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Recap / Blackadder S 3 E 4 Sense And Senility

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An assassination attempt is made on the Prince Regent while on a night out at the theatre. Surprised to learn that he is unpopular, the Prince is advised by Edmund to give a speech showing his sensitivity to the people. To help, the Prince decides to take eloqution lessons from a couple of actors they saw at the theatre the same night. Blackadder (who has nothing but contempt for the theatre and acting in general) argues against the idea but is overruled.

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Putting up with the numerous eccentricities of the actors and the Prince becoming (if possible) even more boorish and crass than usual under their influence proves the final straw; Blackadder hands in his notice and storms off to get a job under Napoleon. But when Baldrick overhears what he thinks is the actors plotting to kill them all, he and George really have to convince Blackadder to come back to save the day...


  • Actor Allusion: Baldrick calling Blackadder a "rubber-faced bastard" was probably meant to be a self-deprecating nod to Rowan Atkinson's own propensity for having a rubber face in his physical comedy, since it doesn't make much sense for Baldrick to say that about this iteration of Blackadder whose mannerisms, and especially his facial expressions, are much more reserved than his performance as Prince Edmund.
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  • All Part of the Show: Prince George believes that an anarchist throwing a bomb at him is part of a play. Then again, he usually thinks the events on stage are real and regularly orders actors arrested for murder.
  • Asking For It: The below example between Blackadder and Baldrick epitomises this trope, while Edmund is raging about the Prince's treatment of him through the episode.
    Blackadder: All I'm saying is, he'd better watch out! (holds up a milk-jug) One more foot wrong from him, and the contract between us will be as broken as this milk-jug!
    Baldrick: But that milk-jug isn't broken.
    Blackadder: You really do walk into these things, don't you? (smashes the jug on Baldrick's head)
  • Anything That Moves:
    Mossop: How dare you, sir! You think, being actors, we sleep with everyone!
    Blackadder: I should think, being actors, you're lucky to sleep with anyone
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  • Bad Boss: The Prince Regent really goes for this with Edmund.
  • The Bad Guys Win: Blackadder gets his job back with a significant pay rise, the actors are arrested (and presumably executed) on trumped up charges of treason thanks to Edmund, and the Prince Regent is convinced to take the lead role in a play Blackadder has penned, called "Thick Jack Clot Sits in the Stocks and Gets Pelted With Rancid Tomatoes". Downplayed in that the actors themselves behave like massive jerkasses throughout the episode, but at least they stop short of actually having people killed.
  • Buffy Speak: "Disease and deprivation stalk our land like two...giant, stalking things".
  • Cannot Tell Fiction from Reality: The Prince loves the theatre, but doesn't understand that it's made up. When Julius Caesar was about to be murdered, he shouted a warning.
    Blackadder: As I've told you about eight times - the man playing Julius Caesar was an actor named Kemp.
    Prince George: Thundering gherkins! Brutus must have been pretty miffed when he found out.
    Blackadder: What?
    Prince George: That he hadn't killed Caesar after all, but just some poxy actor called Kemp. What do you think he did, go round to Caesar's palace after the play and kill him then?
  • Chewing the Scenery: Keanrick and Mossop.
  • Comically Missing the Point: According to Blackadder, the Prince has no concept that theatre is fiction, to the point that he shouted "Look behind you, Mr. Caesar" just before Brutus struck.
    • Also shows this in the aftermathof the attempt on his life:
    George: Why on earth would an anarchist possibly want to kill you?
    Blackadder: I think it might have been you he was after, sir.
    George: Oh hogwash! What on earth makes you say that?!
    Blackadder: Well sir, my suspicions were first aroused by his use of the words "Death to the stupid Prince!"
    George: Yes that was a bit rude, wasn't it?
  • Creator Cameo: Ben Elton appears as an anarchist.
  • Deadpan Snarker:
    Blackadder: Finish later, Baldrick.
    Baldrick: Yes, sir. The cleaning or the being strangled?
    Blackadder: Either suits me.
  • The Dog Bites Back: Blackadder exhibits this after one too many of the Prince's insults
    • Baldrick, of all people, gets one when Edmund takes his leave.
    Blackadder: Baldrick, I would like to say how much I will miss your honest, friendly companionship... but as we both know, it would be an utter lie. I will therefore content myself with saying "Sod off, and if I ever meet you again, it'll be 20 billion years too soon!" [he leaves]
    Baldrick: Bye, you lazy, big-nosed, rubber-faced bastard.
  • The Dreaded: The mention of "Macbeth" is this to the actors. Blackadder gets a lot of enjoyment out of saying it to them as a result.
