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Series / 'Allo 'Allo!

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The main cast from the middle years. Standing, L-R: Lt. Gruber, Yvette, Edith, Crabtree, Helga, Herr Flick, Capt. Bertorelli; seated, L-R: Mimi, René, Michelle.note 
Michelle: Now listen very carefully, I shall say this only once.
René: Have you ever said anything twice?
Michelle: Yes! But only once.

A 1980s BBC sitcom, set in Occupied France during World War II. Lasted from December 1982 to December 1992, a total of 85 episodes in nine seasons, which is extremely long-running for a BBC show.

Very much a parody of Secret Army, an earlier drama set in a similar milieu, it starred Gorden Kaye as René Artois, owner of a restaurant in a small occupied French town — and a whole host of other characters (for a longer list see here). For the most part, René, who would introduce each episode with a Fourth Wall-breaking monologue to the camera in which he'd helpfully recap the plot for us and gripe about it, just wants to keep his head down, stay out of trouble and fool around with the improbable number of beautiful women who are passionately attracted to him. Unfortunately for him, he keeps getting dragged into numerous intrigues and shenanigans involving the French Resistance and the occupying Germans, who both view him as essential to their various schemes.

The show was a huge hit at home and overseas. The BBC gave the producers a huge budget, allowing scripts to incorporate more zany stunts and explosions than one would expect of a story concerning the whereabouts of a painting and its forgeries.

A Licensed Game, 'Allo 'Allo Cartoon Fun, was released for the Commodore Amiga in 1993. It is a Platform Game where René has to collect various items hidden around the stages while avoiding the Germans.

This show has its own tropes:

  • Bad French accents. In fact, all of the accents were bad, including the British ones. Whilst all the dialogue was actually in English, comical 'national' accents were used to imply the language being spoken — several times, a 'French' character overhears a conversation in, say, a British accent, then tells another 'Frenchman' (in the show's default French-accented English) they have no idea what was said, as they don't speak English. Maria's accent in particular became so extreme that other characters would reach for towels to wipe away the spit.
  • Multiple character and actor replacements of various types — Suspiciously Similar Substitutes for Leclerc, and various waitresses. The Other Darrin, for the Italian Captain. The Nth Doctor, for Herr Flick in later seasons, whose actor is replaced, and the change explained by Magic Plastic Surgery. Subverted, inverted, or simply trashed completely by Rene himself, who spent most of the series' run posing as his non-existent twin brother - ie, the same actor playing the same character, posing as a non-existent different character, well-known or undetected in-universe as the plot required....
  • At least four Put on a Bus schemes involving various characters leaving Nouvion. (Maria, Hans Geering, the original Leclerc and eventually, the British Airmen).
  • A very big Story Arc involving a MacGuffin painting ("The Fallen Madonna with the Big Boobies" by Von Klomp).
  • Two very stereotypical British pilots and the Resistance's disastrous plans to get them back to England.
  • The British agent disguised as a French policeman, who got a vowel wrong in every second word ("Good moaning") implying his bad command of French.
  • Virtually all the Resistance are female, and they almost always all wear black berets and long beige raincoats ("like all other French girls"). The Communist Resistance, also all female, dress in a different, but equally uniform fashion and only do things for money...
  • "Listen very carefully, I shall say this only once". Character Catchphrase of Resistance leader Michelle.
  • René's illicit romances with three of his waitresses (two of them at the same time, mind you).
  • The radio hidden under Edith's mother's bed, complete with flashing knobs.
  • More double entendres than you can (ahem) shake a stick at. See immediately above for one of the milder examples.

Came thirteenth in Britains Best Sitcom.

A one-off Reunion Show was aired in 2007.

Read this very carefully, I shall list these tropes only once:

