Justin Tolchuck, a 16-year-old teenager, is struggling to have a satisfactory social life in high school in Wisconsin. Franny, Justin's mother, is concerned about his lack of friends and in order to fix this she signs up with the school's international exchange student program believing that an outsider would make her son cooler with his influence. However, the exchange student turns out to be a Muslim named Raja Musharaff, who belongs to a small village in Pakistan. Despite differences between Raja and Justin, they become good friends.
Raja explains to his class how close he and Justin are, prompting rumours that the two are couple to spread throughout the school. Thus, Justin turns to Claire for help, who advises him to completely ignore Raja. This later causes Justin to be more alone than ever because Raja instead befriends the geekiest kid in school. Meanwhile, Gary decides to get involved when Claire decides to call it quits with Jeffrey.
When Franny loses her sense of boundaries and requests that Gary remove the locks from all the doors, Justin and his friends find time for themselves by creating the Rocket Club, which is their secret excuse to hang out and do whatever they want. Raja, however, does not fit in well with the group because he does not like the fact that all they do is nothing. He tries creating a real model rocket, which ends up getting the police involved.
When Raja encourages Anita, the hottest girl in school, to dress modestly and act intelligently, Justin thinks that he may have a shot with her. Meanwhile, Claire suddenly becomes the head of the A-List crowd and Franny decides to focus her attention to Gary's wardrobe once Justin tells her that it's time for him to get his own clothes.
Gary gives the boys a speech about finances, motivating Raja to get a job at a convenience store. Gary loses his job but is afraid to tell Franny. Raja chooses not to sell beers to the high school students and gets fired for it. Justin is cool for a little while.
Much to the family's surprise, Raja begins smoking due to midterms stress. Meanwhile, Claire is heartbroken when Jeffrey breaks up with her and when Justin tries to cheer her up she embarrasses him in front of the kids at school. However, Claire soon finds herself trying to regain Justin's affections.
Claire forces Justin to become the school's mascot, but performing in front of an audience makes him very nervous, which results in him giving the responsibility to Raja. Raja's moves are loved by the crowd. Meanwhile, Gary finds himself creating a relationship with a very welcoming family.
After Raja claims that the local shopping center is like the Tolchucks' version of church, Franny decides that the family should begin attending church again. Justin abuses the power of prayer and Claire wants to go on the pill.
Justin is terrified by the school bully, Trey. However, he finds a way out of getting beaten up: by lying about his Mom's health. Meanwhile, Franny gets involved in a minor fender bender but Gary makes things worse when he tries to prevent her from taking responsibility.
Franny's countdown to the day Justin will leave for college reaches T-minus 500, and she panics. She insists on a shared activity with her son. Claire volunteers for a helpline, but turns out she is the one receiving help.
The Tolchucks are going on a vacation, but Raja causes an incident at the airport. After some ill-judged words are exchanged, Raja decides to run away. How will the Tolchucks find him when they know hardly anything about him?
Raja has trouble with a girl named Mindy. He starts spending time with her and finds out that she is annoying. After Justin tells Raja that Mindy believes that she is dating him, Raja lies to her in order to let her down. He tells her that they can't date because of their religious differences, but things get complicated when Mindy converts to Islam. Franny and Gary deal with a neighbour who is a registered sex offender.
When the PTA protests about smutty books at school, Justin and Franny are forced to read the books for the first time. Claire uses the protest as an excuse to getting out of reading "Pride and Prejudice". Justin turns to Raja when his parents find out that he has been drawing pictures of naked women.
Raja is organising an event to help support Students Against Drunk Driving. They are having a fake funeral for someone. Everyone wants it to be for Dan Archer, but Raja wants it to be for Justin. Things get heated in the competition but Justin soon realises what the event is really about.
Franny sets up a date for Raja and Sadika. Unfortunately, the formality requires that both teens' families attend. Claire sneaks away for romantic time with Silvio. Justin is embarrassed because Raja got a girlfriend before him.