  • Every Man Has His Price: The offer of a thousand guinea raise per month is enough to convince Edmund to return and save the day. Likewise, Keanrick and Mossop are only too happy to shrug off their "beloved" audience in exchange for the prestige (and likely pay) of teaching acting to the Prince Regent himself.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Blackadder really thinks the theatre is a waste of time.
    Blackadder: A load of stupid actors, strutting about shouting, with their chests thrust out so far, you'd think their nipples were attached to a pair of charging elephants!
  • The Gadfly: Blackadder gets what amusement he can out of taunting and humiliating the actors. Since they're going out of their way to make his life difficult, it's hard to feel sorry.
  • Groin Attack: Referred to.
    Keanrick: [referring to George's "actor's stance", standing with his legs wide apart] Your very posture tells me, "Here is a man of true greatness!"
    Blackadder: Either that, or "Here are my genitals, please kick them."
  • Implied Death Threat: "They do say, Mrs. Miggins, that verbal insults hurt more than physical pain. They are, of course, wrong, as you will soon discover when I stick this toasting fork in your head!"
  • It's Not Porn, It's Art: Keanrick and Mossop's play—The Bloody Murder of the Foul Prince Romero and His Enormously-Bosomed Wife.
    Blackadder: A philosophical work, then.
    Mossop: Indeed yes, sir. The violence of the murder and the vastness of the bosom are entirely justified, artistically.
  • Large Ham: Keanrick and Mossop are definitely this.
  • Luvvies: Actors Keanrick and Mossop act this way. Apart from calling each other 'dear' and 'love' they're also incredibly pompous and are more interested in patronage, self-promotion, and the rather hideous play they wrote.
  • Mugging the Monster: For the actors, it turns out that bullying and patronising the butler of the Prince Regent's household — who, as it turns out, is more than capable of convincing the incredibly credulous Prince Regent that they're anarchists and traitors seeking to murder him — was a spectacularly bad idea.
  • Nasal Trauma: At any mention of the name of the Scottish Play, the two actors must ward off evil spirits with a bizarre series of motions that conclude with them twisting each others noses. Naturally, Blackadder goes out of his way to mention it at every possible opportunity, and the actors are left clutching their noses in pain.
    • The torture scene in the play:
    Mossop: To torture him I lust. Let's singe his hair, and up his nose hot bananas thrust!
  • Right Behind Me: Blackadder has finally had enough of the Prince's stupidity and leaves (with, of course, a parting insult for Baldrick). After he walks out Baldrick mutters "Goodbye, you lazy, big-nosed, rubber-faced bastard." He slowly looks up just as Blackadder re-enters the room, having been in earshot the whole time.
  • Running Gag: The Prince Regent constantly mistaking Baldrick's spring cleaning for attempts to assassinate him.
    Prince George: [finds Baldrick cleaning inside a chest] Anarchist!
    Baldrick: Cleaner!
    Prince George: Alright, so you've had a wash, that's no excuse! Die traitor! [starts strangling Baldrick]
  • The Scottish Trope: Parodied, adding in pat-a-cake, hand-twirling and nose-twisting:
    Blackadder: By "the Scottish play", I assume you mean "Macbeth"?
    Mossop & Keanrick: Aahhhhh! Hot potato, off with his drawers, Puck will make amends. Ooh.
    Blackadder: What was that?
    Keanrick: We're exorcising evil spirits. Being but a mere butler, you will not know the great theatre tradition that one does never speak the name of the Scottish play.
    Blackadder: What, Macbeth?
    Mossop & Keanrick: Aahhhhh! Hot potato, off with his drawers, Puck will make amends. Ohh.
    Blackadder: Oh, you mean you have to do that every time I say "Macbeth"?
    Mossop & Keanrick: Aahhhhh! Hot potato, off with his drawers, Puck will make amends. Owwww.
    Mossop: Will you please stop saying that. Always call it the "Scottish Play".
    Blackadder: So you want me to say the "Scottish Play"?
    Mossop & Keanrick: [shout] Yes!
    Blackadder: Rather than "Macbeth"?
    Mossop & Keanrick: Aahhhhh! Hot potato, off with his drawers, Puck will make amends. Owwwwww.
    Prince George: I say, what is all this hullaballoo, all this shouting and screaming and yelling blue murder. Why, it's like that play we saw the other day, what was it called, uh...
    Blackadder: "Macbeth", sir?
    Mossop & Keanrick: Aahhhhh! Hot potato, off with his drawers, Puck will make amends!
    Prince George: No, no, no, it was called, uh, "Julius Caesar".
    Blackadder: Ah yes, of course. [beat] "Julius Caesar". [beat] Not "Macbeth".
    Mossop & Keanrick: Aahhhhh! Hot potato, off with his drawers, Puck will make amends!
    • Baldrick has a dig at Blackadder's large nose for the second time in the series.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Blackadder may have the stupidest master in all of London, but he knows when he's had enough, specifically when insulted by the actors.
  • Walk-In Chime-In:
    Mossop: From your leading character in a play connected with Scotland...
    Blackadder: [entering the room carrying a tea tray] What, Macbeth?

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