- "Rudyard Funn runs a funeral home in the village of Piffling Vale. It used to be the only one. It isn't anymore."—Madeleine's Opening Narration
Wooden Overcoats is a podcast sitcom about rival funeral directors, set in the fictional village of Piffling Vale, on the tiny island of Piffling in the English Channel. For generations, Funn Funerals has been the only business of its kind on the island. Today it is run by gloomy misanthrope Rudyard Funn, aided by his assistant Georgie, while his mortician twin sister Antigone deals with the corpses.
Then the worst day of Rudyard's life happens - when handsome, charming, sexy new funeral director Eric Chapman rolls into the village, buying up the antique shop across from Funn Funerals and converting it into a mortuary in record time. Soon, the villagers are under Chapman's spell, and Funn's business immediately goes to pot. Eric can do no wrong, and Rudyard can do no right, much to Funn's fury. Worse, Antigone seems to have developed a very strong attraction to Mr. Chapman, despite professing to hate him. Every episode brings a new scheme by Rudyard to rid himself of Chapman and restore the former status quo... schemes that are of course destined to fail spectacularly.
The first series consisted of eight episodes released between September and November 2015. Several special "Piffling Lives" episodes were released during Summer 2016 to mark milestones on the series two Kickstarter campaign. The campaign was successful, and a second series launched in late October 2016.
This podcast contains examples of the following tropes:
- 10-Minute Retirement: In "Take a Letter, Miss Crusoe," Georgie resigns from Funn Funerals and goes to work at the mayor's office. By the end of the episode, though, she realizes she can't live without Rudyard and Antigone, and comes back.
- 100% Adoration Rating: Eric Chapman. Out of the entire village, there are only three people who don't like the guy: Rudyard, Georgie, and Marjorie. (If asked, Antigone will insist she doesn't like him either, of course.)
- Abhorrent Admirer: Eric manages to be this to Georgie, despite being a Chick Magnet to everyone else. He professes love to her, but she just is not interested.
- The Ace:
- He's an expert funeral director, he charms the pants off of everybody, he's so handsome that every woman in Piffling Vale fawns over him, he has a yacht... there's pretty much nothing that Eric can't do.
- Downplayed with Georgina, who is extremely multi-talented and attracts friends easily. However, unlike Eric, she never seems to aim very high, and is content with doing her thing at Funn Funerals.
- All Girls Want Bad Boys: In the Season One finale, Rudyard attracts a lot of female admirers after being (falsely) convicted of murder.
- As You Know: Parodied in "Georgina and the Waves," which begins In Medias Res. Rudyard starts to recount the events that led them to where they are, before Antigone and Georgie snap that they know what happened, it was only a few hours ago and they were there. Georgie's nana pipes up that she wouldn't mind hearing the story, but Georgie (already in a pissy mood, thanks to Rudyard) shushes her. Madeline then brings the audience up to speed.
- Asshole Victim: When Seymour gets killed at the end of the fifth episode, absolutely no one feels sorry, since he was an absolute dick. (Seriously, he makes Rudyard look charming.)Georgie: He groped the waitress that helped him up, so she stabbed him in the eye.
Antigone: I hope she took her time with it.
- Aww, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: Rudyard, Antigone, and Georgie all really do love each other, and occasionally they'll even admit it. Antigone telling Rudyard "I don't hate you" is one of the most touching moments of Season One.
- Berserk Button: Georgie's is pressed in "Flip Flap Flop" when it's implied that Rudyard and Antigone didn't put any effort into the conference.
- Bi the Way: Georgie previously went on a date with Eric, then she also asked out the female circus ringleader.
- Black Comedy: By the boatload. It's a sitcom about warring funeral homes, so unsurprisingly, there are jokes about death, corpses, funerals, violence, and murder everywhere.
- Brick Joke:
Rudyard: Only one.
- At the end of "The Little Death," Rudyard uses Madeline (armed with a microphone) to spy on Georgie and Eric's date in a cliffside cafe. When Madeline is spotted, a riot breaks out, prompting Rudyard to run for it. In "Tempting Fête," it's revealed the cafe has closed due to "something to do with cyborg mice."
