Rik Mayall plays Richie Rich, a talentless, unheard-of Large Ham actor on a manic crusade for fame and glory. He is assisted(?) in this endeavour by his useless sponging agent Ralph Filthy (Nigel Planer), and his violent alcoholic minder Edward Catflap (Adrian Edmondson).
The show has absolutely No Fourth Wall and mostly takes the piss out of regional showbiz and the Small Name, Big Ego people who work in it. It featured a lot of cameos from light-entertainment celebrities and the alternative comedy scene, such as Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie.
This show provides examples of:
- Accidental Murder: At least four dead milkmen in the first episode. Five, if you include the one in the hospital.
- Alliterative Name: Richie Rich.
- Attention Whore: Richie.
- Ass Shove: Insinuated:Eddie: Richie, it's your choice. I can either stuff the meat into the oven, you into the oven, or the oven into you. Which is it to be?
- Bedmate Reveal: In the first episode, Richie wakes up in the morning, assumes he is alone and addresses a lengthy monologue to the camera. Then a huge fart is heard and his bedmate is revealed to be his drunken minder, Eddie.
- Berserk Button: Richie's incredible success at the end of the series drives Eddie to smashing up the set.
- Better Than a Bare Bulb: The show delights in hanging lampshades.
- British Brevity: Only six episodes were made, thanks to an argument between Rik Mayall and writer Ben Elton.
- Careful with That Axe: Subverted when Eddie hits Richie in the balls with one.
- Catchphrase: Filthy has "Hello is that...? Yes I can hold."
- Comically Missing the Point: Richie thinks his agent has got him work in theatre and rehearses it with Eddie:Richie: Now I play Romeo and you play the Fiery, War-like Tybalt. Right, it's a fight. (reciting play) Away to heaven, respected lenity, / And fire-eyed fury be my conduct now. / Now, Tybalt- (Eddie punches him in the face so hard, he falls and smashes through a door) WHAT in the name of Satan's PORTION!?Eddie: I was acting. You said it was a fight.
- Daddy DNA Test: Except the DNA test is part of an elaborate plan to share Richie's money between Eddie, Eddie's cousin, and Filthy. And the blood sample is pure lager.
- Disposing of a Body: The dead milkmen in Episode One.
- Don't Explain the Joke: This exchange:Eddie: Let's put the body in the cupboard before it begins to whiff.
Richie: Uh-uh-uh — if that were our criteria for putting things in the cub, we would have put you in one ages ago! [Eddie stares at him] Because you're so whiffy.
Eddie: Yeah, I got it — I just didn't think it was funny. That's all.
- Double Entendre
- Richie appears in a game show called Oo-er! Sounds A Bit Rude
- Erotic Asphyxiation: When Ralph is in prison awaiting execution by hanging, he takes some pleasure in knowing that the asphyxiation will give him an erection: his first one in years.
- Extra! Extra! Read All About It!: Parodied."Extra! Extra! I'm an extra!"
- Failure Is the Only Option: Played straight for most of the series. And then subverted! The series ends on a cheery "Made it!" from Richie.
- Fan Boy: Richie seems to have Tarby on the brain.
- Gay Bar Reveal:Richie: Bloody fairies! That's what you are, isn't it?
Men at bar: Yes.
(Richie and Eddie are thrown out)
- Hanging Judge: A literal example passes judgement over the three at the beginning of the sixth episode.
- Happy Ending: Richie finally seizes fame by being the only TV presenter left standing, leading to round-the-clock hosting of every show on every channel. His flagship show, "Richtime", opens with a musical number about how he's better than everyone else because he's "in showbiz". Catflap gets annoyed by this and destroys the Filthy Rich & Catflap set, sparing everyone.
- It's All About Me: Richie.
- Jerkass: The three title characters.
- Large Ham:
- Richie. "I'M STRETCHED ON THE RACK OF MY OWN GENIUS!"
- Eddie: If you don't shut up I'LL RAM YOUR HEAD INTO THE MICROWAVE!
- The Man They Couldn't Hang: Played for Laughs (and a healthy dose of Breaking The Fourth Wall) with Ralph Filthy.
- Massive Multiplayer Scam: The entire paternity plot was a scam by Eddie, his relatives, and Filthy.
- Mathematician's Answer: From the opening scene:Richie: What are you doing in my bed?Eddie: Well I was sleeping. But now I'm talking to a git.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: Dingo Wucker, the Australian media baron in the final episode, is clearly a parody of Rupert Murdoch.
- Oh My Gods!: "What in the name of Satan's portion?!"
- The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: According to Filthy in Episode Four, Eddie never does his job as Richie's minder, even joining in when Richie gets beaten up.
- Repetitive Name: Richie Rich.
- Running Gag: The doorbell sounds like a fart. Of course, the cast take advantage of this.
- Sadist Show: Completes the Mayall-Edmondson trinity of Sadist Shows alongside Bottom and The Young Ones.
- Self-Deprecation: Eddie often criticises the series, much to Richie's dismay.Richie: Filthy, if this is some kind of joke...Eddie: Then it'll be the first one on the show this week!
- Show Within a Show: Richie goes on a fictionalised version of Blankety Blank called Oo-er! Sounds A Bit Rude hosted by Ivor Whopper.
- The Starscream: Eddie fits this trope at times. Particularly in the first episode.
- Small Name, Big Ego: Richie fits this to a T.
- Springtime for Hitler: In Episode Five, Richie lands a chance to read the papers on TV-am. Filthy, wanting to do his own presentation, tries to make sure they're late by urging them to be on time (see You Have Failed Me below), and they actually arrive on time for once, if only by ten minutes, much to Filthy's chagrin.Filthy: I lose all my faith in human nature, I really do!
- Strawman Political: Dingo Wucker in Episode Six. His conservative agenda is based mainly on his cruelty and paranoia.
- Take That!:
- Filthy: And then give that comic the world's best gag —Eddie: Which would have to be Thatcher's '79 election promise to cut unemployment!
- There are a number of digs at conservatism (par for the course; see also The Young Ones). This is lampshaded at the end of the very first episode."Look, I've had just about enough left-wing soapbox rhetoric for one week!"
- The last episode has more than a few digs at Rupert Murdoch and tabloid journalists.
- An in-show example occurs when they systematically smear everyone in British showbiz.
- Take That Me: In a meta-sense; after Eddie and Richie indulge in an extended satirical dig at the police force, Richie undercuts the proceedings by pointing out "Next time you're in trouble, you try calling an alternative comedian!"
- Trouser Space: Eddie can fit 3 whole chickens in his trousers.
- Unusual Euphemism: "I've sustained some quite considerable Belisha beacons in my time, thank you!"
- Who Writes This Crap?!: When Eddie asks Filthy to explain something.Filthy: If I told you that I'd ruin the plot, wouldn't I, Eddie?Eddie: Well, there's not a lot to ruin, is there, really. I'd hardly call this meaningless stream of bot and knob gags a plot, would you?
- You Have Failed Me: According to Filthy, Eddie and Richie usually play this straight.