  • Abhorrent Admirer:
    • Captain Bertorelli is seen as this by most of the principal female cast. He has much better luck with extras.
    • Von Smallhausen towards anyone he approaches.
    • Helga sees Von Klinkerhoffen as one.
    • Rene feels this way about Gruber's advances, not that Gruber is horrible about it, but since Rene is straight, he is not comfortable with Gruber's advances.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys:
    • It's the cruelty that arouses Helga in Herr Flick.
    • She also found Gruber attractive when he played Hitler because of his forceful nature.
  • All-Stereotype Cast: This show made fun of everyone. René is a cowardly French Jerk with a passionate love life; his waitresses and the Resistance are sexy French women; Those Wacky Nazis include: two bumbling conscripted officers, a Camp Gay lieutenant, and a stoic bespectacled Gestapo officer; the English pilots speak with an exaggerated English accent and are both very polite and stuffy, Captain Bertorelli is a Miles Gloriosus who talks with his hands, etc.
  • Ambiguously Gay: Lt. Gruber. Camp as all get-out, and flirts endlessly with René. The Distant Finale brings it to another trope, as he's hooked up with Helga. Or it could have been a lavender marriage. Or two good friends who despite one's normal traits, can't keep each others hands off each other...
  • As You Know: René's recaps, originally meant to merely ape similar, more dramatic shows.
  • Attending Your Own Funeral: René was executed by the Nazis but the Colonel and Hans save him by giving the firing squad fake bullets (and the real bullets as well, but they were lucky). René then poses as his own twin brother and has to organise his own funeral, and pose as the dead body when the undertaker arrives.
  • Back Up Twin: An in-universe example, after René stages his death he pretends to be his own twin brother... who's also called René.
  • Bad Habits:
    • One of LeClerc's many disguises, such as when he came to give René and the others a saw to break out of prison. It doesn't help.
    • Lieutenant Gruber gets into the POW camp anonymously in a nun’s habit. There’s no particular reason he couldn’t be a priest wearing some headdress, other than playing to his feminine Camp Gay character.
    • Crabtree was replaced as the priest to marry René and the head of the resistance (who was replaced twice anyway).
    • Herr Flick and von Smallhausen disguise themselves as monks to infiltrate a monastery.
    • A frequent disguise of Helga's.
  • Bandage Mummy: In the episode The Dreaded Circular Saw, Von Smallhausen ends up as one of these after he and Herr Flick are hit by an explosion.
  • The Baroness: Helga, clearly a spoof.
  • Becoming the Mask: Agent Crabtree. Almost immediately, Crabtree starts to live his assumed role of policeman, practically forgetting that he's supposed to be an undercover agent. Leads to much consternation and hilarity on several occasions as when Crabtree reports Gruber's little tank as missing (Rene and Capt. Geering have 'borrowed' it for a secret task) and bravely confronting Bertorelli's gang trying to break into Secret Gestapo Headquitters, *ahem* Headquarters, and getting knocked out as a reward. In fact, in the reunion special set years after the war, Crabtree is still in Nouvion and still a gendarme.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Not many, but they are in there, such as the wine barrels stamped with "Chateaux Sans Jambes", or "Chateau(s) Legless"
  • Bill... Bill... Junk... Bill...: Played with in the reunion special:
    René: Bill... Bill... Bill... I do wish he would stop writing to me.
  • Blatant Lies:
    • Nearly every single character ends up uttering these at several times per episode, usually when trying to explain the bizarre situations they find themselves in.
    • And of course, René's increasingly ridiculous explanations to Edith when caught in compromising situations with his waitresses.
    • In one episode Flick doses Mimi, Yvette and Edith with a truth drug. To see if it's working, he asks them their ages; they reply "Eighteen", "Nineteen" and "Nearly twenty-seven" respectively. "Obviously another faulty batch", he comments, and sends them home.
  • Brawn Hilda: Helga's Temporary Substitute, Elsa Bigstern; she takes Helga's Baroness and No Indoor Voice traits a step further and adds Amazonian strength. When Herr Flick asks her out, she effortlessly dominates him.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Many episodes begin with René addressing the audience, recapping the previous episode to explain why he is in whatever bizarre situation du jour that he is in. ("You may be wondering why...")
    • Mimi, in one of the earliest episodes starring her, looks square into the camera with a comical daring face saying “only a bold plan can save him now!” before looking back to Yvette and continuing, “and we don’t have one.”
  • Break Out the Museum Piece: One plan to get rid of the British Airmen revolved around stealing an old plane out of a museum and using the engine from the General's lawnmower.
  • Breast Expansion: In the episode "A Woman Never Lies", Helga is given a truth serum extracted from a frog. As a side-effect, her breasts inflate.
  • Bride and Switch: One of the many Gambit Pileups had Rene due to marry the leader of the Communist resistance, who was replaced by his waitress Yvette, who was then replaced by his wife Edith (Rene at that point was playing his own twin brother and Edith was officially a widow. She needed to marry the "twin" in order to be legally married to Rene again, something he was anxious to avoid). The vicar had also been secretly replaced by Officer Crabtree, so we aren't sure exactly whether anyone had managed to get married.
  • British Brevity:
    • Played straight with most of the show's seasons, which usually had between 6 and 8 episodes each.
    • Averted big-time by the fifth season however, which had 26 episodes, the same length as a season of most live-action American sitcoms, in an attempt to appeal to transatlantic audiences.
    • The seventh season is a borderline case, as it had 10 episodes; still way short of what most American sitcoms would have in a season, but longer than the average Britcom season.
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday: When Rene finds himself distressed because the communist resistance wishes to kill him The Colonel brushes it off.
    Colonel Kurt von Strohm: "Don't worry, you get used to it. They try to kill us all the time."
  • The Bus Came Back:
    • After leaving in the first episode of Series 4 and making a voice-over appearance in the next episode, Captain Hans Geering returns for one guest appearance in Series 7 when René and Edith visit London and find him working for the British government.
    • The two airmen finally escape back to England between the end of Series 7 and the 1991 Christmas special, before reappearing in the final episode.
  • Captain Morgan Pose: Herr Flick does it at one point while wearing female undergarments, much to Helga's revulsion - and amusement at the same time.
  • Captive Date: Herr Flick has at least one with Helga.
  • Cardboard Prison: The prison at the chateau. Just about everyone who was locked in that thing escaped, or was broken out.
  • Casting Gag:
    • Michael Sheard appears briefly in Season 8 as a double for Field Marshall Göring, who is accidentally blown up by an explosive knockwurst sausage. Not only has Sheard played Adolf Hitler five times,you have probably seen him play a high-ranking officer in an evil army and get killed onscreen before.
    • Phoebe Scholfield was seen in Series 1 and Series 2 as Henriette, one of Michelle's assistants in the Resistance, then appeared in Series 5 as a member of the Communist Resistance, before appearing again in Series 6 as Henriette.
    • David Janson, the actor who played Hitler's double in "Hitler's Last Heil", also appeared as the second actor to play Herr Flick in Series 9.
    • Four actors who regularly appeared in 'Allo 'Allo! also appeared in Secret Army, the 1970s drama that the show was based on and deliberately spoofed. Hilary Minster, who played General von Kinkerhoffen, previously was seen as Hauptmann Muller in four episodes in Series 3 of Secret Army. Guy Siner, who played Lieutenant Gruber, appeared in one Series 3 episode of Secret Army as an unnamed "German Monitoring Personnel". Richard Marner, who played Colonel von Strohm, also had a guest appearance as Marin Marais in a Series 2 episode of Secret Army. John D. Collins, who played Fairfax, appeared in five episodes of Secret Army as Inspector Paul Delon.
  • Character Catchphrase:
    • This show is probably a prime example. Not only does every character have at least one, but in later episodes, the characters occasionally "borrow" them from other characters. In fact, Harry Enfield once claimed that the show had so many catchphrases, all of which appeared at least Once an Episode, that there were only about ten minutes' worth of original dialogue per show. It nonetheless stayed fresh because so many situational spins could be put on the catchphrases.
    • Officer Crabtree's "Good Moaning!" is probably the most famous of the lot and the most likely to be repeated by those only familiar in passing with the show.
    • Michelle of the Resistance's "Listen very carefully, I shall say zis only once". (There was a tie-in book that included a note from Michelle, which ended "Read this very carefully, I wrote it only once.")
    • Edith's "René! What are you doing, holding that serving girl in your arms?" every time she caught René in a compromising situation with one of the waitresses (almost never innocent) and René would growl "You stew-pid woman! Can you not see...?!" followed by some ridiculous explanation that, despite its obvious implausibility, Edith would either believe or let slide. This notion was subverted in the series finale with "You stew-pid woman! Can you not see? I am eloping!!!"
    • Herr Flick to Helga: "You may kiss me."
    • Lt. Gruber's "Little tank!"
    • Captain Bertorelli: "What a mistake-a to make-a!"
    • "It is I, Leclerc!" when revealing his Paper-Thin Disguise to René who would often respond with "I know it is you, you old fool!"
    • Yvette: "Ooooooohhhh, René!"
    • "'tler!" was Hans' substitute for "Heil Hitler". This caused rumors that this was due to Sam Kelly (who is Jewish) refusing to do the full salute, which he denied, claiming that the "'tler!" (both monosyllabic and a split-second behind the rest of those present) was meant to emphasize Hans' laziness. No — he was not saying "Klop".
    • Madame Fanny: "Zee flasheeng knobs!" Used whenever Nighthawk received a message from England.
    • Monsieur Alfonse has two: "Swiftly and with style" (the slogan of his undertaking business) and "My dicky ticker!".
      • Also the "small hearse with the small horse".
  • Characterization Marches On: Herr Flick was originally a very stoic and flat villain but the writers quickly realized that they could get Richard Gibson to say and do some truly ridiculous things while keeping a straight face, so Flick soon became a driving force of much of the comedy. The same thing quickly happened to Von Smallhausen. General Von Klinkerhoffen was intended to replace Herr Flick as a new straight villain but, once again, the writers realized that it was funnier to give him a corrupt and lascivious side so the character became sillier. The writers soon had to resort to using temporary guest generals if they wanted a story to have a proper villain.
  • Cheese-Eating Surrender Monkeys: Played with. René himself, the supposed "hero" of the resistance, is in fact an unabashed coward who only works for the Resistance because if he refuses, they'll shoot him for collaborating with the Germans (who also threaten to shoot him if he doesn't work for them). He also mentions the French surrender so often it becomes a Running Gag. On the other hand, most of the remaining French cast do not fit this trope.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Subverted with the three suicide pill rings; they all turn out to be duds.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: A minor example in the form of the Italian soldiers under Bertorelli's command.
    Bertorelli: (unsuccessfully trying to convince his men to parachute out of a flying plane) Are you the men-a, or are you the mice-a?
    Soldier: (takes a moment to think) We are the mice-a.
    Bertorelli: (opens the bomb bay doors, depositing all his men in the air) You are the flying mice-a!
  • Clark Kenting: The running gag of LeClerc, whose disguises are inevitably pathetic, is that he always goes through the formality of taking René aside and revealing himself to be LeClerc by lifting up his glasses. Since he always wears glasses anyway, it's not much of a reveal at all. Or removing his false moustache to reveal the almost identical real moustache underneath.
  • Comically Missing the Point: When Maria complains to Yvette about how "It is terrible. Having to walk up those stairs time after time entertaining men. It is not correct", Yvette's response was "You're right. We should have a room on the ground floor".
  • The Comically Serious:
    • A poker-faced Herr Flick ("That was very amusing.")
    • Helga, though sometimes she slips into a more knowing self.
    • Michelle always manages to keep a completely straight face and an earnest tone of voice even as she is describing the increasingly absurd schemes the Resistance have hatched to get the airmen back to Britain.
  • Continuity Lockout: The increasingly complicated plots can lead to this. However, René does recap the events of the previous episode to the audience at the start of each new one - though this is done at least partly to lampshade how ridiculous the situation he's in is.
  • The Crime Job: The episode "The Bank Job", wherein René and company, well, rob the Nouvion bank.
  • Cuckoo Clock Gag: At one point Rene attempts to conceal stolen gold by disguising it as a clock weight and hanging it on a cuckoo clock. This makes the clock run at several times its normal speed, with frantic cuckooing drawing attention to it at awkward moments.
  • The Cutie: Poor kindhearted Gruber wasn't made to be a Nazi.
  • Cyanide Pill: René is given three rings containing suicide pills (one from the French resistance, another from the Germans, and one last from Maria) in case he would be captured and tortured. In "Herr Flick's Revenge", the pills finally get used... but they're expired, and don't work.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Almost every character.
    • René is worn down by married life with Edith and having her mother living in his attic, then getting caught in the crosshairs between the local Wehrmacht soldiers, the local Gestapo officers, and the local Resistance fighters and their hare-brained schemes, and uses deadpan sarcasm to deal with the situation, usually in the form of asides to either the audience or his waitresses.
      Michelle: Is your wife's mother prepared to die for France?
      René: She has been prepared to die for thirty years, but she doesn't go! I think that God does not want the aggravation.
    • Helga has a sarcastic side which becomes more evident as her infatuation with Herr Flick slowly gives way to exasperation over the course of the series.
      Herr Flick: Ah, Helga. I vas just trying on my new boots. (the boots in question have six-inch thick soles)
      Helga: How strange. The boots seem too big for you. (to herself) Normally, it's the other vay round.
  • Department of Redundancy Department:
    • According to Colonel Von Strohm, Lieutenant Gruber is very reticent when it comes to "women of the opposite sex".
    • There are several references to being "disguised as a woman of the opposite sex".
    • Fraulein Von Kinkenrotten is one of Helga's "most intimate female girlfriends".
  • Descending Ceiling: In "Herr Flick's Revenge", René, the Colonel and Hans are trapped in a castle dungeon underneath one of these, and Herr Flick orders Helga to lower the ceiling to torture the 3 men into confessing where the painting of the fallen Madonna is. Luckily, general Von Klinkerhoffen arrives in time to stop Herr Flick.
  • Didn't Think This Through: In "The Jet Propelled Mother-In-Law", two plans to kill General von Klinferhoffen fail due to poor planning:
    • First, Alphonse tries killing him with poisoned wine. However, he ends up with the poisoned glass, so he's forced to spit it out, and the Germans do the same to their own wine, thinking it's the "fancy" way to taste wine.
    • Second, they try using an explosive shell hidden under Fanny's wheelchair. It's not meant to be a suicide bombing, so they connect the bomb to an alarm clock so Fanny can take cover when she hears the ringing, just before it blows up. However, they didn't take into account that Fanny can't hear anything without her ear trumpet, so she doesn't even notice the alarm (thankfully, the detonator fell out of the shell, so all that happens is the wheelchair getting propelled away at high speeds).
  • Diegetic Soundtrack Usage:
    • In one episode, an accordionist is heard wandering the town square outside the cafe, playing a slower version of the theme on his accordion.
    • Episode "Leclerc Against the Wall" featured the usual opening shot of Rene in his cafe as the instrumental theme song plays. It fades out as Rene begins playing the exact same song on the cafe piano.
  • Dirty Old Man: Bottom-pinching Monsieur Alphonse overlaps with Covert Pervert. Madame Fanny is a Dirty Old Woman - as her attempts to watch the British airmen undress attest. Then there's her reaction when Lt. Gruber and his men arrive to search her room for the stolen Enigma machine:
    Edith: It is not right that a lady of my mother's age should have three soldiers in her bedroom.
    Fanny: Edith is right. At my age, two would be quite enough.
  • Disguised in Drag: Multiple times.
    • Herr Flick and Von Smallhausen pretend to be female German soldiers so they can visit Helga... and they're forced to do gym in their underwear and the obviously fake breasts go flying.
    • The British Airmen are disguised as resistance girls once (René also takes on the disguise for one episode) and as nuns when they're in hiding.
    • In a multi-episode example, Herr Flick is disguised as "Fraulein Von Kinkenrotten" to spy on the general. When the General discovers the deception, he has Kinkenrotten, stripped to 'her' rather alluring lingerie, chained up in the dungeon, where 'she' remains until next season. The eventual escape plot results in René betrayed into exchanging places with Herr Flick, chained up in the same underwear (which is rather less alluring on him).
    • The female characters were also regularly disguised as male:
      Michelle: You will be disguised as a small boy.
      Maria: Why can I not be disguised as a small girl?
      Michelle: Because you are a small girl.
    • Lieutenant Gruber does this a lot, including having disguised himself as nun, and a Resistance girl.
    • One time, Colonel von Strohm was planning something that would have put René in danger, and he knew that if given the chance, Lieutenant Gruber would have run off to warn René. So he ordered Gruber to remain in the office, and even went so far as to demand he strip off his uniform so he wouldn't be able to leave. Undeterred, Gruber then swiped a set of clothes from Helga, including her spare wig, and showed up at Café René dressed like an army woman.
    • Colonel von Strohm and Lieutenant Gruber disguised themselves as female nurses to sneak into a hospital so they could place an exploding bedpan under Monsieur Alphonse.
    • Colonel von Strohm and Lieutenant Gruber disguised themselves in Spanish Flamenco dancer dresses, trying to flee / sneak across the border into Spain. The plan didn't work, so they returned to the Café René to hide there. The waitresses suggest the two men disguise themselves as ladies of the night, but put them in less classy dresses first so they'll "blend in" better.
    • René was in the café disguised as a Resistance girl, when Lieutenant Gruber saw him and asked him to dance. note 
    • René also wore a dress in the can-can number the various characters put on for the POW camp inmates.
    • Maria makes for an extremely adorable and effeminate young errand boy. She was also seen sporting a black top hat and tails and a mustache once, as were Yvette and Michelle at the time.
    • Herr von Smallhausen once dressed up in a very matronly pink dress and hat and sat at a table in the café across from Herr Flick, the two of them apparently disguised as a husband and wife pair.
  • Distant Finale: Takes place in The '90s, several decades after the end of the war. The now elderly principal characters get together one last time, "The Fallen Madonna with the Big Boobies" is reunited with the missing piece, René steals it and finally succeeds in eloping with his waitress.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Occasionally, Herr Flick and Helga engage in an activity that's presented in a... suggestive way, such as cranking an antique car or inflating a tire.
  • Double Entendre: Full list of which would be large enough to crash the internet.
  • Dreadful Musician:
    • Edith, whose attempts at singing are so bad that customers will stick any readily available foodstuffs into their ears to avoid having to hear her.note 
    • To a lesser extent, the two Leclercs; they certainly aren't good at playing the piano by any means, but their efforts are at least somewhat tolerable, especially when compared to Edith.
  • Dressing as the Enemy: Both Germans and members of the resistance are not above using this technique.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: The pilot episode contains a few of these:
    • The pilot (along with the first episode of Series 1) does not begin with René speaking directly to the audience — this only begins in the second episode of Series 1 onwards.
    • Michelle refers to her resistance organisation as "Lifeline" — the same name of the resistance movement in Secret Army; this is the clearest and most deliberate reference to the drama that the show is spoofing. Her organisation is never referred to by that name again in the series.
    • Colonel von Strohm's office has different wallpaper and decorations.
    • The painting of the Fallen Madonna is twice referred to as "The Reclining Madonna".
    • In addition to "The Fallen Madonna With The Big Boobies" there was a priceless cuckoo clock that the colonel and the captain stole. (There was quite a memorable sight gag built around it being stuffed down Captain Geering's pants.) The cuckoo clock was forgotten after some point in the first season.
    • Herr Flick is a much more sinister and serious character who gains less laughs from the audience than later in the series.
  • Embarrassing Hospital Gown: "Going Like A Bomb" opens with René arriving at the café in the middle of the night wearing only a hospital gown. He soon explains to the audience that he just escaped the hospital after a bizarre rescue mission where he ended up having to wear that gown for reasons not elaborated on. He also says the gown is open at the back so "forgive him if he doesn't turn around", and he indeed never turns his back to the audience. But soon enough, his Abhorrent Admirer Lieutenant Gruber walks into the café and happens to catch an eyeful of René's bare backside, much to his mortification.
  • Enemy Mine: On multiple occasions, the German military officials find themselves forced to cooperate with the French Resistance in such as plots as helping the British airmen escape or blowing up train tracks to derail a train bearing a superior officer.
  • Europeans Are Kinky: Most of the German characters, as well as several of the French, are shown to have bizarre kinks. Interestingly, both the French and the Germans view each other's tendencies as perverse.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: After Helga has her underwear stolen she demands the Colonel execute some peasants in retribution. Colonel von Strohm responds by saying that "even Germans cannot execute people for stealing a pair of knickers".
  • Even the Guys Want Him: René, if Gruber counts. One of the German Colonels was fond of him as well.
  • Everybody Did It: In the second season Christmas special (included as the finale on the American release of the second season), the French Resistance, the German military officials, and the Gestapo all try to kill German general Von Klinkerhoffen (separately, however) using dynamite hidden in a cake, poisoned wine, and a venomous dart, respectively.
  • Evil Cripple: Parodied. Every Gestapo officer seems to come issued with a limp and a cane.
  • Face Palm: René facepalms frequently when Michelle introduces another of her brilliant plans, when his wife sings, when Leclerc messes up, when Crabtree opens his mouth... Poor guy.
  • Faint in Shock: Lieutenant Gruber faints after seeing what he thinks is the ghost of the "first" René.
  • Faking the Dead:
    • René fakes his own death though he wasn't sure if he was even going to survive. Fortunately he does and returns to be his own twin brother and has to organize his own funeral.
    • In 5.7 "No Hiding Place" René fakes his own death as part of a bungled assassination attempt and poses as his own father.
  • Fanservice: The series is full of fanservice in general, though it never quite keeps pace with the double entendres. Since 'Allo! 'Allo! was a family show, it was quite mild, such as both female and male characters with various shades of attractiveness are forever baring legs for increasingly spurious reasons, and more a genre convention of British farce than a deliberate attempt to boost ratings.
  • Farce: If you, as a Brit of a certain age, were to describe Farce chances are the description will resemble an 'Allo! 'Allo! episode.
  • Fictional Painting: A painting called "The Fallen Madonna With the Big Boobies" acts as a Running Gag.
  • Food Slap: Accidentally, but General von Klinkerhoffen gets a big dosage of ice-cream splashed into his face. The ice-cream truck was broken and not functioning well.
  • The "Fun" in "Funeral": René's funeral. As René isn't dead his coffin is filled with garbage and bombs the resistance need to get rid of. While on the way to the cemetery the cart with the coffin gets away. It explodes when it reaches the end of the road.
