Irish-Catholic Sue Murphy, who lives in South Boston, dreams about a life beyond the all-too familiar neighborhood where generations of Murphys have lived. Much to the bafflement of her complacent family and friends, Sue desires to understand herself better and learn new things; she starts seeing a therapist and yearns to go to college. She spends most of her time bartending at The Bulldog, a South Boston bar where eccentric regulars hang out and drink. Working alongside Sue is her best friend Trish. Sue's parents are Spud and Lottie Murphy, a working class couple who are content with their lot. Sue's brother Jimmy is a charming lay-about, who would rather drink with his friends than make something more of himself. Mary McDonough is Sue's rival and life-long nemesis.