A major earthquake hits Los Angeles, and damaging Ellen's bookstore Buy the Book. Ellen tries to get her friends to rally around to her fix up the store, but they are more interested in their own problems, such as Adam taking photos of the damage and Paige trying to get into the dry cleaners store next door for a dress suit. Meanwhile, Ellen's cousin, Spence Kovak, a doctor, arrives and moves in with her after revealing that he has been kicked out of his New York medical practice.
Ellen feels left out when Adam and Paige's careers blossom over his photography job with Life magazine, and her new job as a film executive. So, Ellen cashes in the earthquake insurance money and embarks on a journey to find her own dream by boarding a bus to Barstow. But Ellen instead gets detoured to a run down museum in the desert where she sees her own dream.
After Spence gets a cable system installed in Ellen's apartment, she gets addicted to Thirty-something re-runs. When Ellen accidentally tapes over a videotape of Paige's sister, Heather, giving birth to twins with an episode of 'Thirty-something', Ellen then tries to make up for it by throwing a lavish baby shower for her at the reopened bookstore. But when the guests clamor to see the tape, Ellen must tell them the truth.
Spence has a one-night stand with Karen, an attractive but incredibly dumb new member of Ellen's book group. When Spence tells Ellen that he does not want to get involved in a relationship with Karen, this makes Ellen think about rewriting the rules of dating which leads her to try to get back at Spence, only to realize that Karen is married.
Adam gets a photography job for the Sun Times in London and decides to leave immediately. At Adam's going away party at the bookstore, he makes a personal revelation to Ellen that he really loves her, who must deal with the awkward circumstance when his trip is postponed.
As Halloween approaches, Ellen's high spirits have no effect on Spence who's haunted by thoughts of his failed career as a doctor. Meanwhile, Paige doesn't have a ghost of a chance of completing her first big movie assignment without help in reading from a stack of old screenplays for ideas. Also, Joe is spooked by the constant presence of Audrey who thinks she got hired at Buy the Book.
Ellen is pleased to learn that her eccentric mother, Lois, is in therapy. But Ellen's not crazy about Lois' idea that mother and daughter become friends which leads to all kinds of complications at a pool hall and Lois' bridge club. Meanwhile, Paige and Spence quarrel over who will use Ellen office computer for the day as she has to work on finishing her movie screenplay and he to finish his application to law school.
Inspired by domestic diva Martha Stewart during a book signing, Ellen throws an elegant dinner party at her apartment and invites everyone over (except Audrey whom she leaves to close up the bookstore). The attendees include Spence and his new actress girlfriend, Denise (who's stuck wearing Sci-Fi alien makeup), and Paige with her gay assistant, Barrett, who has a meeting of minds with Peter. But Ellen's the one who's thrown for a spin when Joe arrives with Martha Stewart herself, and the dinner Ellen tries to cook turns out bad.
Ellen is thrilled when Paige's first film project is shooting a scene at Buy The Book with Carrie Fisher. But Ellen's enthusiasm for show biz is soon outweighed by her disappointment with Paige's show-biz ways. Meanwhile, Spence tries to build a new book shelf for the apartment, with some complicated assembling required.
Spence's father, Burt, arrives in town after learning that his son has been kicked out of his medical practice and they immediately begin quarreling. But thanks to Ellen's mis-communication, Spence and his father reach a peace settlement after Burt mistakenly thinks that Spence is going back to med school. But Ellen is determined to set things straight, even though it will result in father and son resuming their battle of wills. Meanwhile, a new movie is playing at the cinema next door to Buy the Book which takes away all the customers, plus the loud noise affects ...
Ellen and her book group are invited to appear on "Book Chat," a local TV program on book reading. But when the host, Erik Matthew Marshall, tells them that only three of them can appear out of the five, the members, redneck Will, eccentric Mrs. Rogers, dumb Karen, emerge Rajani, and unsure Kenny, offer Ellen gifts and visits to make up her mind when the choice narrows down to her. Meanwhile, Audrey takes over making coffee at the bookstore when Joe injures his wrist.
Ellen invites Spence to celebrate Christmas with her obnoxious and unhinged parents. But Ellen's holiday spirits hit an all time low when Lois and Harold have to leave town to go on an ocean cruise. They present her with a Christmas gift to last forever: a cemetery burial plot. Spence, Paige, Joe and Audrey try to cheer up Ellen when she decides to visit her eternal resting place in a San Fernando cemetery on Christmas Eve. Elsehwere, Joe and Audrey deal with an eccentric temp worker, named Tad, whom they employ for the Christmas holiday.
Ellen is thrilled when Paige invites her to an exclusive birthday party for John Travolta. But their fantasy evening turns into a nightmare thanks to Ellen inviting the whole gang along, and an overly sensitive limo driver who takes them to the wrong place. With the gang moping in a diner about their disastrous evening, Audrey receives a boost when she meets the man of her dreams, "Welcome Back Kotter" TV's star himself Ron Palillo.
