Now that Mary has left Glen Oak for the time being for her own good despite being sent away to live with her grandparents in Buffalo, some of the ugliest rumors are being spread within the four walls of the family's church. Since everyone seems to believe that all the Camden kids are "bad seeds", Simon and his friend decide to take advantage of it by getting involved with a rebellious pair of twins at school. Elsewhere, Ruthie spreads some phony tales around town to draw attention away from Mary; Matt is infatuated with a beautiful stranger; Annie meets up with an old boyfriend; and Lucy must decide if dating a formerly suicidal classmate is worth the trouble.
At church, Eric is giving a sermon about people letting them down and other people in the church are gossiping about Mary and what happened to her. There are theories about her being pregnant, running away, stealing, drinking problem, nudity, and just basically a good girl going bad.
After church, Eric goes into his office to get ready to leave and Annie joins him and they discuss Mary and their final decision to send her away to live with The Colonel and Grandma Ruth in Buffalo for her own good. Annie tells Eric that she is happy that they have a whole community behind their backs, but they overhear a couple of ladies talking about the crazy ideas about Mary's departure. Matt sees a lady come of a limo dresses in a wedding dress who needs to find St. Monica's church and gives her directions. A couple of ladies ask Lucy why Mary left, but Lucy explains that it is personal and private. Ruthie asks if Mary is pregnant, but Lucy explains that it is bad to gossip.
Luke, Simon's friend, tells Simon to use Mary's bad-girl reputation to his advantage, but he doesn't believe it until he points out a few girls that do think that he is bad. Simon asks why they would think that and Luke explains that he told them, the Murphy twins. Eric puts the twins down to sleep and he runs into Annie who explains that Robin and Ted are taking Annie out to eat. Eric tells her that she can't go and people are already gossiping about their family. Eric reminds Annie of the Rick Nelson story about his death and no one cared to know the real story, they just cared about the sensational story of the crash being attributed to drug use.
At the pool hall, John and Matt are talking about the girl in the wedding dress and she turns up there. After she gets off of the pay phone, she walks up to Matt and kisses him and ruffles his hair and then walks off. Matt tells John that he is going to marry that girl, but John tells him that he should find out her name, so Matt runs off to get her name. At home, Eric is playing a Rick Nelson song when Ruthie walks in and asks Eric about the rumors that she has been hearing and if they are true or not. Lucy answers the door to Mike and she tells him that she completely forgot.
Mike tells Lucy that he has heard of lots of gossip about Mary and that people still talk about him. Mike suggests that she divert everyone's attention and to do that by giving them a way to pity the family and she should make up a story. Lucy explains that she is tempted, but she isn't good at making up stories, but Ruthie overhears and decides to make up a story.
Ruthie tells her principal stories about her family that are not real, like Lucy having a lot of disabilities, Simon can't talk, Matt was in jail, Eric losing his job, and Annie drinking all day. Ruthie advises her to spread it around since the principal feels sorry for her. One of the ladies that were talking in the church brings her niece over, Paulene, who is a family counselor. Paulene suggests that they should hug and that hugs solve lots of problems and hugs plus love equal marriage.
Annie politely declines her offer of help, but when Eric explains that he is a family counselor himself, Paulene tells him that a family counselor that counsels himself makes him a fool. They leave and Eric and Annie are left stunned by what just happened. Eric then suggests that Annie go eat with her friend from school and if people are going to talk to give them something to talk about. In his telling her to go, Eric accidentally calls Annie a tart, which makes Annie mad and as she walks away, he yells out to her that he needs a hug since hugs plus love equal marriage.
At the pool hall, Matt walks up to the bartender and he explains that he doesn't know who she is and Matt explains that he can't sleep without knowing who she is. Lucy has a couple of girls approach her and tell her that they have heard that her and Mike are dating. Lucy explains that they are not dating and they shouldn't talk about other people. Luke tells Simon to make his move on the Murphy girls, but before he has a chance to ask one of them out, they walk up to him and tell him that they would be happy to go out with him and Luke. They make a date to go to the Promenade that night.
Lucy meets up with Mike and when he asks her when she wanted to be picked up for the dance, she declines and doesn't seem to excited to hang out with him. He tells her that she wouldn't cancel unless she had to and they can go to something else together later.
