currently airing on Channel 4. The show centres around
attending university in Manchester who miss out on accommodation in halls and so are forced to share a house together.
, who tries far too hard to impress those around him.
- Absurdly Youthful Mother: Grimly deconstructed. Vod's Hard-Drinking Party Girl mum had her at nineteen, and Vod describes their relationship as being more like sisters. Except she's resentful of having Vod, and tells her so frequently, even making a jokey nickname out of it. She admits to Vod's face that she went to get an abortion but was told she was too late. When Vod wasn't being the grown-up in the relationship she was hiding under the bed from "The Beast's" violent rages.
- Adorkable: Howard, who has No Social Skills and spends half his life in a woolly jumper with sheep on it.
- The Alcoholic: The whole house is this to a degree, and excessive drinking is an essential part of the students' daily routine. In particular, Vod, Josie and JP are considerably more seasoned boozers than the rest.
- Josie resorts to the six-packs and the wine quite frequently when things aren't going well.
- Vod's mother Chris, who became an alcoholic because she had Vod at 19 and feels she ruined her life. When she has had too much to drink, she goes into a violent rage and becomes 'The Beast'.
- All Gays Are Promiscuous: JP's reaction when Giles comes out is to assume that he wants to have sex with him. This may actually be because he believes All Men Are Perverts; when Giles tries to explain by asking "Do you want to shag every woman you know?" JP responds "Yes, of course!"
- All Girls Like Ponies: Oregon is revealed to own one, as part of her former life as a sheltered rich girl.
- Averted with Josie when she quits her zoology degree; she "just really doesn't give a fuck about any animal".
- Alpha Bitch: "King" Ralph is a male one, Boy Posse and all.
- JP tries to establish himself as one with Kingsley and Howard as his wingmen in season 3 ("The good [Kingsley], the bad [JP], and the ugly [Howard]"), but it doesn't really take.
- A Party Also Known as an Orgy: JP fondly likes to imagine that this is going to happen, despite a towering mass of evidence to the contrary.
- Amateur Sleuth: Howard, when the flat is burgled — complete with The Big Board, String Theory and The Summation. In the end though, it all turns out to be his way of calling Sabine out for the way she treated him.
- Ambiguously Bi: Vod. She hasn't done anything with a girl on screen, just suggested the possibility or had it suggested for her.
- Amusing Injuries: At the university sit-in/protest, Oregon fucks Hasan with so much gusto and force that he snaps the frenulum of his penis (aka the Banjo String). This is also only about half an hour after Oregon declares that sex is banned at the sit-in.
Paramedic: Severed frenulum, heavy flow, we've got a lot of blood...no, we really do...
- Anguished Declaration of Love: JP does this in almost every interaction with Sam, from their one-night stand onwards.
- Annoying Patient: JP comes down with mumps in series 2, and nobody wants to go near him.
- Anything That Moves: Vod, and also JP when he's at his horniest.
Oregon: I can't believe it...I'm having an involuntary threesome...
JP: Right, that's it! I'm having a wank!
Vod: If he's wanking, I'm wanking!
- Armour Piercing Question: When Oregon is quickly working her way through a table full of shots after discovering that her new "Mr. Perfect" is actually Shales' son, the first question that pops into Vod's head triggers a Vomit Indiscretion Shot;
Vod: Do they have the same "O" face?
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Oregon's rules for the university sit-in.
Oregon: No sex, no harassment, no discrimination and no circus skills.
- Artifact Title: Made more sense when they were actually freshers; as of series 3, most of them are in their second year.
- Candice still technically counts as Fresh Meat, especially as she becomes taken with Professor Shales just like Oregon did.
- Ashes to Crashes: JP takes his father's urn back to the flat with him when his mother sells the house. The next episode it's stolen in the course of a robbery. Feeling guilty, and based on an anecdote she hears, Josie goes rooting through a skip to see if the burglars dumped it. She finds it, intact... and promptly spills the ashes into the skip.
- Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: Whenever JP either sees a hot girl, or his Stowe-Away gang, he usually drops Howard and Kingsley like a hot potato.
- Be Careful What You Wish For: In her bid to become President of the Student Union, Oregon works her arse off day and night on campaigning and canvassing, as well as fending off fierce competition from Vod, almost losing her friendship in the process. Her hard work pays off and she wins the election, only to be immediately saddled with union debts, financial irregularities and active lawsuits.
- Bedmate Reveal: A bedridden JP acts a bit weird and antisocial towards Kingsley. After K leaves, Vod's mum Chris pops her head out from under the covers.
- Berserk Button: None of the main students really have this trait. Vod's alcoholic mum does though; she suddenly transforms into the aforementioned 'Beast' when she realizes she forgot to buy the duck for dinner.
- Betty and Veronica: Josie and Ruth respectively to Kingsley, in series 1. Then in series 2, Heather is the new Betty and Josie has become the Veronica.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Josie breaks Heather's arm and drills a hole in a patient's cheek.
- Be Yourself: Parodied - JP attempts to teach Howard how to be a "real person." Naturally, he doesn't get very far:
Howard: I'm just being myself...
JP: Why the fuck would you want to do that!? That is literally the stupidest thing I've ever heard!
- The Big Board: When Howard turns Amateur Sleuth following a break-in.
- Big Damn Kiss: Josie and Kingsley in the series 2 finale. See I Uh You Too below.
- Big Fancy House: JP's
- Binge Montage: The "freak out", notably including a shot of red wine to the eyeball and JP hotboxing an antique knight's helmet.
