Series: Knowing Me, Knowing You with Alan Partridge
starring Steve Coogan as Alan Partridge (formerly the hopeless sports commentator on The Day Today
), the pathologically smug, hopelessly neurotic and completely incompetent titular chatshow host. The format was the standard light-entertainment variety show. Alan would emerge to a bellow of "Ah-HAAAA!" (reflecting the ABBA song "Knowing Me Knowing You" that was the show's theme) and would introduce and interview guests, music acts and variety performances.
However, the show was a savage and razor sharp mockery of the clichés, shortcomings and failings of the poorer chat-shows on television, perfectly lampooning the egocentric and smarmy hosts, bored and inappropriate guests, shallow and inane questions, and the overload of kitsch and cheesy set-pieces that abounded. And in the centre was Alan, utterly egocentric, convinced that he was the master of ceremonies but hopelessly out of his depth, completely lacking in charm, talent or sense of professionalism, and always completely losing what little control of his guests and employees he had managed to scrape together by the end of the episode ("... and on that bombshell...").
Guests would openly insult him, acts that he claimed were excellent (but had most likely never even seen) bombed hopelessly, and strange variety performances were the order of the day. One such performance was the live re-creation of the 1936 British Women's Olympic Hurdle team victory by the elderly surviving members of that team in an 'Olympic Stadium' that was little bigger than a child's sandpit.
Based on a radio show of the same name, the TV series reusing many of the jokes and characters.
Provides examples of:
- Annoying Laugh: Liz Heron in the Christmas special.
- Borscht Belt: Alan interviewed Borscht Belt style comedian (who even uses this phrase) in the Las Vegas episode of the radio show. This being Alan, he failed to get most of the comedian's humour and then told an offensive Jewish joke.
- British Brevity: possibly only one season was ever planned, but at any rate they knew that the subsequent Christmas special would be the last episode, and made this a central part of the comedy.
- Bullying a Dragon: Either to or by Alan, it usually doesn't end pretty either way.
- By "No", I Mean "Yes": When interviewing the author of a salacious book about the British Royal Family:
Lawrence Knowles: Believe me, Alan, I obtained some photos that were frankly unpublishable.
Alan: And are they in the book?
Lawrence Knowles: Yes, they are.
- Cannot Tell a Joke: The truly awful ventriloquist act of Joe Beazley and Cheeky Monkey.
- Captain Obvious: "That's the Eiffel Tower" Alan, while narrating clips of himself in Paris, modelling his "sports casual" clothing.
- Christmas Special: Knowing Me, Knowing Yule.
- Crapsack World: The show itself. While Alan is obviously awful, many of the guests are either rather horrible and egocentric people themselves and who enjoy winding Alan up for the laughs, or nice people who Alan somehow manages to offend and provoke an argument with until they end up becoming just as nasty with him as he is with them. Forbes McAllister is probably the most ghastly:
Alan Partridge: "Are you entirely motivated by hatred?"
Forbes McAllister: "Yes I am actually. That's quite a perceptive question."
Alan Partridge: "Thank you."
Forbes McAllister: "I hate you."
- Digging Yourself Deeper
- Enemy Mine: Alan and his house band, led by Glenn Ponder. At the end of one episode, Alan fires Glenn live on the air for not inviting him to a staff party which he had invited everyone else (included that week's guests) to. The next week, Alan reveals that Glenn filed a court injunction preventing his dismissal... and then goes on to do his weekly "light banter with the band" segment with a man who does not want to play along.
- Failure Is the Only Option:
- The Ghost: Roger Moore in the first episode of the TV series. Alan keeps expecting Roger to show up for the entire episode, and valiantly attempts to host a segment called "An Audience with Roger Moore", despite Roger's absence.
- Reportedly Moore was told off by a friend for not turning up for his appearence.
- Have I Mentioned I Am Heterosexual Today?: Alan is very uncomfortable around gay people, and often feels the need to reassure people that he himself is straight.
- Hypno Fool: "Aha! Grrr."
- Hypocrite: When speaking to the agony aunt, Alan claims that his "friend" never strayed from his wife, but later, under hypnosis, he tries to take an imaginary Ursula Andress to a hotel where the staff know him and are "very discreet."
- I Have This Friend: Played straight when Alan asks a personal question to the Playboy agony aunt.
- Intoxication Ensues: Happens to Alan in one episode of the radio series after he unthinkingly swallows a tablet offered to him by one of his guests.
