Front L-R: Freddie, Stuart, and Penelope.Vicious
Back L-R: Violet, Ash, and Mason.
(originally Vicious Old Queens
) is a 2013 Brit Com
that originally aired on ITV
. Starring Shakespearian Actors
/nerd icons Sir Ian McKellen
and Sir Derek Jacobi
, the series follows a wealthy-albeit-bitter gay couple and their friends.
The starring couple consists of Freddie
(McKellen), who is a failing yet egotistical actor
, and Stuart
(Jacobi), who is still struggling to come out to his mother
. The cast also includes their old friends Violet
, and Mason
, and their young neighbour Ash
Whilst the show is essentially about vicious old homosexuals
sniping and insulting one another, the presence of McKellen and Jacobi affirms that it's Better Than It Sounds
. Also, despite the pilot receiving a mixed critical response, the show currently has a strong fan following.
The first series is set for only seven episodes, though it is confirmed to return for a Christmas Special
This series provides examples of:
- Aww, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: Though somewhat rare considering how bitter they are, Freddie and Stuart occasionally invoke this. Episode 2 has Stuart gets a job to pay for the jacket Freddie wants, even prompting them to be affectionate with each other. Episode 3 even has Stuart destroying Ash's self confidence and sabotaging his acting career just to make Freddie happy.
- Better Than It Sounds: An old, gay couple spends 25 minutes being incredibly bitter to everyone.
- But Not Too Gay: Surprisingly Averted; despite having the excuse that Freddie and Stuart borderline hate one another, the writers still have them occasionally displaying affection (and even sharing the occasional kiss).
- Black Comedy Rape: Several rape jokes in the first episode. Critics were less than impressed.
- Bowdlerise: Due to the somewhat risky title of Vicious Old Queens, the show title was later changed to the shorter and milder Vicious.
- Camp Gay/Straight Gay: Stuart and Freddie respectively.
- Casting Gag: Sir Ian McKellen, one of the greatest theater and film actors today, playing a faded actor whose career peak was a minor character on Doctor Who. Both Jacobi and McKellen have had single-episode guest parts on Doctor Who. It did become a truly iconic career peak... for Jacobi.
- Deadpan Snarker: Everyone but Ash.
- Dirty Old Woman: Violet, who is downright sleazy towards Ash.
- The Faceless: Balthazar the dog is constantly sleeping in his basket under a blanket, but he's purportedly balding and teetering on the brink of death.
- Flying Under the Gaydar: Stuart's mother still has no idea that her son and Freddie are partners. Stuart has been telling her that Freddie is his "flatmate" for the last 48 years.
- The Ghost: Stuart's mother.
- Hey, It's That Guy!:
- Intergenerational Friendship: Ash is Freddie and Stuart's much younger neighbor who befriends them after he moves into the flat above them.
- Large Ham: Expected when the two leads are Sir Ian McKellen and Sir Derek Jacobi.
- May-December Romance: Violet attempts to invoke this on Ash, but the much younger man is clearly not interested in her.
[Freddie and Stuart discuss Ash]
Violet: The one who was flirting with me shamelessly?
Freddie: No, this is a person who exists.
- Monochrome Casting
- Mrs. Robinson: Violet to Ash.
- Na´ve Newcomer: Ash, relatively speaking, in comparison to Freddie, Violet, and Stuart.
- Nobody Over 50 Is Gay: Averted.
- Only Sane Man: Ash.
- OOC Is Serious Business: In episode 3, Freddie has his minor role on Downton Abbey overshadowed by Ash getting a starring role in a small movie; as a result, he starts being nice to everyone, much to their horror.
- Shout Out: Many to Doctor Who, especially since Derek Jacobi played the Master and Ian McKellen was the voice of the Great Intelligence.
- Take That, Audience!: Towards McKellen's nerd following:
Violet: Will there be a lot of single men?
Freddie: It's a science fiction fan club event; they'll be single but they'll be disgusting.
- Transparent Closet: Despite his mannerisms and being in his 70s, Stuart has yet to come out to his mother.
Freddie: So, who were you squawking on the phone to just now?
Stuart: My mother, if you must know. She was very distraught.
Freddie: Why, did you finally tell her about us?
Stuart: I'm waiting for the right time.
Freddie: It's been forty-eight years!
Stuart: And there has not been a right time!
- When I Was Your Age: Occasionally Invoked towards Ash by others due to the large age gap:
: Has anybody said you remind them of Zac Efron
? [whispering to Stuart] That's a person right? Or is it a place?
[to Ash again] Well I'm certain I know you. Have you ever been to Zac Efron? [whispering to Stuart] I'm covered either way now.
- Vitriolic Husbands: With the occasional Aww, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other.
- White Dwarf Star: Freddie's acting career never really took off and his only claim to fame was playing a minor character on Doctor Who. He still sees himself as an award-winning actor with a trophy case.