- Book Ends:
- Howard using a hairdryer to air-dry Peking ducks at the beginning of series 1, and to defrost a frozen Christmas turkey at the end.
- One episode opens with Vod frantically cleaning the living room in preparation for her mother's arrival. It ends with everyone else cleaning up the living room after her mother smashes it up in a drunken fury.
- Boy Posse: The Stowe-aways, a group of hugely entitled posh boys and JP's fellow Stowe School graduates who engage in cruel hazing, bizarre sexual games and look down on anyone who isn't them. JP is desperate for their approval.
- Break-Up Bonfire: Non-romantic variation, after Vod falls out with her mother, she burns anything that reminds her of her on the barbecue.
- British Unis: Manchester Metropolitan University with the serial numbers filed off.
- Black Comedy Rape: Vod on Riz: "I might rape him."
- In-universe, Oregon does this a lot when she's trying to demonstrate her edginess.
"Harvest the men. Rape the men! We're like feminist vikings."
"I woke up a few times on my year off having had a penis I didn't know about."
- An early season one plot has JP concerned that he might have assaulted someone after he blacks out drunk during sex. There's a moral message about JP learning to respect women and the vulnerability of university freshmen, but it's mostly played for laughs.
JP: I really like her. And I'd like to take her out again. Only thing is, if I've raped her, I don't think she'll want to go.
- Blatant Lies: Most of what Oregon claims she has done.
- Boyish Short Hair: Vod throughout her entire stint at Manchester Medlock, a summation of her outrageously ladette personality.
- She does don some hair extensions in one episode, when she falls in love with Al the Handyman.
- Brotherhood of Funny Hats: The Stowe-Aways, embarrasing Initiation Ceremony included.
Tobes: There's a bit more to being a Stowe-Away than banter.
Ralph: Yeah, it's not just about going to a Chinese restaurant and doing a shit in a pint glass.
Tobes: It is partly about that...
- Cabin Fever: When Vod first enters the house and catches a pant-less Howard drying Peking ducks with a hairdryer, he "explains" that he hasn't spoken to another human being "for some time".
- Call Back: Several to the pilot episode alone;
- "Hump me with your mega-cock!", called back in series 3 with "Hump me with your Power Point!"
- JP objecting to someone using "his" bathroom while he's in the shower.
- Kingsley's first impression of JP is that he's the kind of public school boy who's into communal masturbation. It later emerges that that's exactly what he used to do in his Stowe days.
- Calling Shotgun: King Ralph does this when he and JP meet Tobes' sexy French cousin, and calls JP getting friendly with her "infringing on his copyright".
- Calling the Old Man Out: Vod's "You're a shit mother." It doesn't go down well.
- Captain Oblivious: Oregon's "Insufficient funds? What does that mean? Is it the bank? Does the bank have insufficient funds to pay me?"
- The Cast Show Off: Oregon's impromptu rendition of "Black Velvet", especially after Kingsley's attempts at singing. Both play the guitar, too.
- Cheaters Never Prosper: At the pub quiz final, JP buzzes in with the correct answer...to the next question, having missed a line when he was reading the answer sheet. Sam is not impressed.
JP: I just didn't want to look stupid!
Sam: You didn't even cheat properly, that's how stupid you are!
- Chekhov's Gun: The "freak out" episode has JP fish out a couple of shotguns when he's planning to defend the house against the people his mother intends to sell it to. Not only do he and Vod proceed to wave them around in a decidedly irresponsible manner for the rest of the episode while everyone gets steadily drunk, but JP then reveals he once shot a man accidentally on a pheasant hunt. In the end, the trope is subverted — nobody gets shot.
- Citizenship Marriage: Vod and Javier. In a subversion, Vod only wants him to be a citizen so he can get a job and make enough money to catch a plane back to Venezuela... Javier, on the other hand, is genuinely in love with her and thinks it's for real.
- Cloudcuckoolander: Played with; Sabine is very sensible, but her blunt and matter-of-fact attitude towards life causes the rest of the housemates to regard her as strange.
- Continuity Nod:
- Many, but a notable one is JP continuing to call Kingsley "Knutsford" well into the third season, based on a brief gag in the opening minutes of the pilot.
- The penultimate episode of series three sees tensions boiling over, and everything everyone has done to piss the others off gets dragged out into the open.
- Corrupt the Cutie: Dylan and Candice
- Cringe Comedy: Kingsley's interpretive dance for his Drama class is met with a horribly awkward silence.
- Depraved Dentist: Josie turns up drunk for a practical exam and drills straight through someone's jaw and cheek, getting her kicked off the course. She then decides they can rectify the situation (somehow) by getting Heather to have a similar "accident".
Josie: Come on, we're a team! We're the Mental Dentals!"
Heather: Yeah. I'm dental and you're mental.
- Desperately Craves Affection: Desperate Dan the Geology Tutor Man.
- Doesn't Know Her Own Strength: Josie, annoyed at Heather constantly gushing about her new relationship with Kingsley, takes their self-defence class with Sabine a little too seriously and breaks Heather's arm.
- Do Not Call Me Paul: Oregon.
- Don't Come A-Knockin': Various objects in the house are shown falling over as Howard and Sabine "make fuck buddies"
- Dresses the Same: For a while Oregon tries dressing more like Vod, much to Vod's chagrin.
- Drunk Driver: When a paralytic Josie decides to drive from Cornwall to Wales to gatecrash her ex's wedding, the less-drunk-but-still-a-bit-drunk Kingsley ends up driving her instead.
