Series: Not Going Out

Pun-heavy British sitcom staring Lee Mack and Tim Vine as best friends Lee and Tim. Lee lives with landlord Kate, Tim's ex-girlfriend; Kate moves back to America in the second series and is replaced by Tim's sister Lucy. Other supporting characters include Lee's cleaner Barbara, played by Miranda Hart (in series 2 and 3), Tim's girlfriend Daisy, played by Katy Wix (from series 2 onwards), and Lucy's boyfriend Guy (in series 2 only). Tim Vine left after series 5, leaving the main cast for series 6 as just Lee, Lucy and Daisy. Both Katy Wix and Miranda Hart were springboarded from exposure in this show to series of their own.

This show contains examples of:

  • All Psychology Is Freudian: Parodied/subverted. At Kate's insistence, Lee reluctantly agrees to see a Californian therapist for one session. After answering her questions with his typical hurricane of witty quips and innuendos, she says she'd like to talk about his mother, leading to this exchange:
    Lee: Oh, here we go.
    Therapist: What?
    Lee: This is all the mum-fancying stuff.
    Therapist: I never suggested you fancied your mother.
    Lee: What, you saying she's ugly?
  • Almost Kiss: Lee and Lucy have one of these.
  • April Fools' Plot: This is revealed in the episode where Lucy fakes a pregnancy scare after she finds Lee masturbating in her bath.
  • Bedmate Reveal: After Lee and Lucy get blind drunk on potato hooch.
    • A variation in Lee's dream when he's in a coma (his dad shows up between him and Lucy twice)
  • Bad Job, Worse Uniform: 'If there's two things I love it's handing out leaflets and looking like a nob! Who would have thought there'd be a way to combine both?'
  • Bad Omen Anecdote: Tim recalls the plot of a slasher film when the four get lost in the woods on a camping trip.
  • Back for the Finale: Tim
  • Big Damn Kiss: An absolutely massive one (complete with a Glomp) from Lucy after Lee proposes.
  • Bottle Episode: There have been three bottle episodes so far - the skiing episode in Series 6 which was set entirely in a cable car, the plane episode in Series 7 in which Lee thinks there is a terrorist attack, and the episode in Series 7 set entirely in the bar.
  • Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick
  • Breathless Non Sequitur
  • But I Can't Be Pregnant!: Lucy
  • Camp Straight: Tim
  • Cannot Tell a Joke: Kate.
  • Ceiling Banger: Lucy with a noisy neighbour.
  • Celebrity Paradox: Lucy mentions Cannon & Ball in one episode. Bobby Ball plays Lee's dad.
    • And Tommy Cannon appears in the 2014 Christmas Special as the vicar at Lee and Lucy's wedding. Cue an Actor Allusion about Bobby Ball's braces.
  • Class Clown: Lee
  • Clear My Name: What Lee has to do when caught in the company of a prostitute (unknowingly)
  • Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Daisy.
  • Consummate Liar: Lee, and Frank. And Toby as part of his plan to get Lee and Lucy together. Even he's surprised at how good he is.
  • Continuity Cavalcade: Amy (Series 3 Episode 3), Betty (Series 5 Episode 5), Debbie (Series 4 Episode 2), Guy (Series 2), Stretch (Series 5 Episode 1), Paul (Series 6 Episode 1), the psychotic upstairs neighbour (Series 3 Episode 7), and of course Tim all appear at Lee and Lucy's wedding in the 2014 Christmas Special along with flashbacks to their most memorable scenes.
  • Convenience Store Gift Shopping: Lee, when he's not untying flowers from lamp posts...
  • Cover Innocent Eyes and Ears: Kate with the plush monkey
  • Curse Cut Short: Several:
    • Subverted in a series 3 episode, where Lee said "f-" before the opening titles interrupted him. After the opening, the scene picked up where it left off: "-uck."
    • Lucy ends an episode telling Lee, "You can be a real c-" *closing titles*
    • Another episode ends with Lucy saying to Lee "...you can get f-" *closing titles*
    • Lee calls his Dad the same thing during a roller coaster ride, but is cut short as they plummet down a slope.