- In "Tempting Fête," Georgie suggests the group run off to Italy. Towards the end of "Georgina and the Waves," she brings that idea up again.
- Burial at Sea: In Season 1 Episode 6, a drunken lighthouse keeper challenges Eric and Rudyard to come up with the best funeral for one of his dead seagulls. Eric chooses this option.
- In the first episode, Rudyard sends Georgie to buy a kettle. The next episode, he comments that they're still paying installments on it.
- In "The Sweet, Sweet Taste of Death," Eric refers to Rudyard's arrest at the end of the last series.
- CatchphraseRudyard: Now, look here!
Rudyard: We put the body in the coffin in the ground on time.
Eric: Enjoy yourselves.
Mayor Desmond: I don't always read everything I am given. I am usually kept very busy.
Agatha Doyle: Suspicious, one might say.
- Casual Kink: Georgie has a masochistic streak.
- Chick Magnet: Eric quickly wins the affections of every woman in town, except Georgie. Who is, naturally, the one he really likes.
- Clown-Car Grave: It is revealed that the 40 clowns are buried in a single casket since they could fit in one car before.
- Coffin Contraband: It is revealed that one of Funn's clients intends to use their casket and funeral services for hiding thousands of dollars.
- Cool Old Lady: Georgie's Nana, who's fun-loving and has quite the impressive romantic life.
- Covert Pervert: You wouldn't guess it from her usual demeanor, but judging from how often she gets Distracted by the Sexy and her habit of reading "raunchy books," Antigone's really kind of a perv.
- Creepy Mortician: Antigone Funn is known for lurking in the shadows, being allergic to the sunlight, and other habits that classify her as 'creepy'.
- Dark and Troubled Past: What little we know of Eric's Mysterious Past points to it being this.
- Deadpan Snarker: Georgie and Antigone have their moments.
- Death Faked for You: At the end of season one, Rudyard accidentally fakes Chapman's death by throwing the life-size replica of Eric off the Piffling Cliff.
- Disproportionate Retribution: Rudyard receives an angry mob for allegedly throwing a cat in a bin.
- Distracted by the Sexy: Eric doesn't even have to be present to distract Antigone from the matter at hand.
- Doom Magnet: Rudyard Funn, every time he tries to one-up Chapman.
- Dysfunctional Family: Although they have lived and worked together their whole lives, Rudyard and Antigone can barely stand to be in the same room as each other. What little we've heard of their parents also imply their father was a real piece of work.
- Eek, a Mouse!!: Madeline accidentally causes a panic at a local restaurant when she spies on Eric and Georgie for Rudyard.
- Emerging from the Shadows: It's the only way Antigone appears. She can even do it in places without shadows.Eric: I didn't know they had any shadows here.
Antigone: They follow me everywhere.
Eric: Of course they do.
- Everyone Has Standards: Rudyard loathes Eric, and wants to run him out of town, or at least out of business. But when Jerry tries to murder Eric, Rudyard attempts to stop him, even outright standing between them.
- Family Business: Funn Funerals has been in the family for generations, since the 1500s.
- Foreshadowing: Blink and you'll miss it: in the second episode, Georgie inadvertently and offhandedly lays out the components for Rudyard's final plan to destroy Eric.
- The "Fun" in "Funeral":
- All of Chapman's funerals are celebrations of life, unlike the Funns'. His tagline is even "We put the 'fun' in 'funeral.'"
- In the first episode, Eric asks why the Funns don't use the phrase and Rudyard ignores the pun, shaming him for making a mockery out of funerals. Later, when Eric uses it for his own business, Rudyard mutters, "He stole that from me."
- Go Through Me: In "Rudyard Makes a Friend," Rudyard does this to protect Eric of all people, standing between him and a Mad Bomber.
- Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: In one of the few solid physical descriptions we get, kind-hearted Eric is described as being a blond.
- Hero Antagonist: Eric Chapman is completely ruining our protagonists lives and running them out of business...by providing a service with actual quality and improving the lives (and deaths) of almost everyone in town.
