Series: Harry and Paul

Harry and Paul is a British Sketch Show which debuted in 2007 and is currently airing its third season (the first one was titled Ruddy Hell! It's Harry and Paul). The concept is to bring back together Harry Enfield and Paul Whitehouse, who had previously worked together on Harry Enfield and Chums — Whitehouse is now at least as well known for The Fast Show. Other Fast Show actors, such as Simon Day, started appearing in series 2.

A running theme seems to be that of class warfare and cultural divisions in British society. This was true to some extent in Harry Enfield and Chums, but is more obvious here. A second major theme, growing more prominent over time, is that of examining past attitudes with Retraux and Deliberate Values Dissonance.

The show has had a mixed reception: Some people love it, others hate it.

Harry and Paul provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Acting for Two:invoked In the Dragon's Den sketches, Enfield and Whitehouse, between them, play the entrepreneurs, all the Dragons, and Evan Davis.
  • Alter Ego Acting: Series 4 episodes begin with a sketch where Harry and Paul supposedly play themselves meeting to write the script, but always with some twist on it, usually the sketch being done In the Style of... another writer they're parodying.
  • Alternate History: The Beatles sketches from Series 3 are about what might have happened if The Beatles had never got into drugs - they're all alive and still together in 2010 and are still acting as they did in their A Hard Day's Night days.
  • As Long as It Sounds Foreign: The multilingual football manager, who talks to each of the players from his international side in his own language - most of which is authentic-sounding but gibberish.
  • Better on DVD: In-universe: One set of sketches in Series 4 is about a couple who are culturally elitist about owning foreign DVD boxsets.
  • Blackface: In one Dragon's Den parody the regular entrepreneurs Ken and Bryan disguise themselves as Levi Roots, in the hope of a more favourable reception.
  • Bragging Theme Tune: The opening credits portray Enfield and Whitehouse as Communist-style dictators, accompanied by a patriotic anthem praising them in the same style.
  • British Accents: Like most Enfield shows, much of the humour is about classism and regionalism in the United Kingdom. Examples are Clive the Geordie and Barbican Man.
  • California Doubling: The horseracing magnates in series 4 are supposedly walking around Doncaster Racecourse, but it's clearly surrounded by more rural and hilly terrain than the real thing.
  • The Cameo: Nigel Farage, the leader of the UK Independence Party, makes a random cameo in a series 4 sketch parodying Ricky Gervais' tendency to have a celebrity make an appearance for no reason in his series.
  • Captain Oblivious: The Minor Royals (series 4)
  • The Cast Showoff: A lot of sketches are built around the regulars' ability to do certain impressions (usually Paul).
  • Catch Phrase:
    • "Really Sheridan, one must always make time for one's NHS work" and "You may feel a slight discombobulation" — Charles, the Consultant Surgeons sketches
    • "I saw you coming" — the owner of the eponymous shop
    • "`Ands, Ashley!" — the Clean Chavs (series 1)
    • "...or some sort of shit like that" — the Cultured Fisherman
    • "But I am...a Chocolatier!" — the Chocolatier
    • "What in the name of looooooooove is...?" "You too"/"Are a great band" and "What have you been making history this week, Bono?" — Bono and The Edge
    • "Is he a quare?" "If he looks like a quare and sounds like a quare..." — the Old Tories (series 3-4)
    • "I'm a very important man" — the Very Important Man (series 2)
    • "We're from Badiddlyboing, Odawidaho" and "Isn't she pretty?"/"Whatta guy!" — Ronald and Pam the eccentric small town American tourists.
    • "Everything's Better In Scotland" from the Scotsman in the eponymous sketch, and "We're no' all like that! I take a sideways look at life, you know?" from the Billy Connolly expy played by Paul.
  • Celebrity Paradox: Referenced in one episode where the Old Tories debate whether Harry Enfield and Paul Whitehouse are 'quares'; unsurprisingly, the Old Tory played by Harry thinks Enfield isn't and Whitehouse is, while the one played by Paul thinks the opposite.
  • Comically Missing the Point:
    • In one Dragon's Den sketch, the hopeless entrepreneurs Ken and Bryan actually come up with the brilliant breakthrough of a perfect biodegradeable plastic bag... yet pitch it to the Dragons only as a way of temporarily storing non-biodegradeable plastic bags.
    • The point of the "Clive the Geordie" sketch was to comically exaggerate the north/south divide by having a southern couple treat a Geordie as a pet, and to highlight that racism is often accepted in a Double Standard in a north/south context. Then there was one sketch about another southern couple visit and bring their Filipino maid in the hope that she will mate with Clive, which created a diplomatic storm with the Filipino embassy — thus demonstrating the truth of the point the sketches were making, that people were fine with the idea when it was a Geordie being treated in such a way, but kicked up a fuss when it was someone of a different race.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: In many of the Retraux past sketches, especially "When Times Were Simpler".
  • Dumb Blonde: The Sloane Rangers, who frequent the shop "I Saw You Coming".
  • Eagleland: At first glance Pam and Ronald seem to be flavour 2 of the Hawaiian-Shirted Tourist variety, but turn out to be quite nice people, just eccentric and overly friendly.
