Brilliant, but Lazy: Luca and Paolo are actually pretty good in their respective jobs- when they fail it isn't because they're not skilled, but because fate said so. With that said, good luck seeing them working: they'd much rather spend their time in the Relax Area than doing something constructive.
The Bully: Especially towards Silvano. Patti and Pippo are frequent targets as well.
Butt Monkey: They are on the receiving end of a lot of humiliation and beatings, especially since all their plans are doomed to fail, in every single episode.
Flanderization: Paolo's stupidity, big time. Just watch a few episodes of season 1, and then any episode of season 4. Luca also was flanderized into one of the biggest losers ever especially in season 4. Ironically in the very much controversial season 5, their flanderization was a bit toned down, (especially Luca's Chew Toy status, Paolo still has plenty of dumb moments), but this is probably one of the few good things about that season.
Heterosexual Life-Partners: Being best friends, they are always together, no matter what. Paolo also has a couple of other best friends outside the workplace (the infamous Pino and Budello), but it's pretty obvious Luca is his favorite.
Jerkass: They are totally different in many aspects but this is one of the few things they have in common.
Karma Houdini: Played with. They get caught by karma quite often, and they definitely get a lot of deserved humiliations and beatings, but you have to wonder how they still have a job. They spend all their time drinking coffee, slacking off, bullying Silvano or others in the most cruel (and often violent) ways, trying to hit on their female co-workers and acting like jerks and idiots. Not to mention that some of their pranks, ridiculous schemes and, let's face it, most of the things they do are freaking dangerous and illegal. If they were real life people, they would be both in jail. And while their boss De Marinis is totally aware of their behaviour, everything he does is: yelling at them, calling them morons and threatening to fire them.
Must Have Caffeine: Obviously. The show is filmed from the perspective of a coffee machine.
One-Hour Work Week: Subverted in that they actually never work at all and it's lampshaded all the freaking time.
The Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist of the show alongside Luca, Paolo is the best salesman in the company. Nevertheless he's proud to be an alcoholic, other than a sleazy, borderline illiterate buffoon who doesn't have many interests outside hookers, campers, Alfa Romeos and the like. However, his overall simple-mindedness is a foil to the way he treats his Butt Monkey co-workers.Basically, think of a skinny, more perverted, Italian version of Homer Simpson: that's Paolo Bitta.
He just can't finish a proverb properly, usually repeating its first phrase. Example: "Clear agreements... Clear agreements." (It's actually "Clear agreements, long friendship", or "Patti chiari, amicizia lunga" in Italian).
Took a Level in Dumbass: In season 1 Paolo was just uncultured and less book smart than Luca, but still not an idiot. In later seasons his blatant idiocy becomes part of his personality.
The other Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist, Luca is the leader of the company's trade union and, as such, he's in charge of the organization of strikes. He's proud to be a Communist, but he doesn't quite stick to the ideals implied by that.Despite being a greedy jerk , he also has some redeeming abilities — namely, he's generally smarter and more classy than Paolo, though every time the two have a plan, it's likely to backfire. His flaws are somewhat punished by the... er, unfaithfulness shown by his girlfriend. Karma's a bitch, indeed.
Ilaria: "You, instead, will just keep working knowing that your colleagues are paying because of you!"
Luca: *beat* "Oh well."
Large Ham: Luca embodies this trope. Especially when he's defending his beliefs or giving one of his "important" and "idealistic" speeches, he starts being overly emphatic and melodramatic. And when he's actually talking about strikes, he starts Chewing the Scenery.
The company's nerdy and goofy accountant and the show's resident Butt Monkey. Very shy, he's not able to overcome the others' bossy attitudes unless someone's screwing with his personal hobbies he loves the most.Other than being a hopeless Momma's Boy and a goody-goody know-it-all, Silvano is also known for his semi-relationship with the ugliest woman in the company (Patti), another reason for being made fun of.(seasons 1-5)
Adorkable: He can be annoying, but he's still extremely dorky and endearing.
Generation Xerox: His father was an accountant, so was his grandfather, his uncle and apparently most people in his family.
