Every morning Sheila wakes up, waters the lawn and then walks across the street to invite Tessa and George over for dinner. But unlike most mornings, George is finally out of excuses. George and Tessa hear Sheila’s garden hose turn off, so George dumps his cereal, Tessa runs for the back door and it looks like they may evade the grips of Suburgatory once again. But then the unthinkable happens: George’s jacket gets stuck in the door. He pleads with Tessa to save herself, and with a soft stroke of his hand to her sweet, innocent face, Tessa leaves George behind to face Sheila’s attack alone. Hope they’re hungry for more casserole.
Somewhat safer at school, Tessa learns that she is akin to the Gentoo penguin. Once taken out of its natural environment, it becomes more susceptible to infectious disease and, eventually, death. Okay, maybe Tessa doesn’t have it that bad, but the suburbs still suck. Lisa apologizes in advance for anything embarrassing that will happen at dinner, but Tessa knows that families are never as bad as you think they are. As if on cue, Lisa’s brother, Ryan, yells down the hallway, “Hey Lisa, this is how dad does it to mom.” He proceeds to get uncomfortably intimate with his locker. Looks like there are exceptions to Tessa’s theory on embarrassing families after all.
After some awkward questions are asked over dinner, the evening is interrupted when Ryan’s friends come over. Sheila and her husband shoo all the teens away to the basement so the grown-ups can annoy George in private. While George is being told he must throw a grand barbecue for his neighbors, Tessa is being told she must play truth or dare with Ryan’s friends. On a dare to “kiss a lesbian," Ryan kisses Tessa. While it’s shocking that Tessa even lets this happen, it’s even more disturbing that Tessa enjoys it.
The next day at school Lisa confronts Tessa: “I know what’s going on between you and my brother… you should have seen the look on your face. It was sickening.” Lisa’s right, it is sick to want a guy with a hot bod who has absolutely no brains. So, Tessa does what any rational girl would do. She picks a random stranger in the hallway and sticks her tongue down his throat to see if she feels anything. Unfortunately, she doesn’t. Well, it was worth a try.
George accompanies Noah to the hair salon. It’s apparently completely normal that two grown men need to be together when they get haircuts, like drunk girls going to the bathroom together. Anyway, to make George’s barbecue a success, Noah offers up his grill – the holy grail of all grills to be exact. Noah has already sent the invites on behalf of George by the time they leave. George is sooo thrilled.
After taking advice from Mr. Wolfe, Tessa’s guidance counselor, Tessa begins to believe that there may be more to Ryan than meets the eye. While swapping spit underneath the bleachers, Tessa gives Ryan a small quiz to test him on his intellectual capacity. Ryan naturally fails, of course. She doesn’t even bother explaining that “cliché” is not the name of a new pop star. Whatever. He’s still hot and that’s all that matters. Hey, if guys abide by this thought process regularly, why can’t Tessa?
At the barbecue, Lisa shuns Tessa and wisely relates the predicament to eating chips. “Chips are my favorite thing in the world. I could eat two or three bags at once, but I don’t because they’re bad for me.” Lisa’s right. Ryan is a great, big bag of greasy chips and it’s time to put the bag down. He doesn’t take it lightly, but it’s for the best. Meanwhile, Noah’s Holy Grail Grill runs out of gas at the barbecue, so George is forced to use his mini grill. And guess what? It’s a hit. Even though George and Tessa have been taken out of their natural environments, they’re still survivors. Sorry, Gentoo penguin. You’re on your own.