Kingsley: [after Josie trips up trying to get to her car] You're too drunk to drunk-drive! That's pretty drunk!
- Early Installment Weirdness: In Ralph and Tobes' first appearance, they barely recognise J.P. At the beginning of Series Three, Ralph implies their mothers are friends, suggesting he has known J.P. reasonably well for quite some time.
- Embarrassing Nickname:
- Kingsley briefly tries to reinvent himself as "The Pussyman", and J.P. never lets him forget it.
JP: Kingsley's a virgin? No, wait...The Pussyman is a virgin?!?
- Vod (real name Violet)'s mother calls her "Milly", to her friends' confusion. It later becomes apparent that it's because she was born when her mother was a teenager and was her "little Milly millstone round my neck". More of a Painfully Cruel Nickname, really.
- JP is referred to variously as "J-Penis" or "J-Paedo" by his friends from Stowe.
- Erotic Eating:
- Vod tries this towards a colleague of Shales' to piss off Oregon. It's not entirely clear if she's trying to make it disgusting or if she's just really bad at it...
- When JP tries to take a break from masturbating, he gets extremely flustered at seeing Oregon eat a banana.
- Europeans Are Kinky: Sabine is extremely pragmatic about sex and very up-front about having a fuckbuddy. When her usual guy doesn't show up on time, she matter-of-factly invites Howard to fill in. He obliges. "Jumanji!".
- Even Nerds Have Standards: Howard thinks Brian is a weirdo. Everyone else thinks Howard is a weirdo.
- Even the Guys Want Him: Javier, who is an object of lust for the entire flat. He is oblivious to this.
- Every Man Has His Price: How JP secures the nicest room in the house in the first episode.
- Everyone Looks Sexier If French: JP falls for the French cousin of one of the Stowe-aways.
- Everyone Meets Everyone: The six housemates all hail from completely different areas of the UK, as well as different social classes, and all meet each other for the first time in episode 1. A key part of the show's earlier series was capturing that horrifying first year awkwardness, that most British university students often throw themselves into.
- Exact Eavesdropping: Josie wakes up to overhear Kingsley's Anguished Declaration of Love while they're alone in a car, and feigns still being asleep. What she can't see is that he's on the phone to Heather.
- Experimented in College: "Dorm rules" in JP's public school. Paraphrased;
Giles: Come on, all the "power showers"... when you think about it, it was pretty gay.
JP: What's gay about it?
Giles: What, two men wanking each other off?
JP: Don't call it that!
- At one point, Oregon decides she needs to do this in order to prove she's not homophobic. See Test Kiss below.
- Expository Hairstyle:
- Oregon's frequent hairstyle changes as she tries out new personas.
- Kingsley's post-heartbreak soul patch.
- Face Doodling: JP draws a massive cock on Howard's forehead in the very first episode.
Kingsley: So, dick-drawing on a fellow housemate. Was that cool?
JP: Pen-cocks are going to happen, mate. It's just part of living together.
- False Rape Accusation: Not exactly, but Josie tells Dave that Kingsley "molested her mind" to get her to have sex with him.
- False Start: Kingsley and Josie. Repeatedly.
- Femininity Failure: When Vod dresses up for Al the handyman, she actually looks quite nice, except she ruins it with her obvious self-consciousness, her weird infatuation-induced sweatiness, and the fact she awkwardly removes everything including her hair extensions and false eyelashes before shagging him.
- Fictional Counterpart: While clearly set and filmed around Mancunian universities, the students themselves attend the fictional Manchester Medlock University.
- Five-Token Band: Each member of the cast is from a different part of the UK, and from a different social class. A lot of the humour is from the Values Dissonance each of them have amongst each other. Very much Truth in Television for British unis.
- Foreign Queasine: Josie’s speciality dish of “Munge.”
- The Friend Nobody Likes:
- JP in series one, but they get used to him.
- Sabine, who became a new room-mate at the start of series two due to a misunderstanding everyone was too socially awkward to sort out. She knows she's disliked in the house, and this is not helped by the fact she dislikes the housemates and gives up attempting to talk to them after a few episodes. She's got a friend in Howard though, after they become "fuck buddies" at least.
- Friendship Moment: The gang driving JP up to his Dad's funeral and sticking up for him at the party.
- When Kingley gives Howard his invite to the BP promissing students dinner.
- Vod and JP have one at his family's home when he talks about his two "crying steps". It even ends with Vod hesitantly lying her head on his shoulder to comfort him.
- Friend Versus Lover: Kingsley and Josie, over Heather. They form up a custody agreement as to who gets to have her on different nights of the week.
- Full-Name Basis: When someone refers to Paul Lamb the Invisible Man as "Paul", JP has no idea who they're talking about. Despite the fact he lives in the same house.
- The Fun in Funeral: The students attend JP's dad's funeral in 1x6, partly as a show of support to JP, partly for other reasons.
Vod: Seriously, if I knew the food was going to be this good at my dad's funeral, I'd kill the fucker tomorrow!
- Gay Bravado: JP's is put to the test when he discovers one of his old public school mates is actually gay. Also, due to this trope (plus a dash of Selective Obliviousness from JP), Giles' attempts to explain this fact to him turn into an Overly Long Gag.
- Gaydar: Vod can tell Oregon isn't gay "because of your shoulders. I don't know, it's something about your shoulders."]]
