Charles' widowed mother Lillian comes into town for a five-day visit, complete with motherly advice and using her favorite nickname for her son, "doodlebug." Charles is afraid that his responsible position in the household will be undermined by his mother's attention to him, which he thinks is caused by her dependence on him. He encourages her to develop an outside interest. What he doesn't count on is what develops when she takes him up on it and ends up with an attractive man she met at the golf club. Charles can't stop sneezing (a childhood symptom of anxiety) and takes to bed, too sick to eat, while his mother goes out and has a wonderful time. Buddy keeps popping in and out performing new jobs he is forced to get to replace the allowance he lost when his grades dropped. He gets into more trouble than it is worth and he decides the bringing up his grades instead might be easier. Lillian greets Charles one morning with the news that her new friend has gone home to Chicago. Suddenly Charles feels better. Life with mother is just beginning, though. She's decided to stay and found an apartment a block away.
Jamie: If I were you, I would take my vitamins and drink my orange juice you know just in case, she's not joking.
Adam: Yeah, you don't want to get a spanking doodlebug.
Buddy: I thought we could rent a movie and bring 'em over here.
Charles: No way, it's too embarrassing to watch a film with my mother in the house.
Buddy: Oh, Mr. Powell I want to demonstrate a little item that will cause your problems to vanish in an instant.
Walter: Have you got something that'll make an idiot disappear?
Lillian: Leaky fountain pen?
Walter: No, drippy college student.
Buddy: Charles, just think you wanted your mother to go out and meet new people so that you can have your freedom. Instead you're locked in a prison cell of worried out and despair. Now don't you find that ironic?
Charles: You know what I find ironic? Inside the head of a gerbil, there's a brain the size of a walnut. Inside your head, there's a walnut the size of a brain.