- Hikikomori: Antigone only leaves the house once a week, and even that's at nighttime, and she goes straight to the movie theater and straight back. Herbert, who runs the theater, seems to be the only person outside of Funn Funerals who knows her particularly well. Justified as Antigone has terrible allergies that act up during the day, and she is shown trying to get out more.
- Hypercompetent Sidekick: Georgie is by far the smartest and most talented person at Funn Funerals. Actually, she's probably the smartest person in Piffling Vale, period.
- Hypocrite: Eric, surprisingly. He lectures Rudyard when the latter tries to poach his clients, but Eric himself has been shown to
- Ignored Epiphany: Rudyard actually begins to wonder if maybe Eric is a genuinely nice guy and Rudyard himself might be the real problem. Unfortunately the person he asks about it is the only person who hates Eric more than he does.
- In Medias Res: "Georgina and the Waves" begins with Rudyard, Antigone, Georgie, Madeline, and Georgie's nana stranded in a boat on the Atlantic Ocean, with Antigone and Georgie very pissed at Rudyard. Madeline then backs up to explain How We Got Here, even name-dropping the phrase "in medias res," which she says is Latin for "skipping straight to the good bit."
- Intelligible Unintelligible: When Madeleine is giving narration, she's quite understandable - but in the action, Madeleine only squeaks. Regardless, Rudyard seems able to understand her and give her direction without issue.
- Ironic Name: The Funns are... not.
- Kangaroo Court: When Rudyard is put on trial for the alleged murder of Eric Chapman in the first season finale, it's made blatantly clear from the start that no one intends to give him a fair trial. He's not allowed to speak for himself, or take any time to prepare a defense. His "defense attorney," Reverend Wavering, believes he's guilty and admits he's just "going through the motions," not putting any effort whatsoever into actually defending Rudyard. Unsurprisingly, Rudyard is in the court room for a grand total of five minutes before he resigns himself to his fate.
- Last-Name Basis: Rudyard exclusively calls Eric "Chapman." Antigone usually does to his face, but calls him by his first name when he's not around.
- Love Triangle: Eric, Antigone, and Georgie are in a type five. Antigone likes Eric (not that she'll admit it), but he doesn't notice, and instead harbors feelings for Georgie. Georgie does go on one date with him, but is rather aloof towards him at best.
- Mad Bomber: Jerry.
- Mad Libs Catch PhraseGeorgie: I'm great at [task she's been assigned].
- Mistaken for Gay: In "The Bane of Rudyard", when Rudyard goes to the mayor to complain about Eric, the mayor confuses his wording and thinks Rudyard is talking about a male love interest.Rudyard: You see, your worship—there's this man...
Mayor: He's not worthy, Rudyard!
Rudyard: Ha, yes—what? No! I mean, this man is opening a funeral home, right across from mine.
- Meaningful Name:
- The deeply depressed and cynical Antigone shares her name with the heroine of a Greek tragedy, who wound up killing herself.
- Reverend Wavering is an agnostic — specifically, the sort that goes back-and-forth on whether he believes in God or not.
- Eric Chapman. Chap, as in friend.
- The local detective, Agatha Doyle.
- Mellow Fellow: Gender Flipped by Georgie, who is utterly unflappable, rolling with the punches and not getting bothered by anything. Antigone, annoyed by this spends most of "Flip Flap Flop" trying to get under her skin, and failing. But when the other undertakers disrespect Rudyard and Antigone, Georgie loses it.
- Morality Pet: Madeline is the only creature, living or dead, that Rudyard will show any affection for. He lets her live in the funeral home, chats with her, and even regularly carries her around in his shirt pocket.
- Motive Rant: Marjorie gives one in the first season finale, explaining she went on a killing spree partially out of anger at never being appreciated or recognized. Even though she went way too far, Rudyard does sympathize.
- Mysterious Past: Eric Chapman. Often lampshaded by the rest of the cast.
- Narrator All Along: At the end of the first episode, the narrator reveals herself as Rudyard's mouse friend, Madeleine.
- Never My Fault: Rudyard blames Eric for everything, and refuses to accept any blame for their feud.
