main index




Topical Tropes

Other Categories

TV Tropes Org
Series: Cuckoo
Cuckoo is a 2012 comedy series on The BBC, starring Andy Samberg, Greg Davies and Helen Baxendale.

It revolves around Ken and Lorna, a couple of middle-England parents who go to pick their daughter Rachel, a promising medical student with a university placement at Bristol, up from the airport upon her return from her gap-year travels only to get a bit of a shock when she reveals she has gotten married to Cuckoo, a modern young New-Age Retro Hippie type. As Rachel is busy sorting out her educational future and Cuckoo is in the process of writing a self-help book that he is convinced will put him somewhere between Jesus and Gandhi, they move back into the family home, an arrangement that works very well for them but less so for Ken. For while Cuckoo's eccentric ways manage to win over Lorna, strait-laced Ken is hardly convinced, perceiving himself as the Only Sane Man while his home is invaded by an idiot with a questionable perception of personal space.

Throw in Rachel's horny, apathetic, self-obsessed teenage brother and you've got the basic formula for Cuckoo.

The series provides examples of the following tropes;

  • Alternate Character Interpretation: Invoked by Ken, who initially believes that Cuckoo is a conman who tricks naive young women into marrying him, all the while fleecing their rich parents for money.
  • Bigger Is Better in Bed: Occasionally alluded to.
  • British Brevity
  • Cannot Keep a Secret: Lorna is completely incapable of not telling everybody any secret. As such everybody at the surprise wedding announcement already knows.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The Korean War Rifle in "Grandfather's Cat".
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Do we really have to say who?
    • As well as the obvious, Lorna herself is a bit spaced out at times, although nowhere near to the degree that Cuckoo is.
  • Cringe Comedy: The show is basically setting Ken up for these one after the other.
  • Daddy's Girl: It seems that Rachel was this, before Cuckoo turns up of course.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Ken is definitely not very welcoming, friendly or pleasant to Cuckoo, but given that Cuckoo, while essentially well-meaning, nevertheless quite easily comes off as both an annoying sanctimonious idiot with questionable ideas that he himself barely seems to understand yet will not hesitate to smugly lecture others about at the drop of a pin, and as a sponger with little concept of personal space or appropriate conduct in someone else's home while being quite happy to leech off that someone else's generosity indefinitely, Ken's resentment is fairly easy to understand.
  • Meaningful Name: Cuckoo has basically invaded Ken's 'nest' and set up home there. He also spends most of his life with his head in the cloud.
  • Mistaken for Pedophile: Ken after inviting a young girl over to a party, and then later having discovered to have close ups of the girl swimming on his camera is caught up in one of these. It was of course Dylan who wanted the girl to come to the party and who took the photos.
  • My Friends... and Zoidberg: Dale prepares for what his cult believe is the apocalypse by giving each of the family a loving and respectful farewell. Except for Dylan. He tells him that he's insubordinate and needs to treat Ken with more respect before slapping him in the face.
  • Naked People Are Funny
  • Noisy Sex Next Door
  • Not So Different: It's suggested a couple times that Ken wasn't so different from Cuckoo when he was growing up.
  • Potty Failure: Happens spectacularly to Dylan after eating a jacket potato topped with a sauce containing fish that had been in the garage for two years. Made even worse by the fact that it happens when he and Zoe are in the bath and about to have sex.
  • Odd Couple: Not a couple persay, but much of the comedy is driven by the personality clash between head-in-the-clouds idealist hippy Cuckoo and cynically down-to-earth everyman Ken.
  • Only Sane Man: What Ken believes he is at any rate.
  • The Other Darrin: Tamla Kari (Rachel) was be replaced by Esther Smith at the start of Series 2.
  • Out of Focus: Ken in the second episode of Series 2 where he only appears at the start and end of the episode. Justified as the storyline of Dylan throwing a party requires him (as the sterner parent when compared to Lorna) to be away from the house.
  • Overprotective Dad: A big part of the reason Ken isn't very fond of Cuckoo.
    • Connie becomes a female variant of this when Lorna lets it slip that Dylan and Zoe are going to have sex.
  • Refuge in Audacity: After Dylan walks in and cheerfully admits that he lost his virginity to a prostitute at Cuckoo's stag do, Lorna immediately assumes he's lying.
    • This carries over into Series 2 when everybody thinks that he is still a virgin, and always respond to his protests with "Nobody believes that story".
  • Shower Of Love: Discussed
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: In Series 2, Cuckoo is replaced by his long lost son who moves in with the family, has similar hippy beliefs to his father, and shares the same name.
    • Discussed in the second episode of series 2, where despite the similarities, Cuckoo Jr is shown to have more shades of an overly trusting naive newcomer due to his cult upbringing as opposed to the more independent and opinionated Cuckoo Sr.
  • Talking in Bed: Ken and Lorna often do this.
  • Their First Time: Of the two onscreen instances where Dylan and Zoe try to have sex, the first time they are interrupted by Ken, and the second time Dylan suffers a Potty Failure when they are in the bath together and Zoe's mother bursts in almost simultaneously with the intent of stopping them.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Cuckoo. Literally. In the first scene of Series 2 while hiking in the Himalayas, he tries to rescue a mountain goat. Oblivious to the fact that the mountain is its habitat and it is in no danger (despite the Sherpas he is in radio contact telling him this repeatedly) and falls to his death.
    • This also applies to his son Dale who is barely even capable of crossing the road and gets run over twice in the first episode.
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot: The climax of Series 2 Episode 2 is built around this happening to all of Dylan's party guests and a Potty Failure from Dylan himself after they all eat jacket potatoes topped with Cuckoo's special sauce that not only contains fish but has been sitting in the garage for two years.
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist: Cuckoo initially believes his book will change the world for the better. He figures out this isn't practical given the current need for a job and decides selling potatoes will do the job as well.
CouplingDom ComCybill
The Crystal MazeBritish SeriesThe Cube
The CreativesBrit ComDad's Army

alternative title(s): Cuckoo
TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from
Privacy Policy