Genius Ditz: Yes, Silvano is a math genius, has a degree in economics, is good at chess and can solve the Rubik's Cube in a few seconds. Yet he's an idiot, hopelesslly naive and has a very goofy Man Child personality.
Good Is Dumb: He loves and trusts everyone. He really shouldn't.
Throw the Dog a Bone: Roughly 5% of the time, Silvano actually gets the last laugh at the end of the episode. Most notably in the episodes "Il fattore Geller", "La vendetta di Luca", "Sfida tra ruoli, "Tormentone", "Chat", "L'ascensore", "Zitta", "Lavaggio del cervello" and maybe some more.
Simply known as "Cesso" (Toilet), Patti is the flat-out ugliest one in the company. She's still a maiden despite her age in a platonic relationship with Silvano.Eager to work and kind to everyone, despite waiting for the right person to lose her virginity with (Silvano), she's actually willing to settle with pretty much anyone else.As of season 5, she's pregnant. Silvano is heavily implied to be the other one involved.(seasons 1-5)
Gonk: Of course. Luca and Paolo (and everyone else except Silvano) love to remind her how much she is ugly pretty much all the time. And when they made their personal ranking list for "hottest girl in the office", she ranked last... right after Silvano and the coffee machine.
The director in charge of the company as a whole. Highly conservative and, although not explicitly, rightist, he doesn't think about Luca as an actual "menace".Despite he's far from being a Big Bad, he's still a despicable character, given the bossy way he acts towards the workers. This, unless there's someone somewhat "stronger" than him.(seasons 1-5)
Bad Boss: All his employees (except maybe Ilaria and Gaia) hate him for a very good reason.
The overweight, nerdy computer expert. Single father with a little kid, Olmo is pretty lazy and an easygoing person. Not without his quirks but still one of the closest characters to be the Only Sane Man.(seasons 1-5)
Acrofatic: Despite his weight, he loves surf and Extreme Sports.
Alex is Luca's so-called, self-appointed girlfriend. A relatively minor character in the show, this secretary has actually slept with pretty much everyone in the company. She's also a stoner, and none of her brothers has an honest life in any way.(seasons 1-5)
Anything That Moves: It's implied (and revealed in one episode) that she makes out also with her female friends.
Clingy Jealous Girl: Alex cheats on Luca constantly, yet she's always jealous when Luca seems interested in some other girl.
Establishing Character Moment: The episode guest starring Luca's pen friend ends with something that could only be defined as a (thankfully lampshaded) Dethroning Moment Of Suck, quickly establishing her as one of the least likeable characters in the entire shownote Basically, it's about ruining a decades-long friendship between Luca and his pen-friend, only to date someone else the same night..
Took a Level in Kindness: In season 5 Alex, finally engaged to Luca, is not the rebellious slut that she used to be. Despite her troubled past being still mentioned, she's now a completely changed woman, actually in love with Luca and even faithful to him.
Andrea is Mr. De Marinis' personal driver, and he's pretty muchexactly as violent as the stereotypical bodyguard he looks like: he delivers a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown almost every single time he's featured in a sketch.(seasons 1-5)
Diabolus ex Machina: He usually shows up at the end of the episode in order to ruin Luca and Paolo's fun.
Disproportionate Retribution: He is very fond of this. Whenever he feels slightly insulted or annoyed by someone's comment (any comment, even the most innocent), he thinks it's a good reason for beating this person up.
Even Evil Has Loved Ones: He genuinely cared about his old primary school teacher, apparently his Morality Pet (ironically she turns out to be an unlikable bitch who hates him and treats him like crap). He also fell in love three times throughout the show, and all three times he was willing to change his ways for his woman. It never lasted long, obviously.
Out-of-Character Moment: In one episode a group of employees were singing "happy birthday" to Luca. He was one of this group. And Andrea is not the kind of guy who sings "happy birthday" to anyone, especially Luca and Paolo.
Tranquil Fury: Usually, his facial expression doesn't change much, whether he's patiently listening to someone or doing what he wishes to do while trying his own patience, that is, beating the crap out of him.
Would Hit a Girl: Only occasionally though (he beats up Patti in "La maestra di Andrea" and Wanda in "Il brutto anatroccolo"). Otherwise, he's mostly violent towards the male characters.
