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Series / Diplomatic Immunity

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"We are at war. Freeze frame, roll credits, to be continued. War!"

Diplomatic Immunity is a comedy about the New Zealand consulate of the fictional Most Royal Kingdom of Fe'ausi. The island kingdom itself is known for having "the highest standard of living in the South Pacific" thanks to its rampant corruption. The staff of the consulate, including ambassador Jonah Fa'auigaese (the brother of the king) and other relatives Mick, Malepe, and Suga, are unsurprisingly willing to bend or ignore rules, much to the dismay of their diplomatic attaché Leighton. Rounding out the main cast are Jonah's daughter Leilani, the kingdom's only anti-monarchist activist, and Kirsty, who appears to be the only one who does any legitimate work.

Not to be confused with the trope Diplomatic Impunity, although the Fe'ausians do take advantage of that whenever they can.

This show provides examples of:

  • Abhorrent Admirer: Suga, mostly to Leighton but the other people at the office find her repulsive as well.
    • The Spider even runs away from her when she tries to make nice to it.
  • Adipose Rex: We never see the King but he's apparently "large enough to generate his own gravity". Jonah is also quite big as the ambassador.
  • Arranged Marriage: The plot of episode 4.
  • Artistic License – Politics: Jonah is the Fe'ausian ambassador to New Zealand, a fitting title for the brother of a king. However, the characters all work at a consulate — which should be run by a consul general — rather than an embassy, the appropriate post for an ambassador.
  • Beauty Contest: Leilani's character introduction is her having used a Miss Fe'ausi pageant as an opportunity to Soapbox.
  • Berserk Button: The normally stoic Leighton has a few, including disrespectful portrayals of NZ icon Edmund Hillary. Meanwhile, the whole Fe'ausi nation goes to war over one broken marriage.
  • Brainless Beauty: Leilani's temporary fiancée.
  • Bread and Circuses: Discussed. Corruption is rife in Fe'ausi, but those in power maintain their positions by showering the populace with expensive gifts like large kitchen appliances.
  • Buffy Speak: Jonah and Leilani's banter in the first episode.
    Leilani: I'm here against my will!
    Jonah: You're here against many people's wills but the will of the King beats all other wills.
  • Butt-Monkey: Leighton gets this fairly often, especially in the April Fool's episode.
  • Cerebus Retcon: Leilani's mother is a throwaway line in the pilot. A few episodes later it's Played for Drama when Jonah starts seeing another woman.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Fe'ausi declares war on New Zealand, a country noted for having a disproportionately effective military for its small size, and soundly beat the Kiwis in just a few days, forcing Leighton to get on his knees and offer a formal surrender.
  • Chew Toy: Malepe. You have to love him really.
  • Clark Kent Outfit: Leighton's suits hide a surprisingly muscular physique. Newer fans to the series however would not expect anything less from a Roman military leader.
  • Conversational Troping: In "Boris The Spider" Kirsty and Malepe have a talk about how they would behave in a situation like Aliens''.
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment: Leilani forgives Leighton for stopping her wedding but she makes him dress up like a street mime and do "trapped in a box" while she stands on the street protesting.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: The Brotherhood of Brothers.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: When the entire country is forced to go on a Vegan diet everyone has withdrawal symptoms akin to recovering heroin addicts.
  • Everyone Loves Blondes: The men belonging to the CBOB church only marry blonde women, and several at a time.
  • Freudian Excuse: Leighton hates surfers because they laughed at him when he wasn't able to do it.
  • Genki Girl: Going on a Vegan diet turns Leilani into one of these.
  • The Ghost: The King, though a silhouette appears in a flashback.
  • Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow: Bald Jonah is shown to have a thick head of shoulder-length hair in a flashback to Leilani's fifth birthday party.
  • Hard-Drinking Party Girl: The Princess Grace with whom Leighton had a public indiscretion. When she shows up to apologise, Leighton is apparently only number seven on her list.