  • Daddy's Girl: Lucy
  • Daddy DNA Test: The plot of one series 4 episode, where a 20-year-old girl arrives claiming Lee might be her father... only for it to transpire that her mother slept with Tim in the same week. It turns out her real father is a third man from the party they were at, who had been the subject of a Running Gag throughout the episode.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Everyone to an extent.
  • The Diaper Change: 'Give it a good scrape first'
  • Disappeared Dad: Lee's dad Frank
  • The Ditz: Daisy to hilarious extremes
  • Dirty Old Man: Lee's dad Frank
  • Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male: Betty attacking Lee in "Fireworks".
    • A slightly different take to usual, as Betty is elderly, frail and clearly has dementia.
    • Averted with Miranda Hart's first appearance as an acupuncturist, which sees Lee attacking her as a background joke.
  • Enormous Engagement Ring: Lucy is taken aback by the massive and expensive diamonds her slightly dodgy nightclub-owning boyfriend has given her as a sort of engagement gift. Her cynical and jealous flatmate Lee suggests this is all a scam to get otherwise chargeable jewellry through Customs for free as Lucy and her man are off on a dream holiday.
  • Episode on a Plane: "Plane"
  • Exact Words: Lee's way of remaining honest while engaging in duplicitous schemes
  • Face Doodling: Tim does this to female relatives when drunk.
  • False Reassurance: 'All I'm trying to do is clear up'- Lee tricking Tim into thinking he wants Lucy out the flat to wash a wine stain when in fact he's renting it to a (porn) director as a set.
  • Faux Yay: Lucy thinks she's offended a gay man she fancies, so she gets Lee to pretend to be gay so she can show how tolerant she is:
    Lucy: Oh come on! I'd do the same for you! I mean, I can't think of any situation in which me pretending to be lesbian would help you at all...
    Lee: No, me neither.
  • Fawlty Towers Plot: The lies piled up in this episode:
    Lucy: What lesson have you learned?
    Lee: To always be honest and truthful. Now, get out there and pretend I'm blind, Tim's disabled, Daisy has amnesia and you've got Tourette's.
  • Gargle Blaster: Potato Hooch
  • Genius Ditz: Daisy - who once in a while does something brilliant, like rescuing Tim and Lee from a psychopathic drug dealer. Or putting all Lee's money on a horse on a whim - and winning at enormous odds, thus rescuing him from an evil clown to whom he owes a lot of cash. It makes sense in context.
  • Girl-on-Girl Is Hot: Lee and Tim frequently invokes this when a Lesbian couple moves downstairs.
  • Grand Finale: While it remains to be seen if more episodes are forthcoming, the 2014 Christmas Special definitely feels like this with shedloads of flashbacks, the return of Tim, and a very conclusive ending to the Will They or Won't They? between Lee and Lucy.
  • Guys Are Slobs: Lee
  • Hesitation Equals Dishonesty: Lee accuses Lucy of being dishonest when she hesitates over questions about her relationship with Amy. When she throws it back at him questioning him about his relationship with Tim and he hesitates he brushes it off by saying he was sickened by the suggestion.
  • Hilariously Abusive Childhood: Lee invokes this to guilt-trip Lucy into letting him stay for Christmas, including suggesting his stepfather subjected his sister to Trial by water when she started her periods during which she drowned.
  • Home Porn Movie: Lee and Lucy believe they've made one.
  • Hurricane of Puns
  • I Have This Friend: Lee uses this to talk about his genitals in two separate episodes.
  • I Like My X Like I Like My Y: Stretch uses it to charm Lucy
  • Incredibly Lame Pun: At least once a minute.
  • Innocent Innuendo: When Lucy mentions she's planning to stay in with a bottle of wine and a "Chick Flick", Lee imagines it a completely different way.
  • Intentional Engrish for Funny
  • Interrupted Intimacy: Lee pops up during an experimental moment between Lucy and Amy
  • I Object: Played for laughs twice in quick succession at Lee and Lucy's wedding in the 2014 Christmas Special. The first is Tim arriving at the last minute to take his place as Lee's best man, and the second is Frank getting petulant about no longer being the best man.
  • I Resemble That Remark:
    Tim : (reading a question from a personality quiz) Are you the kind of person who jumps into decisions without properly considering all the available options?
