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Doug and Carrie Heffernan are a working class couple living at "3121 Aberdeen Street" in Rego Park, Queens, New York, along with Carrie's eccentric father, Arthur Spooner. Doug works for the fictional International Parcel Service (IPS) as a delivery driver, while Carrie works as a secretary in Manhattan, first for a law firm and later for a real estate firm. Their lives are complicated by the demands of Arthur, so much so that they eventually hire Holly, a professional dog walker, to spend time with him as she walks dogs in the park.
Also featured on the show are Doug's friends Deacon Palmer, Spence Olchin and Richie Iannucci, as well as Doug's cousin Danny Heffernan. Deacon's wife Kelly is Carrie's best friend.
Most scenes take place in the Heffernans' home, but other common locations include Doug and Carrie's workplaces, the restaurant "Cooper's" and the residences of friends and family. While locations seen during the theme-song were filmed in areas surrounding New York, the series was filmed in California.
The show begins after Doug and Carrie have already married, and how they met is slightly unclear due to continuity issues. In one flashback episode, "Meet By-Product", Doug meets Carrie when he is a bouncer at a nightclub that Carrie attends. However, in another episode, "Road Rayge", Carrie reflects on a song that she says Doug asked her to dance to when they were in junior high school. In a later episode, it was implied that they all went to high school together, as Kelly and Carrie were said to have slept with the same guy neither husband knew of until the day of the guy's wedding.