- Genre Savvy:
- The Ghost: Paul Lamb the Invisible Man - also the only housemate whose full name is given in the first episode (and used thereafter every time he's mentioned).
- Deconstructed (albeit For Laughs) in the finale: apparently Paul Lamb the Invisible Man has been around the whole time, but the housemates have just been completely oblivious to him. He moved out after (understandably) having a nervous breakdown, and no-one noticed.
- Girl-on-Girl Is Hot: When the possibility arises of a curious Oregon snogging a drunk Josie, JP is delighted. When they tell them they'll only do it if JP kisses Kingsley first, he goes for it (while Kingsley has to be convinced. At shotgun-point.)
- Gross-Up Close-Up: Sabine rubbing an ice cube on her bruised face (and sucking on it) that both the viewer and the housemates think is made from JP's frozen spunk. It isn't. JP unknowingly downs them at the end of the episode to the rest of the house's horror/delight.
- Hair-Trigger Temper: Dave.
- Harp of Femininity: Ruth has a Harp of Femininity in her dorm room, apparently for decorative purposes. Kingsley is utterly amazed by it.
Josie: She is such a dick.
Kingsley: Yeah, she's a bit of a...she's kind of, she's interesting, isn't she?
Josie: No, not really.
Kingsley: No, but she's, she's sort of intense. She's got a harp!
- Headphones Equal Isolation: Vod, occasionally. At one point she fails to realise that the hoover she's using is turned off.
- Head-Tiltingly Kinky: A "Rafael Nadal backhand" is witnessed in Paul Lamb the Invisible Man's secretly filmed Date with Rosie Palms. It gets a synchronised three-man head-tilt from the Stowe-Aways.
- ...as does the photo of JP's dad and his lover: "We don't know if they were doing it... oh yeah, they were definitely doing it"
- Heel Realization: More or less forced upon Josie by Kingsley in the episode where the house gets burgled. Josie had left her key in the door by accident and Sabine got the blame from Howard because of Howard nursing a spite against her. Includes Tears of Remorse.
- Josie: "I'm a really terrible person. I've done really, really terrible things."
- Her Codename Was Mary Sue: Oregon writes a play ("We Had to Kill Her") in which a girl called Delphine puts up with a cavalcade of idiots like Gwen, a Welsh simpleton who has sex with Anything That Moves and wears a sack, her boyfriend "Ainsley" (also in love with Delphine, as is everyone), Those Two Bad Guys who are described as "a posh twat and a Scottish slob", and the main villain, Hilda, who deceives a guy called Alfonso into marrying her for selfish reasons and ends up getting smothered to death by Delphine. The housemates find out about it... and, self-serving as it is, it actually serves as a pretty effective What the Hell, Hero? to several of them, including Oregon.
- Hidden Depths: Pretty much everyone - at least, hidden from each other.
- Hilariously Abusive Childhood: Deconstructed with Vod: the revelations of how her Hard-Drinking Party Girl mother brought her up are initially played like this, with even Vod herself trying to laugh them off ("Mums eh? You know what mums are like.") But it gradually becomes clear just how awful her mum is, and just how much it affected Vod.
- Hipster: Several characters, but Oregon in particular is fond of wearing oversize glasses and copying much of what Vod does.
- Hufflepuff House: Kingsley refers to the gang in this way.
- Humiliation Conga: Series 2 as a whole is a very long Conga for Josie, as her love life, her friendships and her career all rapidly start to fall apart.
- Hypocrite: Among many other examples, J.P. has a go at Kingsley for pursuing Sam when J.P. "had dibs". He's getting confused; the only "dibs" arrangement was when he offered to play wingman to Howard but asked Sam out for himself because she was too good for him.
- I Am Not My Father: Every part of Oregon's fabricated persona is designed to distance herself from her pampered, wealthy upbringing. (She's still happy for her parents to finance her lifestyle though.)
- I Am Spartacus: Howard claiming responsibility for Paul Lamb the Invisible Man's "Rafael Nadal backhand"
- I Have My Ways: How Howard lost his virginity, "technically speaking."
Howard: I have my own... methods. We can get into it if you insist, but I may need some graph paper and a medical encyclopedia.
- I Just Shot Marvin in the Face: JP reveals he once shot a beater (and the father of their current gardener) during a pheasant hunt. The guy died, but it was "a couple of years later when he rejected an organ" (implied to have been required because of the injury), so it's not like it's JP's fault. Most worryingly, it doesn't seem to have taught him any lessons about Gun Safety.
- Inferiority Superiority Complex: There are many instances of JP flip-flopping between cocky, alpha male dickhead and sorrowful, depressed, insecure sadact, often within the same episode.
- I Uh You Too: In the Series 2 finale:
Kingsley: I love trumpets. I fucking love them.
Josie: I fucking love them too.
- Ironic Nickname: Kingsley has two, both stemming from the first episode: "Knutsford" (after he tries to get away from JP by claiming he's attending a different university) and "The Pussy Man". He has only himself to blame for either of them.
- It's All About Me: JP is usually entitled, selfish and largely oblivious of anyone else's needs. Though all the housemates are guilty of this from time to time.
- It's All Junk: JP burning his childhood possessions when he finds out his mother is selling their Big Fancy House.
- Jerkass Has a Point: In S2 Ep5, when Oregon is convinced the handyman has burgled their house because he's a Mancunian and thus (in her opinion) poor with criminal tendencies. Astoundingly, it's JP, of all people, who protests at the injustice of this.