  • Everything Is Racist: The Scotsman in "Everything's Better in Scotland" thinks everything English people say is "patronisin' and racist". Everything.
  • Expy: "I'm Tim Nice-But-Balding"
  • Fake Band:
    • Not exactly — as in The Smell of Reeves and Mortimer, it's a real band presented in a crazy manner, specifically U2. This consists of The Edge hiding a surprise under his woolly hat every week, while Bono appears in a cloud of smoke and a white messianic glow and mentions what he's been "making history" this week. Catchphrases: "What in the name of loooooooooooooooove is..." and "You too" "Are a great band!"
    • Also see their Beatles sketch above.
  • Funny Foreigner: "Theo Profiterole" in the Dragon's Den parodies.
  • Gaydar: Played with. The Old Tories spend all of their spare time trying out their hopelessly inaccurate Gaydar.
  • Good Old Ways: Parodied in "When Times Were Simpler" (and several other sketches).
  • Gossipy Hens: The Fifties Typists.
  • Granola Girl: The entire clientele of "I Saw You Coming".
  • Gratuitous French: One customer at "I Saw You Coming" thinks the chocolate tart is rather expensive. But she's quite willing to pay the same price for "chocolat tarte".
  • Have I Mentioned I am Gay?:
  • Have I Mentioned I Am Heterosexual Today? / Actor Allusion: The Old Tory played by Harry Enfield refuses to believe that Harry Enfield is a quare. Even if he looks like a quare and sounds like a quare and is on television like a quare.
  • Identical Grandson: The Consultant Surgeons' identical Georgian barber-surgeon ancestors appear in one sketch.
  • Impossible Task Instantly Accomplished: The "Yeah, we can do that" builders, who build a London Underground extension in an afternoon.
  • In the Style of...: Doctor Who and Sherlock in the style of On The Buses.
  • Last-Second Word Swap: The Ricky Gervais sketch in series 4 has them both make outrageously offensive comments before insincerely backing down by this method. "I hate the Jews! get in cartons, I prefer it freshly squeezed."
  • The Modest Orgasm: In the Retraux take on "When Harry Met Sally", the woman fakes an orgasm by crossing her eyes and clearing her throat slightly. Everyone else in the restaurant is still shaken to their core.
  • Narration Echo: Inverted in one Dragon's Den sketch, as a reference to Evan Davis's Captain Obvious tendencies on the real show:
    Ken: I've left it in the car.
    Narrator: Ken has left the solution to all the world's problems in the car.
  • New Powers as the Plot Demands: Parking Pataweyo has been known to manifest superpowers, if that's what it takes to ticket a car.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed:
    • Jasper Hazelnut (series 1) is a thinly disguised parody of Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.
    • In "Everything's Better In Scotland", Paul plays an expy of Billy Connolly.
    • In "The Cops", an expy of House appears at one point.
  • Officer O'Hara: Officers O'Malley-Mulligan-Hoolagey and O'Pat-Eddery-Flannery-Hoonigan.
    "I come from a small place in Ireland where everyone's a cop. Even the cops are cops."
  • Omnidisciplinary Scientist: The Consultant Surgeons.
  • Parody Names:
  • Patriotic Fervour: "Everything's Better In Scotland", in which a Scotsman at an English pub rudely insists that, well, everything's better in Scotland. This is followed by Paul playing a No Celebrities Were Harmed version of Billy Connolly who insists "We're no' all like that!"
  • Retraux: The black-and-white 1930s "original versions" of hit movies, such as The Bourne Identity and (controversially) Brokeback Mountain. Many more Retraux sketches have been added over time, such as "When Times Were Simpler", which are similar in tone to the Mr Cholmondeley-Warner sketches from Harry Enfield and Chums.
  • Ridiculously Fast Construction: The father-and-son builders who build huge prisons, Tube stations far out in the country, etc., in seconds with the help of a Stock Footage Hard Work Montage.
  • Spot the Imposter: Eenie Meanie Minie Mole is a sketch in which the head of MI-6 struggles with the fact that he now has two George Smileys working for the department, the Alec Guinness version played by Harry and the Gary Oldman version played by Paul. All this is really just an excuse for both men to compete in who can do the best George Smiley impression.
  • Stay in the Kitchen: In a Retraux version of The Apprentice, LordSirAlanSugarDaddy fires his daughter, instructing her to 'go home and do some knitting'.
  • Strange Minds Think Alike: In the series 4 sketch parodying Ricky Gervais' style, Paul jokes with Harry about running into fans who ask when Harry's bringing back his old Eighties character Loadsamoney. A few minutes later, Nigel Farage walks in and tells Enfield he's done nothing good since Loadsamoney.
  • Strawman Political: The audience and panel of Question Time.
  • Take That: Several jabs at Ricky Gervais.
  • Traffic Wardens: Parking Pataweyo.
  • The Unintelligible: A series 4 sketch with an Irish racing magnate and his posh English friend (Paul and Harry respectively), who have similar levels of unintelligibility as Paul's earlier character Rowley Birkin from The Fast Show.
  • Verbal Tic:
    • The Consultant Surgeons often get stuck on repeating the phrase "forty, forty-five years" while reminiscing.
    • The father-and-son builders do the same with "four-by-two-by-four-by-two-by..."
    • And the Fifties Typists with "Anyway, anyway, anyway, anyway, anyway, anyway, anyway..."
  • Workout Fanservice: In-universe. The one time we see Pik engaged in his work as a gym instructor, he's taking an attractive woman through a stretching routine, and enjoying it rather more than he should.

Alternative Title(s):

Harry And Paul