Smack the Pony
is a British Sketch Comedy
show that aired on Channel Four
from 1999 to 2003 (3 seasons comprised of 7 episodes each, with 2 Christmas specials
) and starred comedians Fiona Allen, Doon Mackichan and Sally Phillips, with regular appearances from Sarah Alexander, Cavan Clerkin, Darren Boyd and James Lance. It was notable for the main cast being entirely female, the male characters and performers usually only having bit parts.
The comedy style is surreal and often nonsensical, with quick, rapid-fire skits that tend to feature otherwise normal, everyday situations with one really off-the-wall element inserted and taking up most of the focus — such as a boss who tells off her employees in silly voices, an otherwise shy woman having dozens of nude paintings of herself in her living room and asking guests not to look at the paintings, a wife keeping her husband awake, first by hogging the covers and then by playing the drums in her sleep. Every episode also had one musical number towards the ending, which was usually a pastiche or spoof of contemporary music.
The show won an Emmy in both 1999 and 2000 for "Best Popular Arts Show." Two of the skits also made it onto Channel 4's list of the 50 Greatest Comedy Sketches, with Saying Goodbye
at 39 and Singing Match
Provides examples of:
- All Men Are Perverts: Some of the skits take this point of view. Then again, other skits show that All Women Are Lustful as well.
- The Bechdel Test: Every single episode passes effortlessly. The three main writers/performers are women, and barring the odd Straight Man boyfriend many sketches don't feature a single male character.
- Cheek Copy: Done a couple of times in office-themed sketches, most spectacularly as a disgrguntled employee's way of getting back at her overbearing boss:
Employee: You know you asked me to make photocopies of your memo for the office?
Boss: Yes, is it a problem? I would have thought it was a simple enough task, even for somebody secretarily challenged as you.
Employee: Yeah, well, I think there's something wrong with the photocopier.
Boss: You think? *mocking laugh* Aaaaw, that's a good one, Jackie.
Employee: Yeah, instead of making photocopies of your memo, it's made three hundred copies of my naked breasts. *holds up a black-and-white photocopy of, yes, a pair of naked breasts* And three hundred copies of my bare arse. *holds up a black-and-white photocopy of, yeah, you get the picture*
Boss: ...is this your way of telling me you quit, Jackie?
Employee: Yeah. Yeah, it is.
- Chewing the Scenery: All the performers do this from time to time, but Doon Mackichan tends to do it the most.
- Cloudcuckoolander: A lot of the characters in the various skits.
- Cutting the Electronic Leash: A character throws her phone into a lake. She immediately regrets it and goes into the water to look for it.
- A Date with Rosie Palms: A common misconception is that the apparent Word Salad Title was meant to sound like an Unusual Euphemism for female masturbation. In reality, the "Pony" bit was actually meant to invoke the cockney rhyming slang "Pony and trap" (="crap"), and the working title for the show was "Spot the Pony." The final title is in other words a bit of an Accidental Innuendo.
- Drama Queen: A few examples, the most notable probably being the ice cream saleswoman who, when finding out her temporary employment is coming to an end, threatens to drown herself — and when her bemused employer fails to react with concern, begins screaming: "Do you like that? Me drowning myself?! Does it make you feel big?! Important?! You killer!"
- Eating the Eye Candy: Subverted here, in a parody of the Diet Coke adverts.
- Embarrassing Tattoo: A dating video sketch had "an ex-punk, looking for a soulmate with equally regrettable past" and revealing she has an obscene tattoo on her forehead covered by her long fringe.
- Fainting: A Running Gag, especially in Series 1: Random women will be going about their everyday lives, and then either a random still image will be inserted for a second, or a completely naked man will walk by, whereupon the women faint.
- Have I Mentioned I Am Heterosexual Today?: Parodied herein a sketch involving two female actresses filming a lesbian kiss scene. One of them is given to loudly expressing how disgusting she finds the whole process once the cameras have stopped filming, and at one point demands that an aide call her fiancee and "tell him I love him." Unfortunately for her, her co-star is clearly nursing quite a heavy crush on her, and keeps suggesting that they might need to retake the scene a little too frequently and eagerly.
- Master of the Mixed Message: A woman's friend advises her to play hard to get. Her first attempt at this is going up to a guy at a bar, saying "do you want my number?" and throwing her drink in his face before he's even opened his mouth.
- Musical Pastiche: Every Episode Ending, generally of a contemporary hit.
- The Nineties: The very end of them.
- Running Gag: Lots and lots.
- Slapstick Knows no Gender: It's definitely the girls doing the majority of pratfalls in this series.
- Stripperiffic: A procession of women getting out of limos and walking up a red carpet, each coming out in more revealing dresses and stealing the press attention from the others. The first one has a slit dress, the second Absolute Cleavage, the third a dress slit from top to bottom but for a single knot at the waist. The last woman is wearing what looks like a conservative long black dress... until she turns around to reveal a circular window exposing her bare arse.
- Terrible Interviewees Montage: The recurring dating video sketches.
- Wiper Start: A pair of police officers on a stakeout are supposed to send a signal by flashing their headlights. Instead they manage to put the siren, lights, and alarm on all at once.
- Woman Child: An occasional source of comedy, with grown women acting like immature, bratty or hyper children.
- Women Drivers: An occasional target of Self-Deprecation.
- You Make Me Sic: A man writes "Rick love's Sofie" in the sand, which she corrects to "Rick loves Sophie". Then he crosses out the "loves", and she adds a "P" to the beginning of his name.