Series / Harry Enfield and Chums
British comedy sketch show from the 1990s, a collaboration between Harry Enfield and Paul Whitehouse (who went on to head up The Fast Show
). The partnership was later revived with Harry and Paul
. (The other "Chum" was Kathy Burke.)
Titled "Harry Enfield's Television Programme" for its first series. Not so prolific as The Fast Show
, but it still added several Stock British Phrases
to the lexicon.
Contains examples of:
- Affectionate Parody: Smashy & Nicey were poking fun at the then-current disc jockeys at BBC Radio One such as Noel Edmonds and Tony Blackburn... which backfired horribly, as pretty much every Radio One presenter over the age of 25 was fired by the mid-90's, in order to draw in younger listeners. Enfield and Whitehouse later stated they were horrified and disgusted at this turn of events, and included a sketch where Smashy & Nicey have an on-air rage against their Bad Boss.
- Aluminium Christmas Trees: The character Mr Dead (a parody of Mr. Ed with a corpse instead of a horse) failed to make impact because (Enfield says) he failed to realise that the viewing public didn't share his enthusiasm for old American TV and didn't get the reference.
- Ambiguously Gay: Nicey from Smashie and Nicey.
- Apologises a Lot: Jürgen the German. It's kind of his thing.
- Awesome, but Impractical: "English for Aliens" was easily the most popular of the one-off sketches (according to Enfield) but it was never revisited because the costumes were too cumbersome and prone to overheating.
- Black Comedy: The "For the Sake of the Children" sketch and some in the "Old Gits" segments (e.g., where they replicate Damien Hirst's art installations by hacking a puppy in half with a meat cleaver).
- Breakout Character: Kevin the teenager, who got his own movie.
- The Cast Showoff: A lot of Paul Whitehouse's roles were built around his talents, such as:
- Lance from Lee and Lance singing Italian opera.
- Julio Geordio speaking a bizarre mix of Spanish and Geordie.
- De Dutch Coppersh, from the fact that Whitehouse did a good Dutch accent (whereas Enfield's character never speaks).
- Catch Phrase: Some of the most popular include -
- Aliens (in high pitched squeaky voice): "Tree!"
- De Dutch Coppersh: "He is my partner and also my lover."
- Jürgen the German: "I feel I must apologise for the conduct of my nation during the Var."
- Kevin the Teenager: "Cuh, that is SO UNFAIR!!! I HATE YOU!!!"
- Know-it-all Guy: "You don't wanna do it like thaaaat!"
- Scousers: "Areet areet cam down cam down!" and "Dey do dough don't dey dough?"
- The Self Righteous Brothers: "Oi! (celebrity's surname) NO!"
- Smashie and Nicey: "Poptastic!"
- Stan and Pam Herbert: "We are considerably richer than yow!"
- Tim Nice But Dim (after just having been punched/ripped off/etc by someone): "What a thoroughly bloody nice bloke!"
- The Lovely Wobbly Randy Old Ladies: "Young man!"
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: When Little Brother became Kevin the Teenager, his older brother disappeared.
- Creator Provincialism: Parodied with the Mr Cholmondeley-Warner routines, which begin with a turning globe ident in which the British Isles are the same size as the Americas or Africa.
- Crosscast Role: Enfield as one of the Lovely Wobbly Randy Old Ladies, and Kathy Burke as Perry from the Kevin sketches.
- Deliberate Values Dissonance: The 1930s public information films. "Women! Know Your Limits! Thinking too much makes you ugly!"
- Double Take: The first series did not feature a pair of characters called "The Double-Take Brothers".
- Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": Freddie and Jack's housekeeper, Mrs Housekeeper (it's never made clear whether or not that is her actual name).
- Evil Old Folks: The Old Gits in spades.
- Freestate Amsterdam: "De Dutch Coppersh" are one of the best known expressions of this stereotype of the Netherlands.
- Grumpy Old Man: The Old Gits, although "grumpy" is a big understatement.
