks him why he could not use Andi’s phone, he says that her’s is missing too. Andi hands the phone back to Kate and tells her to go back to sleep. When they close Kate’s door, Adam tells her that was a disaster. Andi reveals that while Adam was distracting Kate, Andi was able to turn on the tracking device. Adam is excited that their crazy plan worked.
The next day, Adam and Andi are excited to see what Kate is up to. Kate had told them that she would be hanging out with her friend Mandy working on a school project. The tracker says that Kate is currently at Mick’s Ale House. Stunned that their underage daughter is hanging out at a bar during school hours, Andi and Adam race there to confront Kate. When they see Kate sitting at the bar, Adam and Andi approach her but it turns out to be a stranger. They are surprised to find Adam’s older brother Don (Kevin Nealon) at the bar. Adam and Andi realize that Kate figured out what they did and switched her phone with her uncle’s. Frustrated, Andi decides to check Kate’s phone to find out where she is. They find out that Kate, Mandy and other friends are hanging out at Beacon Street Coffee. When they get to the coffee shop, Andi is confused why Kate would lie about an innocent gathering with her friends. Adam suggests that Kate lied because she is so desperate for freedom that she felt that she need to lie so she can have a little control over life.
Despite having an epiphany about Kate’s feelings, Adam is ready to storm into the coffee shop and bust her, but Andi holds him back. Adam counters back that despite understanding where is daughter is coming from, she still sent them on a wild goose chase trying to find her and they cannot let her think that she is in charge. They are her parents and she must know they are smarter than her at all times. Andi assures him that they will find a way to deal with Kate without embarrassing her in front of her friends so they go back home. At home, Adam suggests they act nonchalant when Kate returns home. Adam wants her to sweat while they do not ask her any questions on how she spent her day. Andi is worried that Kate will like it and continue to lie to them. Adam feels they need to change the rules because Kate knows how they behave and he is convinced that she will be shocked if they act indifferent to her actions.
When Kate comes home, her parents are on the couch reading. She apologizes for coming home late, but Adam does not seem to care. Kate is surprised that her parents are not asking her a million questions about why she was late or what she did that day. It seems like Adam’s plan is working. Kate asks her parents why they are not asking her any questions and they repeat her old words back at her. She’s fourteen years old and they do not need to know her every move. Kate is stunned and wants to know why her parents are acting weird. When she tries to ask again, Adam tells her to keep it down because they are reading. Kate freaks out about their behavior and reveals that she was not at Mandy’s house. Adam and Andi pretend to be surprised. Kate admits she is confused, but she does not like her parents being hands-off. Andi points that Kate did not like them hovering, but now she does not like them uninterested in her activities. Adam tells Kate that they will give her more freedom if she agrees to be honest about what she is doing. If she ever feels unsafe or wants to leave, Adam tells her that she can call them at any time. He hands Kate back her cell phone. Kate gets her first test of honesty when Adam asks her why her phone was in Don’s pocket. Kate asks them if she has to start being honest now which confirms that she switched the phones on purpose. Adam tells Kate to go upstairs to her room to think about her actions. When she leaves, the parents are excited that Adam’s plan worked. They decide that they will let Kate believe that they are giving her space while still checking her every move.
In the closer, Andi is at the doughnut shop when Adam calls her. She pretends that she is still at work and tells him that she is coming home soon. He tells her that he knows that she is at the doughnut shop because he put a tracker on her phone. He asks her to bring him home some doughnuts. Andi wants a truce. She will stop tracking him if he will stop tracking her. Adam agrees, but lets her know that he was serious about her bringing home doughnuts.