A Brit Com focused on two twenty-something friends at crossroads in their lives. Tim is a cynical aspiring comic book artist and geek who is dumped by his girlfriend in the first episode. Daisy is a bubbly aspiring journalist who doesn't have anything to say nor the work ethic to say it. They pretend to be a couple in order to rent an inexpensive flat. The show focuses on their zany adventures as they struggle to get their lives on track. Tim's military-obsessed friend Mike, Daisy's ditzy glamour friend Twist, Mad Artist Brian in the flat below and dipsomaniac landlady Marsha complete the main cast.The show was written by its stars, Simon Pegg and Jessica Stevenson, and directed by Edgar Wright. Because Pegg and Wright went on to collaborate on a string of successful films, Stevenson's contributions are often ignored by overeager marketing executives who label the show as "From the creators of Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz." Still, the show's manic camera work and frequent references to popular genre films and TV shows can ring very familiar.Came sixty-sixth in Britain's Best Sitcom.
Contains examples of:
Growing Up Sucks: A rare post-childhood example; all of the main characters are pretty immature and struggle to come to terms with the fact that their childhoods are over and they're becoming adults, with all the responsibilities that involves. Tim in particular seems to have a bit of a complex about it.
Tim:[About Marsha] We've potentially destroyed her faith in today's youth! [Everyone looks at him skeptically] Tim:[Sheepishly] Young adults.
Magic Realism: The show presents an exaggerated, cartoonish, and often subjective reality with extreme camerawork, fast editing, and sound effects. Frequent references to genre films and TV shows also blur the lines of reality, while outright dream sequences and fantasies are also very common. It happens to such an extent it prompts the characters to question if things they thought just happened really did happen, or to comment on the unbelievability of some of the situations they end up in.
Shout-Out, Homage, The Parody: By the bucket, of everything, including some rather obscure films and TV shows. The DVDs even have a subtitle track consisting purely of the sources of each reference, including, rather confusingly, those from shows within the show. For example, in one episode, Daisy is making up a story about working on a movie to impress someone, saying the movie's to be named Guacamole Window. The subtitle on that track then says "Film Ref: Guacamole Window, Directed by and starring Daisy Steiner." And indeed itself, when it harks back to the victory walk when Bilbo takes Tim back.
Alpha Bitch: Daisy's friend Twist is as shallow as a saucer, quite vicious and uncaring of her friend's feelings. And a Fag Hag.
Ambiguously Gay: Brian is quickly asked point-blank if he is gay, which he denies despite a troubled expression implying that he never actually considered the possibility before. He later claims to have had "a romance between two heterosexual men" with his "post-sexual" collaborator Vulva, whom he refers to as a she. Mike straight out says "I've always fancied you" to Tim. Also, Edgar Wright said that "[they] might have ended up getting him together with Dexter or someone like that. Or him just admitting he was gay."
Mad Artist: Brian is incredibly angsty and tortured (not to mention pretentious) though not in a dangerous way. He does find he's unable to paint when he's happy.
Mood-Swinger: Tyres, whose brain is so fried from drugs and raving that he can't sustain a single emotion for more than a few seconds.
Tyres: "Last night was an A1, tip-top, clubbing jam fair, it was a sandwich of fun, on ecstasy bread, wrapped up in a big bag like disco fudge. It doesn't get much better than that, I just wish I could control these FUCKING MOOD SWINGS!!"
Brian: "I see all of my ex-girlfriends. Well, not so much see as watch."
The Ace: Duane Benzie is clearly this in Tim's memories (more athletic, higher income, nice car, more attractive to women). In both of his appearances, however, his treatment makes him more akin to a Butt Monkey.
Actor Allusion: Peter Serafinowicz (as Duane) quotes one of his (few) lines as Darth Maul in the episode "Gone". At the time, this was only known from the trailer, and they were looking forward to it. It turned that the only thing Tim would hate more than Duane Benzie was The Phantom Menace.
Art Shift: Flashbacks are shot in a blurry, pink-hued style.
Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: Played with. Tim starts to explain to Daisy about how easily distracted Tyres has been an certain occasions, but both of them are immediately distracted by the TV.
Tim: "Tyres has got a really short attention span; I remember once we were — oh look, wrestling!"
