'Kitchen Sink' is the term given to a particular type of drama, which focuses primarily on the trials and experiences of the urban working class. It stems from the wider 'Kitchen Sink' movement of social realism in art. Although material of this theme and nature can be found from numerous different sources, the term itself originates from and usually applies to drama / art produced in the United Kingdom, itself stemming from the 'Kitchen Sink' movement of realism.

Kitchen Sink originated in and was particularly big in the 1950s and 1960s, and experienced something of a revival in the 1980s and 1990s, but the tropes and methods it inspired lingered within drama produced outside of these periods. Within British drama, it revolves primarily around the experiences of the working class in urban and industrial areas OopNorth, such as [[UsefulNotes/FootballPopMusicAndFlatCaps Manchester, Liverpool,]] Sheffield and [[UsefulNotes/NorthEastEngland Newcastle-upon-Tyne]], although urban working class in areas further south (primarily UsefulNotes/{{London}}) were also commonly represented. The primary theme of the material was the kind of struggles and issues faced by these people on a routine, everyday basis; the term 'kitchen sink' itself evolves from the stereotypical image of scenes involving two working-class women conversing over their washing, angry confrontations whilst the wife is cooking dinner for the man of the house, and the like.

As a movement, it evolved primarily due to the rise of educated working class writers, artists and actors emerging from the post-war reforms of British society, including the education system, which opened up opportunities to those previously excluded from it. Many of its primary movers themselves grew up in working class environs, and were writing as a direct reaction to prior stereotypical depictions of the working class; before this movement really took off, the depiction of the working class tended to be either forelock-tugging yokels who happily deferred to their social 'betters' or were simply [[WorkingClassPeopleAreMorons violent, uncouth thugs]]. As a consequence, Kitchen Sink Drama usually contains some kind of political agenda about it, often a leftist or socialist one, and is often motivated by political anger; not for no reason, the term 'Angry Young Men' was frequently applied the early contributors, movers and shakers involved in the movement. Most of them also experienced working class life first-hand, as opposed to being middle-and-upper class types, and were motivated by the desire to show the working class experience as it actually was.

As a consequence, expect works in this genre to be quite grim. TrueArtIsAngsty tends to dominate.

In lesser (and, it has to be said, more recent) hands, Kitchen Sink Drama can frequently be just as patronising as the earlier depictions, with the added bonus that the working class experience is rendered as depressing as hell to boot. Done poorly, it tends to be TrueArtIsAngsty turned up to eleven; the experiences of the working class are simply reduced to unremitting and unending misery, with little warmth, joy, life or humour presented; even the Angry Young Men tended to concede that working class life was not without rays of joy poking through the gloom. Particular in later variations on the theme, there can also be a sense at times that the makers don't really know what life for the working class is like, but are just making it all glum and miserable because [[FollowTheLeader that's what they've seen in other, better dramas that have came before]].

Not to be confused with ConspiracyKitchenSink, FantasyKitchenSink, KitchenSinkIncluded and WeaponsKitchenSink. And despite being sometimes referred to as "Social Realism", this genre is not to be confused with SocialistRealism either.



[[folder: Film ]]

* Creator/KenLoach is considered a master of this trope
* ''Film/TheCryOfTheChildren'' (1912) is about rich businessmen exploiting dirt-poor factory workers, and specifically about the horrors of child labor.
* ''Love on the Dole'', based on the novel of the same name by Walter Greenwood. It's set during the 1930s in Sheffield, beginning with the General Strike in 1926 and covering one family who gets pulled apart by mass unemployment. The book and the film were met with critical acclaim, moving people by the shocking depiction of poverty.
* ''Film/{{Marty}}'', which won the UsefulNotes/AcademyAward for Best Picture of 1955, is a simple story about a butcher who falls in love with a schoolteacher, and his mother who is worried that Marty will abandon her.
* ''Film/ThisIsEngland'' revolves around a group of young skinheads in early 1980s England basically trying to figure out where they fit in the world.
* Many of Jimmy [=McGovern=]'s films.
* The 1980 Soviet film ''Film/MoscowDoesNotBelieveInTears'', about a working-class girl struggling to make it in the capital.
* The American play and resulting film ''TheSubjectWasRoses''.
* ''Film/MinAndBill'' is about working-class people who live by the docks, and particularly about an old lady innkeeper raising a DoorstopBaby.
* ''Film/TheBlot'' is about a professor and his poor family struggling to get by on the sub-poverty wages paid to university professors. Almost literally a kitchen sink drama, actually, as several scenes show Mrs. Griggs struggling to make tea for visitors or dinner for her hungry daughter while Mrs. Olson, the rich neighbor, prepares rich dinners.
* ''Film/KillerOfSheep'' is a bleak portrait of life amongst the urban poor in the Watts ghetto of UsefulNotes/LosAngeles in the late 1970s.
* ''Film/JeanneDielman23QuaiDuCommerce1080Bruxelles'' takes this to the extreme, as the whole of this 3 1/2 hour movie is Jeanne performing her mundane home tasks over three days. She makes dinners--potatoes are peeled and veal is breaded in excruciating detail. She brews coffee. She shines her son's shoes. She washes the dishes in the actual kitchen sink. She knits. She shops for groceries. She [[OddballInTheSeries receives visitors who pay her for sex]].
* The films of the "Apu Trilogy", especially the first and second (''Literature/PatherPanchali'' and ''Film/{{Aparajito}}''), show an Indian family in a backwater village desperately trying to raise themselves out of poverty.
* ''Kes'' merges this with ComingOfAgeStory - dealing with a Yorkshire teenager whose only solace in the world is taking care of a kestrel from a nest on a nearby farm.
* ''Film/EducatingRita'' deconstructs this, or else the bleakness present in some of the imitators. The protagonist is a Liverpool hairdresser who feels stuck in her life - her family and husband pressuring her to start having children. She seeks to better herself by getting an education. While the play has a bit of a DownerEnding - [[spoiler: Rita being too sophisticated to fit in with her old friends, and yet still too working class to fit in with the high society people]] - the film is more hopeful [[spoiler: where she ends the film with more opportunities than she did before]].
* ''Film/BadGirl'' is about a young married couple in 1931 New York trying to get by in The Great Depression and worried about providing for the baby on the way.

