Series: Lead Balloon

Lead Balloon is a Brit Com on BBC Two starring Jack Dee as Rick Spleen, a successful yet disillusioned stand-up comedian and serial liar. It follows the exploits of hapless Spleen as he searches through life for a crumb of comfort, his habit of pathological lying frequently digging him into holes, alongside his partner Mel, writing partner Marty, unmotivated daughter Sam, her boyfriend Ben, local café owner Michael, and Eastern European cleaner Magda.

This show provides examples of:

  • Bolivian Army Ending: Series 4 (currently intended to be the last) ends with Rick's career seemingly being ended for good, but all we see is the photograph of him accidentally punching Clive's wheelchair-bound mother in the face on the front page of a tabloid.
  • Bottle Episode: The penultimate episode of the show features a grand total of two characters: Rick and a surprisingly pleasant psychopath called Donald, played by Robbie Coltrane. Two journalists turn up after the credits, but it's a two-hander through and through.
  • British Brevity: Four series for a total of 27 episodes.
  • Cringe Comedy
  • Digging Yourself Deeper: Much of what Rick does.
  • Ethnic Menial Labor: Magda the cleaner.
  • The Eeyore: Also Magda.
  • Fawlty Towers Plot
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Each episode title is one word taken from an element of the episode ("Pig", "Points", "Hero", etc.)
  • Idiosyncratic Wipes: Scenes are sometimes punctuated with Rick writing down a one-liner in a notebook.
  • Real Song Theme Tune: A cover of One Way Road by Paul Weller.
  • Schedule Slip: Series 4 came some two-and-a-half years after series 3 finished. This was partly the result of being Screwed by the Network as it had been ready to air several months before it actually did (and was pushed back by months several times).
  • Something Completely Different: The penultimate episode, "Blade", is a two-hander between Rick and Donald, a prison convict who has taken him hostage, featuring none of the other cast or other features of the series.
  • Status Quo Is God: If it appears Rick is about to receive a substantial boon to his career, you can bet it won't take.
  • Throw It In: In the title sequence, the show title is misspelt "LEAD BALOON", with the second L being written in above the first. This was a genuine mistake by the director.
  • Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist: Rick Spleen.
  • We Want Our Jerk Back: Marty's reaction when a near-death experience (temporarily) turns Rick into "Ghandi-Rick".
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: Lead Balloon is practically YtDC: The Series. Played mostly for laughs, of course.