    Lee: (firmly) No.
    Tim: Hang on, it's multiple choice.
  • It Runs in the Family: 'Who would have thought that an aptitude for scrounging was hereditary?'
    • Lucy and Geoffrey have both threatened to wear Lee's testicles as earrings.
  • I Was Beaten by a Girl: Tim
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Lucy frequently gives Lee grief about how he acts towards and treats his father, and she's probably right to. But in Lee's defense, his dad has treated him with even less consideration and care for most of his whole life.
  • The Klutz: Barbara, who manages to break something every time she cleans.
  • Like Father, Like Son: Lee and his dad are very similar in how they act, as much as Lee would like to think otherwise.
  • Like an Old Married Couple: Lee and Lucy naturally evolve into this, justified as they have lived together for seven years they even lampshade it in the episode concerning the Potato Hooch drinking binge in series five:
    Lucy : (annoyed) Hang on you're my lodger, when did you suddenly become my husband?
    Lee: (deadpan) Yesterday or can't you remember?
  • Line-of-Sight Name: Lee pretends his son's name is George whilst he's trying to convince a drugs counselor of his existence. The name 'George' comes from the (female) counselor's shirt.
  • The Load: Daisy is this in the finale of series 6. The entire episode centres on her, Lee, Lucy and Frank being trapped at sea. Almost everything that makes things worse is her fault.
    • Of course, Daisy and Barbara tend to be this most of the time.
  • Lazy Bum
  • Loser Protagonist
  • Maintain The Lie
  • Manly Man And Sensitive Guy: Lee and Tim respectively
  • May I Borrow a Cup of Sugar?: In one episode, this appears to be a Meet Cute, but turns out to be the excuse version of sorts when a young woman who thinks she is Lee's daughter appears at his door. Turns out at the end that she isn't Lee's daughter after all. When a guy shows up at the end of the episode asking to borrow some milk Lee tells him there's a Tesco nearby and shuts the door on him.
  • Men Are Uncultured: Well, Lee is
  • Mistaken for Gay: In the finale Tim turns up in time for the Wedding objection and says he should be standing beside Lee (as best man). When Lee's dad objects as he is best man the Vicar says it's legal now.
  • Mistaken for Prostitute: Mistaken for masseuse
  • Momma's Boy
  • Monster Clown: From Camping
  • My Parents Are Dead: As Lee backpedals from confronting a noisy psychotic neighbor he rhetorically asks 'Who am I to tell you to keep the noise down? I'm not your mum' the neighbor snaps 'My mother's dead!' Lee's response? 'You don't run a hotel with her do you?'
  • My Sister Is Off-Limits!
  • New Job Episode
  • Noodle Incident: The episode with the art exhibition has Tim berating Lee:
    Lee: It's not my fault!
    Tim: Oh yeah. When my grandmother ended up in a ditch, it wasn't your fault. When my aunt could only eat soft fruit for a week, it wasn't your fault!
    • There's a lot of Lee's stag night that we don't see, aren't told about, and is probably lost to the ages thanks to alcohol-induced amnesia.
  • Obnoxious In-Laws: Geoffrey, Lucy's Father, is this to Lee before the wedding. He makes it quite clear he hates Lee and wishes the wedding doesn't go ahead.
  • One-Hour Work Week: Barbara the Cleaner. Lee often jokes about the last time he saw Barbara actually clean something?
  • One-Word Title: Every episode except the Christmas specials and "Life on Mars Bars".
  • Parental Favoritism: Lucy seems to benefit
  • Pass the Popcorn
  • Precision F-Strike: A couple through the series, including Lucy's "What the fuck is going on?"
    • The most notable is Wendy's when Lee, Geoffrey, and Frank are missing right before Lee and Lucy's wedding. You'd never quite expect to hear the words "Or I'll have the fucking bollocks off the pair of them" from her.
  • Preemptive Shutup
  • The Problem with Pen Island: In the Totally Radical example below.
  • Promotion to Opening Titles: Daisy in series 4, replacing Barbara's spot in the sequence. (Following Tim Vine's departure after series 5, in series 6 the opening titles were re-filmed to put her front and centre.)
