Milo is the only member of the Szabo family who is thrilled to camp in their backyard indefinitely. The great outdoors is his natural habitat. Milo much prefers the company of wildlife to that of his stressed-out parents and his snarky older sister. It doesn't take very long for him to befriend the critters who live in the woods surrounding his suburban neighborhood, and he soon makes a marvelous discovery: he can communicate with them! The animals recognize Milo as a kindred spirit. He always has his head up in the clouds or down a rabbit hole. Milo’s escapades with the local fauna gets him into plenty of jams—not to mention on his family’s nerves—but he’s always quick to extricate himself from sticky situations and seek out the next adventure.
Julia stands at the opposite end of the outdoorsy spectrum. She's a homebody whose home is now a hectic construction zone. Julia is beyond mortified at having to camp in the backyard with her uncool family, and to make matters worse, it's for an eternity. She might be one of the few teenagers whose angst is actually underplayed. But Julia must learn to curb her snark in order to befriend the neighborhood kids and hopefully get invited to their houses for long-term sleepovers. To regain the comforts of home, Julia must reach outside her comfort zone.
Mr. Szabo immigrated to America in his mid-twenties from Eastern Europe. Since he had to learn English, finish school, and establish himself as a freelance engineer, he got a late start with family life. But Mr. Szabo makes up for it with unflappable optimism and infectious gusto. He is industrious, independent, frugal to a fault, and unable to resist meddling in the endless home renovations. Living outdoors plays into Mr. Szabo’s uncanny resourcefulness. It also causes him to relapse to disgusting old-world hygiene habits. (Pickle juice as mouthwash? Who knew!)
Mrs. Szabo performs a balancing act that makes Cirque du Soleil look easy. Working mom; glue of the family; project manager. She does it all and doesn’t miss a beat. (Not any that she’d admit to, at least.) When Mrs. Szabo isn’t filing legal briefs, refereeing sibling spats between her kids, or taking respite in psychotherapy, she can be found trying to quality control their chaotic home renovation. All while acting as “interpreter of American life” for her somewhat obtuse foreign husband.