Jeff and Steph Woodcock move in next door to Eddie and Joy Stark, and, almost immediately, Eddie precipitates Jeff and Steph's first fight---about a pool table. Of course, the argument boomerangs back to the Starks.
Sex for furniture? The concept is simplicity itself for the Woodcocks: Steph gets to buy furniture she likes (no questions asked by Jeff), and he gets sex in return. But the concept doesn't work so well for Eddie and Joy when it's time to replace their old patio furniture.
After hearing the Woodcocks' romantic engagement story over dinner at a French restaurant, Joy demands that Eddie buy her an engagement ring as “a symbol of our love.” Eddie is less than enthused, but he knows what he has to do.
After Joy trips over Eddie's pile of unused wood in the garage, she gives him a “wood ultimatum”: build something or the wood gets tossed. Trouble is, Eddie's not exactly the craftsman he fancies himself to be. Greg: Johann Urb.
When Jeff tells Eddie that he needs to spend time away from Steph, Eddie tells him about his garage “band,” which never actually plays anything. It's just an excuse for Eddie and three of his friends to get away from their wives. Jeff decides to join. Cofeld: Anthony Anderson. Stan: Jerry Lambert. Russ: Will Sasso.
Eddie hurts his back then assumes he's dying when the MRI technician refuses to tell him the results. The assumption enriches his relationship with Joy, sexually and otherwise. And the report of Eddie's imminent demise reawakens Steph's all-consuming (and very annoying to Jeff) grief for her cat, Mr. Pajamas, who died several months before at the age of 21.
Eddie and Joy disagree over whether a plugged-in toaster uses electricity even when it's not in use, and Eddie can't stand it when he's proven wrong. Meanwhile, Jeff is planning a surprise birthday party for Steph.
Eddie and Joy's daughter, Allison (Krysten Ritter), comes home from college for the holidays. She's negative and sarcastic---just like Eddie. But when her boyfriend dumps her because of it, she makes a New Year's resolution to lighten up. And so does Eddie.
Eddie and Joy attend a lavish 25th-anniversary party thrown by his garage-band buddy Stan (Jerry Lambert). Not surprisingly, it becomes a disaster for Eddie, whose bad times begin rolling when Joy asks him to check her wrap in the hotel's cloakroom. And things don't go much better for Jeff, who can't stand to dance. Steph loves to, of course, and she's very aggressive about it. Cofeld: Anthony Anderson. Russ: Will Sasso.
When Steph confesses to Jeff, a confirmed hockey fanatic, that she hates the sport, he feels as though the basis for their relationship has crumbled. Eddie quickly disabuses him of the notion, but then fears that he and Joy are becoming too much alike. Barbara: Jessica Lundy.
Eddie and Joy are sparring again (this time over a new refrigerator and a marriage seminar), so she turns to her “fight friend,” Nicole (Margaret Cho), for support while Eddie turns to Cofeld (Anthony Anderson), who happens to be married to Nicole. Meanwhile, Jeff is annoyed because Steph is spending so much of his (or is it their?) hard-earned money.
A new female history teacher (Brooke Bloom) seeks out Eddie's advice, but he's reluctant to give it---he doesn't want Joy to think he's interested in her. Joy's reactions will surprise him. Meanwhile, Jeff uses Steph to ingratiate himself with the school's “cool kids.”
Eddie and his friends throw Jeff a belated bachelor party at a strip club, accompanied by Cofeld's wife, Nicole (Margaret Cho). Back at home, an ailing Joy and a fuming Steph drink tea. They have more fun than the boys do (except for Jeff, that is). Cofeld: Anthony Anderson.
An old photo forces Eddie to confront a very painful memory from a trip he and Joy took to Italy before they were married, a recollection they have repressed ever since. And Jeff is jealous when he learns about nude photos of Steph, taken before they met.
Eddie and Joy visit Allison (Krysten Ritter) at college, where she tells them she plans to skip a semester and join a pottery collective. Meanwhile, Jeff hires someone to lay bathroom tiles because he's tired of Steph's complaints about the quality of his work around the house.
Eddie and Joy swap household chores when Eddie tires of Joy's refusal to use their cappuccino maker, which was given to them by Steph---without telling Jeff, whose mother had given it to them for their wedding.
Joy accompanies Allison on her spring break in Florida, leaving Eddie alone in the house and looking forward to spending quality time with the TV set. Then a storm knocks out the cable, and Eddie can't figure out what to do. Down South, meanwhile, a cute guy (Brian Patrick Wade) flirts with Joy at the beach. Cofeld: Anthony Anderson.
Over Eddie's objections, Joy sets up his swinging bachelor buddy Webby (Ted McGinley) with a work friend (Trisha Leigh Fisher). And to Eddie's astonishment, Webby falls for her. Meanwhile, Jeff and Steph are trading insults because he hates her new blouse and she doesn't think much of his skimpy new mustache.
Summer vacation has just begun for Eddie and Jeff, and Allison comes home from college with her boyfriend, Doug (Timm Sharp). Eddie hates summer, until Doug teaches him how to relax. But Steph, who doesn't have a job, can't teach Jeff how to relax. And poor, resentful Joy has to go to work.