  • Pull the Plug on the Title: The title sequence shows the words as big multiple-lightbulb signs held up by Lee, Tim and Kate(then Lucy). Lee's word goes out randomly in series 1 and 6, and either Barbara (series 2-3) or Daisy (series 4-5) is shown unplugging it.
  • Pungeon Master: Lee more than anyone else.
  • Refrigerator Ambush: Neighbor
  • Retroactive Wish:
    Lee: Honestly, who do you know who could break a passport?
    (the cleaner walks in)
    Lee: Honestly, who do you know that's a beautiful nymphomaniac rich widow?
    (nothing happens)
    Lee: Oh, so it's just the one wish then.
  • Rule of Funny: In series 6, Tim's absence is Hand Waved within 10 seconds of the first episode as working in Germany, and it is never explained why his girlfriend continues to show up randomly at his sister's flat.
  • The Scrounger: Lee and particularly his dad
  • Shipper on Deck: Barbara, for Lee/Lucy.
    • Daisy takes on this role after Barbara leaves
    • Toby and Anna are revealed to be this for Lee and Lucy at the end of Series 7. And they actually succeed in making them admit their feelings for each other.
  • Shout-Out: The cold opening to the episode "Life on Mars Bars" is a reconstruction of the opening to Life On Mars.
  • Sit Comic: Lee Mack and Tim Vine
  • The Slacker: Lee
  • Snowball Lie
  • Strongly Worded Letter: Lucy leaves one for their psychotic neighbor against Lee's protests
  • Suspiciously Apropos Music: The karaoke song Tim starts singing the same moment Debbie tells Lee she thinks he's her father.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: When discussing Police falsely accusing people if they can't get them for a real crime, Frank mentions a break-in at an off-licence in 1974 along with what was stolen before catching himself.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Toby is one for Tim in some respects. Both are intelligent and well-off middle class Butt Monkeys who get dragged into Lee's schemes to their detriment. Though Toby is more self-assured and most of the humour comes from his being a Henpecked Husband rather than a lack of masculinity like Tim.
  • Terrible Interviewees Montage: Lee's attempt at speed-dating.
  • They Do: Lee and Lucy. It only took them seven years.
  • Think Unsexy Thoughts
  • Toilet Humour: Used occasionally but hilariously such as when Lee and Tim are called upon to babysit Guy's grandson.
  • Totally Radical: Parodied. Lee has found yet another dead-end job, so Kate asks him if he bothered to look at some career leaflets she got for him. He dismissively says that they're all aimed at kids, citing a slogan: "Do you want a career, innit?" Kate reads the leaflet; the slogan in question is actually "Do you want a career in IT?"
  • Tough Crowd...: Both Tim and Lee. Lee even uses it as a catchphrase of sorts.
  • Toxic Friend Influence: Tim accuses Lee of being this.
  • Trouble Entendre: A Fawlty Towers Plot rendered the main characters unable to say their true meanings in order not to reveal the fact that they weren't disabled, leading to this sort of talk, which everyone else remains clueless to, even when one of them explicitly says "blackmail".
  • Un-Cancelled: After the third series.
  • Under The Mistletoe
  • Verbal Backpedaling: Lee on childbirth- 'It can't be as bad as women go on about...women say... people say... stupid people!'
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Lee and Tim.
  • Walking Disaster Area: Barbara.
  • Waxing Lyrical:
    Barbara: Listen. When I was just a little girl, I asked my mother, what will I be? Will I be pretty? Will I be rich? Here's what she said to me.
    Lee: I'm guessing it was a no.
  • What Did I Do Last Night?: After Lee's father takes him on a Stag night they wake up in a cell. The Policeman comes in and starts talking to them in another language. It turns out he is doing this as a joke.
  • Whole Plot Reference: The episode Life on Mars Bars is a half-hour reference to Life On Mars.
  • Why Are You Looking at Me Like That?
  • Will They or Won't They?: From Series 2 onwards, this is at the core of the programme between Lee and Lucy. Finally, after seven years and some significant nudging from upstairs neighbours Toby and Anna, They Do.
  • Working Class People Are Morons: Frequently leveled at Lee and Frank.