We are loonies and we are proud!Takin' Over the Asylum
is a six-part BBC drama which asks the fundamental question "What measure is a non-looney?"
Eddie (Ken Stott of Rebus
fame) is a double-glazing salesman in Glasgow, who lives with his Grandmother (she lives with him!), drinks too much and whose dreams of being a DJ are dwindling fast with every passing year. After being pushed out of his unpaid spot on a community radio station, he is put in charge of revamping St. Jude's hospital radio - not knowing that St. Jude's is a mental institution. Once there Eddie encounters a slew of inmates; Rosalie the Obsessive Compulsive Neat Freak
, Fergus the Schizophrenic electrical genius who puts Steve McQueen
to shame, Francine the self-harming depressant with a tragic past
and a soft spot for cats, and the enthusiastic manic-depressive Campbell, played by a young David Tennant
who is determined that he and Eddie will break into the big-time.
Throughout the series we learn more and more about how the characters ended up in St. Jude's, Eddie learns more about his own problems and starts asking questions about where the line is drawn between sanity and madness. It also has a bunch of your favourite tunes and won more BAFTAs than you could shake a stick at.
Not to be confused with Running the Asylum
This series provides examples of:
- Abusive Parents
- Angst Coma: Francine in episode 6.
- The Alcoholic
- Billing Displacement: Ken Stott's Eddie is the main character of the series but ever since a certain someone became a British icon Campbell has taken up more room on the DVD covers.
- Bittersweet Ending
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Campbell, oh so very much, whose exuberant and over-the-top antics bewilder and befuddle everyone whose not used to him, and turns out to be a natural DJ, due in no small part to said antics.
- Cloud Cuckoo Lander
- Despair Event Horizon: Eddie and Fergus, after discovering that they can't have their dream jobs
- Domestic Abuse
- Driven to Suicide: Fergus. And Francine's mother
- Drowning My Sorrows
- Cute Kitten
- Funny Schizophrenia: Averted, as it is treated as a very serious issue.
- Hollywood Psych: For the most part averted. These character's problems are shown as very complex and there are no easy fixes.
- Insane Equals Violent: Inverted as per Real Life. Most of the violence in this show is perpetrated by "normal people" against the "loonies" which is, of course, a statistical reality.
- Jerk Ass: Several. Stuart treats the patients like dirt even when he's not manhandling them, Gordon Griffin is the boss from Hell, and MacAteer is a back-stabbing, butt-kissing ball of sleaze who sabotages and belittles Eddie at every turn . . . . all because Eddie earned the commission he so badly wanted for a new car.
- Jumped at the Call: Campbell.
- Killed Off for Real
- Kindhearted Cat Lover
- Lonely Together: Eddie and Francine.
- The Mad Hatter: Campbell knows exactly how loony he is and is quite proud of it, even finding ways to turn it to his advantage at times.
- Possibly a subversion, as it's implied that his manic behaviour is actually conscious exploitation of others' expectations for his own amusement.
- Meaningful Funeral
- Misunderstood Loner with a Heart of Gold: Fergus, who spends much of the first episode lurking silently in the background, is about as sweet and harmless as people come.
- Nice Guy: Campbell.
- Odd Couple: World-weary, stressed-out, self-loathing Eddie who keeps his head down and plays by the rules and exuberant, over-confident, eccentric Campbell. Although we learn that Campbell has confidence issues of his own
- Only Sane Man: Eddie at the start my seem like this but by the end he realises he is Not So Different
- Parental Neglect: This leads to Francine's abuse.
- Perpetual Poverty
- Pyro Maniac: Played for Laughs. Off-screen character "Mad John the Pyromaniac" keeps conveniently getting his hands on items the patients want rid of.
- The Quiet One: Fergus rarely opens his mouth unless directly addressed, and speaks very softly, possibly because he's all too aware of the stereotypes that exist of schizophrenics.
- Rousing Speech: Campbell gets to deliver quite a few of these.
- Running Gag:
- The patients make a habit of escaping from the asylum to do odd jobs and coming back in time for tea, especially Fergus, who escapes just to pass the time. Subverted horribly when he "escapes" from a a tower he had previously glided majestically from by jumping to his death.
- "Then guess!"
- The Slacker
- Take-That Kiss
- There Are No Therapists: Averted, athough in some of the cases you think that the patients would be better off without them.
- True Companions
- Violent Glaswegian: Averted, except in the case of asylum "nurse" Stuart.
- Wide-Eyed Idealist: Campbell.