Giuseppe "Pippo" Lo Cascio
"GOING RIGHT NOW!!"
Played by Massimo Costa.
The homosexual office boy. Luca and Paolo's favorite Butt Monkey when Silvano isn't around. A very common Running Gag is someone (usually Paolo) ordering Pippo to go to the bathroom, to get rid of him.(seasons 1-5)
The Nicknamer: He never uses people's real names (maybe he doesn't even know them). The initial quote is the only way he always refers to Luca and Paolo. Once he even called the director De Marinis "little capitalist bastard".
A post-merger character, the most important and the most feared. Everyone fears him, including De Marinis. He's the tall, serious, composed man who's always carrying that small red notebook.Being the responsible of human resources, he can examine workers' every single movement...and write their name in the notebook whenever he decides they do something wrong or stupid. And it happens. Always.(seasons 4-5)
Breakout Character: He was immediately popular with the audience, because of his coolness, snarky lines and has great scenes with everyone.
Catch Phrase: "You know, in an ancient region named Gu (or Fu/Nu/etc)..." following a weird story about ancient chinese populations. He narrates these stories/metaphors every time he wants to teach someone a lesson.
From Nobody to Nightmare: A meta example that borders on Hilarious in Hindsight. Accornero appeared as a guest star in previous seasons, playing a hobo particularly prone to drinking. By the end of the sketch, the guy ended up with the crap beaten out of him by Luca and Paolo; now, Roberto Accornero is back, with a permanent role, this time playing a character that happens to be the most feared, respected and powerful figure in the show.
The second most important person in the company, next to De Marinis, Ilaria is the strict Marketing director. While powerful and respected, she has basically no life outside the workplace and is considered by everyone a bitter middle-aged woman.(seasons 1-4)
Vice Marketing Manager of the company, Gaia is a smart, beautiful, rich, successful woman whose eternal competition with Ilaria is well known by everyone. Unlike Ilaria, she's liked by everyone, especially the guys; much to her dismay she's the main object of Paolo's desire.(seasons 1-4)
Dude Magnet: All the men in the company (except Pippo and Silvano) lust after Gaia, especially Paolo, who constantly and unsuccessfully tries to hit on her. Hell, in one episode, even Andrea falls in love with her.
Tsundere: Type A, to Paolo. Of course she hates him and he never had a chance with her, but she actually liked him the first time they met and she genuinely enjoyed their First Kiss. Too bad every time she seems pleasantly surprised by Paolo, he ruins everything a minute later, just for being...Paolo.
You Go Girl: She's great at sports (like swimming and tennis), as seen in a couple of episodes, where she has proven to be much more athletic than Luca and Paolo.
Giovanna (on the left)
Played by Giovanna Rei.
The young, sexy switchboard operator. Unambitious and not career oriented, Giovanna is your typical pretty and friendly girl, but still able to use her natural beauty to her advantage, whenever she needs something.(seasons 1-4)
Only One Name: The only main character whose last name is unknown.
Token Minority: As pointed out above, she's the only not Italian character.
Played by Linda Gennari.
The new secretary arrived in season 3 after Anna's departure. Sort of a Replacement Scrappy although she doesn't have much in common with Anna. Luca seems to have a bit of crush on her but she isn't fond of him at all.(seasons 3-4)
Ambiguously Gay: The reason why Luca is the only one who tries to seduce her.
Out of Focus: In season 4. She wasn't exactly a prominent character in season 3 either, but at least she had some storyline in a few episodes as the Naïve Newcomer and Luca's crush, while in season 4 she was completely Demoted to Extra.
Introduced in the season 4, Maria Eleonora is an extremely cultured and competent young woman, object of Luca's unrequited affections. She's a nice, likable person but at the same time overly obsessive and neurotic and a bit of a perfectionist.(season 4)
Accidental Misnaming: Many people find her name too long and tend to call her just "Eleonora". And she always replies: "It's Maria Eleonora!"
Benevolent Boss: The only one on the show. She's genuinely friendly to all the employess.
Beware the Nice Ones: When she's disappointed by Luca's behavior (very often), Maria Eleonora can be really nasty to him.
