The pilot episode has Professor James K. Howard introducing the characters and relationships of the series. Jim causes a fire when he falls asleep with a lit cigar while sitting for grandson Jake at Peter and Wendy's house. Jim and Martha invite Peter, Wendy, and Jake to move in with them for awhile, but Peter is reluctant.
Jim's briefcase was destroyed in the fire that burned down Peter and Wendy's house. He doesn't really want a new one, but nobody knows that. Wendy wants to buy one as a thank you, but Peter balks. Luther has his own reason for buying one. In the end, Jim discovers how much he is loved thanks to multiple briefcases.
A female student starts stalking Jim, and when she shows up in his office and flirts, he runs out leaving Luther to tell her off. Soon gossip breaks out all over campus involving some professor and a pretty student. Martha gets a visit from the student, but the story may not be about Jim. Meanwhile, Teddy doesn't want to attend a girl's party.
Peter is excited by the prospect of getting involved with a land deal. The family tries to help make a good impression on developer Harris Crofton, but Jim has a hunch that something isn't quite right. Meanwhile, Jake tries to get out of going to school.
Peter and the Boosters hope to get a big company to build a factory in Easy Valley, but there's a conflict when the town hopes to build a community recreation area on the same land. Taking some advice from Jim, Peter sets out to convince the company that Easy Valley is still the ideal place for their business.
Jim is annoyed when his globe-trotting, lively Uncle Everett comes for a visit that seems to keep getting longer. The Women's Action Group puts Wendy in charge of finding a place to have a daycare center where working mothers can leave their children.
Jim is caught in the middle when Martha and Peter run against each other for City Commissioner; Martha has the support of the Women's Action Group while Peter has the mayor's office behind him. When a minority third candidate enters the race, Martha hopes he wins, but, strangely, the candidate never shows up to any of the political events.
Wendy and Peter are planning on rebuilding their house, but then they see a house that's move-in ready. Martha and Jim realize they don't really want Peter and his family to move out, but try to be happy after Wendy tells them they bought the house. Peter and Wendy start to wonder if they made the right decision, and Luther thinks he has a solution to make everyone happy.
Jake is depressed after a teacher calls him a dunce in front of the class. The teacher's apology doesn't stop the subsequent teasing from other kids, and Jake feels like a loser. Then Jake finds a stray dog and brings him home, and begins to feel good again. But what will happen if the rightful owners turn up?
It's Homecoming week at Josiah Kessel College and everyone is excited for the big game against rival school Cobb. Potential victory is jeopardized, however, when the team doctor says Karpopolis, the quarterback, can't play unless he loses ten pounds. Luther, with some help from Foodaholics Anonymous, sets out to ensure Karpopolis meets the goal. After all, he has money on the game.
Jake and Teddy are part of a school paper drive while learning about ecology. Unfortunately, they accidentally donate Luther's ungraded exam books. The Howards and some volunteers desperately search the recycling plant for the exams before the papers get shredded.
Thanks to the enforcement of local ordinance 612, Peter gets caught in a raid at a topless bar while dining with the Builders Association. In the wake of that raid, some students ask Luther to chaperon the bachelor party they're throwing for a friend to make certain it's a dignified affair, and Jim is invited to play his accordion at the event. But it turns out that the students haven't been honest and Jim winds up arrested with a fan dancer after the police raid the party. He refuses to post bail since he holds that he did nothing wrong, and vows to fight the charge ...
It's time for the Easy Valley Festival of Art in which Martha plans to show her finally completed portrait of Luther, but there's a snag when the usual judge is unavailable. Luckily, actor Vincent Price is interested in adding the college's painting of Josiah Kessel to his art collection and arrives in time to perform judging duties. Meanwhile, Jake and Teddy try various ways to make some money.
Jim's latest anthropology book gets him a spot on an educational television show, which leads to a guest appearance on Johnny Crown's late night talk show. The publicity helps sell his books and leads to a job offer from USC. He accepts, but wonders what his grandfather Josiah Kessel would have thought.
The college is fund-raising for a new indoor sports stadium (field house) which Peter will build, and several alumni are visiting. Claude Peebles, who was ridiculed for losing a big football game years before, shows up with a check for ten thousand dollars that is deemed unnecessary after Martha's old college flame Mike Carruthers pledges the hefty remaining amount needed to build. Jim is annoyed by the boastful and shameless Carruthers, and so is the man's wealthy wife. Suddenly, it looks like there may not be a big donation after all.