- Juggling Loaded Guns: All through the episode at JP's house, after he digs out a pair of shotguns (while everyone's already drunk). Chekhov would be spinning in his grave: they never go off.
- Kissing Under the Influence: A wasted Vod yanks singer Riz by the shoulder and gives him a massive snog, only to find out to her horror that it's actually drummer Mark.
Vod: We've got to go! I've snogged the wrong guy!
Vod: It must be because they were wearing the same jacket...
- The Lad-ette: Vod.
- Ladykiller in Love:
- Gender flipped with Vod when she falls in Love at First Sight with the handyman.
- J.P., for Sam:
"I know you guys think I'm this lovable rogue, this happy-go-lucky sex machine, and I'm sorry to disappoint you all, but I think... I think I've got a broken heart."
- Last Name Basis: At his Summation Gathering in the burglary episode, Howard insists on using everyone's surnames, which is the first time we learn several of them.
- Literally Loving Thy Neighbor: Kingsley and Josie, with adjoining bedrooms.
- Lonely Rich Kid: JP has shades of this. His Hooray-Henry rich "friends" treat him like shit and he pretends not to notice, while his housemates are all initially put off by the elitist persona he's presumably created to fit in with the former.
- His Establishing Character Moment is trying to get Kingsley to do coke with him in a toilet and coming across as a typical posh twat, then asking to go for a drink with him in a different manner and tone of voice.
- Loners Are Freaks: Howard. Brian even more so.
- Long Distance Relationship: Josie and Dave. Dave is somewhat more committed to it than Josie is.
- Love Dodecahedron: Howard's birthday party sees one come to a head: Josie is dating Kingsley, whose ex Heather has just turned up to find out that they dated for a while before she and Kingsley broke up; in front of both of them, J.P. accuses Kingsley of having an (emotional) affair with Sam, who J.P. believes he has "dibs" on. Much face-slapping ensues.
- Love Father, Love Son: Oregon is appalled to discover that when she finally falls in Love at First Sight with a guy (enough that she introduces herself by her real name), and who's so generally lovely that even a suspicious Vod signs off as "Mr. Perfect"... he turns out to be Tony Shales' son. I Need a Freaking Drink.
- Manipulative Bastard: "King" Ralph, who among other things successfully manipulates JP out of several thousand pounds of his inheritance from his late father, and at a time when he's feeling particularly vulnerable.
- May-December Romance: Oregon and Tony Shales, her English professor.
- Meaningful Rename: Oregon.
- Meet Cute: Kingsley and Josie, through the glory hole.
- Mistaken for Murderer: Vod, by Howard.
Vod: It's not a human head. It's the weight and shape of a human head, but it's not a human head.
- Mistaken for Racist: Vod for kissing Mark after spending all night trying to pull his friend Riz. When she tries to explain that this was only because they were both wearing identical jackets and definitely wasn't because they're both Asian, she just ends up digging herself deeper.
- Mood Whiplash:
- Dylan telling Oregon that he's come to terms with the fact that she slept with his father... only for him to realise it's actually "too weird" after she kisses him.
- JP's awkward reaction ("That woman is clearly delusional") after Vod's mum spills his inability to, erm, lift the drawbridge turns pretty quickly to her flying into a drunken rage, destroying both the kitchen and her relationship with her daughter.
- Murder the Hypotenuse: J.P., towards Kingsley, when the latter seems to be moving in on his crush Sam. He drops an iron off the staircase that almost hits him, serves him a bowl of risotto with shards of glass in it, and ultimately threatens him with a breadknife. Played for Laughs... at least at first.
- My Local: The local boozer that the students hang out at is the real-life The Kings Arms in Salford.
- Mystery Meat: The stuff Howard gets free as surplus from his job at the abbatoir.
JP: [looking askance at a clear plastic bag full of bloody chunks] What's that?
Howard: It's spare meat. From the loose meat bin. Don't worry, there's some animals in that.
JP: Yes, but... which?
Howard: Hark at the gourmand.
- Naked First Impression: Vod first meets Howard as he's standing in the living room, drying duck carcasses, wearing a woolly sweater and nothing below the waist. He claims he's got used to wearing "trousers of the mind."
- National Stereotypes: Oregon (admiringly) on Jean Shales calmly accepting her husband's affair: "That is so French".
- Never Lend to a Friend: In the series 2 opener Oregon starts getting annoyed at Vod not paying her back all the money she's borrowed... and soon she discovers all the housemates (except JP) have been lending her money, so they have a house meeting.
Vod: I didn't realise I was living with a bunch of bean counters!
Kingsley: Yeah, we've counted them, and we've got no beans. You've taken all our beans!
- Never My Fault:
- Josie regarding kicking Heather so hard in a self-defence lesson that she breaks her arm. First it's Sabine's fault for not teaching her the move properly, then it's Heather's fault for... some reason.
- Josie also blamed her breakup with Dave on Kingsley even though she was the one who committed the infidelity — Kingsley thought she and Dave had already split up.
- JP regarding the time he accidentally shot a guy, who later died from donor-organ complications that are implied to be connected to the original injury. It'd be alright if he was at least regretful, but he's totally blasé about the whole thing...
- Nobody Poops: Thoroughly averted, to the point that some men's room scenes open with a closeup of a stream of wee hitting a urinal.
- Not So Different: JP suggests that he and Oregon are this when he learns that she owns a horse: "You're one of me!".
- Odd Friendship: Vod and Howard. Also JP and Kingsley, JP and Josie... JP and anyone really.
