YMMV / The Thick of It

  • And the Adventure Continues: Despite the changes wrought by the Goolding Inquiry (which include Malcolm's arrest and resignation, Nicola's career lying in ruins, Glenn walking out and Stuart being sacked) life goes on as usual for DoSAC - there's a fresh scandal to try and take care of and everyone quickly descends into the usual bickering and insults. Peter's final line (and the series epitaph) of "What a shit day!" pretty much sums up the series as a whole.
  • Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy: Since the people in the show, up to and including Malcolm himself, have a tendency to be jerks, it can be hard to care for them.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse:
    • Jamie. It's hard to believe he only appeared in three episodes.
    • The cover of the new TTOI book The Missing DoSAC Files includes the line "Attn of: Jamie MacDonald". It's hard to quantify just how loved Jamie is.
    • Glenn and Peter Mannion get a lot of love from the fandom as well, mainly for the later seasons.
  • Escapist Character: As unsympathetic as he may be, Malcolm derives a lot of his popularity from this. Most of us wouldn't want to work with him, but anyone who's ever worked a low-paying or unrewarding job with unlikeable coworkers has probably wanted to be him at some point. He's feared, respected, impeccably witty, brutally honest, smart enough to know that he's usually always right, and so valuable to his bosses that he knows they'd never dare get rid of him. He's an arsehole, but he's the kind of arsehole that we all wish we could be.
    • Deconstructed in the final episode, however, when his explosive rant to Olly reveals how his job is a constant source of stress and its demands has forced him to completely abandon his sense of self, essentially turning him into something anyone would hate to be. Sure, we'd love to talk to our irritating coworkers with the harshness and explosiveness that Malcolm does, but it's clear that the circumstances that got him there and the person he's become makes his situation not enviable in the least. Not that his insults cease to be impressive.
  • Foe Yay:
    • This abounds, largely because of Malcolm's tactic of unnerving male characters by flirting with them:
    Jamie: "You couldn't organise a bumrape in a barracks."
    Malcolm Tucker: "Au contraire..."
    • "You know Julius, if I wasn't a heterosexual man, I would kiss you."
    • That onion bhaji didn't solely represent the 'problems' caused by Nicholson's upcoming report. Julius becomes positively lascivious when Malcolm is about. ...and in turn Malcolm tends to get physical with him: "Put your hand on mine! Try and open the door..."
    • At home Nicola Murray struggles with a failing marriage to a husband who doesn't pay her much attention and never seems proud of her. At work there's a man who takes a great interest in everything she does and gives her his undivided attention... alright, it may be Malcolm, and the attention may be mostly negative, but you can't really blame her for developing a crush. Most of their interaction involves Will They or Won't They?.
    • The sexual tension between Emma and Phil is even Lampshaded by Peter Mannion.
    • Emma on Adam and Phil: "What's going on? Have you two just kissed?" Maybe she's jealous...
  • Fountain of Memes: The series can be considered one of the most quotable British programmes of recent times.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment:
    • "I look like a disgraced geography teacher..."
    • Hugh's comment to Olly about not "clicking" with the PM's wife (his assertion that she'd say "he's a social spastic and very probably a registered nonce") combines this with a good measure of Hilarious in Hindsight for those of us with particularly dark senses of humour, as Langham was later convicted of downloading child pornography. This indeed adds a painful note to any reference to public scandal or disgrace in the series, and there are plenty.
    • "You made up small children! That's sick!"
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • In S2E2, one of the politicians claim that to get on TV you need to "have sex with a pig". Cut to 2015 and the British PM David Cameron is accused of having done just that.
    • In Episode 3.1, following the "I AM BENT" incident, the staff brainstorm words that politicians shouldn't stand in front of, starting with anything containing the word "cock". A few years later, David Cameron did this.
    • Olly's on-the-hoof suggestion of announcing a spare bedroom database in S1E1 is not so far from apolicy put forward by the government that would result in a cut in benefits to people who have spare bedrooms in social housing.
    • Cuts to government funding for school lunches were floated shortly after S4E2 aired.
    • The fact Peter Capaldi is now the 12th Doctor instantly has rendered large parts of the series into this. The "We've fucking time-traveled, yes?" speech likely being first and foremost, but also:
      • Nicola's offhand Doctor Who remark followed immediately by Malcolm looking uncharacteristically chipper! (Capaldi has been a fan of the show since childhood.)
      • The Missing DoSAC Files contains a letter from a TV exec pitching a Malcolm Tucker-led chat show where he interviews various interesting people. The photoshop depicts Malcolm interviewing a Dalek! (Gets even better when you see what happens in the episodes in which the Twelfth Doctor encounters them...)
