main index




Topical Tropes

Other Categories

TV Tropes Org
Series: Mrs. Brown's Boys

Mrs Brown's Boys is a Dom Com about an Irish Catholic housewife with a dirty mind and equally dirty mouth and little shame about using it. She is the matriarch of her family, having four sons and one daughter (many of whom live in her small working class house as they aren't able to afford to move out yet) as well as with her senile father-in-law. The show was created and written by Irish comedian Brendan O'Carroll — who also plays Mrs Agnes Brown herself by dressing in drag.

Originally airing on RTÉ One in Ireland, and broadcast shortly after on BBC One, note  it has had very mixed reception on either side of the Irish Sea, with criticism about its cliché plots and the fact that the idea of a man pretending to be a dirty-mouthed old lady is considered outdated humour. However it has received high ratings on both channels, and aside from the predictable plots there is a certain irreverence to the series which centres on how harsh Mrs Brown can act towards her family and friends as well as having fair amount of "meta" humour and jokes which break the fourth wall, with Brendan O'Carroll occasionally going wildly off-script just to see what the rest of the cast will do.

A movie was produced by Universal Studios and was released June 27th 2014.

There's also a stage version, released on DVD, which the TV scripts are based on, but has more swearing.

Tropes associated with Mrs Brown's Boys:

  • Animated Credits Opening: A very brief one of Agnes Brown hanging polaroid photographs of her relatives out on her washing line
  • Bad Job, Worse Uniform: Dermot Brown has a string of these for all the different crappy jobs he's held over the course of the series, including a giant penguin when he was selling Penguin Biscuits and a giant cigarette butt when he was part of a stop smoking campaign.
  • Bait-and-Switch Comparison: Frequently. Lampshaded once;
    Agnes: I still remember the first time he held the baby. The little red face, all wrinkly and covered in drool ... and then there was the baby.
    Winnie: [laughing] I knew you were gonna say that.
    Agnes: Winnie... everyone knew I was gonna say that. [aside glance]
  • Bizarrchitecture: In the stage version — the front door is at the edge of the set, logically enough. The problem is that the staircase leads up to a door that's set into the same wall as the front door — in other words, the upstairs floor must be hanging over the street!
  • Camera Abuse: Notable instances include a camera crashing in through the kitchen window and when Agnes is cleaning the windows she is struck by one.
    • In the 2012 Christmas specials, Agnes gets a magnet for horses stuck on her wrist. After she pulls it away from the kitchen sink, it gets stuck on one of the cameras.
  • Camp Gay: Rory Brown and even more so his boyfriend Dino Doyle.
    • Given their campness it takes a surprisingly long time for Agnes to catch on.
  • Car Meets House Agnes didn't like the remolded kitchen anyway.
  • Cast Incest: O'Carroll's wife Jennifer plays Mrs Brown's daughter. Also, his daughter plays one of his daughters-in-law and his real-life daughter-in-law plays another; his sister plays Agnes' best friend and his son plays a friend of her son's.
  • Characterisation Marches On: In the early episodes of the first series, Winnie wasn't as much of The Ditz as she is from the second series onwards.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Whenever Agnes Brown speaks.
  • Crowning Moment Of Heart Warming: In the Christmas Special when Trevor comes home. Mrs Brown doesn't say a word, and just hugs her son. It sticks out among the rest of the show.
  • Corpsing: Frequently in reaction to ad-libs and mistakes, and left in.
  • Crosscast Role: Mrs Agnes Brown, played by series creator and writer Brendan O'Carroll.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Agnes Brown, in spades.
  • Dirty Old Woman: Both Agnes Brown and her best friend Winnie McGoogan.
  • The Ditz: Winnie.
  • Dom Com
  • Domestic Abuse: Her treatment of her elderly father-in-law.
  • Genre Savvy: The viewers.
    Winnie: I knew you were going to say that.
    Agnes (with a nod to the audience) Winnie — everyone knew I was gonna say that!
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Mrs Brown pretty much epitomizes this trope
  • Left the Background Music On: Cathy says that due to a fraudulent death certificate, Mrs Brown could go to prison. Cue the Psycho Strings... until she darts out into the garden to yell at the random string quartet standing there.
    Agnes Brown: FUCK OFF THE LOT OF YEH!
  • Medium Awareness: They know they're in a TV show and will often interact with the cameras, crew or mention the fact it's a TV show. If any characters corpse, as they frequently do, it is left in.
    Agnes: What are you doing here?
    Buster: It's in the script.
    • They're also aware of who broadcasts the programme.
    Agnes: What's with the black tape on the side of the box?
    Buster: Oh, to cover up the name. BBC rules.
    Agnes: Although it's very obvious from the box that it's an iPhone 4S.
    • From the first season:
    Dermot: Mrs Nicholson's dead posh, Ma.
    Agnes: And so are we! We have a show on the BBC, I don't think she has!
    • From the third Christmas Special:
    • From the second Christmas Special:
    Winnie: I used to get that a lot with Jacko. It's called Wa-
    Agnes: Winnie! It's the Christmas episode! *mouths to audience* I'm sorry.
  • Meta Fiction: See above.
  • No Fourth Wall: Mrs Brown frequently talks to the audience, and has been known to drop character and comment on the surreality of the situation, or point out that they are on a studio set.
    Studio Audience: Awwwwww.... (at a sad situation which upsets Mrs Brown)
    Brendan O'Carroll / Mrs Brown: It's a man in a fuckin' dress!
    • Also:
    Mrs Brown (Getting up and walking from the living room to the kitchen) Come on, Ciarán. (To audience, as the camera follows her) Ciarán the cameraman.
    • And yes, according to the closing credits one of the camera crew is named Ciarán.
    • In another episode the phone in the Browns house rings and Mrs Brown declares that it's for Ciarán before handing it off to a camera man....twice.
    • The show may as well be called The Fourth Wall Demolition Crew.
      • In one episode from the third season, Mrs Brown walks out of the kitchen, stopping as the camera is about to pass the set partition, and immediately steps back. She does this twice, giving a glance to the camera.
    • At the end of the second season, they acknowledge that it's the end of the season, "but it can't be, we've no song!"
  • Psycho Strings: Appears to appear after Mrs Brown says something shocking and ominous in one episode in one episode, but is subverted (see Left the Background Music On).
  • Really Gets Around: Sharon McGoogan.
  • Refuge in Audacity: Most of the time. One example is when Mrs Brown goes out to the pub wearing a bra that increases your breast size. She shows it to Winnie, but then it won’t stop getting bigger. While they’re both panicking about her chest size, which is growing to ridiculous proportions, the local priest comes over and starts chatting to them. He finally decided to comment on the bra(“Mrs Brown, are your tits swelling?”) and Winnie just bites Mrs Brown’s breasts, to burst the bra.
  • Script Breaking: Constantly. Brendan O'Carroll usually says/does things that the other actors don't expect. One particular example causes one of the actors to burst out laughing
  • Sir Swears-a-Lot: Though not continuously swearing, she has no shame in doing so if she feels the situation requires it. (She sometimes substitutes the less obscene "feck", although the hard-of-hearing subtitlers don't always get it right.)
  • Sitcom Archnemesis: Agnes and Hilary in the majority of series 2-3.
  • Studio Audience: Occasionally included in shot, as well as addressed.
  • The Other Darrin: Maria's mother Hilary was recast between Series 1 and the first Christmas special.
  • Throw It In
  • Tough Room: Averted, often because the cast themselves are laughing.
  • Unexplained Recovery: After Rory crashed his car through the remodelled kitchen the original returns in the next episode with no explanation.
  • Why Do You Keep Changing Jobs?: Dermot can only seem to get different short lived jobs, all of which seem to involve him being required to wear god-awful costumes. Not that we ever see him at these jobs, just hanging out in the house before or after his shifts.
  • X Meets Y: It's The Cosby Show meets The Young Ones by way of Shameless in Ireland.
Mr. BelvedereDom ComMy Family
Edge of TomorrowFilm Brain ListThe Spirit

alternative title(s): Mrs Browns Boys
TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from
Privacy Policy