- Karma Houdini: A lot of the people on the show are suggested to get away with their outrageous behavior on air (though granted we never hear about them or their careers again). While Alan is shown to become a failure later on, it's still kinda off scale to some of the stuff he commits on his show.
- Knife-Throwing Act: After a critic describes the show as 'moribund', Alan decides to prove them wrong by having himself strapped to 'Wheel of Death'.
- Misaimed Fandom: In-universe; although most of the lyrics aren't played, Alan's choice of "Knowing Me, Knowing You" by ABBA is questionable, since the lyrics depict a relationship that's falling apart and "this time we're through!" Of course, given Alan's interactions with most of his guests, on another level this is perfectly appropriate.
- Alan's 'biography', I, Partridge, expands on the joke by Alan explaining that his initial choice of song/title was "The Winner Takes It All"... a song which is about a woman sadly giving up on a relationship after a divorce. Of course, Alan just latched on to the title lyrics because they stroked his ego.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: The most obvious one is probably Yvonne Boyd who parodies Vivienne Westwood, also Forbes McAllister is Michael Winner (he even mentions him as a rival) Keith Hunt seems partly based on Chris Evans, Lawrence Knowles is Max Clifford and in the radio series; Shirley Dee is Barbara Windsor, Sally Hoff is Liza Minelli and Conrad Knight's voice is basically a Roger Moore impression.
- Overly Long Gag: Alan opening the CD door of a demo home stereo at the Norwich Tandy from the Christmas special. It's a quality action.
- The Peter Principle: It's unclear how an incompetent sports correspondent came to host his own chat show in the first place, but the results prove that this was not a good idea.
- Product Placement: This was mocked by Alan's constant, feeble attempts at placing 'subtle' placements for sub-standard products throughout his show. As his show (both real-life and fictional) was broadcast on the BBC, which being a public broadcaster has strict guidelines about that kind of thing, this often got him into a lot of trouble in the show. It was a key plot point in the Christmas Special, as he vainly attempted to plug Rover cars under the watchful eye of his boss.
- Racist Grandma: Alan unwittingly finds himself interviewing one when he interviews the 'The Olympic Golden Girls of 1936'.
- Reckless Gun Usage: Alan Partridge once accidentally shot an obnoxious food critic in the heart with an antique dueling musket on live television. It is this (coupled with his later punching of a BBC programming executive in the face with a turkey) that ended his TV career.
- Lampshaded by Alan. How was he supposed to know it was loaded, who hands someone else a loaded pistol and why was it loaded anyway? Of course, while this clearly means that Forbes has some fault here as well, this doesn't let Alan off the hook entirely since, as any responsible gun user will tell you, the first rule when handling a firearm is always to assume it's loaded until you confirm otherwise.
- Running Gag: Pay attention to the size of Alan's signature on the "Knowing Me, Knowing You" sign as each episode passes.
- By the final episode, the main theme song is rewritten to squeeze in "With Alan Partridge" after every "Knowing Me, Knowing You".
- Alan mimes attacking the audience with a different weapon each week, with the level of mimed violence increasing with each episode. And the name of Glenn Ponder's house band always changes.
- Screwed by the Network: In-universe, a major contributing factor to the failure of Knowing Me, Knowing You was due to it being scheduled against the ten o'clock news.
- Sort of splits since his show is suggested to have failed for perfectly normal and logical reasons, rather than repeated insulting and abusing (and at one point even killing) his guests and numerous other foul ups that should have earned Alan a long term prison sentence.
- Smarmy Host: Alan.
- Sound to Screen Adaptation: The show originated on BBC radio before its television incarnation.
- Special Guest: Subverted; in the first appearance, Alan promised an appearance by Roger Moore - who, of course, didn't show up. This had repercussions, as Alan angrily insulted him on air the next week's show (calling him a "towel thief")... and the week after that, following a (fictional) injunction by Moore's lawyers, was forced to apologise on air. The other guests who appeared were fictional.
- Played straight in the Christmas special, in which Mick Hucknall really did appear.
- Stealth Parody: The radio show, which did not have a laugh track.
- Studio Audience: An interesting case. This being a spoof chat show, it made sense for Alan to have an audience, which he did. The audience, however, were well aware that they were really watching a fictional comedy show. Hence the same audience both represented Alan's fictional audience and provided the real-life laugh-track.
- Stylistic Suck
- Talk Show: A spoof. And how.
- Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist: Alan.