  • French Accordion: Set in World War II France, the show had its theme tune as an accordion based piece. Occasionally within the show the character of Le Clerc would play an accordion as part of a ridiculous disguise.
  • Gambit Pileup: Nine seasons of three different parties trying to steal away one painting and/or return the airmen to Britain, with constant foulups and incredibly hasty improvisations every single episode. There was also the second painting, the Colonel's gold, the two forgeries of the two paintings each (because General Klinkerhoffen thought he was getting the original while sending the forgeries to Hitler, but they both got forgeries; the real paintings would go to René and the Germans in theory, but with everyone trying to plot against everyone else, it all got horribly confused), a whole season focused on getting the Invasion plans, and certain Macguffins that lasted two or three episodes (the forged Gestapo money, the T5 land mines, the exploding Christmas puddings, etc.). And that's just in one season; imagine 9 SEASONS of this mess. And enough gambits by the resistance and the Germans to try and liberate France/Get the British airmen home/defeat the Communist Resistance and the Germans to make some money out of the mess/not get sent to the Russian front. This is ignoring the bumbling by the Gestapo, Communist resistance and Bertorelli.
  • Gay Euphemism: As used to describe Lieutenant Gruber...
    René: Are you one of us?
    Gruber: No, I am one of them!
  • Germanic Efficiency: Parodied. The Gestapo and the Wehrmacht have a manual for every occasion, including "Learning To Swim Very Very Fast", the "Manual on Interrogation", and a gramophone record entitled "How To Fool French Peasants Into Thinking You Are English In One Easy Lesson".
    • Further played with, because the "speak English" course simply consisted of "fwah-fwah-fwah" noises which the British pilots appeared to understand without difficulty.
  • The Ghost: Clarence, the soldier who drives Lt. Gruber's little tank.
  • Giftedly Bad: Edith at singing.
  • Girls with Moustaches: Frequently used, whenever the female Resistance fighters and waitresses have to pose as gendarmes, engineers, soldiers and so forth.
  • "Good Luck" Gesture: "The Execution" has an example which is probably a mix between thumbs-up for good luck and signalling that everything is ok, and crossed fingers gesture is ambiguous between Lying Finger Cross (false reassurance) and intense wish. René is about to be shot by Germans, but he was promised that they would use wooden bullets (which disintegrate at a shorter distance than that between René and the firing squad). Hans however brought two boxes: one with those fake ones as well as real bullets, and Lt. Gruber accidentally took both boxes. However, Colonel and Captain smile at René and give him a supportive thumbs-up and hide their crossed fingers behind their back.
  • Got Me Doing It: Characters who spend too much time around Officer Crabtree may find themselves speaking in his signature malapropers, sometimes to mock him, sometimes because they genuinely get mixed up.
  • Grail in the Garbage: The second painting, Cracked Vase with Two Daisies was a regular fixture on the cafe wall, which Rene's mother-in-law had received from a penniless artist in return for her 'favours'. Then General von Klinkerhoffen dropped in and confiscated what he recognised as an original Van Gogh.
  • Hangover Sensitivity: Colonel was heavily hangover once, and Helga distressed him by her strong voice.
  • Heroic Comedic Sociopath: Mimi is a mild example. She certainly has the desire to kill for the cause of liberating France. The cast often have to keep weapons from her and curtail her bloodlust. She does attempt to poison Herr Flick and Helga, and nearly kills Captain Bertorelli.
  • Historical Character's Fictional Relative: Herr Otto Flick, a parody of the sinister Nazi Gestapo agent, tends to remind others that he's the godson of Heinrich Himmler. On at least one occasion, this gets him out of trouble when he's arrested by Wehrmacht General von Klinkerhoffen and Himmler uses his connections to get him released.
  • Human Mail: Maria leaves the show this way, getting accidentally mailed to Switzerland. She's replaced by Mimi in the next episode.
  • Hypercompetent Sidekick:
    • Von Smallhausen has a shade of this as he is definitely more level-headed than Herr Flick who usually focuses on extremely complex plots and is oblivious of the most obvious solutions.
    • When the gang is really up against it, it's usually Helga who pulls something out of thin air (a plan, or a carefully-worded story/lie) to save the day.
  • I Call It "Vera": Gruber feels an affection towards his little tank. He named him Hubert but he mostly refers to it as "my little tank". It's ever so cute.note 
  • Idiot Ball: The whole show.
  • I Have Boobs, You Must Obey!: When Helga wishes to speak with imprisoned Herr Flick, a guard says she has five minutes. She lifts up her skirt and shows him some leg. She instantly gets ten.
  • I Have to Wash My Hair: Lieutenant Gruber wants to spend some quality time alone with René. This follows:
    René: No, Lieutenant. I have to put the cat out.
    Lt. Gruber: ... I could put it out with you.
    René: No, your medals might frighten it.
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: René often downs a glass of wine or cognac when he's distressed, which happens often. He sometimes offers alcohol to others as well.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: There is an instance where a character bursts into the cafe to kill Rene (5.7 "No Hiding Place") and empties Sten submachine gun from a distance of 20 feet into a group of people clustered close to the bar. At least one of them should have been hit by accident, if nothing else.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Monsieur Alfonse manages to hit a zig-zagging target running away from him in a wooded area at 75 yards with a dueling pistol. When he challenges Rene to a duel, his marksmanship feats are extolled at length.
  • Inexplicable Language Fluency: Frenchmen, Germans, and Italians can talk to each other. This is never explained.
    • Bertorelli would have learned German in preparation for working with the Wehrmacht. The German soldiers stationed in Nouvion would have learned French to enable them to interact with the locals.
  • Inexplicably Identical Individuals: In the last episode, René has a son, who is also named René who looks and sounds just like him. via a Doorstop Baby.
  • Informed Ability:
    • Many comments and jokes are centered around Helga's large bust. However, while quite lovely, Kim Hartman possesses a rather moderate bust. Vicki Michelle (Yvette) and even Kirsten Cooke (Michelle) are more generously endowed.
    • To some extent, Gruber. The general consensus among the other characters is that he's handsome; Guy Siner is usually the first to state that he really isn't. He is, though, charming enough that it generally maintains the illusion.
  • Informed Flaw: The customers in the café react the same when Madame Fanny is singing as they do when Madame Edith does. However unlike Edith, Fanny seems to be able to carry a tune.
  • Insane Admiral: Naturally Played for Laughs with every visiting general and colonel (not to mention the resident ones) falling squarely into this trope.
  • Instrumental Theme Tune: Accordion music with a feel of nostalgia.
  • Ironic Echo: In Herr Flick's introductory scene in the pilot episode, he finds fault with Helga's uniform, telling her that the top button of her jacket is undone, and that the seams on her stockings are crooked. In series 4, when Flick (disguised as a female stenographer) is substituting for Helga, he finds himself on the receiving end of the same lines from General von Klinkerhoffen.
  • Italians Talk with Hands: Captain Bertorelli, as part of his Italian stereotype.
  • Just Following Orders: Gruber was chosen to lead the firing squad who shot Rene. He did not like the task and did not want to do it, but he had to.
  • Kavorka Man: Rene has virtually every woman in the cast at some point (and even gets a few guys chasing him) and is a fat, middle aged, balding, greedy, cowardly fool.
  • Lampshade Hanging:
    • "Ah! Colonel! How nice that you should come into my Cafe at this precise moment!"
    • Many of René's opening monologues to camera feature the tendency to lampshade the implausibility of events surrounding him.
    • A priceless cuckoo clock is stolen, hidden and used as a MacGuffin for the better part of a season, then apparently forgotten by the writers. When, several seasons later, it's once again included in the list of stolen artifacts, René remarks "I had forgotten about the cuckoo clock..."
