British comedy sketch show from the 1990s, a collaboration between Harry Enfield and Paul Whitehouse (who went on to head up The Fast Show
). The partnership was later revived with Harry and Paul
. (The other "Chum" was Kathy Burke.)
Titled "Harry Enfield's Television Programme" for its first series. Not so prolific as The Fast Show
, but it still added several Stock British Phrases
to the lexicon.
Contains examples of:
- Affectionate Parody: Smashy & Nicey were poking fun at the then-current disc jockies at BBC Radio One such as Noel Edmonds and Tony Blackburn... which backfired horribly, as pretty much every Radio One presenter over the age of 25 was fired by the mid-90's, in order to draw in younger listeners.
- Aluminium Christmas Trees: The character Mr Dead (a parody of Mr. Ed with a corpse instead of a horse) failed to make impact because (Enfield says) he failed to realise that the viewing public didn't share his enthusiasm for old American TV and didn't get the reference.
- Ambiguously Gay: Nicey from Smashie and Nicey.
- Apologises a Lot: Jürgen the German. It's kind of his thing.
- Awesome, but Impractical: "English for Aliens" was easily the most popular of the one-off sketches (according to Enfield) but it was never revisited because the costumes were too cumbersome and prone to overheating.
- Black Comedy: The "For the Sake of the Children" sketch and some in the "Old Gits" segments (e.g., where they replicate Damien Hirst's art installations by hacking a puppy in half with a meat cleaver).
- British Accents: In particular the Scousers, who inspired a whole new generation of Liverpudlian stereotypes.
- The Cast Showoff: A lot of Paul Whitehouse's roles were built around his talents, such as:
- Lance from Lee and Lance singing Italian opera.
- Julio Geordio speaking a bizarre mix of Spanish and Geordie.
- De Dutch Coppersh, from the fact that Whitehouse did a good Dutch accent (whereas Enfield's character never speaks).
- Catch Phrase: Some of the most popular include -
- Aliens (in high pitched squeaky voice): "Tree!"
- De Dutch Coppersh: "He is my partner and also my lover."
- Jürgen the German: "I feel I must apologise for the conduct of my nation during the Var."
- Kevin the Teenager: "Cuh, that is SO UNFAIR!!! I HATE YOU!!!"
- Know-it-all Guy: "You don't wanna do it like thaaaat!"
- Scousers: "Areet areet cam down cam down!" and "Dey do dough don't dey dough?"
- The Self Righteous Brothers: "Oi! (celebrity's surname) NO!"
- Smashie and Nicey: "Poptastic!"
- Stan and Pam Herbert: "We are considerably richer than yow!"
- Tim Nice But Dim (after just having been punched/ripped off/etc by someone): "What a thoroughly bloody nice bloke!"
- The Lovely Wobbly Randy Old Ladies: "Young man!"
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: When Little Brother became Kevin the Teenager, his older brother disappeared.
- Creator Provincialism: Parodied with the Mr Cholmondeley-Warner routines, which begin with a turning globe ident in which the British Isles are the same size as the Americas or Africa.
- Crosscast Role: Enfield as one of the Lovely Wobbly Randy Old Ladies, and Kathy Burke as Perry from the Kevin sketches.
- The Danza: Enfield's toddler character who bullies his baby sister is called Harry.
- Deliberate Values Dissonance: The 1930s public information films. Women! Know Your Limits! Thinking too much makes you ugly!
- Freestate Amsterdam: "De Dutch Coppersh" are one of the best known expressions of this stereotype of the Netherlands.
- Hot for Teacher: In one skit, Kevin develops a crush on his attractive teacher. As does his father.
- Humans Through Alien Eyes: "English for Aliens" is a comedic version of the trope.
- Jerkass: Plenty, but The Gits take it Up to Eleven.
- Know-Nothing Know-It-All: Mr. Know-It-All.
- Mood Whiplash: One Kevin & Perry sketch had the boys planning to go to a Wild Teen Party... then we learn that Kevin's grandfather just died. Later on in the show we get another scene with Kevin and his parents talking about his grandfather's death in a way that really tugs at your heartstrings. There's another sketch at the end of the episode where Kevin's Nan is thanking him for missing the party and staying with her instead. It's just as, if not more well-written than any other sketches they did... but it's still kinda weird.
