The series revolves around two New York City women who acted in an outrageous, campy, and decadent manner. Ellie Walker (Jean Smart) was a successful author of trashy romantic novels, and her best friend and publisher was Dorothy 'Dott' Emerson (Mary McDonnell). Emerson was a divorced mother with a preppie college-aged son, Brendan Emerson (Dan O'Donahue), a College Republican, who rejected the relentless sexual advances of Ellie, but who otherwise appeared to be heterosexual. In the pilot episode, the women's small-town former college friend, Val Brumberg (Faith Prince), arrived and moved in with Dott. At the publishing house, the women worked with a flamboyant gay male secretary named Stephano (Luigi Amodeo) and a sleazy publisher partner named Peter Thomas (David Rasche).