This slice of life centers on a working-class, Irish-American family in Brooklyn, 1975. Set against the day-glow colors lit by black lights, two brothers come of age in the age of sex, drugs, and rock and roll. The title comes from a scene where a friend refuses to try that new marihuana declaring the group 'white Irish drinkers.' At first the family may seem stereotyped with the alcoholic father and the long-suffering mother. Yet, there is something different here. Feeling that those who have gone before see working-class people as dumb, the writer, John Grey, wanted to show us smart people making the best of their situation. Because they are smart, the characters want more than the bottom rung of the ladder that life has handed to them. See also Studs Lonigan and Black Irish for examples of poor, upwardly-mobile Irish-Americans set before and after this film.