Roc Emerson, a city garbage collector from Baltimore, balances the pressures of work with the everyday crises of family life in an effort to do what he believes is best for his loving and understanding wife, Eleanor, his live-in dad, Andrew, and his irresponsible brother, Joey.
After being sentenced to prison for the attempted murder of a local drug dealer, Calvin asks Roc to take care of his 11 year old daughte, Sheila. Roc agrees to assume custody of Sheila as a favor to Calvin, whom he admires for his courage and sacrifice in wounding a powerful drug dealer. Roc learns that Sheila is angry with her father for leaving her homeless. Roc explains to Sheila that Calvin believes he was protecting her and the other neighborhood children by committing the crime.
When Roc's crazy neighbor George is hired by the Sanitation Department, Roc is assigned to teach the annoying man how to be a garbage collector. Meanwhile, Joey persuades the Emersons' foster daughter Sheila to use the computer's mathematical probability program to determine the winning horses at the racetrack.
When Eleanor's baby party interferes with Roc's weekly poker game, the expectant couple worry that the baby may interfere in their fun and romance. Then Roc loses the money for Eleanor's anniversary gift in a game.
Charlaine hires Joey to be a bartender at her restaurant, but he quickly demonstrates his irresponsibility by transforming it into a gambling casino.
When Sheila is out two hours past her curfew, the family worries; and when she shows up, saying she lost track of time at the movies, Roc and Joey have to punish her.
When Roc finally realizes the importance of prenatal care for the health of their baby, he obsessively pampers Eleanor with food, exercise and music. Meanwhile, Joey and Andrew meet Al Fontaine, a dishonest acquaintance who enjoys gambling on silly stunts and party games. Joey tries to win back a large wager that he lost to Al in the past but is unsuccessful.
When Andrew's goddaughter Nina comes to town, Andrew warns Joey to stay away from her. Joey agrees. Nina takes a shine to Joey, and has him show her the sights of the city. Then Nina seduces Joey back at her hotel room, and Joey naturally gives in despite his better judgement.
Eleanor instructs Sheila on how to defend her dignity against sexist remarks made by a rude boy at school. Meanwhile, Andrew asks Joey to take his senior citizens group to the horse racing track. When Joey addresses the seniors about betting on horses, they criticize him for gambling instead of working at a job.
Roc wants a management job with the Sanitation Department, but he's lacking one qualification, a high school diploma. When he learns that he can get his diploma by achieving a good grade on the GED Test, Roc prepares for the examination with the help of his family.
The therapist that Joey consults about his gambling addiction accuses Roc of being the problem. Meanwhile, Eleanor takes care of their crazy neighbor, George, when his guardian leaves town for a week.
As Sheila is about to celebrate her twelfth birthday, Roc wonders why she refuses to visit her father, Calvin, in prison. Meanwhile, the Emerson's doctor offers to reveal the sex of their baby, which is due to be born at any time. Eleanor insists that she wants to be surprised during the birth, but Roc is impatient to know what kinds of baby clothes and toys he should scavenge from his garbage route.
When Roc and Eleanor bring their new baby home from the hospital, Eleanor's mother, Margaret, immediately accuses Roc of raising the child incorrectly. Meanwhile, Joey arrives home wearing an expensive new suit. After confessing that he won a large amount of money by gambling, Roc accuses Joey of ignoring his promise not to gamble.
When Roc is burdened with an excessive hospital bill for the birth of his baby and Sheila's fractured arm, he leads an angry protest against the hospital's pricing policy.
Roc and Eleanor are outraged when they learn that Sheila's new friend, Terence, carries a handgun to school to defend himself against the violent gang members. Meanwhile, Joey organizes his musician friends to fund their own music school to educate and occupy the neighborhood children.
Frustrated by the gang members and drug dealers in his neighborhood, Roc campaigns for political office to try and reduce the crime rate. (Part 1 of 2)
A contributor to Roc's opponent may be linked to Andrew, who gets a visit from Roc's varied group of supporters. (Part 2 of 2)
With the arrival of the new baby, Andrew feelis like a burden to the Emerson family and moves into the local senior citizens home. Joey volunteers to be the baby's guardian in Roc and Eleanor's will, and to prove that he isn't irresponsible, Joey cares for the baby in his apartment while Roc and Eleanor have a romantic evening together.
Joey convinces Roc that he's learning to be more responsible when he produces a benefit concert for his new music school. Joey's efforts are threatened by a last-minute emergency, so his family lends him money -- while worrying that the funds might really be going to a bookie.
While attending a convention in Miami, Roc is romantically tempted by a former childhood friend, who is now a beautiful woman. After sharing an innocent day visiting local tourist attractions, Diane returns with Roc to the hotel lounge and they exchange a passionate kiss.
Andrew's brother visits; Joey and Roc have a run-in with a drug dealer.
Eleanor tries to change Roc's bad habits; Joey seeks a date.
Roc gets a drug dealer to help a young hood; Eleanor learns that a friend's daughter is HIV-positive.