Told from the perspective of an unseen documentary filmmaker, the series offers an honest, often-hilarious perspective of family life. Parents Phil and Claire yearn for an honest, open relationship with their three kids. But a daughter who is trying to grow up too fast, another who is too smart for her own good, and a rambunctious young son make it challenging. Claire's dad, Jay, and his Latina wife, Gloria, are raising two sons together, but people sometimes believe Jay to be Gloria's father. Jay's gay son, Mitchell, and his partner, Cameron, have adopted a little Asian girl, completing one big -- straight, gay, multicultural, traditional -- happy family.
In the 1980s, geeky Adam uses a video camera to document his family's crazy life. His mother, Beverly, is overprotective and lacks boundaries, while his dad has a hot temper and finds it difficult to parent without screaming. Rounding out the clan are Adam's terrifying sister, Erica; his older brother, Barry, who has middle-child syndrome; and the family's beloved grandfather, Al "Pops" Solomon. Pops is responsible for wild antics, including offering drinks to Barry and teaching Adam about the ways of love -- which create more chaos in an already high-strung family.
Accomplished actors Dianne Wiest and James Brolin star as the heads of a large, happy family, in which each member is approaching different milestones. Their eldest daughter, Heather (Betsy Brandt) and her husband consider having another child as they get closer to an empty nest; middle child Matt (Thomas Sadoski) thinks he has found true love; and the youngest of the three siblings, Greg (Colin Hanks) is overwhelmed after having his first child with his wife. Various perspectives are employed as each family member's story unfolds.
Dre Johnson (Anthony Anderson) has it all: a great job, a beautiful wife, Rainbow (Tracee Ellis Ross), four kids and a big home in a classy neighborhood, but as a black man, he begins to question whether all his success has brought too much cultural assimilation for his family. With the help of his father (special guest star Laurence Fishburne), Dre begins to try to create a sense of ethnic identity for the members of his family that will allow them to honor their background while preparing them to embrace the future.
In the Heck family, middle-age, middle-class, middle-America mom Frankie Heck (two-time Emmy winner Patricia Heaton) uses a sense of humor to try to steer her family through life's ups and downs as she tackles her career goals. Her unflappable husband, Mike (Neil Flynn), is a manager at the local quarry. Oldest son Axl is an obstinate young man; awkward daughter Sue cannot seem to find her niche -- despite much enthusiasm in her attempts -- and youngest son Brick is an unusual child whose best friend is his backpack.
After going through a rough breakup, awkward and upbeat Jess (Zooey Deschanel) moves in with three single guys. Intelligent and witty Nick is an underachiever who took the bartender off-ramp on his road to success. Schmidt obsesses over his social standing and looks at Jess as a personal project. Winston is a competitive former athlete who, after realizing he will never become a pro, moves into the loft. Together with Jess' best friend, Cece, they bond to form an unlikely, and dysfunctional, family.
Doctor-turned-comedic actor Ken Jeong plays the titular character in this sitcom about a brilliant physician with a questionable bedside manner. Always trying his hardest to be a good doctor (despite being a little too honest) and the best husband and father he can be, Ken's real skill seems to lie in driving his family and co-workers crazy with his well-intentioned efforts. Luckily for everyone, when it comes to keeping everything sane, Ken's psychotherapist wife Allison is just what the doctor ordered.
Mike Baxter is the quintessential man's man. Unfortunately, there isn't a lot of room for that at home where he lives with his three daughters and wife, Vanessa. The only other male in the house is his oldest daughter's young son, Boyd. Now, after being a stay-at-home mom for years, Vanessa goes back to work, forcing Mike to take on more parental responsibility than ever before. But his daughters aren't prepared for their old-fashioned, hotheaded patriarch to take over the house. When not at home, Mike is surrounded by men at his job at sporting-goods retailer Outdoor Man, which sells items like guns, jerky and camouflage recliners.
The close-knit, Chicago-based O'Neals seem to be the perfect Catholic family, but when surprising truths come to light, some lives take an unexpected turn. Eileen, Pat, Kenny, Jimmy, Shannon and Jodi decide to let the honesty ring in a new, less tidy chapter of their story, where they all drop their carefully honed facades and discover the unexpected freedom that accompanies just acting real. Instead of being torn apart, the O'Neals find that their newfound way of life actually brings them closer together.
The wealthy town of Westport, Conn., is full of cookie-cutter mommies and their seemingly perfect offspring, but the members of the Otto family can't be counted among them. Confident housewife Katie Otto shares a home with her husband, Jeff, and their three children Taylor, Harrison and Anna-Kat, and while she loves them all dearly, she recognizes they probably aren't going to land themselves in a magazine spread anytime soon. The matriarch knows her family is beautifully flawed, and she's far from sorry.