When Ellen's bookstore is robbed, she offers to help the police with a sting to catch the "perp" in the act who is selling fake home security systems to the stores robbed. But problems come up with Paige falling for the detective as well as having Ellen carry a hidden microphone while waiting for the robber to show up.
After a week of carpooling with Audrey, Ellen tries to get Audrey to buy a car for herself at a new dealership. But the new Rapture comes with an extended warranty and an extended family of fanatics that Audrey begins hanging out with much to Ellen's wariness. Meanwhile, Paige seeks advice on how to appease her new boyfriend's young daughter.
After Spence's actress girlfriend Denise, and later Audrey, back out from playing a key witness in a mock trial for Spence's law school class, he recruits Ellen to take over where she must assume the role of a stripper. But when Ellen loses her notes to what she must say, she must do some fancy footwork to help Spence win the case. Meanwhile, a new board game about the rules of dating catches the interests of Joe, bookstore employee Will, as well as a passing delivery man.
Ellen volunteers to take care of Paige's boyfriend's nine-year-old daughter, Mia, for the weekend while Paige and her policeman boyfriend, Matt, go camping. Ellen is proud of the way she communicates with her charge and even gets Spence, Joe and Audrey to help Mia build a science project for her school. But when the fourth grader asks Ellen about the topic of sex, Ellen's the one with the tongue tied.
After Ellen steals a 65-year-old lobster from a seafood restaurant to prevent it from being eaten, she is hailed as a hero and is bestowed with an honor by actress and fellow animal activist Mary Tyler Moore. Ellen also tries to send the lobster out to sea, but it has other ideas.
After Matt proposes to Paige during a hockey game, she accepts, but not before he is knocked out by a flying hockey puck. Afterward, Paige feels that her engagement ring is not flashy enough, so she gets another one with a bigger diamond, which leads to all kinds of complications when the ring gets stuck on Ellen's finger during Paige's engagement party at Buy The Book. Meanwhile, Peter and Barnett exchange rings as well.
Money problems cause Ellen to consider firing Audrey from Buy The Book, much to Joe's delight. But at Audrey's surprise birthday party at her house, her wealthy and equally obnoxious parents, Lily and Jack, want to give Ellen a $100,000 cashiers check in order to solve her money troubles at the bookstore and to keep on Audrey. But there are strings attached when Lily and Jack want to remodel Buy The Book to their own choosing.
After a grunge band cancels their appearance at Buy the Book, Ellen is forced to use the runner up band, a singing duo lounge act called the Shapiros. The new band of Del and Rochelle Shapiro is a new hit, until Ellen is disavowed when she learns that people come to the store only to laugh at the duo. Meanwhile, Spence pretends that Ellen's apartment is up for sale to get close to two attractive women looking to buy a new apartment.
In the week before Paige's wedding, Ellen fears that Paige's marriage will end their lifelong friendship. So, while nervously awaiting a mammogram, Ellen latches onto Chloe, another fellow mammogram patient, in the waiting room. But Ellen soon after discovers that making new friends isn't as easy as it used to be.
The night before the wedding, Ellen and Audrey throw a bachelorette slumber party for a despondent Paige. They invite over a male stripper, a psychic, and Paige's neurotic, high-powered, boss Lorna Irons. But Ellen's plan backfires when the ladies accidentally get two strippers for the price of one. In addition the psychic Madam Debbie Johnson's predictions for Paige come true in unexpected and unusual ways, which leads the ladies to force to move their party from Ellen's apartment into her unhinged parents house. Meanwhile, Spence and Joe try to have a good time at ...
A series of complications threaten to turn Paige's wedding day into a total disaster. Starting when Paige's estranged sister, Heather, gets angry after Ellen is chosen to be the maid of honor and refuses to help with the wedding. Then the ballroom at the hotel is not booked and the wedding cake does not arrive. to top this all off Paige's alcoholic mother passes out after apparently drinking every bottle of champagne to be served, while Peter and Barrett end up unsuccessfully trying to resuscitate her. Meanwhile, Audrey tries to reconcile a relationship with her beau,...
[from Season 1] When Anita's incredibly boring parents arrive for a quick visit, Ellen, Adam and Holly race against time to try to retrieve a racy videotape of Anita and her boyfriend together that lands in the hands of Anita's parents. Adam managed to succeed in switching tapes, but when Anita finds out about the videotape, she switches the tapes too, leading to a surprise for all parties involved. Meanwhile, Ellen is turned off after listening to her current boyfriend doing something tasteless over the phone.
Having walked in on Spence and Paige kissing they both give Ellen different versions how this happened. Ellen tries to persuade Paige to call off the wedding, but she refuses. Meanwhile, during the delay in the ceremony, Peter and Barrett discuss their suspicions about Paige getting cold feet. Heather continues harassing Ellen and everyone else to deliberately sabotage the wedding, while Matt's daughter Mia continues balking at wearing her uncomfortable wedding dress. Also, Joe continues talking over the phone to locate his brother and learns that he's in jail in ...