Dr Andrew Patterson gets a new job in an English department at a university, though the people and institution are particularly unusual. His initial reluctance to accept the job, despite its good benefits, mean he goes home to think about it until his wife Jane demands he accept. At the university, he is introduced to a variety of other staff members and finds his predecessor became a gibbering wreck and caused him to leave. Patterson ends up locked in his room by Professor Misty when he leaves, and he is rescued by a cleaner somewhat later. Back at home, he tells Jane he doesn't think he is up to working at the university due to the craziness of it. He also finds that his wife has become friends with Cuthbertson from next door, and is off to yoga class.
Patterson is to start his first day of term, though he gets called in at the last minute by Professor Misty who has a hair appointment. He also finds that he will be teaching literature, though gets the wrong building which further delays him. Eventually finding his class, he sets about his first lecture but struggles with the rather poor students. At a staff meeting, Patterson is introduced to the other staff in the department before Misty launches into a wildly confused chairing of the meeting. The upcoming vice-chancellors reception allows Andrew and his wife a night out, but not before telling his daughter about how grown-up life works, much to his wife's dismay.