    • At the beginning of Series 7, René remarks that it's been two years since he last spoke to the audience in reference to the hiatus the show needed to take while Gorden Kaye recovered from a serious injury.
  • Language Barrier:
    • The British airmen Carstairs and Fairfax don't speak French, and Michelle is the only one in the Resistance who speaks English. People from Café René who hide them don't understand them a single word.
    • Averted with other characters who presumably speak their national languages (French, German, Italian) all the time, but understand each other just fine.
      • Rene states at least once that he doesn't speak German, and it's probably unlikely any of the other French characters (apart from Michelle) do, either. Therefore the Germans must all speak passable French. Bertorelli probably speaks both French and German, as it seems doubtful the Germans would bother to use Italian for him even if they could.
    • British agent Crabtree who poses as a French policeman speaks horrible "French" and gets the key vowels wrong in nearly every word. What he means is usually confusing, but there is always someone who gets it and translates it to others.
  • Left the Background Music On: The show's theme often dissolves into being played on the piano by LeClerc in the cafe, or is simply played randomly on the piano as filler. Edith sings a song to the tune in at least one episode.
  • Letting Her Hair Down: Helga always wears her blond hair in a beautiful milkmaid braid. When she wants to seduce somebody or when ordered, she gladly lets her hair down.
  • Lingerie Scene: Many, though the lingerie involved is rather concealing (and, in fact, anachronistic, looking more like what women would wear during WWI than WWII); the effect is usually more comedic than alluring.
    Helga: Herr Flick, may I kiss you?
    Herr Flick: (in lingerie) What? Kiss me? Chained to the wall and dressed in the underwear of a woman? Of course.
  • Lotsa People Try to Dun It: The Resistance, Colonel von Strohm and Herr Flick all independently try to assassinate General von Klinkerhoffen. Their attempts get in each others' ways so that they all fail.
  • Lovable Coward: René, who freely admits he's working for every side in the war because he doesn't want any of them to shoot him.
  • Love Martyr: Poor Edith, despite being a clever woman, always falls for René's transparent lies when she catches him cheating on her.
  • Low Count Gag:
    • The British airmen talk to British agent Crabtree and complain about being stuck in France, blaming Michelle's resistance group for being ineffecive. Crabtree says they are indeed dissatisfied with de Gaulle's resistance people, hinting that even the Communist resistance has more going on. The airmen don't want to join Communists, though, and ask Crabtree about a liberal resistance. Crabtree retorts that yes, there is a liberal resistance, but he's in bed with the flu.
    • When the Germans and the visiting Italian officer are discussing the heroes of their respective countries, the Italians fall decidedly short: "Our names will go down in the history books alongside the great German war heroes of the past!" — "Or the great Italian war heroes!" — "Him too."
    • During one convoluted scheme, Colonel von Strom, Lieutenant Gruber and Captain Bertorelli get caught by the Communist Resistance. René convinces the resistance leader not to shoot them and hold them to ransom because General von Klinkerhoffen will pay for their release. The German officers are worthy of one million francs. The Italian captain? Ten cans of beans.
  • Lying Finger Cross: Episode uses the crossed fingers gesture, but the meaning is a bit ambiguous. René is about to be shot by Germans, but he was promised that the firing squad would use wooden bullets. Hans brought two boxes to the execution: one with fake ones and one with real bullets. Lt. Gruber accidentally took both boxes. Nevertheless, Colonel and Captain smile at René and give him a supportive thumb-up. They are shown to have crossed fingers behind their back, meaning they either wish the plan worked or that they acknowledge their reassurance was not sincere.
  • MacGuffin: The Fallen Madonna with the Big Boobies, most notably. A second painting was added in a later season, and other MacGuffins show up as the plot demands.
  • Mad Libs Catchphrase: Herr Flick's inordinate pride in all things of Gestapo manufacture. "Come Helga, stand beneath the brim of my wide Gestapo hat." "Come, von Smallhausen! To the special Gestapo disguise cupboard!"
  • Manchild: Captain Geering, Colonel Von Strohm and the Gestapo officers all had aspects of this.
  • Meaningful Name: Tons of them:
    • The last name of the Gestapo officer Herr Flick comes from Flic — an insulting French term for a police officer. "Fick" is also the F word in German, causing some confusion when Otto introduces himself as "Flick, the Gestapo." And then there's his comb-over hairstyle — literally a "hair flick".
    • René's wife Edith has a similar repertoire to Edith Piaf, except that she's a terrible singer, and her middle name Melba is also an ironic reference to a famous singer.
    • All of the waitresses have Double Entendre last names — Yvette's last name is Carte-Blanche, Maria's is Recalmier, a type of bed, and Mimi's surname, LaBonq has an obvious meaning.
    • Many of the German officers, including a meeting which included, among others, a General Stiffenwalken and an Admiral Sinkenquicken. And there's the time Flick's diminutive sidekick von Smallhausen (get it?) tries to pass himself off as Field Marshal von Crackenfart.
    • In the play there is General von Schmelling.
  • Minion with an F in Evil: Colonel von Strohm and especially Captain Geering are sometimes this to General von Klinkerhoffen (on an ordinary day they just fit the role of Punch-Clock Villain). And Gruber for them. Von Smallhausen is this to Herr Flick.
  • Mistaken for Cheating: Invoked and played with a lot. Edith often catches René making out with one of his waitresses or some other woman, and each and every time he just comes up with a lame excuse to make her believe it's this trope. The kicker of course is that he is very much cheating on her. And she buys it every single time. He only drops the act in the final episode.
  • Mobile Shrubbery: Colonel von Strohm and Captain Geering, dressed as shrubs and chasing the dog that had stolen the knockwurst.
  • My Card: Monsieur Alphonse's "Swiftly and With Style".
  • National Stereotypes: The French, Germans, British and Italians all fit into this trope.
  • Nobody Here but Us Statues: Happens to René when he pretends to be a (very) lifelike wax figure of himself that Monsieur Alphonse was supposed to be sculpting. Unfortunately for René, Lieutenant Gruber is very impressed with said "statue." And even more unfortunately, René was wearing only a dressing gown, which Gruber promptly proceeds to lift up to see if the statue is anatomically correct.
  • No Indoor Voice: Helga, when commanding and announcing.
  • Non-Fatal Explosions: Almost every time someone gets blown up, they survive, only getting covered in ash. In one episode, for example, Smallhausen accidentally sets off a mine while trying to disarm it, in another, Mimi accidentally plants a bomb on René's car. In both cases, they survive with nothing worse than a bit of ash on their face. However, at one point, two Nazis disguised as Hitler and Goering are instantly killed by a bomb, quite possibly the only exception to this trope in the show.
  • Noodle Implements: The accessories that the waitresses would use in bed with Nazi officers, most notably the wet celery and the flying helment, with occasional mentions of egg whisks and feather dusters. Colonel von Strohm also once requests an electric mixer with two speeds, to Yvette's horror. Word of God has stated that any idea they could actually make sense of was rejected.
  • No Swastikas: In the early seasons, swastikas are only mentioned. The Nazis gain swastika armbands from about season 3/4 onwards — perhaps once the show was established enough to get away with it. The exception to this was that the painting of the Fallen Madonna with the big boobies was hidden originally in a sausage whose only distinguishing mark was a small swastika which you can hardly see on screen.
    • Swastikas are simply used realistically. Majority of the scenes are shot in and around the Café René and virtually all Germans are either Wehrmacht or Gestapo officers — swastika armbands were worn only by members of the SS. Whenever their presence is required (flags in front of German command post, insignia in Herr Flick's office, authentic photograph of Heinrich Himmler etc.), swastikas are in place. They are prominently displayed during René's execution in season 1. Helga wore swastika lingerie, too.
