It is time for Dana to take the SAT. Just as she is about to sit down, Cody shows up. He does something new every week. When the scores arrive in the mail, Cody actually did better than Dana. Dana challenges Cody to take the SAT again. Cody agrees and beats her again. After a long talk with Carol, Dana must learn to live with her scores.
The school year starts even harder the usual. Even Mark is terrified he has to take wood-shop. Al's cooking is so bad it requires power-tools to cut it. Worst off is JT's with a Shakespeare assignment for Carol's former favorite teacher, Mrs. Hill, and a class visit from his stepmother. It turns out 'Fishface' grades jocks a D, even after Frank coached JT on Hamlet all night. Until Carol steps in.
JT is desperate enough for a date with popular Judy to pay Karen back for her fashion and grooming help, to Dana's amusement. Frank felt his back hampered him joining Cody jumping as a 'human fly'. He is tempted by 'macho rivalry' for the kids' admiration with Al's friend Lori's dad, former football star Ted Davis.
J.T. begins his own cable-access television show, a program that is very similar to "Wayne's World." He invites a girl he has an eye on to the show, but becomes upset when the young lass falls for sidekick Cody instead.
Al and Brendan get more than they bargained for when they agree to take care of a neighbor's St. Bernard ... way more, especially after the dog's masters decide to move away and leave the dog in the Lamberts' care. Everyone becomes even more miserable when Carol falls in love with the slobbering mutt.
Dana is promoted to manager of a 50's style restaurant, and her condescending, overbearing demeanor quickly takes its toll on employees J.T. and Karen to the point they resign. Frank and Carol are sympathetic to Dana and help out during lunch hour ... until Dana again asserts herself. In the end, Dana learns a lesson about what it means to be "the boss."
Karen realizes a dream when she takes a modeling job in Chicago, but she has to deal with her overbearing mother. Carol tags along and interferes with the photo shoot, angering Karen. However, one of the other models takes Karen aside and shares her dream ... just to be a kid. Meanwhile, Dana - and then the others, one by one - come down with the flu. They all quickly make Frank their butler, which (along with Mark sharing how often he has to vomit) drives family patriarch crazy.
Frank becomes worried when he learns Dana has asked Mike Walters (aka "Mike the Mover") out on a date, particularly since he has learned Mike has a reputation of pressuring his dates into having sex. However, a plan to spy on Dana and make sure no hanky-panky takes place backfires, and Dana quickly accuses her stepfather of meddling. The next day, Mike shows his true colors during an unannounced visit, and Frank is there to back up Dana when she asks him to leave. Meanwhile, J.T. agrees to wax and wash Frank's new truck, but buys a substandard brand of wax that ruins ...
Dana and J.T. become rival candidates for class president, J.T.'s candidacy prompted after he becomes annoyed that the only candidates are "dweebs and geeks" and that there are no everyman candidates. The candidacies polarize the household, and eventually J.T. wins. However, the work quickly becomes more than J.T. has bargained for and he quickly resigns.
J.T. and Cody get dates with two girls with "easy" reputations, but the dates come to a halt when Cody announces he wants to wait until he meets "the dudette of his dreams." J.T. is upset at first, but later realizes Cody is right.
Carol imposes a severe crackdown in family spending after a long-overdue video is found under Brendan's bed. The other siblings immediately blame Brendan, and their behavior toward him becomes so rude and disdainful that he decides to run away. It isn't long before the youngest Lambert is found (in Cody's van), and after Frank and Carol reassure Brendan that he wasn't to blame, the other children realize they need to apologize.
Frank's old high school buddy arrives for a visit, and it becomes obvious he still hasn't grown up. Meanwhile, Cody wins a live turkey in a supermarket raffle, but struggles with his conscience when he learns the bird is about to be butchered.
A resident of the Lakeview Retirement Home (where Cody is a volunteer) dies. The man leaves Cody his estate, valued at $250,000. As Cody struggles with how to spend the money, his cousins pester him for a share of the inheritance (to spend lavishly, natch). Eventually, enough is enough and Cody decides to put the money to good use: Save for $500, turn the cash over to the nursing home for needed upgrades. Cody then spends the rest of the money on a new camcorder (to replace a junky one that Frank purchased and breaks down in spectacular fashion).
When Frank and Carol veto Dana's plan to have a no-adults party for her 17th birthday, she decides to rent a hotel room. Things become complicated when Frank and Carol rent a room (for a romantic weekend) in the same hotel ... but the only available room is the one across the hall from Dana's room. Meanwhile, Cody is asked to mediate a dispute between Al and Karen over a ruined blouse.
When "J.T.'s World" becomes a huge local hit, a national syndicator approaches the show's star about making the show an even bigger hit. J.T. thinks he's about to become a huge star, and his ego grows wild. However, the eldest Lambert is thoroughly humbled when he learns the syndicator's plans for his show are vastly different.
Dana is dumped by her boyfriend right before Valentine's Day, and takes out her frustrations on everyone, including a potential new suitor. Meanwhile, Frank gets a temporary job at Carol's hair salon, and his new hairstyles - caused by his own ineptitude, rather than creativity - quickly become popular with the local teen-agers (but not their parents).
The family - don't forget Cody - vacation in Hawaii. Among other adventures, Dana meets the man of her dreams, a beach bum named Brian. The two hit it off, and the romance quickly blossoms to the point where Brian gives Dana a 6-karat solitaire diamond ring in a Tiffany setting. However, Dana is heartbroken when Carol finds out and objects to the impending marriage.
Frank and (especially) Carol refuse to accept daughter Dana's engagement, they get into a huge argument. Dana considers eloping with sweetheart Brian, but when the two begin talking about their future, they realize that perhaps they were not meant for each other after all and (sadly) break it off. Meanwhile, the others become engaged in adventures involving sand castles and buried treasure.
After meeting a biker chick at school, J.T. wants to ask her out ... but first consults Mark on how to treat this young woman. Meanwhile, Frank mortifies Al when he tags along with her and Carol to the store to buy the 13-year-old girl (fast entering puberty and quickly becoming very beautiful) her first bra.
Mark is recruited to join the local Pony League baseball team (which Frank coaches and Al is the star catcher) after one of Al's teammates suffers a season-ending injury. Mark, who was never good at baseball, may wind up spending the season on the bench ... until he gets his opportunity to save the day in the championship game.
As a practical joke, J.T. places an unflattering baby photograph of Karen in the high school yearbook. Later - after Cody and J.T. visit a psychic - J.T. becomes convinced that a dark-hair female will stab him to death with a large knife ... and that profile fits Karen. Also, Frank and Carol purchase a new massaging bed, but the bed does everything but help them relax or enjoy a good night's sleep.
Frank wins a contract to construct a multi-million dollar office complex, and this will necessitate the removal of a house sitting on a key part of the property. He hires munitions expert Cody to level the structure, but when Cody goes inside to inspect the structure, he finds out that a family is still living there. Meet the Emersons, a couple with two children that have been down on their luck for the last year; both parents had lost their jobs several months earlier, and are now penniless and have nowhere else to stay. Cody is sympathetic and immediately refuses to...
Carol sets Karen up with a young lad named Freddy for the dance, but Karen has her eye on someone more desirable. Karen asks the other fellow, Jeffrey, out, then dumps Freddy by lying to him. At the dance, Jeffrey and Karen win the "Perfect Couple" award, but when they spot Freddy, Karen's conscience gets to her and she decides to apologize. Meanwhile, Frank becomes imprisoned in Cody's van after he installs an alarm that works all too well.