BBC1 half-hour sitcom, which aired its first season over two weeks in 2007, and its second over seven weeks in 2008. It got a Comic Relief special and a Christmas special in 2009, followed by a third series (plus Sport Relief special) in 2010 and a fourth (plus Christmas special) in 2011. A stand-alone Christmas special aired on Christmas Eve 2012, and a fifth series has been commissioned to air in 2014. It is believed that this will be the final series.It follows the Brockmans, a family of five, who live somewhere in South London:
Pete (Hugh Dennis)- father, a teacher
Sue (Claire Skinner)- mother, part time PA
Jake (Tyger Drew-Honey)- older, more sensible son at 11
Ben (Daniel Roche)- younger son at 7, pathological liar
The show is semi-improvised, with the kids being given the basic outline and then going from there. Not to be confused with the Super Solvers game of the same name.
This show contains examples of:
Actor Allusion: In Series 4, there's a scene where Pete is flicking through TV channels and is disappointed at finding nothing but panel games. There's also a reference to Frankie Boyle and his standup, which is a reference to him and Hugh once being on the same show.
Beware the Nice Ones: Archie the Dog does seem rather playful when the family look after him on behalf of some friends of theirs, if a bit reluctant to go to his bed. Then Sue and Pete let him out the back garden; he goes into a garden next door and breaks into a guinea pig hutch, killing all the guinea pigs. Thankfully, this is offscreen.
Pete throws the Wiimote into the TV by accident and breaks it, after managing to get first place on Mario and Sonic at the Olympics for the first time (which he only did because the others were all in bed).
Earlier in that episode, Pete is shown doing very badly at the game, and Ben lampshades this word for word.
In series 4 when the Brockmans attend the funeral of an uncle.
Ben mentions the funeral when talking about acting as a comedian for the school talent contest, saying he farted in the church and caused a lot of people to laugh due to the echo. We don't see this onscreen, though.
Jail Bait: Jake is briefly nicknamed this in Series 4, as he's dating a 19-year old lap dancer. Turns out he was lying about his age (she thought he was 17, he's actually 15). Then it turns out she was too (she's 16). So he's not jailbait, but his girlfriend is lap dancing illegally. Pete and Sue are at a loss as to whether this is better or worse.
Angela, Sue's sister. Has insulted the kids frequently and triggered many arguments. Also abandoned Grandad with pretty much no notice or regard for him.
Brick is retroactively revealed to be one in the fifth episode of season four.
On a slightly less serious note, the headmaster of the school Pete used to teach at. Blames Pete for doctoring a prospectus to make the school look better and lets him take the fall for it (though to be fair he did doctor it but under the headmaster's orders).
Karma Houdini: Don't expect the kids to be held accountable for their actions.
Kick the Dog: When Angela abandons her (and Sue's) father to return to America with virtually no notice. Or whenever she insults the kids.
"Daddy, you ever think we're just characters in someone's dream?"
"I want to be chased by a tiger." "I think that can be arranged" (enter Jake, played by Tyger Drew-Honey)
Similiar instance in the final episode of Season 1. After Angela spoils the family's plan to go traveling, Ben is talking about all of the things he's missed out on. Pete says at one point "I'm sure we can arrange for you to be chased by a tiger." Jake enters the room.
Lethal Chef: Ben. It didn't help he was trying to copy Esther Ranson.
And settled on Heston Blumenthal, an English "molecular gastronomist".
Mama Bear: Do not insult Sue's kids, as Angela finds out.
Mood Whiplash: A few of the scenes about Granddad's dementia in the second series lead to this when they instantly cut back to the kids.
Nightmare Fuel Station Attendant: Ben. While his class is away on a trip, he causes a panic attack, makes his form tutor start smoking in an attempt to calm down, and leaves the rest of his group sleepless. That's just one episode.
Not Allowed to Grow Up: Averted. The characters have aged appropriately (Jake is now 16, and a archetypical teenager, Ben is now 12, and Karen is now 9). Andy Hamilton and Guy Jenkin both joked it had happened in an interview stating that everything was true.
The closest examples would probably be Pete and Jake, but they still both have their moments.
Papa Wolf: Pete meets the annoying anti-speedbump campaigner, after Karen gets hit by a car (don't worry, she's fine). Verbal asskicking ensues.#
Pet the Dog: While Ben is not exactly a dog kicker and more a crazy child, he is actually very respectful of Uncle Bob, and is very nice when talking about him during the first episode of series 4. He also stops using the word "gay" as an insult after learing Uncle Bob and Uncle Bernard were a gay couple.
Precision F-Strike: Karen does one when she sees Angela in the house and walks off muttering "Oh, Jesus". Not the strongest example of the trope, but from a nine year old girl it's not a bad example.
Previously On: A surprisingly dramatic version opens the final episode of series 4.
Realistic Diction Is Unrealistic: Wonderfully subverted because Karen and Ben talk just like children of their age would. Much of the children's dialogue (and thus the reaction dialogue of the adults) is improvised.
Refuge in Audacity: It's only because Ben is saying it that you can get away with comparing an MTV stupid stunt show to the Battle of the Somme.