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent/What the Hell Is That Accent?: In-Universe, Crabtree's French is atrocious and he doesn't do anything to improve it during the course of the show. René constantly grumbles about having trouble understanding the "British idiot" and Yvette is the only person who can interpret Crabtree's mangled phrases. One documentary reported that Crabtree was inspired by British Prime Minister Edward Heath, and backed it up with footage of Heath speaking French with no trace of a French accent.
  • Not That Kind of Doctor: Applied to a different career than usual. In an early episode, Rene tries to get Michelle's forger to make a copy of "The Fallen Madonna with the Big Boobies" so that the Germans can give a fake to Flick so that he'll go away. Unfortunately, Michelle's man is a forger of documents, not artwork.
  • Not What It Looks Like: When René cuddles with one of the waitresses and his wife suddenly bursts in and gets suspicious, he promptly utters the Character Catchphrase, "You stupid woman!", and offers an improvised explanation. And Edith always buys it.
  • Oblivious to His Own Description: Gruber, reading out the resistance's leaflet mocking the members of the German military staff:
    Gruber: "We will show that fat pig colonel, and that queer lieutenant" — whoever can that be?
  • Once Done, Never Forgotten: Gruber led the firing squad that shot René, but he was just following orders. He is constantly reminded of this well into the later seasons.
  • Only Sane Man: For all his cowardice, Rene is beset upon by rampant incompetence. Michelle's "foolproof" plans failed time after time and his family, staff, and friends pressure him to go along with them out of rampant patriotism. Usually when Rene objects to things, he does so for a very good reason. Michelle's plans never work, the others' plans rarely do, and it's a miracle Crabtree hasn't gotten them all killed.
  • Panty Thief: Leclerc, but only because it is one of Michelle's Zany Schemes requiring silk underwear to be turned into a homemade hot air balloon.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise:
    • (raise his glasses) "It is I, LeClerc!" His disguise was always so obvious it was painful.
      René: Man of a thousand faces - every one the same.
    • Happens in a different way with Herr Flick and Herr von Smallhausen. Usually their disguises are a lot more convincing than those worn by the French characters, but they undo this by continuing to act like Gestapo officers, regardless of what they're supposed to be disguised as.
    • Virtually every single disguise (which are numerous given the nature of the show) is as paper-thin as possible (including moustached nuns) for purely comedic purposes.
    • Averted with Lt. Gruber's nurse disguise. He was quite convincing.
    • Also averted another time that Lieutenant Gruber was Disguised in Drag. He was so convincing that General Klinkerhoffen tried to pick him up for a date.
    • Maria is way too feminine and cute to be even an adolescent errand boy.
  • Phrase Catcher: Nearly everyone on the show has a Character Catchphrase. Sometimes they are directed at a specific person, the one and only.
    • René keeps getting "Ooooohhh, René!" from Yvette. Maria, Mimi or Madame Edith are little less hammy, and it's mostly "Oooh, René". Lt. Gruber often exclaims "Ooh, René" as well.
    • René from his wife: "What are you doing holding that serving girl in your arms?" Whenever he's caught in a compromising position with one of the waitresses.
    • Madame Edith, whenever she catches her husband René hugging his mistress, gets: "You stu-pid woman! Can you not see that <insert ridiculous explanation>?"
    • Herr Otto Flick from Gestapo always says to Helga, "You may kiss me." She kisses him very passionately. He seems to like it, yet he remains poker-faced.
    • René in response to an "It is I, LeClerc": "I know it is you, you old fool. What do you want?".
  • Pragmatic Villainy: In the final series, General von Klinkerhoffen plots to assassinate Hitler... but only because the war is going badly for the Germans and he considers Hitler responsible.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: The Wehrmacht and the Gestapo. In the Distant Finale, the elderly Nazis and café staff even greet each other like old friends and fondly reminisce about the war.
  • Put on a Bus:
    • Maria and Hans both disappear from the series after attempts to escape from the POW camp in which most of the main characters find themselves at the end of Series 3 do not go according to plan (Maria posts herself out in a Red Cross package that gets misrouted, Hans is catapulted over the fence and mistakenly taken back to Britain by the Resistance).
    • Roger Leclerc returns to prison between Series 5 and 6, finding the food there better than that at Café René. (This move was necessitated by the death of actor Jack Haig.)
    • Subverted with the British Airmen: the cast spent the entire series attempting to put them on a bus, but it never stuck (they got them out for a while between Series 7 and 8, but they were shot down again during the Normandy invasion).
  • Queer People Are Funny: Gruber. As an example when Captain Bertorelli is introduced to the Colonel, Helga, and Gruber he gives the first two kisses on the cheek, then shakes Gruber's hand.
    Gruber: Ah, the General told me about you.
    Bertorelli: The General told ME about YOU.
    • Herr Flick's wearing of women's undergarments is played for a laugh. It's also implied that the Colonel and Gruber dabble in cross dressing as well.
  • Really Gets Around: Several characters
    • Rene is married to Edith and Yvette is his mistress. He also has dalliances with Mimi, Michelle, and Maria at various points.
    • Helga. For sure she's been with the Colonel, the Captain and Herr Flick. Her promiscuity is not much of a secret, at one point the Colonel says, "We all consider her 'a friend'." In the finale she is revealed to have married Gruber and had six children.
    • The waitresses are all moonlighting as prostitutes, even Yvette.
    • The Colonel and The Captain both have wives back home, but have possibly had liaisons with Helga, and frequent the prostitutes at the cafe.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: The congenial General Leopold Von Flockenstuffen, in contrast to Von Klinkerhoffen. In particular, when Von Flockenstuffen gets wind of the latter's plan to blow up Nouvion, he immediately has him committed.
  • Reassigned to Antarctica:
    • Von Strohm's usual motivation is that he'll be sent to the Russian front if he fails his superiors.
    • General von Klinkerhoffen threatens several times with sending various characters to the Russian front.
  • Replacement Goldfish: Gruber feels guilty for executing René but doesn't cry long after him, he falls in love with his "twin brother" instead.
  • Replacement Scrappy:
    • Captain Bertorelli is an in-universe example, mostly because the Germans tend to view the Italians as their poor cousins, though Bertorelli's personal mannerisms certainly don't help him any.
    • In-Universe Played With by Mimi; René isn't all that keen on her, mostly because of how insane she is. He seemed to be really torn between Yvette and Maria, but when it was Yvette or Mimi, Yvette became his number one girl. Most of the other characters actually seem to prefer her over Maria because she's really into fighting.
  • La Résistance: Two different ones, reflecting the Real Life situation in France; all female and all wearing the same grey trenchcoats and berets (Gaullists, which Michelle is part of) or dressed like Dickensian errand boys (Communists, whose leader is in love with René).
  • Rube Goldberg Device: Many of the schemes involved something along these lines.
  • Running Gag: Several.
    • René is always embracing Yvette when Edith comes in, yet manages to think up a halfbaked excuse to explain the awkward situation, which Edith invariably believes.note 
    • Leclerc always enters in an obvious disguise, yet he still feels the need to explain who he is.
    • A few episodes into the run, Madame Fanny's Character Catchphrase of "Ze flashing knobs!" when her bedknobs began flashing to signal an incoming message from London prompts Leclerc to sit up in bed next to her. A few more episodes into the run, variations on this gag appear as other characters are revealed to be hiding in Madame Fanny's bed when messages arrive from London.
    • Helga's No Indoor Voice when making announcements.
    • Herr Otto Flick and his Gestapo-patented accessories.
  • Running Gagged: The final episode has a lot of this. Helga does an announcement with an indoor voice, Madame Fanny ignores the flashing knobs, Helga refuses to kiss Herr Flick, and René actually confesses to cheating on Edith with Yvette.