Berserk Button: For Tim, anyone complimenting The Star Wars prequels. He even throws a little kid out of the comic book store he works at for wanting a Jar Jar Binks action figure. Bilbo Bagshot also punches anyone who calls Hawk the Slayer rubbish.
Perhaps the only thing that aggravates Tim as much as the Star Wars prequels is romantic rival Duane Benzie, played by Peter Serafinowicz, the voice of... Darth Maul in The Phantom Menace!
He also flips out in the beginning over the group playing "Time Warp" at his housewarming party.
When Tim and Daisy get into a Scrabble-tile-throwing fight after an argument over whether "Shazam" or "Pro-V" counted as words, Daisy notices that the last 4 tiles they threw at each other spelt "Fuck". Tim asks her what she thinks that means...
A crossword gag from another episode;
Guard: Three letters; to walk quickly, manage or oversee. [alarm sounds] Mike: Run!
Breakup Breakout: Although it cannot be said that Jessica Hynes (nee Stevenson) career has floundered since the show, she has definitely been overshadowed by Pegg, who has gone on to star in several noted films since, some of which have been highly successful hits.
Brick Joke: Daisy humping the air to mock Twist fancying Brian in 'Chaos', then being forced to listen to the real thing in Season 2.
Chekhov's Gun: In "Gone", the fact that any man will throw everything into a pretend gunfight at the drop of a hat.
Compliment Backfire: Most of Twist's communication with Daisy in particular takes the form of possibility unintentional but definitely hurtful and snide backhanded compliments.
Marsha gets a few of these in as well: "You look really well! A lot of people lose weight when they're travelling."
Cover Identity Anomaly: When Tim and Daisy pretend to be a couple in order to rent an apartment. Though they attempt to be as thorough as possible by learning a multitude of mundane details about each other ("I forgot what you got for your fifth birthday!" "Miniature drum kit"), they get caught in their lie while fumbling around regarding what day they had sex first vs. what day they kissed first.
Cut Apart: The first scene appears to be Tim and Daisy splitting up, with Tim shouting up to Daisy's window. We see at the end of the scene that the two characters are talking to different characters, as Tim leaves.
Finger Gun: The episode Gone features two epic finger gun battles; Mike and Tim demonstrate the "unspoken male telepathy" that leads any group of men left together to inevitably have a finger gunfight, and later in the episode Tim and Daisy trick a gang of muggers into engaging in one (thereby gaining the chance to escape while the muggers are playing dead).
Tim: No hard feelings, eh? Duane: You shot me in the bollocks, Tim. Tim: Yeah, well like I said... No hard feelings.
Happy Dance: Tim does one walking down the street, Brian utterly fails to imitate it later in the episode. In a later episode, Tim and Bilbo do one in sync.
Heroic BSOD: Tim seems to be having one regarding Sarah in the first series, as evidenced by the drawings Daisy finds of him torturing Sarah and Duane. The last one she finds shows that he's gotten better. Tim also apparently had another major one in 1990 when Johnny Alpha died.
Hoist by His Own Petard: Tim's boss tells him a story about a guy who trained his dog to attack rich people, only to win the lottery himself one day...
Humans Are Morons: Tim defends the Sci-Fi genre arguing that "the thoughts and speculations of our contemporary authors and thinkers have probably never been closer to the truth." Cut to a group of aliens outside the comic book shop laughing at how ridiculous everything on display is. To make it even better, the aliens look exactly like they would in some cheesy 1950s B-movie.
Hypocritical Humour: Right after Daisy says she's not going to be one of those dog owners who dresses their pet up in stupid costumes & takes photos, it's revealed that Brian had dressed Colin up whilst she was talking about not dressing him up, and is now taking pictures of the dog. Daisy promptly joins in.
Inner Monologue Conversation: This happens several times. It is also subverted: Daisy, while they are fumbling to come up with a lie, thinks (It's times like this I wish I was telepathic. Don't you, Tim?) She looks over to Tim, whose thoughts are dead silent. It's later played with when Tim answers Daisy's internal monologue.
Irrevocable Message: Tim's unflattering caricature of Damien Knox, which was of course inadvertently sent to Knox as part of a job application.
The Ken Burns Effect: Used several times on the show, with the camera panning over the comics used to tell a story.
Left the Background Music On: After Tim tells Daisy that Sarah is single again, we hear a loud 'red alert' alarm. Daisy asks what the sound was, and it turns out it's the new doorbell Tim bought.