- Oh, Crap: A domino chain of them in S1 Ep7 when Dave finds out from Brian that Josie's slept with Kingsley.
Howard: Abort, Brian, abort!
- Only Known by Their Nickname: Three of the housemates have very distinct nicknames.
- JP: Jonathan Pembersley.
- Oregon: Melissa Shawcross. She's not keen on people knowing her plain, boring actual first name.
- Vod: Violet Nordstrom. Though her full first name is given as Voderika at some point in the first series.
- One-Hour Work Week: Count how many times you see anyone study. You won't need to use your other hand. No wonder Vod fails first year.
- Oop North: While set in Manchester, none of the main characters are actually Mancunians, or even northerners in general.
- New fresher Candice, in series 3, is the first main character to be a local, with a particularly harsh accent to boot.
- Oregon especially harbours suspicious prejudices against the locals; she reports Al the Handyman to the police for burglary, purely because of his Mancunian accent.
- Political Correctness Gone Mad: JP loves to blurt this phrase out, usually when he doesn't get his way, other times just for shits and giggles, such as in his drug test trial:
Doctor: Testees cannot know what drugs they're taking, or the test is utterly useless!
JP: Well, that's political correctness gone mad.
- It can also be taken as a Shout-Out to Peep Show, where Jez similarly abuses the same phrase.
- Politically Incorrect Villain: Ralph, who amongst other things believes the problem with modern politics is that no-one is racist or homophobic enough.
- Pop-Star Composer: Graham Coxon from Blur and Dot Allison wrote two songs performed by Kingsley and Oregon respectively.
- Promotion to Opening Titles: Jelka van Houten (Sabine) and Tony Gardner (Professor Shales), as of series three, replacing the spot normally reserved for Robert Webb (Dan).
- Proud to Be a Geek: Howard. Oregon has to come to terms with it.
- Pronoun Trouble: Oregon knocks on her tutor's door, a woman answers it and she asks for Professor Shales, only to be told "I'm Professor Shales." She meant Tony, "the other Professor Shales". This is then subverted in the second series, when Oregon goes to see "Shales" (looking "sexy as hell" according to JP), who turns out to be Jean Shales.
- Put on a Bus: "Cunty" Sykes, one of Ralph's Evil Minions, is apparently struck down with M.E. offscreen in Series Two, and is 'signed off' for the rest of the year.
- Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: A bunch of poshos, geeks and Vod.
- Really Gets Around: Josie. She has sex with both JP and Kingsley within weeks of starting university, whilst still dating long-term boyfriend Dave in Wales.
- The Resenter: Professor Tony Shales bitterly resents his more successful (and seemingly more talented) wife, Professor (Jean) Shales.
- Rich in Dollars, Poor in Sense: JP, who is easily manipulated out of money by his frenemies, King Ralph and the Stowe-Aways.
- Oregon is so sheltered and spoiled, that when a cash machine displays "Insufficient Funds", she thinks it means the bank does not have sufficient funds to pay her.
- Right Through the Wall: The wall between Kingsley and Josie's rooms is particularly devoid of soundproofing. It clearly used to be a single room that has been cheaply divided in two, and there's a conspicuous "glory hole" between them. Kingsley is rather annoyed at hearing Josie with her boyfriend Dave. Later, when Kingsley starts dating Heather, Josie swaps rooms with Sabine to get away from the noise.
Sabine: I used to live in Japan, where the walls are made of paper.
- Romantic False Lead: Candice's on-off boyfriend Goth Gary, who she only seems to hang out with to get a reaction out of Howard.
- Running Gag: Howard's frustration at everyone's blanket assumption that he's a Lord of the Rings fan.
Howard: I've not seen it! I don't watch films about wizards and magical fucking jewelry!
- The Schlub Pub Seduction Deduction: Howard warns Kingsley about this when he pulls a beautiful blonde girl on their first night at the pub ("This does not happen! It's a trap! When you wake up missing a kidney, don't say I didn't warn you.") Turns out she's not an organ thief... she's an evangelical Christian, who talks Kingsley into setting up a standing order.
- Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: A long-running gag throughout the series with proud posho JP.
- In the first episode, JP is the last housemate to arrive at Hartnell, and so gets the worst room... until he offers to pay Vod £20 a week to switch.
- In series three, after destroying Sam's charity fundraising efforts, he tries to placate her with money.
Sam: You can't just trash things and then wave 50-quid notes at people like a one-man Bullingdon Club!
- Secretly Wealthy: Oregon. or better said, Melissa.
- She Cleans Up Nicely:
- Vod gets dolled up when Howard takes her to a swanky party hosted by BP. Turns out to be a set-up for a protest.
You're fit! I can't deal with you being fit! Stop it!
- Subverted, though, when she falls in love with Al the handyman, and dresses up mentally.
- Kingsley and Josie, early on.
Kingsley: Oh, hi, wow, you look.. that.. fits.. that totally fits you. You've got.. fitting clothes.
- Vod refers to Shales as "the slutty professor".
- 'King' Ralph.
- Discussing whether JP's Big Fancy House might have a gardener, Oregon remarks "Excellent... bit of Mellors action!"
- Howard's climactic ejaculation: "Jumanjiiiiii!"
- Vod does her makeup exactly like Ziggy Stardust to attend a poetry reading. For bonus points, the music playing in the scene is "Panic in Detroit" from Aladdin Sane.
- One of the band names Oregon comes up with is "Time Bandits".