- Never Speak Ill of the Dead: Concept is played with by several characters, like Reverend Nigel in his speeches or Rudyard after he says something rude will correct himself with the phrase.
- Nice Mice: Madeleine is a pleasant narrator and Rudyard's only friend in the world.
- Not So Different: Marjorie tries to give the speech to Georgie, but Georgie doesn't even bother considering it.
- Offscreen Moment of Awesome: Sadly, "Flip Flap Flop" only shows the build-up and immediate aftermath of Georgie beating up twenty-five people at once.
- Only Friend: Madeline is this for Rudyard, by her own description.
- Only Sane Man: Georgie.
- Opening Narration: By Madeleine, who gives the tagline (see the page quote) before briefly bringing the listener up to date for the current episode.
- Parental Favoritism: The Funns' father seems to have favored Rudyard, leaving him and only him in charge of the business, even though Antigone's also worked there her whole life (and is generally the more reasonable of the two). According to Antigone, their father barely noticed she was alive.
- Parenthetical Swearing: Usually, when Eric says "enjoy yourselves," he means just that. However, when he's really agitated, he can make those same words have the same effect as "fuck off!"
- Parody Sue: Eric Chapman is an almost perfect gentleman with a mysterious past, seemingly limitless money, is beloved by everyone, and even if something bad happens to him it usually works out for the better. Hell, he brings literal sunshine wherever he goes. It all works wonderfully since he's there to Foil Rudyard.
- Pet The Mouse: Rudyard is a massive Jerkass, but he actually is surprisingly sweet to Madeleine.
- Plot-Triggering Death: The first episode starts with the death of the antique seller across the street from the Funn's, which is the same building that Eric Chapman moves into and begins his competition funeral service.
- Sarcastic Clapping: At the start of "Rudyard Makes a Friend," Eric gets a smattering of applause at one of his funerals... and then after everyone else stops, we hear one person continuing to clap, very slowly.Eric: ...Thank you, Rudyard.
- Serial Killer: Towards the end of the first season, people begin to suspect there's one on the island. After all, why else would there be so many violent deaths in such a short period in such a small area? It's Marjorie Smith, the mayor's secretary.
- Shrinking Violet: Unlike her brother, Antigone seems to be more shy and morose than misanthropic.
- Sibling Seniority Squabble: Between Rudyard and Antigone, complicated by the fact that their age gap is unusually large for twins. Baby Antigone came into the world a week after her brother, at which point she was immediately diagnosed with depression.
- Stuffed into the Fridge: Mentioned once, where after Antigone agrees to do 40+ clown funeral's pro-bono, she results to stuffing them everywhere she can- the fridge being no exclusion.
- Tagalong Chronicler: Madeleine is writing everything down for what she hopes will be her bestseller, Memoirs of a Funeral House Mouse.
- Teens Are Monsters: Subverted for laughs by the "local hoodlums," a trio of teenagers who... occasionally tag walls with tasteful graffiti, and then loiter at the local bus stop! Shocking! When Antigone goes to catch the bus, she winds up chatting with them, and finds out that they're actually intelligent, well-spoken kids with strong artistic inclinations, and they're all quite friendly to her, letting her vent about her problems with Rudyard. The kicker? There's no bus, just a bus stop, because the mayor got it in his head that every good town as a bus stop that local hoodlums loiter at... and the kids don't even really like the bus stop, but they want the mayor to think he's doing a good job.
- Tomboyish Name: Georgie's name is "Georgina," but she's rarely called that.
- Torches and Pitchforks: The mob after Rudyard is accused of throwing a cat in a bin.
- Tsundere: Antigone to Eric.Antigone: (disgusted) For God's sake! Do you think I like gorgeous handsome men? Do you?!
- Twin Banter: Rudyard and Antigone. Most of their conversations are them throwing snarky comments and insults back and forth.
- Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist: Rudyard is rude, cynical, callous and (perhaps unsurprisingly) universally disliked in the village.
- Verbal Tic: Rudyard tends to start sentences with, "Now, look here!" Even when answering the phone.