At home, Robin shows up to pick up Annie and he doesn't recognize Eric and doesn't remember his name. Robin explains that he wrote a book about not being a loser and how his book tells people to be blunt and upfront with their comments. Annie comes downstairs, they hug each other, and then leave for the restaurant.
In the kitchen, Lucy is looking sad and when Eric offers to pick up ice cream, she doesn't seem happy and doesn't want to discuss it. Ruthie hands Simon a paper with questions that she would like Simon to ask the Murphy girls, but Simon tells her no. Lucy is impressed that Simon is going out with them and suggests that they are wild, Simon tells her to not judge people and that you can't believe everything that everyone says, just like with Mary. Simon explains that they are not wild since their parents only let them go out in groups and that you can't be wild in a group.
Ruthie asks Lucy if she is sad about Mary and when Lucy says that she does a little bit, Ruthie tells her that she took care of everything. The lady walks into the pool hall and tells the bartender that she is looking for a guy and he tells her that the guy is looking for her. Simon and Luke wait for their dates and when they show up, they tell them that they have four hours to do whatever they want. When Simon is concerned about waiting for the rest of the group, the girls tell him that they just lie to their parents.
Eric runs into Ruthie's principal and when she tells him that she wanted to speak to him after she spoke to a professional, Eric is concerned that there is a family in crisis. Eric asks who the family is and she tells him that it is his family. Eric asks what it is about and the principal explains that his family is so sad. Lucy confronts Ruthie about what she told her principal and Ruthie explains why she did what she did. Ruthie thinks that they are going to thank them for doing what she did, but Lucy tells her that they won't be happy.
With her friend, Annie gets an earful about Robin's view of people and how you should be blunt. The lady from the church and her niece, Paulene, find Annie and Robin talking at the restaurant. At the convenience store, Simon sees one of the Murphy girls shoplifting and Luke joins in. When Luke almost gets caught, they all run out of the store without paying for anything. The bartender form the pool hall calls Matt and tells him that the woman asked about Matt and that the lady's name is Julia. She is a model and wants to meet him at 9:00. Matt tells John the good news, but John is going to be more cautious with this relationship since Matt seems to find love everywhere he goes. Matt offers that John is jealous.
At the restaurant, the girls offer that they just leave the table without paying, but Simon doesn't want to do it, but gives into peer pressure and leaves with them. Lucy wakes up Ruthie and tells her that her and the twins are going to go to the dance. In the line for the movie, one of the Murphy girls pinches a girl in front of Simon and makes Simon take the blame for it. A whole group of ladies are at the restaurant and discuss Eric and Annie's family and are surprised when they see Eric walk in with a woman.
Eric walks up to Annie and tells her that he needs to talk to her, but Annie gets nervous since Ruthie's principal is with him. Eric takes Annie outside of the restaurant and tells her the problem that they have with Ruthie and what she has told the principal. Eric gets upset at the ladies watching them and decides to talk to them and decides that they are going to make up a new story about how they are dating other people. The ladies are left speechless. At the movie theater, they talk about sneaking into the movie theater. Simon explains that he is tired of acting bad, but she kisses him and he decides to forget everything. The usher catches them and makes them show him their ticket stubs.
Lucy shows up at the dance with Ruthie, Sam, and David and asks Mike to dance. While dancing, she explains that she acted badly and wants him to forgive her. Sergeant Michaels talks to Simon and his group and explains that they were guilty and explains what happened. Sergeant Michaels tells him that being bad comes with consequences. Sergeant Michaels suggests that they pay their bills and return the things. The lady from church walks up to Eric and apologizes to him. She explains that she never thought that gossip was a bad thing, but now she knows that she is wrong.
Annie interrupts their conversation and tells Eric about Simon getting into trouble. The Murphy girls explain that they wanted to teach Simon a lesson about trying to up their reputation, but Simon tells them that he never wanted to do it. Simon tells one of the girls that he likes her and wants to go out with her without being bad. Eric and Annie walk up to Simon kissing the girl and tell him that it is time to leave. Matt arrives back at the apartment and is sad that he waited for Julia, but he didn't find her. John can't contain his excitement and Julia walks from behind a wall and surprises Matt.
