Street-wise Max (Kat Dennings) doesn't expect much from the new waitress at her night job, a rich girl who has reluctantly joined the food service industry after a string of bad luck. But to her surprise, Caroline (Beth Behrs) is a woman of substance and just may be her ticket to success. The two strike up an unlikely friendship after Caroline discovers that Max can bake a mean cupcake, and the women decide if they can just wrangle up the start-up cash, they may have found their big break. Their co-workers at the diner are boss Han Lee, cook Oleg and cashier Earl.
Chiropractor and single father Alan Harper lives in a beachfront house with divorced Internet billionaire Walden Schmidt, who bought the house following the untimely death of Alan's brother, Charlie. As they acclimate to their living arrangement, the tightly wound Alan finds himself taking on a mentor role with Walden, whose lifelong dependence on being taken care of has left him a bit naive. Despite his unsuccessful romantic history, Alan also tries to help Walden overcome his limited experiences with dating. Berta, a sharp-tongued, unapologetic housekeeper, is also featured in the series.
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.
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.
Mensa-fied best friends and roommates Leonard and Sheldon, physicists who work at the California Institute of Technology, may be able to tell everybody more than they want to know about quantum physics, but getting through most basic social situations, especially ones involving women, totally baffles them. How lucky, then, that babe-alicious waitress/aspiring actress Penny moves in next door. Frequently seen hanging out with Leonard and Sheldon are friends and fellow Caltech scientists Wolowitz and Koothrappali. Will worlds collide? Does Einstein theorize in the woods?
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.
Ted has fallen in love. It all started when his best friend, Marshall, drops the bombshell that he plans to propose to longtime girlfriend Lily, a kindergarten teacher. Suddenly, Ted realizes that he had better get a move on if he hopes to find true love. Helping him in the quest is Barney, a friend with endless -- often outrageous -- opinions, a penchant for suits and a foolproof way to meet women. When Ted meets Robin, he is sure it's love at first sight, but the affair fizzles into friendship. Voice-over by Bob Saget ("Full House") tells the story through flashbacks.
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.
Naive 20-something Josh Greenberg is in search of love. Things aren't exactly in his favor to find his ideal mate -- for he has a bad job and apartment and is afraid to approach women. But his best-friend/confidant Mike -- his polar opposite -- is a cool, confident bro with an expense account. Mike is also the proverbial devil on his buddy's shoulder, pushing him to engage in activities like sex and drugs. Also in Josh's life is his sister Liz, a corporate lawyer who wants him to get his act together. When Josh does finally find love, he tackles his toughest challenge to date: a serious, long-term relationship and all that comes with it, including anniversaries, merging friend groups, and learning to live their lives as a team.