- Kingsley reads The Game at one point. His new trilby, facial hair and (attempted) dismissive attitude towards women are also references to the pick-up artist subculture.
- While Vod is being counselled she gets angry at the therapist, which leads her to say this; "Are you not getting this? I mean, I'm giving you everything! This is fucking 'We Need to Talk About Vod'!
- Many shout outs in season 3, episode 7. Howard mentions Minecraft when talking about hosting a LAN party, and many famous characters are costume-referenced at Candice's H' character' party, almost none of them explained (except for Kingsley, who is obviously'' George Harrison. Obviously!)
- Vod explaining why she wants Howard to pretend to be her boyfriend: "I put my hand down The Wrong Trousers, Gromit!"
- The chorus of Kingsley's protest song, about a lonely military drone over Tunisia: "Well if androids dream of electric sheep....do drones dream of electric peeps?"
- Shower of Awkward: Played with a couple of times.
- In the first episode, JP tries to claim first dibs on the upstairs bathroom, but Howard refuses to be bought off. This leads to a game of chicken where JP uses the shower while Howard sits on the toilet, each waiting to see who'll break first. It's JP; "you're using my humanity against me, you beast!"
- In a callback in series 2, Heather starts brushing her teeth while JP is in the shower, and he yells at her to get out. Instead she pulls the curtain aside to take a peek, and her complimentary comments on his... endowment make him entirely forget his annoyance.
- Show Within a Show: Oregon's play with characters who are obviously based on her housemates
- Sixth Ranger: The house has seven rooms; one too many for the Six Student Clique who form the main cast. Both residents of the extra room so far have been relative outsiders;
- Paul Lamb "The Invisible Man"; The Ghost, who the viewers never see and the housemates claim not to. Revealed in the first series finale that he was around the whole time and had a mental breakdown because nobody ever noticed him.
- Sabine; older, foreign, and more introverted than the rest of them (not to mention taking the room in the place of any of the people they actually wanted to move in) the group take against her at first.
Kingsley: What do you think about her? I don't know what I think about her. I don't not like her... but I also don't like her...
- Averted in the third season; not only does Candice become one of the gang pretty quickly, but Vod's boyfriend Javier lives with them for a while and gets on well with everyone.
- Sliding Scale of Shiny Versus Gritty: Under JP's ownership, the house rapidly begins to become a derelict, slug-infested shithole, leading Josie to take up asylum in Noah's clean, tidy, shiny, perfect house next door.
- Also, clean-shaven, professional Series 1 Tony Shales, compared to stubbly, smelly, homeless Series 3 Tony Shales.
- Slumming It: JP and Oregon, the former being more upfront about it, the latter pretending to be from a less privileged background.
- Spiritual Successor: To The Inbetweeners. Joe Thomas plays more or less the same character in both shows, at different stages of higher education. Fresh Meat can easily be thought of as "Simon's adventures at uni" (whereas Will has gone into writing advertising jingles.)
- Spoiled Brat: JP whenever he talks to Mummy.
- Spoiled Sweet: Oregon, though she tries to hide her upbringing.
- This becomes more apparent in series 3, where she takes new housemate Candice under her wing, is the first of the group to congratulate Kingsley and Josie are back together, and tries to stop Vod from breaking Javier's heart.
- Spot of Tea: Vod, despite being the opposite of the stereotypical tea drinker.
- Candice starts making daily cups of tea for Howard for seemingly no reason; the faint sparks of their romance to come, in spite of Howard's paranoia and geek logic.
- Springtime for Hitler: During the Student Union presidential elections, Vod realizes how much her successful campaign as a joke candidate is hurting Oregon, who's running for real. To make amends, Vod tries to sabotage her own campaign at the last minute, with increasingly stupid and offensive policies, which all just make people cheer even louder for her. Oregon tells Vod to announce the one thing that would really make her a hate target, which overwhemingly succeeds in doing so:
- Stalker with a Crush:
- Brian's (platonic) pursuit of Howard definitely has shades of this.
- zig-zagged: Howard convinces Kingsley that Heather is stalking him, which causes him to investigate her "stalking" in a way that strongly resembles stalking. Then Kingsley decides she isn't stalking him, and they start going out... but by then Josie has decided she was, aided partly by a touch of Green-Eyed Monster. The whole time this is going on, Shales is actually stalking Oregon.
- J.P., after Sam has made it clear on several occasions she thinks he's a dick, seems to see himself as the Dogged Nice Guy in a rom-com who just has to win her over.
- Stepford Smiler: Josie turns into a crumble-baking Type A after being kicked off her course.
- Stylistic Suck: Kingsley's venture into being a singer/songwriter.
- Summation Gathering: The house meeting Howard calls after working out who in the house staged a burglary. He wrongly accuses Sabine.
- Suspiciously Specific Denial: "It's not a human head. It's the same shape and weight as a human head, but it's not one."
- Sycophantic Servant: Ralph's "mates". He treats them more like slaves, barking orders for them to do his bidding, but they are unquestioningly loyal to him. Even the one he insists on referring to as "Cunty".
- Take Our Word for It: The homophobic rant Vod gives at a student union hustings in order to sabotage her campaign. All we see is "Here's what I think about the gays..." and "...And that's what I think we should do with the gays. Any questions?"
- Tantrum Throwing:
- Vod's mum. Played for Drama.
- Then J.P. smashes up the kitchen again after Howard's party.
- Teacher/Student Romance: Oregon and Professor Tony Shales.