Julia explains that she was modeling and that was why she was wearing the wedding dress. She also explains that she is leaving tomorrow and is only here visiting her father. Matt asks her if she would like to go get some coffe, but when she says no, he offers to stay and make-out until her plane leaves. They begin kissing. Lucy asks Mike about the suicide rumor and he tells her that he hates that story and that it romanticizes suicide. Mike tells her that the dance is romantic, not suicide.
Eric, Annie, and Simon show up at the dance and find the little kids dancing. Ruthie gets nervous when she sees her parents and then explains why she told her principal what she did. Eric tells her to not tell any more stories and when Ruthie asks if she is going to be punished, Eric explains that they have been punished enough. The whole family dances together at the dance.
- Early in the episode, Ruthie has to ask Lucy what the word "gossip" means. It seems very unusual that a fifth grader (not to mention a fifth grader who attends a high-profile private school) doesn't know that word.
- Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen guest star as Sue and Carol Murphy.
- Teenager #1 (to Lucy): So, are the rumors really true? Is Mary really pregnant?
- Lucy: What?
- Teenager #2: Some guy who has a brother who works at the hospital swears that Mary came in last month and she was pregnant.
- Lucy: Some guy who has a brother? What a reliable source.
- Teenager #2: If she's not pregnant, then why did she leave?
- Lucy: I don't want to talk about why my sister left. It's personal, private family business.
- Man #1: (gossiping in church as Eric gives his sermon) I heard they sent Mary off to rehab.
- Woman #1: I heard she's pregnant.
- Woman #2: She had to get married.
- Woman #3: No, she's in prison!
- Man #2: She just went crazy. They put her in an institution.
- Woman #4: An institution? How could they have a daughter like that? The Camdens are such good people.
- Man #3: I heard Mary ran away, and they don't know where she is.
- Teenager #1: She's pregnant, and she robbed Pete's Pizza.
- Teenager #2: No way!
- Teenager #1: It's all over town!
- Mrs. Beeker: She stole money out of the register at the pool hall.
- Woman #5: I heard she dropped a baby on its head.
- Mrs. Beeker: Her baby, right?
- Woman #5: I don't think so.
- Man #4: I heard she has a drinking problem. That's how she got pregnant. The drinking!
- Mrs. Beeker: She was drinking and driving.
- Man #4: In the nude!
- Mrs. Beeker: It's just another case of a good girl gone bad.
- Eric: (unaware of the gossip going around) Amen.
- Lucy (to Ruthie): You told your principal that I have a learning disability, Simon doesn't talk, Matt lives in his car, Dad lost his job, and Mom drinks? And how am I responsible for this?
- Ruthie: Your friend Mike. He said that if people felt sorry for us, then they'd stop gossiping about Mary, so that's what I did to make people feel sorry for us.
- Lucy: Well, you made your principal feel sorry for us.
- Ruthie: No, just like Mike said, I told someone in authority, someone people listen to. Mrs. McCool will tell other people. It'll work.
- Lucy: I notice that you didn't tell your principal that you have any problems.
- Ruthie: My problem is that I have you guys for a family!
- Sue: (to Simon and Luke) Okay. Our dad is picking us up around 10:00.
- Carol: And we need 30 minutes to change and take off our make-up.
- Sue: So that leaves us with about four hours to do whatever.
- Simon: Why do you have to change?
- Carol: Do you think our parents let us out of the house looking like this? So, let's go do something.
- Simon: Shouldn't we wait for the rest of the group?
- Sue: (she and Carol laugh) There are no other people.
- Carol: That's just a lie we tell our parents so they'll let us go out with boys.
- Lucy (to Ruthie): I don't even want to know what Mom and Dad are going to do when they find out what you did.
- Ruthie: They're gonna thank me! They didn't like people talking bad about Mary, either.
- Lucy: I don't think they're going to thank you.
- Eric: We talked to Mrs. McCool.
- Annie: Why would you make up stories about the family like that?
- Ruthie: I thought that if I got people to feel sorry for us, they'd stop talking about Mary. I thought that if Mary knew everyone was talking about her, she wouldn't want to come home. I'm still mad at her for messing up, but I want her to come home.