- The Movie: Kevin And Perry Go Large!
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: Michael Paine, who is Michael Caine reimagined as a nosey neighbour.
- Not That There's Anything Wrong with That: The main joke of the "Modern Dad" sketches.
- Oop North: As usual in Enfield's comedy, a common theme (the Scousers, Julio Geordio, etc.). A special, "Harry Enfield's Guide to the North of England, collected these sketches and added segments featuring a new Enfield character, a Yorkshire industrialist stereotype named George Whitebread.
- The Parody: One Christmas Special is an elaborate parody of Titanic, fitting all the characters into appropriate roles using Commedia Dell Arte Troupe.
- Once an Episode: After a one-off appearance by "Fat Bloke" in series 1 proved an unexpected fan hit, Fat Bloke was randomly inserted into sketches in series 2 and for series 3 appeared at the end of each episode to sing them out with an eccentrically chosen song ("The show's not over till the Fat Bloke sings!"). This seems to be a Shout-Out to Morecambe and Wise's "Lady who comes down at the end".
- Oop North: The Scousers.
- Perry goes to an Oasis gig and comes back with a Mancunian accent. Kevin attempts this too, with disastrous results.
- The Other Darrin: Three actors played Kevin's father, two actresses for his mother.
- Perverse Sexual Lust: Although the reference didn't survive into the final show, one script mentions that Tim Nice But Dim has a thing for Lara Croft.
- Raging Stiffie: A recurring theme of the Kevin the Teenager sketches.
- Retraux: The Mr Cholmondely-Warner 1930s public information films, as well as the London Palladium-style opening and closing scenes.
- Running Gag: The appearance of "Fat Bloke" in a Stealth Hi/Bye cameo role, and later to sing them out ("the show's not over till the Fat Bloke sings!")
- Sequel Displacement: In a sense. Kevin The Teenager is really a sequel to the "Little Brother" series of sketches but, while anybody in the UK who watched comedy shows in the nineties will be able to quote Kevin and even imitate his mannerisms, very few of them will know that he evolved from the Little Brother character.
- Sketch Comedy
- Small Name, Big Ego: The Self-Righteous Brothers are built around this trope.
- As is the "we are considerably richer than yow" couple.
- Strawman Political: Tory Boy. To balance matters, Enfield had plans to introduce his friend and political counterpart "Ginger Lefty" (based on his own youth) but this idea never made it to film. One Christmas special did briefly transform him into "Tony Boy".
- Also Freddie and Jack, two friends who are ardently Tory and Labour respectively and argue about whether everything from public toilets to Doctor Who is better under a Conservative or a Labour government.
- Super Zeroes: A short lived sketch in the first season, titled "The Palace of Righteous Justice", revolved around four heroes who had fairly adequate superpowers, but were absolutely useless at their jobs.
- Teens Are Monsters: Kevin the Teenager (from Series 2 onwards; previously he was an Annoying Younger Sibling).
- The Other Darrin: In the first sketch with the toddlers, Harry and Lulu, Lulu was played by a different actress. Although that pales in comparison to Kevin The Teenager's parents; he's had two mothers (one in the "Little Brother" sketches and another when he became a teenager) and three fathers (two in the series and a third in The Movie).
- Too Dumb to Live: The appropriately named Tim Nice But Dim.
- Witty Banter: Smashie and Nicey.
- Write Who You Know: The Self-Righteous Brothers were based on a neighbour of Enfield's who also referred to celebrities by their surnames and spoke about them authoritatively as though his opinion was of immense importance, for example telling him "I'd mend your fence, Enfield, but not your mate Elton's, he's a prick."
- Modern Dad was based on Enfield's own father.
- Tim Nice-But-Dim was also based on several people from Enfield's own life; public schoolboys he knew who were ... well, nice but dim.
- Enfield claims that Harry and Lulu were based on a young Lily Allen and her brother, whose mother he was dating at the time.
- Stavros was based on a kebab shop owner Enfield knew.