- Tears of Remorse: Josie whe she has her Heel Realization after the house is burgled and she can lie about it no longer.
- Test Kiss: Oregon starts getting accused of homophobia on Twitter after she gets a competing magazine shut down which happened to be about LGBT issues. Worried they might be right, she decides that the best way to prove she's not a homophobe is to kiss another girl. Vod is dead against it (she can tell Oregon's straight "because of your shoulders"), but Josie is just drunk enough to be convinced. The boys are delighted, but when it's pointed out that "kissing for the benefit of straight men isn't gay", they decide to do it in private.
- Throw the Dog a Bone: Sabine's talent at martial arts, her promiscuity, and her suggestion that stolen goods are often found in skips, make her temporarily popular with the housemates.
- Also, Howard is the only housemate to get a super happy ending at the end of series 3, finally finding love with Candice.
- Training Montage: Parodied and conversed when Howard is challenged to a fight over a library book and tries to prepare for it. We see him boxing with a beanbag tied to the ceiling, and he says "now I know why in the movies they always train in a montage — it's exhausting."
- Triang Relations: Howard and JP (who was supposed to be teaching him how to pull) both take a fancy to Sam, who agrees to date both of them (having resolved for Freshers' Week to say yes to everything). After JP insists she's out of Howard's league, he chickens out of his date and stands her up, so she starts dating JP. He soon starts seriously falling for her, while Howard is plotting to break them up.
- Twice Shy: Howard and Candice. Finally get togehter in the third series finale.
- Twofer Token Minority: Vod is mixed race, Ambiguously Bi, and the only housemate who can barely afford to be there.
- Uncomfortable Elevator Moment: Josie and Kingsley get into an elevator after Oregon's play, seconds after a) Kingsley reveals he didn't dump Heather for weeks after he started dating Josie, and b) Josie reveals she had sex with Baz a few weeks after she started dating Kingsley. To say their faces look awkward in the elevator is an understatement.
- Un Entendre: Howard's attempts to rekindle his Friends with Benefits arrangement with Sabine via dubious double entendres go straight over her head. Or so he thinks.
- Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist: The housemates seem to take turns in this role.
- Upper-Class Twit: JP, his so-called friends 'King' Ralph and Tobes even more so.
- Vague Age: Howard is older than the others (he's been in the house for several years when they start their first year), and presumably younger than Sabine. When Candice asks him how old he is, he whispers in her ear.
- Visual Pun: When Howard decides to go to the pub as "a wolf in sheep's clothing" to learn about normal human behaviour, he is wearing a jumper with a sheep pattern on it.
- Vulgar Humor: Double Subverted with the "spunk ice cubes". At first everyone thinks Sabine is chilling her bruise with them, but then she reveals she emptied the other ice cube tray into a glass because it looked "mouldy", and she's using her own ice. Then Vod happily gives said glass to JP as revenge for making her put the stuff in the freezer to begin with.
- Walk In Chime In: All the housemates come back from the hospital together, and while Josie tries to explain to Kingsley what happened to Heather in a way that absolves her of as much responsibility as possible, they walk in one by one, always just in time to correct her story; "No, you broke her arm".
- "Well Done, Son!" Guy: JP has a distant relationship with his father, which never gets a chance to improve because his father dies.
- It is implied Ralph has a similar problem. He says he wishes to go into politics as "it keeps the old man happy."
- What the Hell, Hero?: Towards the end of both the first two series, the seventh housemate leaves as a direct result of the others being frankly horrible people. Towards the end of the third, they all call each other out on the horrible things they've been doing to each other.
- Will They or Won't They? / Unresolved Sexual Tension: Kingsley and Josie in series 1. Subverted in the final episode, but hints of the UST remain in the second series while Kingsley is dating Heather.
- In Series 3, they finally end up together... but Kingsley hasn't technically broken up with Heather, who is staying with family in Hong Kong for an indeterminate amount of time.
- Wimp Fight:
- Howard gets into an argument with a big, tough-looking bloke over a library geology textbook. He agrees to meet outside the library for to fight it out, but manages to get it put off a week... and spends the week desperately trying to learn how to fight, beginning with finding out whether you keep your thumb in or out when making a fist. The fight finally comes along... and it's over in five seconds when the other bloke dislocates his thumb, and Howard takes him to hospital. Turns out he didn't know how to make a fist either.
- Howard's birthday ends in a massive scrap between Kingsley (dressed as George Harrison) and JP (dressed as a Hooters girl). At one point, George pins the Hooters girl down and tries to smother him with his own foam boob.
JP: You can't hurt me with boobs, Kingsley! I thrive on boobs!!
- With Friends Like These...: JP's old Stowe buddies are absolutely horrible to him, but he still considers them to be some of his best friends.
- Yank the Dog's Chain: At his birthday party, Howard is almost about to break-through with Candice, but Sabine calls him over, and proposes they rekindle their fuckbuddy relationship. Howard politely declines and returns to Candice, only to find her suddenly dating Goth Gary out of nowhere. A bewildered Howard then backflips and returns to Sabine again, only to find she has now also got a date - with a Howard impersonator, no less.
Howard: Oh, fucking perfect! Even the fake me's better than the real me!
- Your Cheating Heart: Josie... and Kingsley. Eventually they come clean to each other, and conclude that they're "even"... but neither seems to really buy this, and they keep sniping about the other's infidelity and offering excuses for their own. Already by the very next episode, they're each carrying on brand new (albeit non-sexual) "affairs of the mind".