Adult brothers Mark and Colin Pollock still live with their parents Frank and Mavis Pollock in a small apartment in the projects of London's east end in what is a collective depressed and unhappy existence. The three men of the household are all on the dole, each doing little to find gainful employment. Between the brothers, Mark is the smart aleck, who calls his parents by their given names to irk them, and who hangs out with a bunch of hooligans as he refers to himself and his friends, such as a skinhead named Coxy. Although never medically diagnosed as such, Colin is seemingly emotionally slow. Colin likes to hang out with Mark and his friends in his want to be accepted, especially as Mark tells him that a neighborhood girl named Hayley is interested him. The family rarely socializes with Mavis' sister and brother-in-law, Barbara and John, who live a middle to upper middle class and seemingly perfect existence in the suburbs of Chigwell. Although not telling them to their face, John dislikes his relations by marriage, believing especially Mark to be brash and trashy. A unilateral act by Barbara leads to many issues within the extended family coming to the surface, most specifically the true happiness of the marriage between Barbara and John, and what Colin is truly looking for to be happy in life.