Paul Hennessy is a sports writer. His wife, Cate, stays at home with his three kids: Bridget, 16, Kerry, 15, and Rory, 13. That all changes when Cate gets a job as a nurse at the hospital and Paul has to stay at home with the kids. Paul has a big problem when Bridget starts dating his co-worker's son, Kyle. And both Paul and Cate are shocked when Kerry, an honor student, is suspended for ditching school.
Paul is home alone with the kids all day after Cate goes to an all day seminar during the biggest game of the year: Michigan vs. Ohio State football. The day goes from bad to worse when Bridget is accused of shoplifting and Kerry gets upset over her latest venture.
Paul tells Bridget to get a job after seeing how much she spends on her clothes to teach her to be financially responsible. But when she gets a 40% discount at the store she works at, Paul and Cate believe she might not be learning what they hoped.
After Paul keeps coming up with excuses from keeping Bridget from taking her driver's test, she does something drastic. Also, Paul is shocked when Kerry's art submission did not get accepted into an art competition.
Paul lets Bridget do whatever she wants when she breaks up with Kyle and starts to date high school basketball star Travis "The Rainman" Smith. Paul is awestruck when he meets his father, Michigan baseball legend Steve "Canned Heat" Smith. Kerry is upset that Paul still thinks of her as a little girl and not a teenager ready to start dating.
Bridget tries out for the cheerleading squad after an opening is announced. Kerry also wants to try out, but Bridget says she isn't cut out for it. Kerry doesn't listen and tries out and gets the spot. Also, Paul tries to get Rory away from video games and get him reading more books.
Paul wants the family to spend one more Halloween campout in the old treehouse, but the kids make other plans. They all agree in the end, but this might turn out to be the biggest nightmare of the whole evening.
Paul tries to win the love and respect back from his daughters by turning to a self help parenting book. Bridget and Kerry find out his new tool, and try to take advantage of their father to let them go to a rock festival.
After Paul tells Bridget to tell Kyle the truth about her date with another boy, he breaks up with her. Also, Kerry's first date is magical, but gets devastated when the boy doesn't call her back.
After no one can agree on where the family vacation should be, Paul challenges the family to give up their bad habits for the week, and the winner can choose the vacation spot. The members of the family soon get the better of themselves, and secret alliances threaten to ruin the contest.
Paul meets his new editor, Nick, and finds lots of similarities, like raising teenage girls. Paul also realizes he is a lot like him in the sense that he is a "psycho dad" being overprotective. Paul wants Thanksgiving dinner to be a family affair, so he forbids the girls to bring their boyfriends to dinner.
Paul remembers last year's Christmas fiasco, and has his work cut out of him trying to find the perfect gifts for his family this year. Kerry finds a stray dog during the holidays. Cate is overjoyed when she is asked to sing a solo during the church's midnight service, but is scared that seeing her family there might make her nervous.
Paul lets Rory, who is 13, go on his first date. Bridget and Kerry accuse him of changed the rules unfairly because they never were allowed to date at that age. Meanwhile Kerry is shocked when Bridget receives a higher score then she did on a state aptitude test.
Paul and Cate are called to the Principal's office and find out that Bridget wants to skip her college prep courses in order to become an esthetician, which surprises both of them. Also, Paul is very impressed with Kerry's sketches of "The Incredible Boring Woman" and he gets the Principal to print them in the school newspaper- although he does not know that the Principal is the boring woman in the sketches.
After Kerry and her boyfriend break up, Paul tries to cheer her up by having Bridget take her to a party. While at the party, Kerry and Kyle talk and she is shocked when a spark goes off and the two share a romantic kiss. Meanwhile at home, Paul and Cate try to discover what is hidden in Rory's secret box.
Bridget gives Kerry the silent after finding out that Kyle kissed her at a party. The house is very quiet for Paul, who likes it, until he has a dream that brings him into familiar territory when he sees Kyle as a swinging bachelor living with Kerry and Bridget in an apartment straight from the '70s.
Paul lets Bridget take up a musical instrument...which turns out to be the drums. She later defies her father's rules and dates her drum instructor, Ben. Also, Kerry is mad at Cate when her ex-boyfriend states he thinks her mother is pretty.
Bridget takes the car follows Ben back to his dorm room at college without her parents knowing.
After Paul picks up Bridget and Kerry from a party that has been broken up by the police and "supervised" by co-worker Tommy, he unwillingly volunteers to host the next one. After Paul falls asleep during the party and it gets out of control, the kids think of him as a "cool parent", although the neighborhood parents think he is just as unreliable as Tommy.
Carter Tibbits, a race car driver, asks Paul to write a book about him. To learn about Mr. Tibbits better, Paul takes his family to his mansion to meet the legend and his sarcastically dry-witted butler, Cody, who used to be Mr. Tibbit's crew chief. Rory steals a photo from Carter's room, and a big misunderstanding occurs when Paul is the one under suspicion when Paul tries to put the picture back and a security camera catches him.
Kerry creates a video for her school project all about her sister, Bridget, to show how life is much easier for the popular and beautiful people. After Bridget discovers the video creation, making her look very shallow, she takes her father's advice to play tennis again, which she does, and ends with a bad result.
Kerry and Bridget are caught partying on the evening news while the family is vacationing at Cate's parent's home in Florida. Before Paul and Cate can punish the girls, however, the news then runs an archived video that features a young Cate, who is very drunk at a bar. Also while there, Paul gets jealous after he meets Cate's old college boyfriend and Rory befriends an elderly gentleman who tells him about stories from WWII, which are found out to be more fictional than factual.
Cate is up for a promotion at the hospital which will make her spend more time there, which worries Paul about how much more time he has to deal with the kids' mischief. Also, after Paul introduces Rory to baseball card collecting, Rory trades the cards for something that isn't exactly associated with the sport.
Both Paul and Bridget are shocked that they end up in similar situations when they are alienated in their social circles. They both create plans to settle the score as Paul crashes a poker game that involves his co-worker Tommy to get closer to his boss Nick, while Bridget tries to break up Kyle, Tommy's son and ex-boyfriend, with her nemesis Jenna.
Bridget becomes a mother when she must take care of a sack of flour for a class. Meanwhile Kerry and Rory bake for the Great American Bake Sale to help put an end to childhood starvation in America. During their baking, Bridget notices that her baby is starting to lose a loss of weight. Coincidence?
The Doyles invite the Paul and the rest of the family to dinner, and then are asked to take part in their daughter's wedding, which they agree. Bridget finds out that geeky Donny Doyle has become a hunk and she falls in love with him. Cate sings at the reception.
Maggie, Cate's sister, is having marital problems and Paul invites her to stay over. This upsets Cate since they had a sibling rivalry for a very long time. Also, Paul and Cate are impressed about Bridget's maturity and let her go out with Donny Doyle who is home from the Naval Academy. Kerry and Bridget also wonder if Kyle has some other motives after he befriends Rory.
After Maggie gets a sexy, new makeover, and gives Bridget a water bra, Cate gets furious. Also, the girls' rivalry also gets hot when Kerry and Kyle start dating, while Bridget's starts to take a nosedive after she dissed her friends for Donny. Also, Paul becomes concerned when he finds an empty pregnancy test.