  • How We Got Here: Episode 10, "Graceland".
  • I Am Very British: The Princess Grace (no not that one).
  • Inexplicably Identical Individuals: The Fe'ausian consulate and their counterparts from the Fa'akofan consulate, who are played by the same actors with afros wigs.
  • Informed Attractiveness: All three women wait at the front door anxiously for The Niu and even Mick and Marlepe get excited when he arrives.
    • Ditto for the Eastern European woman Jonah is seeing. The word "hot" is used in nearly every sentence about her.
  • Karma Houdini:
    • Leighton is repeatedly chewed out for stopping Leilani's wedding and starting the war. Kirsty helped him do it and seems to get away with it.
    • Mick is involved in various illegal dealings and never seems to get caught.
  • Karma Houdini Warranty: Mick's karma catches up with him in "Graceland" though ironically through a drunken mistake than his usual illegal activities.
  • Kissing Under the Influence: Suga and Malepe while on drugs in episode 10.
  • Lampshaded Double Entendre: The headdresses used for the First Best Dance.
    Malepe: It represents the panini.
    Josiah: Panini is Fe'ausian for—
    Leighton: Yeah, I can guess what it's Fe'ausian for!
  • Lovable Jock: The Niu, a kind and friendly surfer.
  • Maybe Ever After: Leighton and Leilani by the series finale. Presumably if a second season had been picked up, the relationship might have been explored more.
  • Missing Mom: Leilani's...
    Jonah: Dear Lord, Leilani, on the grave of your poor sainted mother.
    Leilani: She's not dead. She went shoe shopping and never came back.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Leighton. In episode 2 he gets sprayed with water and is forced to strip in front of Leilani and in episode three he spends a good few minutes wearing nothing but a loincloth.
  • Monster Delay: Sort of. The terrifying monstrous spider is never seen until after it's been squished.
  • Musical Episode: partly. "Climb Every Mountain" involves some samples of the songs.
  • My Friends... and Zoidberg: When Leighton is first introduced to the outfits for the First Best Dance.
    Jonah: Imagine, if you will, dressed like this, five of Fe'ausi's finest warriors...and Malepe.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: The rare spider.
  • Not So Above It All: Leighton and Leilani join in with the "shunning of the guilty one" in episode 10.
  • Only Sane Man: Leighton when dealing with the odder Fa'usian traditions, although he has a way of getting sucked into the madness. Also, Leilani, as the only person in the entire country who wants to abolish the monarchy.
  • Perky Goth: Kirsty, though she leans more towards the pop punk scene.
  • Runaway Groom: Leilani's husband-to-be runs off in order to marry several blonde women at once.
  • Sex Sells: Kirsty convinces Leilani to get people to honk at her protest signs by wearing less clothing. It works.
  • Ship Tease: Episode 10 ships Suga and Malepe.
  • Soapbox Sadie: Leilani, but just about the monarchy. Suga also becomes one in the episode a rare species of spider is brought into the office (and Leilani has no objections about squishing it). There's also one related to whales in another episode who chains herself to the gate. She later reveals she has other such protests scheduled throughout the day.
  • Stalker with a Crush: The CBOB brothers are this to Kirsty, proposing to her every year.
  • Suck Out the Poison: When Jonah gets bitten by the spider he asks someone to suck out the poison. Though in the next scene he says he still has no feeling where he's been bitten so it doesn't seem to have worked.
  • Take Our Word for It: The King's weight.
  • Totally Radical: The Niu and a bit of Malepe's dialogue.
  • Troubled Fetal Position: Leilani when she is reminded of a certain childhood trauma...
  • Villain Protagonist: All the cast aside from Leighton and Leilani.
  • Who's on First?: "The Niu." "The new what?" Also:
    Josiah: So I take it your answer is no, then.
    Leighton: No.
    Josiah: And no is your final answer?
    Leighton: No.
    Josiah: No?
    Leighton: It wasn't my first answer.
    Josiah: Yes it was!
    Leighton: No. You asked me if my answer was no, and I said no.
    Josiah: You mean when you say no, you mean yes?
  • Will They or Won't They?: Leighton and Leilani.