The episode opens with 13-year-old Ally trying to make a beeline for her bedroom after dinner, but Debra quickly stops her, knowing that she is hiding something importantï¿½her midterm report. After reluctantly handing it to her father, Ally stands there as Ray reads off her grades: one A, three Bï¿½sï¿½ï¿½and an F in math. Shocked by this, Debra tries to get her daughter to explain what is going on, but Ally gets defensive, claiming that the teacher is mean, and also accusing Debra of ï¿½always looking at the negative,ï¿½ and not noticing that she also got good grades on her midterm report. When Debra comments on Allyï¿½s bad attitude, Ally really loses it, screaming, ï¿½Itï¿½s just a midterm, okay? Itï¿½s one stupid grade, and Iï¿½m gonna pass. God, why do you always have to OVERREACT!ï¿½ With that, the rebellious teenager runs upstairs, leaving her parents with their mouths hanging open in shock.
The next scene finds Ray and Debra going in to have a conference with Allyï¿½s math teacher, Mr. Putnam. From the beginning, itï¿½s clear that the man is a detached, overworked guy who is teaching several different sections and, therefore, doesnï¿½t have much to say about Ally individually. He complains about how he does his best to offer examples on the blackboard during but that doesnï¿½t do any good if the kids arenï¿½t paying attention and completing the assigned homework. Throughout the meeting, Debra is extremely sympathetic to Mr. Putnam, acknowledging that itï¿½s hard for her to keep tabs on just her one daughter, let alone all the 13-year-olds that Mr. Putnum is in charge of every day. Ray doesnï¿½t say much, of course, but at the end of the conference, Debra assures Mr. Putnum that she and her husband will work on improving Allyï¿½s progress. Once the teacher leaves, Ray expresses his feelings about the teacher being a phony-baloney, but Debra immediately fires back, saying that Ally needs to learn to apply herself to all her academic subjects, even the ones that arenï¿½t fun.
Back at home, Debra is upstairs with Ally, insisting that she stay in her bedroom until she gets all her work done. Plenty of screaming is flying back and forth, and when Debra takes the phone and places the TV off-limits, Ally slams the door in her face. Downstairs, Ray, Frank, Marie, Robert, and Amy are all sitting in silence while this is going on. When Debra comes downstairs, she nostalgically talks about how Ally used to be such a nice, sweet little girl. Amy asks her how she plans on handling the situation, and Debra says that Ally is basically grounded, with no television, phone, or contact with the outside world until she pulls up her math grade.
Ray and Robert start talking a little about a horrible French teacher they had back in the day, which leads to Debraï¿½s argument that teachers should receive respect automatically for the time and effort that they put in. Rayï¿½s opinion is a bit different; he notes that Ally is getting good grades in all her other s, and that maybe the teacher is causing the problem. Ray was not very impressed with Mr. Putnum during the conference they just had, and he believes that the teacher is a mean old bat who doesnï¿½t understand teenage kids. ï¿½Heï¿½s the teacher, and he gets paid good money to do it!ï¿½ Ray insists. To him, Mr. Putnum is the type of guy who cares only about math and expects all the kids to love it as much as he does.
Talk soon shifts to Allyï¿½s math notebook, which Debra finds on the living room table. Angry that it is sitting there when Ally is supposed to be studying from it upstairs, Debra notices how the notebook is covered with messages like ï¿½Ally Loves Tommy,ï¿½ ï¿½Ally and Tommy Forever,ï¿½ and ï¿½Tommy Sanders.ï¿½ Nobody seems to know exactly who Tommy is, but Amy quickly pipes up, saying that Ally once talked to her about Tommy, saying that he ï¿½has long brown hair, heï¿½s really funny, and heï¿½s not stuck up at all.ï¿½ Debra is taken aback that Ally never told her about this, and Marie adds that sheï¿½s disappointed in the fact that Ally confided in her aunt instead of her own grandmother.
The next day, Debra goes by herself to the school to have another talk with Mr. Putnum. She shares with him what she has found out about Allyï¿½s little crush, going on to say that this may have been causing Allyï¿½s lack of attentiveness in To Debraï¿½s surprise, Mr. Putnum boldly claims that he doesnï¿½t care. He says that everybody in knows about the thing between Tommy and Ally, and all the kids seem to have their own little crushes, but all Mr. Putnum cares about is the math portion. ï¿½So you do your job, and let me do mine,ï¿½ Mr. Putnum says rudely to Debra. Never one to just stand there while someone insults her, Debra tells him that he really is a jerk, and she leaves abruptly.
The next scene finds Ally talking on the phone and looking through the refrigerator for something to eat. When Debra comes through the back door, Ally quickly hangs up, throws the phone in the fridge, and shuts the door. ï¿½Iï¿½m just getting some waterï¿½is that okay?ï¿½ she asks her mother in a really snotty voice, but just as she is leaving the room, Debra asks her to wait. ï¿½I see your point,ï¿½ Debra tells Ally as she explains that she just had a conference with Mr. Putnum. ï¿½He is a little mean, and I donï¿½t think he understands the trials that kids go through today. I realize now that itï¿½s not just a black and white issue, and I just wanted you to know that.ï¿½ Ally is stunned by this, and she thanks her mom for understanding. Debra quickly clarifies that this will not change the fact that Ally needs to study harder, but she also gently reminds her daughter that if thereï¿½s anything she needs to talk about, she can always come to her mother.
Once they come to an agreement, Debra offers a snack to Ally, and as Debra goes through the cabinets to find something, Ally says, out of the blue, ï¿½Are all boys stupid?ï¿½
ï¿½Yes,ï¿½ Debra answers. ï¿½Why?ï¿½ This opens up an immediate heart-to-heart between mother and daughter, and Ally finally tells Debra how she likes Tommy and isnï¿½t sure how he feels about her. Just as Debra is telling Ally to talk to Tommy after and go out with him sometime with a whole group of kids, Ray walks through the door. ï¿½What the hell is going on in this math ???ï¿½ Ray asks, but before his wife can answer, he angrily tells Ally that she is in school to learn, not talk to boys. ï¿½The only boy you should be looking at is Mr. Putnum!ï¿½ he says, and when the phone rings, Ray picks up, and it is Tommy! Needless to say, Ray is not very polite to him, and just when he has absolutely humiliated his daughter, the episode ends in typical ï¿½Raymondï¿½ fashion.