Leitmotif: Throbbing club beats for Tyres. They tend to drown out his nonsensical monologues.
Meaningful Echo: When Tim asks Marsha what it'll take to keep her from selling the house, she replies "Something bloody spectacular". After Mike's got a suitable idea for what this could be, this exchange occurs:
In an early episode, Daisy and Mike share a moment out of Pulp Fiction, when Daisy finds Mike's Uzi on the counter when she gets home. He walks out of the bathroom to find his gun pointed at him. The two stare tensely at each other, and then they start to have a conversation and forget it happened.
Never Say "Die": Not the series itself, but Tim falls victim to a childhood version of this when Daisy miserably remarks that Colin's "gone next door."
Tim: Oh, Daisy, I'm so sorry, Daisy. How did it happen? Daisy:[Bemused] ... He walked. Tim: Right. Right. Sorry. It's just that my mum used to use 'going next door' as a euphemism for death. Mike:[Shocked] Whoa whoa whoa! Hold on! Does that mean my rabbit's dead?! Tim: It's been eighteen years, Mike, where did you think he was? Mike: Next door!
Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Tim drew a caricature of of head of Dark Star Comics describing himself as a massive wanker. Naturally, Tim removed this piece before submitting his portfolio to Dark Star for consideration. Only Daisy, who apparently only wanted to help, put it back in.
There's a few subtle hints dropped that Daisy may have been jealous of Tim's break, and wanted to sabotage it.
Tyres: Last time I've seen Mike he was on Crime Watch.
Tim: Oh no, no, that was a case of mistaken identity. Police had his house surrounded all last week.
Tyres: No, this was about two months ago.
Tim: Oh yeah, that was him.
The Incident that happened with Tim and Mike in their childhood also counts, until the details are revealed at the end of series 1. Tim dared Mike to jump out of a tree and insinuated he was a chicken when he didn't. When he finally did jump, Mike landed badly and detached his retinas
The Not So Harmless Punishment: Tim, unable to cope with The Phantom Menace, is admonished by Bilbo for getting cross with a child who wanted to buy a Jar Jar Binks doll. When he asks Bilbo what he's going to do about his behavior, Bilbo responds, "I'm going to have to let you go." Tim, relieved that he's being let off the hook when he thought he was going to be fired, takes a brief moment before understanding that firing him is exactly what Bilbo had intended doing all along.
Obstructive Bureaucrat: Daisy does not have a good time in the Job Centre: "No, this is the A-b form, you need the A-B form, capital B." The clerk responds to her questions with a simpering smile and an inane, "I'm sorry, I don't understand." Although he's a definite example of the trope, Daisy isn't exactly in the right; she's a would-be benefit sponge making a transparent attempt to claim fraudulent benefits, and the clerk has clearly seen through her feeble efforts and clocked exactly what she's up to.
It also has something to do with that Daisy told that bureaucrat to fuck off earlier in a bar. While he was politely asking her for the service she was supposed to be providing as the barmaid, no less.
Clerk: And why did you leave your last job? Tim: we had a... difference of opinion. Clerk:The Phantom Menace? Tim:[surprised] Yes! Clerk:[casually] Did you like it? Tim: [cautiously] ... No. Clerk:[whispers] You leave this with me. I'll see what I can do.
Odd Friendship: Tim and Brian. Tim denies that he doesn't like Brian on several occasions, but also admits that he's not sure why he does like him.
At the end of the episode "Battles," in which Tim revealed his phobia of dogs, lightning, and bamboo, some ominous latin chanting accompanies an image of the dog Colin sitting on Tim's bed, chewing on some bamboo sticks during a lightning storm.
Used several times in "Dissolution".
One Dialogue, Two Conversations: In "Dissolution", between Marsha and Tim regarding "what [Tim's] up to". Marsha is talking about what she perceives as Tim cheating on Daisy, while Tim is talking about the typewriter-shaped cake he secretly bought for Daisy's birthday. This is driven home by cuts to a Tim/Sophie kiss and a shot of the cake after all of Marsha's and Tim's lines, respectively.
Pac-Man Fever: Averted. Tim plays what were, at the time, relatively up-to-date video games, and the several scenes feature then very overtly.
And, in fact, Simon Pegg was actually playing the game through each take.
Notably one of the games he's seen playing, Resident Evil 2 factors into the plot of the episode.