- Hot for Teacher: In one skit, Kevin develops a crush on his attractive teacher. As does his father.
- Humans Through Alien Eyes: "English for Aliens" is a comedic version of the trope.
- Jerkass: Plenty, but The Gits take it Up to Eleven.
- Know-Nothing Know-It-All: Mr. Know-It-All.
- Mood Whiplash: One Kevin & Perry sketch had the boys planning to go to a Wild Teen Party... then we learn that Kevin's grandfather just died. Later on in the show we get another scene with Kevin and his parents talking about his grandfather's death in a way that really tugs at your heartstrings. There's another sketch at the end of the episode where Kevin's Nan is thanking him for missing the party and staying with her instead. It's just as, if not more well-written than any other sketches they did... but it's still kinda weird.
- The Movie: Kevin And Perry Go Large!
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: Michael Paine, who is Michael Caine reimagined as a nosey neighbour.
- Not That There's Anything Wrong with That: The main joke of the "Modern Dad" sketches.
- Once an Episode: After a one-off appearance by "Fat Bloke" in series 1 proved an unexpected fan hit, Fat Bloke was randomly inserted into sketches in series 2 and for series 3 appeared at the end of each episode to sing them out with an eccentrically chosen song ("The show's not over till the Fat Bloke sings!"). This seems to be a Shout-Out to Morecambe and Wise's "Lady who comes down at the end".
- Oop North: As usual in Enfield's comedy, a common theme (the Scousers, Julio Geordio, etc.).
- A special, "Harry Enfield's Guide to the North of England, collected these sketches and added segments featuring a new Enfield character, a Yorkshire industrialist stereotype named George Whitebread.
- Perry goes to an Oasis gig and comes back with a Mancunian accent. Kevin attempts this too, with disastrous results.
- The Parody:
- One Christmas Special is an elaborate parody of Titanic, fitting all the characters into appropriate roles using Commedia Dell Arte Troupe.
- "Il Postino Pat" is a parody of Postman Pat set in Fascist-era Italy, in which the live actors move around rigid-limbed in the manner of their puppet counterparts.
- Telecocknies, which revolved around four cockneys sitting around the pub shouting parodies of teletubby phrases.
- Perverse Sexual Lust: Although the reference didn't survive into the final show, one script mentions that Tim Nice But Dim has a thing for Lara Croft. Then of course there were the The Lovely Wobbly Randy Old Ladies...
- Raging Stiffie: A recurring theme of the Kevin the Teenager sketches.
- Real Song Theme Tune: The theme tune for Harry Enfield and Chums is a slowed down version of the Perigordino from Act I of Rigoletto.
- Retraux: The Mr Cholmondely-Warner 1930s public information films, as well as the London Palladium-style opening and closing scenes.
- Running Gag: The appearance of "Fat Bloke" in a Stealth Hi/Bye cameo role, and later to sing them out ("the show's not over till the Fat Bloke sings!").
- Sex as Rite-of-Passage: A comically exaggerated example. In the final regular episode Kevin at last loses his virginity. The next morning he has been transformed from an unspeakably horrible teenager into a charming, polite and helpful young man, to his parents' incredulous delight (and Perry's disappointment). Though the transformation (but not the sex itself) was retconned in a subsequent Christmas special, turning out to have been just a beautiful dream of his mother's.
- Sketch Comedy
- Small Name, Big Ego:
- The Self-Righteous Brothers are built around this trope.
- As is the "we are considerably richer than yow" couple.
- Strawman Political:
- Super Zeroes: A short lived sketch in the first season, titled "The Palace of Righteous Justice", revolved around four heroes who had fairly adequate superpowers, but were absolutely useless at their jobs.
- Teens Are Monsters: Kevin the Teenager (from Series 2 onwards; previously he was an Annoying Younger Sibling).
- Too Dumb to Live: The appropriately named Tim Nice But Dim.
- Witty Banter: Smashie and Nicey.
- Women Drivers: The subject of one of the spoof public information films.