The comedy-drama chronciled the lives of the Bradford family. Consisting of father Tom (a columnist for a Sacramento newspaper), mother Joan and their eight children: Mary, David, Joanie, Nancy, Elizabeth, Susan, Tommy and Nicholas. After Joan's death, Tom met teacher Abby, and they were married to make the family ten once more.
After much debate, Tom and Abby decide on November 9th as their wedding date and agree to let the children handle the wedding plans, but it almost does not happen when things get too crazy. Elizabeth and Nicholas are not as excited about the wedding plans as the rest of the Bradford children.
This episode introduces Betty Buckley in the contract role of Sue " Abby" Abbott. At first, she was a special guest star. Tommy breaks his ankles at a touch football game and will miss school for five weeks. Mary moves in with her boyfriend, a young psychiatry students [Doug]. Sandra Sue Abbott is sent to tutor Tommy while he is absent from school.
Nicholas feels responsible when bad luck seems to run in the family after he breaks a chain letter. Merle and Susan argue about his choice of friends and her neglect of household duties. Meanwhile, Tom, Abby, and the rest of the Bradfords are worried when Tommy is hospitalized for a ruptured spleen.
Chaos hits the Bradford house when everyone's activities go around the clock. In order to get her Ph.D. more quickly, Abby attends school full-time and has little time for the family. Tom is upset when no one is home when Nicholas gets home from school. Tired of getting dead-end jobs because of her looks, Nancy gets a job at a brokerage firm. All this drives Tom bananas and he finally calls a family meeting at 3 a.m. by playing loud music to rearrange the goings on.Watch Now:Amazon
Nicholas and Susan meet Merle the Pearl, a local minor league baseball player. Nicholas is upset that his young girlfriend is moving out of town and wants to introduce her to Merle the Pearl to impress her before she leaves. Frustrated by the gas shortage, Tom agrees to buy a new, fuel-efficient car. Merle falls for Susan and Nicholas gets his first kiss
Tom is proud when Elizabeth and Joannie are graduating the same week (Joannie from college and Elizabeth from high school). Joannie doesn't know what to do with her life after graduation. Tom is invited to give the commencement address at Elizabeth's High School graduation. Abby talks to the principal on Elizabeth's behalf after she is excluded from the graduation ceremony for taking part in a dangerous senior prank. Tommy is offered the perfect summer job as a lifeguard but has to cut his hair if he accepts the job.
Tom and Abby take the kids to San Francisco where Tom is scheduled to accept an award for his column and the trip doubles as a honeymoon. Mary is upset when she is rejected by a medical school and Abby wants to contact an old friend to help her get in. The kids wrangle their way along the trip as chaos begins.Watch Now:Amazon
Joannie agrees to do a nude scene in a Shakespearean play and is relives when Tom says he can't make it to the show, or so it goes. [Obviously, a sweeps stunt.] Abby's former father-in-law visits and she is hesitant to introduce him to Tom and tell him about her plans to marry him. David arranges for Tom to buy an engagement ring for Abby through a friend at work, but it turns out to be too hot to handle.
Mary runs for a seat on the Board of Education and enlists the family's help on her campaign. Abby is too busy to keep her dates with Tom. Tom proposes to Abby after she and Mary are able to work out their difficulties over Mary's running for the school board. Abby accepts Tom's proposal.Watch Now:AmazoniTunes
After Tom and Abby break up, the Bradford children set Tom up with another woman in an effort to make Abby jealous. Nancy enters the Miss Sacramento beauty contest. David and Tommy hang around a laundromat in hopes of meeting girls.Watch Now:iTunes
While substitute teaching at the high school, Abby refuses to pass the star basketball player, and troubles begin for Tommy. It's an awkward meeting when Tom meets Janet's parents. Tommy is pressured by the basketball player to get the answers to Abby's test. Tommy learns to stand up for what is right.
David and his traveling companion continue their cross-country trip and he gets involved in a hang-gliding competition and learns a few lessons about life.
David and Janet set a wedding date but it turns out to be the same day Merle and Susan decided to move up the wedding day to accomodate Merle's ballplaying career move. Nancy gets a job delivering singing telegrams and is hired to deliver one at the double wedding for David and Janet and Merle and Susan.Watch Now:Amazon
Joannie "scoops" Tom on a story on a porno theater for her new job at a television station. The problem is that the theater is owned by a public corporation and Tom is a stockholder.
A new closeness develops between Nicholas and Abby after a substitute teacher expects him to live up to high standards set by his brothers and sisters. Meanwhile, Tom needs a partner for the father/son golf tournament but David, Tommy, and Merle are all busy, and Nancy tries to help David's construction business by dating a local businessman.
Tom's sister, Vivian wants to take the Bradfords to Hawaii for a vacation. The real reason is that she has found out that Tom's long-lost father is living there.Watch Now:Amazon
Tom is up to his ears with kids when Susan returns home after a spat with Merle, while Nicholas is on strike for more allowance, and Mary and Elizabeth try to bill him for fixing the thermostat.Watch Now:Amazon
Merle returns to try to win Susan back, and receives some news that will change his life forever. Meanwhile, Ernie and Tommy use Nicholas as bait to meet girls.
Things are not as they seem at the Bradfords when Merle's sister, Linda Mae, comes from the farm for a visit. It's a comedy of errors when she calls the police after misunderstanding the family's crazy life style.
Tommy is upset when Jill's idea of a commitment is not the same as his and then misinterprets signals from Mary's friend, Kerry, and gets deeper into trouble. Tommy presents Jill with a class ring. Abby and the girls plan a surprise baby shower for Susan. Nicholas plays go-between for Marvin but ends up with the girl instead.
It's winter break and Joannie, Nancy, and Mary meet strange men that drive Tom and Abby crazy. Tom fixes Tommy up with his boss's niece.
Nicholas starts a dog-sitting service. Nancy falls in love with the 5-year-old daughter of the young widower she is dating, but doesn't fall in love with her father. Ernie can't find a date for the prom.Watch Now:Amazon
David returns and is determined to win Janet back from her new boyfriend. Merle confides to Nicholas that he wants to propose to Susan but Susan is upset when the entire Bradford family knows about before she does. Nicholas acts as the go-between for everyone
Tom and Abby are surprised to learn that Nicholas is musically talented but Abby is upset when Tom gets him a drum set. Joannie falls for the local drama critic who gave her a good review. Tom thinks he is a phony and tries to break up their romance. An unemployed David decides to open his own construction business and the whole family pitches in to help him
David's new roommate romance both Susan and Joannie.Tom decides he has been neglecting Nicholas and drives Nicholas crazy by spending too much time with him. Tommy organizes a family garage sale to earn money.Watch Now:Amazon