Part One: Florida and the family are cleaning the apartment as part of a contest for the best looking apartment in the projects. James makes a display for several plants she has. Florida finished sewing a new slip cover for the couch. Thelma cleans her room, including the lipstick marks on her autographed poster of Stevie Wonder. James puts the plants on the display and talks to the plants. James thinls it's strange; when Florida says that plants respond, James says the turnip greens he had for dinner the night before talked back to him all night. JJ brings home some plant food, and complains that the plants eat better than the family. Florida insists that JJ apologize, so he does and then gets formally introduced to them. Willona then brings in a pair of goldfish she bought at a store. She says their names are Ozzie and Harriet and talks bay talk to them. She tells Florida that the contest committe will be judging the apartments later in the day. She leaves some food for the fish and says to give more food to Harriet because she's pregnant: 'She may be eating for 46.' JJ comes out of the bathroom and says hello to the plants. When he sees the goldfish, Florida tells him to talk to them so he says 'May the water in your bowl always be wet.' JJ asks Florida if winning the contest means a lot to her and she says that it isn't just that, it's about taking pride in your surroundings. James warns her that the fix may be in, and she says that all the work they've done isn't for nothing. Michael then comes in and asks if that he saw someone that needs help, should he help them. When Florida says he should, he brings in Ned the wino. He says that Ned promised him that he would stop drinking. Florida is upset that Ned would mess up the clean apartment. James insists that he is a hopeless drunk. Ned says that he's not hopless and falls on the couch. Florida insists that he take Ned out and Michael says he had a long talk with him and that he would stop drinking and that all he needs is someone to help him. He asks to stay for a few days but Florida says the committe is coming any minute. James makes a test: he tells Ned that there is a bottle of muscatel that he is welcome to. Ned starts to get it but stops because he promised Michael. Florida tells him that he picked a bad time to be a Good Samaritan. Michael insists that they help him. Ned starts to leave but Florida tells him to stay. Then she tells James to get the muscatel 'for sombody who really need it--me!'
Part Two: The family tries to feed Ned some food but he can't eat it because it's taking his stomach by surprise. Thelma gives him some milk, and he doesn't want it until Florida tells him to think of it as white muscatel. Florida tells the family to take him to the bathroom and JJ suggests it would be easier to take him to the car wash. Willona comes in to tell them that the committe is on the floor below and is shocked to see Ned. James says that he will get some of his old clothes to put on Ned. Later, the men bring Ned out and he's dressed much better than he's been in a long time. Ned is smiling, but when James asks if he feels better, he doesn't respond. JJ says that he's in a state of shock cause he's so clean. He sits on the couch, but he can't bend his knees so James pushes him down. The committe, led by Mrs. Vinson, come in. She thinks she recognizes Ned, but James says it's his cousin from Mississippi. When he falls forward, James says he's tying his shoe. The others say that the other rooms are immaculate, and Mrs. Vinson declares the Evanses the winner despite on committe member saying that they were going to go to another apartment to take a second look, but Mrs. Vinson says they don't need to. The family celebrates and Michael says they made a new person out of Ned. Mrs. Vinson then comes back and says that the thing that put the Evanses over the top was the way they cleaned up Ned. She says that she would know Ned anywhere and when he asks how, she says Ned is her husband. She says that one she saw Ned, she didn't have to look at the apartment. She then says it's the first time in eight years that she was proud to take him home. When he hears that, the smile leaves Ned's face and he screams, 'You mean I have to go home with her?' Mrs. Vinson then pulls him away and she tells him her mother is still there, her friends come over for cards and she's still taking poker lessons. They leave, then Ned comes back and begs to return to the gutter before his wife pulls him away. Florida then tells James that not only does she have pull in the projects, but thanks to Ned she has connections in the gutter.
Epilogue: James hangs the plaque for the contest. JJ comes in and says hello the the family, the plants and the fish. He notices other fish in the bowl and Florida says that Harriet gave birth to seven fish. JJ then says hello to the baby fish, giving them names, until Thelma says, 'Hello, fool!'