[[folder: Live-Action Television ]]

* British soap opera ''Series/CoronationStreet'' was a proto-example of this; it was one of the first shows that really looked at what life was like for the working class in Britain. In fact, most if not all British {{Soap Opera}}s started out using elements of this trope, especially the cast of working-class everyman archetypes and occasionally some quite pointed social commentary. This caused a certain amount of confusion when ''Series/{{Dallas}}'' turned up in syndication.
* Nearly everything ever written by Creator/JackRosenthal, who got his start writing for the aforementioned ''Coronation Street'', though he also expanded it into the "aspirational" lower-middle classes of StepfordSuburbia.
* Paul Abbott's ''Series/{{Shameless|UK}}'', which is semi-autobiographical, plays the trope for BlackComedy instead of {{Wangst}}.
** An earlier example from Paul Abbott is ''Series/ClockingOff''.
* ''Series/SteptoeAndSon'' was an example of this in sitcom form; it was one of the first television sitcoms to take the comedy out of upper / middle class drawing rooms and into a poor working class environment.
* Its [[TransAtlanticEquivalent American clone]], ''Series/SanfordAndSon'', tries to do much the same thing, with the added twist that the poor, working-class people are mostly black (oh, boy, class ''and'' race in one sitcom!).
* Some ''Series/MontyPythonsFlyingCircus'' sketches invert or subvert this trope:
** The Four Yorkshiremen sketch featured four stereotypical men from OopNorth competing with increasingly outrageous stories of [[WhenIWasYourAge childhood deprivation]].
** Another sketch had a pure inversion; the well-dressed, soft-spoken son comes home to his family with his rough-talking, clearly working class father... Only to reveal that the father is a theatre playwright living in the centre of London and the son has become a coal miner in Yorkshire. The whole sketch is like an inversed ClicheStorm KitchenSinkDrama: Instead of having damp-lung and being overworked at the factory, the father has writer's cramp and is stressed out over press interviews, the father doesn't comprehend what the bloody hell a "tungsten carbide drill" is, and so on.
--->'''Father''': Hampstead wasn't good enough for you, was it? You had to go poncing off to [[OopNorth Barnsley]]! You and your ''coal-mining'' friends!\\
'''Son''': One day you'll learn there's more to life than culture; there's dirt! And mud! And good honest sweat!\\
'''Father''': Get out! You ''labourer!''
*** Naturally, as he's a playwright, he immediately {{lampshades}} the developments of the sketch as "I think there's a play in here".
* The UK TV series ''Series/{{Brass}}'' parodies this and a whole related bunch of tropes -- or rather, parodies the genre of "Grim OopNorth" kitchen sink dramas.


[[folder: Literature ]]

* There is a whole group of Swedish authors known collectively as "proletarian authors" (or "worker authors") from the early-mid 20th century that deals with this kind of material. Authors include Harry Martinsson, Eyvind Jonsson, Vilhelm Moberg and Ivar-Lo Johansson.
* From Russia, we have Maxim Gorky.
* From Norway: Oskar Braaten, Alf Prøysen, Ingeborg Refling Hagen and Kristoffer Uppdal.
* In America, whilst his works preceded the British movement, John Steinbeck's works often cover similar ground.
* From Finland, V??nna.
* One of the most influential kitchen-sink dramas was one by British playwright Creator/JohnOsborne, called 'Look Back in Anger' (1956).