Radio / Goodness Gracious Me
1998-2001 Sketch Comedy
show performed by British Indians Meera Syal, Sanjeev Bhaskar, Kulvinder Ghir and Nina Wadia. Most sketches were self-parody of British Asians and Asian culture, the reaction of white British people to Asians, or Indian-styled spoofs of western TV shows. Began as a radio series
, then became a TV adaption on BBC1
. A one off reunion special aired in 2014 with a second in 2015 as part of "Indian Season".
Regular characters included:
- Cheque Please - A tactless playboy who drives his dates away with insensitive behaviour or comments.
- Bhangra Muffins - Two "street" teenage boys with attitude.
- Everything Comes From India - A man who believes that everything from shampoo note to Superman is Indian note or was invented by Indians.
- Minx Twins - Gossipy teenage girls.
- Chunky Lafanga - Bollywood superstar.
- Smeeta Smitten Showbiz Kitten - A Bollywood reporter whose presenting style leaves a lot to be desired.
- The Coopers - Snobbish nouveau riche couple in denial that they are Indian.
- Bhangra Man - A superhero who saves people through the power of bhangra dance.
- Guru Maharishi Yogi - A spiritual "guru" who likes to con money out of his followers.
- The Competitive Mothers: Exactly What It Says on the Tin
The best remembered sketch from the show, which has won several awards, was "Going for an English" - a parody of the behaviour of drunken Brits in Indian restaurants.
Tropes used in the show include:
- Berserk Button - Try suggesting that the Kapoors and Rabindranaths - er, Coopers and Robinsons - are anything but 100% English ...
- Black Comedy - Often invoked when dealing with serious topics such as racism, Honor-Related Abuse and sectarian violence.
- The B Grade - "My son got a B!"
- Catch Phrase - "Kiss my chuddies!", "Cheque please!", "In your dreams, buddy!", "I can make it at home for nothing!", "Chaakde phaate!", "Yes, but how big is his danda?", etc.
- Captain Ethnic: the Punjabi super-hero BhangraMan, who defeats his foes through his amazing superpower of Indian folk dancing. BhangraMan is meant as a double parody, firstly of comic super-heroes in general, and secondly of the home-grown Indian variant such as Shaktimaan and Nagraj.
- Captain Geographic: the Punjabi superhero BhangraMan.
- Catchphrase Interruptus
- Cloud Cuckoolander - The Bhangra Muffins
- Culture Justifies Anything - Savagely lampooned in one sketch where an Indian woman runs into a women's shelter, screaming that her husband is chasing after her with a knife. The white woman running the shelter decides that this must be a "cultural" matter, and refuses to intervene - even when the husband breaks in.
- Gag Dub - The "Skipinder the Punjabi Kangaroo" sketch.
- Gay Bar Reveal - In a Bhangra Muffins sketch.
- Just the Introduction to the Opposites: "Going Out for an English", about a group of drunk and rowdy Indian friends who visit an English restaurant, repeatedly mispronounce the waiter's strange foreign name (James) and show how macho they are by ordering "the blandest thing on the menu".
- This sketch is exceptional for the series in that it makes fun of a stereotype of white British, rather than British Asian, behaviour.
- Cultural Posturing: Mr. Everything Comes From India, including the Renaissance masters and John Travolta.
- Large Ham - Chunky Lafanga
- The Movie: Partition: The Motion Picture
- My Beloved Smother
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: One sketch had a son of a Hindu family who turned Jewish, and who returns home sounding like Woody Allen.
- Pretty Fly for a White Guy - One song on the show was a parody of "Common People" by Pulp. The singer accuses his white girlfriend of trying too hard to emulate Hindi culture because she thinks it's trendy.
- Running Gag
- Sound to Screen Adaptation
- Start My Own: When Smeeta Smitten is fired from the TV show she presents, she decides to create her own show and sell it to the network; and produces several attempted pilot episodes. None of them goes well.
- Titled After the Song: "Goodness Gracious Me" was originally a comic song by Peter Sellers and Sophia Loren, in which Sellers played a heavily-accented Indian doctor and Loren his patient, who was in love with him. According to Word of God, the Goodness Gracious Me team originally intended to do a much more aggressive sketch attacking the song, until they listened to the lyrics and realised that, despite the stereotypical fake accent, Sellers' character was actually quite positively portrayed and the song wasn't racist in its humour.
- The Unintelligible - Bhangra Man speaks only in Punjabi but is always perfectly understood by English-speaking characters.
- Token White: the show had Dave Lamb in the cast to play the Token White Man, who was cast in role-reversal situations where he represented the equivalent of an Indian or Pakistani, who is alone among white people in an unfamiliar culture. This was used to LampShade white British attitudes towards Asians, ranging from well-meaning ineptitude to outright racism. note .
- Truth in Television - The cast based some the characters on the show on people they knew and didn't exaggerate when portraying them, offending those people greatly while doing it.