Another notable example that comes to mind was an argument between Tim and Daisy interspersed with cutaway shots of a game of Tekken. At the end of the argument, Tim walked away as the Tekken game displayed 'NINA WINS!' on the screen, and following that Daisy stood in a similar winning pose to Nina and it displayed 'DAISY WINS' on the screen.
Pair the Spares: Toyed with in the second series with Mike and Marsha. Nearly all of their scenes together are open to interpretation, but their last scene in the series finale - involving each one's respective favourite thing - seems to speak volumes.
Please Put Some Clothes On: Brian is often naked or close to it, and appears pretty much oblivious to the discomfort this causes in his flatmates.
Quote-to-Quote Combat: In "Ends" Tim and Daisy fight with idioms when discussing about Tim moving back in with Sarah:
Daisy: What do you mean you have a funny feeling? Tim: I can read her like a book. Daisy: Never judge a book by its cover. Tim: He who dares wins. Daisy: Look before you leap. Tim: Do you believe in life after love? Daisy: That's a song. Tim: Shit.
Reference Overdosed: Not that there's anything wrong with that. People can watch the show, and those who don't get the references can enjoy the jokes without problems, and those who do catch all the reference can actually add more laughs. Wright and Pegg's films after the series have this as a method of writing and directing.
Romantic False Lead: Sophie. A perfectly charming girl and a good match for Tim, but Mike and Daisy resent her taking him away from them.
Running Gag: Plenty, to the series and individual episodes.
What does Brian paint? "Anger. Pain. Fear. Aggression." "Watercolours?"
The recurring memory of Tim and Mike's childhood in the treetop— finally played out in its entirety in the series 1 finale.
In flashbacks the male characters always seem to have their current facial hair no matter how young they are.
Serious Business: Tim and Bilbo take their fantasy/sci-fi fandom extremely seriously. Tim was so disappointed by The Phantom Menace that he burned his Star Wars paraphernalia in a scene mirroring Darth Vader's cremation. Bilbo admits to punching out two people for describing Hawk the Slayer as "rubbish". One of them was his dad. Even still, he sacks Tim for verbally assaulting a child in search of a Jar Jar Binks doll. Then, when Bilbo offers Tim his old job back, all it takes to make Tim's new boss fire him on the spot is for Tim to declare "Babylon 5's a big pile of shit!"
The paintball game in Season 1 Episode 4.
Single Issue Landlord: The ad for the flat Tim and Daisy rent from Marsha was for a "professional couple only," which led to Tim and Daisy to pretend to be a real couple to rent the flat, although late in the series it is revealed that this never was a requirement for the flat in the first place but a mistake of someone working for the newspaper the ad was published in.
Smoking HotSexVacuuming: Tim and Daisy decide to resolve the lingering issue between them when they first move in, and we cut to them lying back enjoying a cigarette. Instead of screwing, it's cleaning the apartment.
Strange Minds Think Alike: When Brian tells Tim that he and Vulva used to make performance art together, we see Tim's idea of how ridiculous and pretentious it must have been. Then we see Brian's memory of a performance. The two are practically the same.
Stylistic Suck: Brian's art. Dear God, Brian's art: he even doubts his own endeavours from time to time (notably before meeting with former cohort Vulva).
Brian: I'm doing a lot of work with paint. Big projects with paint. Big... fucking loser.
Daisy's writing probably qualifies as well, at least early on.
The Thing That Would Not Leave: Subverted: Mike moves in for a little while and when he leaves Daisy and Tim are actually disappointed. Though this is at least partially because both of them had lost what little income they had and were kind of hoping he'd help them pay the rent.
True Art Is Incomprehensible:note In-universe Brian's friend Vulva performs incomprehensible performance art pieces that he finds ingenious. When Daisy tries her hand at a similarly ridiculous performance, Brian is moved to tears.
Later, Brian and Twist go to an exhibition of paintings that are entirely white.
Except for one single painting (a post-date-with-Twist still-life of some flowers), Brian's entire artistic output is this trope.
The Unfair Sex: Played with; both Sarah and Twist are presented as incredibly thoughtless at best with regards to how they treat Tim and Brian respectively, but both are ultimately presented as unsympathetic and unfair with regards to this. However, Marsha seems to find the idea of Daisy possibly cheating on Tim titillating, whereas the idea of Tim cheating on Daisy disgusts her.