Episode PremiereApril 20, 1999
Show Period1997 - 2009
Production CompanyDeedle-Dee, Judgmental, 3 Art, Film Roman, Fox TV
Bobby suffers enormous guilt after he consumes all of the new reverend's lutefisk and inadvertently burns the church to the ground.
Reverend Thomason announces to his congregation that he has decided to retire, as he believes the future of the Almighty is the Internet. Replacing him will be Reverend Karen Stroup. The thought of a female minister running the parish sends chills down Hank's spine, as Thomason kept his sermon's short so parishioners could enjoy Sunday sporting events. Members of the congregation gather in the church basement to meet Stroup. The reverend brings with her a large casserole dish containing lutefisk, a Scandinavian delicacy made by baking codfish in lye until the bones grow gelatinous. Bobby is intrigued by the sound of the dish, the stench of which causes those within a ten foot radius to recoil. Against his better judgment, Bobby consumes the entire dish when no one is looking. Meanwhile, Hank's fears regarding Stroup are put to rest when the reverend turns out to be a football fan. A short time later, Bobby overhears Stroup talking about the lutefisk. Panicking, he tosses the empty casserole dish into a garbage can when no one is looking. When Bill finds the empty dish, Stroup realizes she must address the incident in her sermon. As Stroup chastises the unidentified culprit for eating all the lutefisk, Bobby's stomach begins to rumble. He makes his way to the bathroom. During his absence, Cotton offends Stroup by making sexist remarks. Cotton then makes his way to the men's room, but the offending odor from the stall (where a guilty Bobby sits on the toilet) causes him to light matches. He drops the matchbook on the floor and exits. Bobby picks up the matchbook, strikes a match, blows it out, and throws it into the garbage. When Thomason finds the men's room door locked, Bobby makes a hasty exit through a window. Unfortunately, one of the smoldering matches starts a fire, and the church burns to the ground.
Reverend Stroup approaches her congregation and reminds the unidentified arsonist that although the church may be gone, the parishioners' faith remains. Bobby is so consumed with guilt that he stops eating. Stroup links the hate in the "arsonist's" heart with Bobby's fasting. She calls the boy to speak before the congregation, but Bobby's legs buckle and he loses consciousness. Shortly thereafter, Stroup tells the congregation that police found a matchbook from a Houston strip club amongst the bathroom ruins. Hank and Peggy immediately suspect Cotton. When police arrive at the Hill residence, Cotton takes refuge inside a suitcase. Cotton insists he is innocent, but police drag him away nonetheless.
Bobby purchases a one-way bus ticket to Mexico. While awaiting the bus, Bobby notices Reverend Thomason typing away on his laptop. Bobby tells the reverend that he did something "really, really bad." Thomason replies that Jesus forgives him. Unfortunately, Bobby's spirits remain low, as the people he has wronged have yet to forgive him. Later, the bus for Mexico pulls away from the depot--revealing Bobby still standing on the sidewalk. Filled with purpose, Bobby makes his way to the police station, where he confesses to eating all the lutefisk and burning down the church. But Cotton will not let his grandson "take the fall," as the boy will forever be known as the "stinky man." Later, Cotton tells the congregation it was he who accidentally burned down the church. He also takes responsibility for the terrible smell.