  • Self-Deprecation: Pretty much all the British characters are presented as complete idiots, happy to be confined for years in cupboards, latrines, meal trollies, and the like.
  • Serenade Your Lover: Parodied. Lieutenant Gruber sings love songs to René on several occasions, once singing "Mad About the Boy" to him, and another time gazing at him as he sang the line "Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man" from the song of the same name.
  • Series Fauxnale: The last episode of the second season was written as the Series Finale, because the show's producer thought there was zero chance of it being renewed for a third season. As it turned out though, he was quite wrong.
  • Serious Business: Most of the show, but especially anything Herr Flick does. You might think his excessively serious persona is a facade to make his Gestapo work easier, but if it is he has long since become the mask.
  • Shot in the Ass: René disguises himself as an elk to escape from the Communist Resistance's underground bunker. Unfortunately, the Garrison is out hunting in the same forest, resulting in him taking buckshot to the rear. The next episode opens with the doctor extracting the pellets.
  • Shout-Out:
    • During the season two Christmas special multiple people were trying to kill General Von Klinkerhoffen during the chicken dinner. Herr Flick was trying to get Helga to kill him with a poison dart and to make a long story short Flick got hit with it instead causing him to convulse on the floor. After Rene and Helga give him the antidote and get him back to his meal, von Klinkerhoffen asks Helga what was wrong with him. She answers: "He had the fish."
    • During the "escape from the prisoner of war camp" arc there's a number of little shout outs to The Great Escape, as they put dirt in René's trousers so he can dump it around the camp (in the original they had inside pockets that released the dirt).
    • One of the two MacGuffin paintings is actually a variant of Van Gogh's Sunflowers. Pity they value it less than the fictional Fallen Madonna with the Big Boobies.
    • The infamous apron camera René is forced to use in one episode alludes to a scene from Are You Being Served? in which Gorden Kaye appeared. In it, he was a Scotsman who wished to buy a raincoat. While trying it on, it looks like he's practicing flashing people. When Mr. Humphries and Mr. Lucas enquire what he's doing, he reveals that he's actually an ambush photographer. He then demonstrates by using the camera concealed in his kilt's sporran.
    • When von Klinkerhoffen wants a report on the search for the Fallen Madonna with the Big Boobies, Gruber tells him that they have "rounded up the usual suspects".
  • Sneeze of Doom: Rene is pretending to be a wax statue of himself. Rises finger to upper lip. "wasn't his arm pointing ahead?""trick of light". A moment later the visitors look away as he sneezes, but they think it is someone else.
  • Something Else Also Rises: Frequently. With medals, hair, baguettes, policemen's batons, knockwurst sausages... the list goes on.
    • My favorite is the cuckoo clock.
  • Spy Cam: Parodied with a camera concealed in René's apron. When he wants to take a picture, a foot-square flap lifts up on the front of the apron, revealing a huge lens.
  • Spy Speak: Played for Laughs. Code messages will inevitably either not be understood by their intended recipients, or a third party (frequently Gruber) will overhear them at just the right moment to misconstrue them as chat-up lines.
  • Stealth Pun:
  • Story Arc
  • Suspiciously Idle Officers: The German Nazi officers seem to be only focused on their Zany Scheme in order to obtain the MacGuffin of the day or get out of the problem presented by their General. General von Klinkerhoffen at least seems interested in maintaining order and the performance of his officers. Colonel Kurt von Strohm, by contrast, would rather spend most of the war having sex with waitresses and stealing artifacts.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Le Clerc's brother. In a parody, René also has his death faked in the first season and spends the rest of the show posing as his identical twin brother with the same name, although this is forgotten by most of the characters (even the Colonel, despite him being the one who orchestrated the deception) after about a season and only brought up in order to make a joke.
  • Tanks, but No Tanks: Lieutenant Gruber's "pretty little tank" is actually an SdKfz-222 armored car.
  • That Came Out Wrong:
    • When Rene is posing as his own twin brother and said he comes from the city of Nancy, Gruber asks if that was also true of his 'late brother':
      Rene: Yes, we are both Nancy boys.
    • A rather off-colour Casting Gag: Gorden Kaye who played René came out during the run of the show.
  • Those Wacky Nazis: And they actually are wacky as they are Played for Laughs. Some of them manage to be completely endearing or loveable. The show was sold all over the world, though there was one notable exception - Word of God is that when a delegation from German TV was received at the height of the show's popularity they loved it and found it hilarious. "But," they said sadly, "we'd never be allowed to show it." This state of affairs lasted until 2008 when a private German television network picked up the entire series.
  • Time Skip: The first seven seasons took place over only a few months. There is a two-year jump between Series 7 and 8, reflecting the real-life gap (due to Gorden Kaye needing to recuperate after being seriously injured) between the two series.
  • Translation Convention: Since the English dialogue is "really" in French, other accents denoted other languages. Michelle would adopt a plummy I-say-chaps accent when speaking English to the British airmen, and Officer Crabtree's malapropisms - "Good moaning! I was just pissing by..." - are due to his poor command of French. An odd syntax is used to help suggest French's different grammar (such as René saying things like "it is the bed of the mother of my wife!" without possessives).
  • Truth Serums: Herr Flick uses several truth serums during the series, extracted from various animals. They do make whoever uses them more compliant (though it doesn't always work out), but have side-effects relating to whatever animal it comes from (when Mimi takes a serum extracted from a fruit bat, she becomes overcome with an overwhelming desire to hang upside-down).
  • Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: Not hot wife, but numerous hot women lusted after René... not to mention Lt. Gruber. And his affairs with his two waitresses have, according to Herr Flick in series 7, given him the nickname "Ménage Artois".
  • Villain Decay: As detailed under Characterization Marches On, this happened to most of the recurring villainous characters. Herr Flick was genuinely sinister in his early appearances, until the writers discovered Richard Gibson's gift for delivering silly lines in a completely serious tone of voice. Herr von Smallhausen was likewise a cold, unsettling character in his first few episodes, but quickly became a dimwitted buffoon who makes a complete hash of anything Herr Flick orders him to do. And when General von Klinkerhoffen was introduced to pick up the villainy slack from Herr Flick, he too went from the closest the series had to a depiction of actual Nazi officers during the French Occupation to a mentally unbalanced martinet who shared the other Germans' penchant for kinkiness in the bedroom.
  • What Does She See in Him?: Even René doesn't understand what the girls find so irresistible in him.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: The series can be quite infamous for suddenly dropping plot points. For example: In Series 3 it is discovered that Madame Fanny has a painting of Van Gogh in her possession. It becomes a second MacGuffin alongside the painting of the Fallen Madonna all throughout series 3-5, then it suddenly vanishes without a trace, never to be mentioned again.
  • You Can Say That Again: René's response when Michelle says that he'll be glad to have the English airmen out of his hair. Edith points out that, since it's Michelle, she probably won't.
  • Your Mom: In "Who's for the Vatican" General von Klinkerhoffen uses a "your mom" joke to Kick the Dog when he tells Gruber that his posting to the Russian Front will also include his [Gruber's] mother.
  • Zany Scheme: Suffice to say that any attempt to acquire the Fallen Madonna or get the British airmen back to Britain is rarely straightforward.


Video Example(s):


Cabaret with Madame Edith

Edith sings "Boom! Why Does My Heart Go Boom?", with the usual response to her singing.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (10 votes)

Example of:

Main / DreadfulMusician

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