Brainy Brunette: Incredibly intelligent, cultured and much more competent than everyone else.
Tsundere: To Luca. A type B (mostly sweet), but only because she's a genuinely sweet-natured person who's nice to everyone. She's not remotely interested in him and all Luca's attempts to win her heart are Failure Is the Only Option.
The main Digitex salesman and Paolo's rival and worst enemy. He's the most famous member of "Team Carminati" and strongly believes in the importance of the group work, thanks to the theories of Tom Weil, a fictional philosopher idolized by him and his co-workers.(season 4)
Friendly Enemy: To Paolo, sort of. The enmity is one-sided on Paolo's part and Carminati actually treats Paolo like a friend and wants him to join his team.
Interestingly in the early pre-merger years the Digitex employees (like Vasile and Gustavo) hated Luca and Paolo just as much as Luca and Paolo hated them. As of season 4, once the merger and Carminati came along, the Digitex employees (former rivals) suddenly became friendly, with Luca and Paolo still hating and considering them rivals.
This trope backfires in one episode, when he actually does the "Tom Weil test" by falling on his back deliberately: his team must be ready to catch him before he falls on the nails on the floor. Unfortunately for him, he does this while delivering a Rousing Speech about his belief in the importance of teamwork, which ends with his "For Tom Weil!", which his co-workers are basically programmed to answer with a "hip hip, hooray!", complete with a re-enactment of The Three Musketeers' well-known Stab the Sky (see the page picture for True Companions) with their pens, by that point of the episode. Cue him falling on his back, and on the nails as well (which promptly stab him).
A young, attractive girl who works in the company's nursery. She hates her job and always looks aloof and annoyed with everyone.(season 4)
All Girls Want Bad Boys: In the episode "Il dominatore", she tells Luca and Paolo that she hates doormats and loves dominant men; afterwards when Paolo starts treating her like dirt and acting like an arrogant, rude "dominant man", Caterina actually starts liking him.
Deadpan Snarker: Although most tropers, not being Italian, may not be familiar with the actress playing her, let's just say that having Luciana Littizzetto as Chiara makes this trope pretty much a given.
A new employee with a little experience, who (unlike the other people) worships Paolo. His main goal is trying to be like him in every way. Paolo, on the other hand, considers him just an annoyance. (season 3)
Depending on the Writer: Valeria, being mentioned so frequently in the episodes, is a common victim of this. Sometimes she seems a long-suffering Only Sane Woman, sometimes she's flighty and promiscuous. In one episode, Paolo even reveals that she's insane and really mentally disturbed (probably due to her having to put up with her husband's antics). The description of her physical appearance is also inconsistent, and so is her intelligence (see Took a Level in Dumbass).
Dumb Blonde: She's blonde, as mentioned by Paolo in a couple of episodes, and according to the episode "Q.I." (or "I.Q."), she's even dumber than Paolo, and the dumbest one in Paolo's family.
Took a Level in Dumbass: In a season 2 episode Paolo discovered that she used to be a brilliant and overachieving student. Later it's revealed that her I.Q. (2) is even lower than Paolo's (12). Possibly a Series Continuity Error or maybe it's just due to the fact that she reached her husband's level with their marriage.
Women Are Wiser: To be fair, pretty much anyone would seem closer to earth compared to Paolo.
Paolo's oldest son, still with childish behaviour, but somewhat the most decent family member.
Characterization Marches On: In the beginning, he was portrayed as a terrible Bratty Half-Pint like his brother Brad, but at some point, to Paolo's absolute dismay, he started changing and becoming a good kid who likes reading and studying, as opposed to his sociopathic father and delinquent brother.
Only Sane Man: Compared to the rest of his family. According to Luca, he's the only one in Paolo's family who is not an illiterate idiot.
The Unfavorite: As pointed above, many episodes were focused on Paolo being mad at him because of his good grades and dedication to studies. Instead Paolo always favors little criminal Brad and he's totally proud of him.
Only Known by Their Nickname: Weirdly enough just Pino, whose actual name is Odoacre Maria. "Budello" on the other hand is his real name, but even Paolo isn't exactly sure if it's the first or the last name.