The show centered on Matthew Burton (Bateman), a teenage scam artist who lived in a Van Nuys, California apartment with his older sister Julie (Cast) and widowed mother Eileen (Kaye). Matt ran various underhanded dealings with his high school friends, especially his sidekick Eli (Adam Sadowsky), such as term paper sales, exam answer keys, and blackmail.
The status quo of Matthew's world changed forever in the series' pilot, when Norman Lamb (Garrison) moved into the apartment across the hall. A quick-witted but impoverished writer from Chicago, Norman struck up a friendship with Eileen and the two were soon dating. Dismayed that his mother had chosen someone so far beneath her, Matt set upon sabotaging their relationship, but soon finds he has met his match -- Norman reveals himself to be cut from the same cloth as Matthew, and foils plot after plot.
Matt and Norman's cat and mouse game continued and escalated for thirteen episodes, fighting relentlessly while always shielding the aggressively gullible Eileen from one another's true nature.