As a single father of five teenage boys, Nick Savage faces the daunting challenge of trying to control the mayhem. A career firefighter, he finds running into a burning building a relaxing break from his parental duties.
The Savage family discovers that yet another housekeeper has quit and, while the boys see this as their dad's opportunity to hire a cute French maid, Nick decides it's time his boys learn how to take care of themselves. Stunned, the boys decide that they need a plan to change their dad's mind.
It's progress report time at school, and while the Savage boys – with the exception of Sam – are far from straight A students, Nick can't ignore the fact that Chris is failing five classes this year. The greatest shock is that studious Sam is failing a class, and when the guys find out it's gym, he becomes the butt of everyone's humor in this jock-filled household. When Sam agrees to tutor Chris so he won't be kicked off the football team in exchange for the coach giving him a passing grade in P.E., Sam soon realizes he got the short end of the rope.
When Nick and his brother, Jimmy, are called in to work unexpectedly, Nick is forced to take the younger boys, T. J. and Kyle, with him to the fire station, which leaves Sam, Jack and Chris home alone. The boys recently found out that people give firemen in uniform free stuff as a way of showing their gratitude. When they combine this knowledge with the fact that Jimmy just dropped off a bunch of Nick's freshly cleaned uniforms from the dry cleaners, they put two and two together, which equals a heap of trouble.
Nick is forced to confront the boys when he finds a pack of cigarettes in the house, and when the guilty party reluctantly owns up to them, he calls Nick on his hypocrisy, as Nick himself smokes cigars. In an effort to convince his son to quit, Nick makes a deal with him that he finds very hard to keep.
When Jack begs his dad to get him his own car, Nick agrees to put up half the money if Jack will raise the other half and, after a series of schemes, he finally comes up with it. Jack's Uncle Jimmy takes him to get the car, but when he comes home with a motorcycle instead, Nick is none too pleased and shows the boys a "Blood on the Highway" – type safety video – which doesn't deter Jack or his brothers one bit.
It's Halloween, and the Savage boys are trying to figure out what to do for their annual prank. Kyle feels he's too old for trick or treating this year, leaving Nick and T.J. to go it alone. When Chris is forced to dissect a frog in class, he gets the idea – via a spooky visit from the ghost of the late class frog – of just what to do for their prank this year.
Sam's love, Angela, has a new boyfriend, and so Jack, noticing how depressed Sam is, encourages him to go to the mall with him to meet someone else. Sam reluctantly agrees, and when Jack introduces him to a very good looking girl, Erin, Sam can hardly believe it when she agrees to go out with him. It becomes apparent very quickly, however, that Erin's main priority is talking on her cell phone instead of actually talking to him. Meanwhile, Chris has taken a job selling glider planes from a cart in the mall.
When the boys find out a church carnival is in town, they're all excited to go – each for his own reasons. Jack and Chris devise a plan to pick up on girls who have already entered the fair so they won't have to pay for their admission, and although trying to woo Angela, Sam reluctantly accepts her idea that they can go to the carnival as "friends." Meanwhile, as the boys are causing chaos at the fair, T.J. has to finish his school report before he can go, but when he's done, the dog eats the memory stick containing his report... and T.J. has a very hard time convincing Nick that the dog really did eat his homework.
In an effort to get him out of the house, the boys decide it's time for Nick to meet a woman. Their attempt at setting him up via an internet dating service backfires, however. When he does find someone he's interested in – Maggie – Nick is afraid she'll be scared off if he tells her the truth about having five sons.
Nick is excited to spend Thanksgiving – his favorite holiday – with his family, but much to his disappointment, Sam decides to spend it with his girlfriend Angela's family, whom he considers more "civilized." Plans are interrupted, though, when Nick and Jimmy are unexpectedly called away on a fire, so the boys decide to surprise Nick by making Thanksgiving dinner on their own. In looking up the proper way to cook a turkey online, they find a video of Thanksgiving safety tips hosted by none other than Officer Cox. However the stores are now sold out of turkeys, so they resort to buying a live one – and get more than they bargained for. Meanwhile, Sam soon learns that there's more to Angela's seemingly perfect family than meets the eye.
When Nick leaves the boys to rake the yard while he goes off to golf with Jimmy, they decide instead to play a game of "rake ball," but accidentally hit their dad's championship baseball over the fence and into mean old Mrs. Riley's yard. When Mrs. Riley refuses to give the ball back, it turns into an all-out feud.
Kyle finds himself smitten with Josie, a girl he is used to spending time with in detention, but fears having a girlfriend will turn him into a "wuss." Meanwhile, T.J. and the boys are hard at work on a "destructo-boggan" which is guaranteed to knock all of the inner tubes off the slopes this year, and Sam is poodle-sitting his girlfriend Angela's dog, Sally Sue, which doesn't sit well with the Savage dog.
Eager to earn money to buy Christmas gifts for their girlfriends, the three older boys find jobs at a lingerie store, but their jobs turn out to be less than glamorous and tensions arise when Sam gets promoted and Chris and Jack are left to do the grunt work. Meanwhile the two younger boys, Evan and T.J., are less than thrilled when Nick puts them to work helping with the fire station's annual toy drive for needy kids.
Chris is thrilled when he is asked to the "Backwards Dance," in which the girls ask the boys, by Jessica, the hottest girl in school. The only problem is that Jessica is the leader of the dance squad, and Chris – who is a terrible dancer – will have to dance with her in front of the entire school. Meanwhile, there's trouble in paradise when Angela and Sam disagree on plans for the dance; and, in their quest to film each other doing dumb things for an America's Funniest Home Videos-style website, Kyle and T.J. finally drive Nick to the breaking point.
Tired of coming home to a house full of teenagers every Saturday night, Nick brings the boys with him to a town meeting to encourage the city to open a teen center. Nick is none too pleased when they agree, however, as he is given the task of supervising the kids. The boys aren't thrilled either when Nick turns out to be a real stickler for the rules – as opposed to their fun Uncle Jimmy.
The boys administer their own form of CPR – complete with bicycle pump and toilet plunger – on Old Lady Riley when she has a heart attack on their doorstep, and are then wrongfully lauded as heroes. But when they're awarded the "Caring Kid Award," it's just too much to take for one onlooker who happens to know the truth.
The principal suspects Kyle, Chris and Sam of starting a food fight and makes them serve as lunch ladies in the school cafeteria for a week as punishment. Meanwhile, Nick is having to work the night shift, and Jack tricks him into hiring April – a girl he has a crush on – to baby-sit T.J..
Sam asks Nick and the boys to finally meet his girlfriend Angela's family at her grandmother's birthday party, but they opt to stay home and watch the Super Bowl instead. When their cable goes out in the middle of the game, however, they go over to the quiet birthday party and turn it into their annual Savage Super Bowl Party. Meanwhile, Sam has put together a birthday surprise for Angela's grandmother, which doesn't quite turn out as planned.
Nick and Jimmy decide to buy a hot tub when a friend dies and unexpectedly leaves them money that has to be used for something fun. The boys ignore Nick's "if and when" he allows them to use it rule, however, and find themselves in serious hot water. Officer Cox makes his third appearance on the show, this time in a hot tub safety video. Meanwhile, Sam and Angela celebrate their three-month anniversary, but Sam's unsure whether to go with the sentimental gift he made or something more expensive from the mall.