The story focuses on Meredith Morton, a successful Manhattan executive whose uptight, conservative demeanor is a sharp contrast to that of her boyfriend Everett's rambunctious liberal family. He has four siblings: NPR supporter Amy has previously met Meredith, to whom she took an immediate dislike; Thad is deaf and gay and contemplating adoption with his African American partner Patrick; Ben is a pothead from Berkeley; and Susannah has a young daughter Elizabeth and is expecting her second child. Father Kelly is a college professor, and mother Sybil a bohemian type who is dealing with the recurrence of an unnamed fatal illness that obviously is cancer.
Meredith, feeling very much an outsider, opts to stay at the local inn instead of with the family and asks her sister Julie to join her for support. Everett immediately finds himself attracted to the younger, more easygoing girl. Meredith desperately tries to fit in, but her strained attempt to play charades and clumsy effort to enga