The show is set in an Irish neighborhood of Staten Island, New York and is about the comedic interplay of the Irish Catholic Finnerty family. One of the central aspects of the show is that Sean and Claudia Finnerty had their first child and got married in their late teens. Thus, while they have three children, including a teenage daughter, the two parents are themselves relatively young and not out of their "wild" years.
The show features an unusual style of storytelling, often starting with a scene at the end of the story or sometimes in the middle and filling in the gaps with flashbacks. Its main concepts are an Irish Catholic family with three children - one girl and two boys - surviving one catastrophe after another, utilizing flashbacks to further explain current situations they find themselves in.