      • Malcolm's dismissive summing up of the Star Wars films in 4.2 notes that the characters are all made of LEGOs. Guess which Doctor is the focus of the Doctor Who-based material in LEGO Dimensions?
      • Malcolm's description of Star Wars films is this in general, seeing as Peter Capaldi is a lifelong Doctor Who fan, and later went on to play the Twelfth Doctor in Doctor Who.
    • A number of aspects of Nicola Murray's leadership of her party are almost eerily similar to those of (at time of writing) current Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn:
      • Murray is considered idealistic to a fault and without regard to how it comes across; one of the most frequent accusations leveled at Corbyn is that he's out of touch with voters.
      • Both have been noted as being extremely awkward around the media and inept at dealing with it.
      • Both have had significant issues with negative press coverage, relatively poor poll ratings and with public disloyalty from their own party, including M Ps who they are technically responsible for saying they're unelectable.
      • Both have been subject to a leadership coup involving the resignations of high profile members of their shadow cabinet (the only difference being that Murray's caused her to resign, Corbyn refused to).
      • Both are accused of being overly politically correct and more concerned with the appearance of being "right-on" rather than actually being capable of winning elections (as exemplified in the "Quiet Batpeople" exchange).
    • These comparisons are even more hilarious when you consider that since becoming leader, Corbyn has largely been credited with renewing young voters' interest in politics (many who support Corbyn are 18-35 year olds, an age group that had been dismissed as being apathetic to politics and the least likely age group to participate in voting) and saw off every attempted leadership challenge thrown his way. Jeremy Corbyn is basically the person Nicola Murray spent the entire series wishing she was.
    • Rather amusingly, series co-writer Ian Martin has said on Twitter he sees more of Murray in current Prime Minister (and opponent of Corbyn) Theresa May, after the latter's disastrous election campaign which saw her widely mocked as robotic, aloof, incompetent and out of touch with ordinary people.
  • Ho Yay:
    • Malcolm and Jamie. "You and I will have a little discussion later."
    • Malcolm seems to love shoving Olly up against walls. And once on top of a lavatory sink.
      • "I won't make a blow-job joke if you won't."
      • In a deleted scene, he threatens to Olly, "I'll fucking plant a palm tree in your neck, and I'll fuck you fucking tenderly in its shade".
    • Malcolm's at his most blatant with Dan Miller: "You're irresistible, you know that, don't you? Talk to you later, Bad Apple..."
    • Apparently there is enough between Olly and Dan Miller to be noted by Glenn:
      Glenn: "Are they..."
      Hugh: "An item? He made a pretty good job of, uh, made a pretty good job of shagging Angela Heaney."
      Glenn: "He could be bisexual. A lot of them are, you know."
      Hugh: "Hm. It's just interesting seeing the dynamics play within... within the staff."
  • Jerkass Woobie:
  • Magnificent Bastard: Malcolm Tucker, whose in-universe reputation precedes him. The Prime Minister's Director Of Communications is aggressive, foul-mouthed, unscrupulous and manipulative, but the most frightening thing about him is his charm. He constantly abuses it to get away with All Of The Above. Xanatos Speed Chess is his job, and the second special is a long game of it which he wins, naturally. He becomes more worn down by Series 4.
    Olly Reeder: "He's impressive, Malcolm, in an evil way."
    Hugh Abbott: "That was quite Tuckeresque, really very Malc-iavellian"
  • Memetic Mutation:
  • Misaimed Fandom: The show's cast and crew aren't necessarily flattered by its popularity with British politicians, especially those who've adopted it as something of a how-to guide. Will Smith (Phil) professed to be baffled when actual MPs started using the phrase "omnishambles" in Parliamentary debate.
  • Moral Event Horizon: "Olly, we need you to fuck Hugh for us." Subverted. Olly goes through with it, but does it so that most of the bad press is focused on Glenn's behaviour rather than Hugh's.
  • Narm Charm:
  • Never Live It Down: Malcolm finds out from Jamie about the "experimental ponytail, the eyeliner, blouson, Sobranie Cocktails, and jazz".
  • No Yay:
    • "I'll box his ears..." Glenn and Robyn. Or Glenn and Nicola. Or Glenn and anyone...
    • Nicola's squicked face whenever Steve Fleming hugs her is positively DO NOT WANT.
  • Shipping: Malcolm and Sam. Inverted with Olly—the audience feels like screaming at Emma and Angela to stay away from him. It is, however, worth noting that Emma was at least somewhat abusive to him.
  • Ship Sinking: Many people enjoyed the Will They or Won't They? Foe Yay between Malcolm and Nicola in Series 3, but in Series 4 Malcolm deposes Nicola as party leader, and then gives such a vicious "The Reason You Suck" Speech (which he delivers calmly and spitefully rather than loudly and angrily,) that we can safely assume that any love/hate dynamic between them is now just pure hate.