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Series / Fortysomething

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This... is Paul Slippery.
He is 44 years old.
His life is about to fall apart.
Opening narration, Episode One

Fortysomething is a Britcom starring Hugh Laurie as Paul Slippery, a London general practitioner who begins to suspect that he's hearing other people's thoughts — most notably those of his wife, Estelle. But when you consider that Estelle has started working for an ambiguously flirtatious power lesbian, Paul's eldest son (Benedict Cumberbatch) is bent on revenge against his middle son for stealing his girlfriend (whilst involved with her sister!), Paul's youngest son is using the family home as a base for various entrepreneurial activities, his colleague (Peter Capaldi) is completely bonkers, and he can't even make an intimate dinner for his wife without his entire family asking for a taste of "Proud Banana"... well, it's not completely unreasonable that Paul would go a little mad.

The show ran for one six-episode series on ITV in 2003 and was released on DVD in the summer of 2008, at which point it was known in America as "that TV show where House plays a nice doctor". Since the fall of 2010, it has become known as "that TV show where House is Sherlock's dad", and from 2013 onwards as "that TV show where House and Sherlock have a ham-off with the Twelfth Doctor".

Not to be confused with the late '80s/early '90s ABC show thirtysomething.

This show provides examples of:

  • All Men Are Perverts: All three of the Slippery brothers, and even Paul on a couple occasions.
  • Badass Fingersnap: Ronnie snaps his fingers to call the waitress, and recently hypnotized Paul falls asleep.
  • Every Episode Ending: Each episode ended with Paul and Estelle going to bed at night.
  • Hearing Voices: Probably Paul's imagination, but it's never conclusively settled.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Subverted. Pilfrey feels like becoming a good person and tries his best to help Paul, but his jealousy of Estelle and envy for having a family is way too strong.
  • Hell-Bent for Leather: Pilfrey, while convinced that is what his beloved one likes.
  • Hypno Fool: Paul is ready to treat his crisis with some hypnosis, but his doctor is not a very nice person.
  • The Immodest Orgasm: When Daniel and Laura become official, they celebrate by having sex. Very loudly. With Paul and Rory still around no less.
  • Jerkass: Daniel. Dr. Pilfrey as well.
  • A Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Read: The thoughts Paul thinks (maybe) he hears from Estelle are... not flattering.
  • Mistaken for Cheating: Paul was initially afraid that Estelle was actually a closeted lesbian when hearing of her encounter with a "nice lady in the park." He also gets especially incensed at the thought of Dr. Pilfrey's constant attempts to woo Estelle.
    • Not to mention when Estelle tries to set up a surprise party for Paul, inviting a fair few male friends.
  • Mistaken for Special Guest / The Inspector Is Coming: An inspector is to visit Paul's hospital, but he has left some very important documents at home. Fortunately, his son Edwin is about to go out and can bring the documents to the hospital. One of Paul's colleagues notices a young man in a suit and holding a folder with that logo, and so it begins.
  • Naked People Trapped Outside: Hugh Laurie fangirls should know about this.
  • Nice Guy: Rory
    • Not So Above It All: He does have his moments of letting his jealousy get the better of him, especially when he plans revenge against Daniel.
  • Obsessive Love Letter: Pilfrey sends some to Estelle.
  • Once per Episode: Each episode takes place in a single day, beginning with Paul and Estelle waking up in the morning and ending with them going to bed.
  • One Dialogue, Two Conversations: Owing to an email prank (à la Twelfth Night ), Pilfrey is convinced that Estelle is burning with lust towards him and planning on having an affair. Estelle, meanwhile, is has no knowledge of this, is not burning with lust towards Pilfrey, and thinks she's interviewing him to headhunt him for another position. Things get... very confusing.
    • Also, when Estelle is inviting several friends for a surprise party for Paul, only for Paul to jump to the conclusion that she’s having several affairs at once. Cue confusion when Paul confronts first Estelle, and then one of the friends, Jeff, who’s setting things up at the house. The fact that one of the friends, having bumped into Paul at an AA meeting, has likewise jumped to the conclusion that Paul is an alcoholic, doesn’t help matters.
  • Opening Narration: The first line of every episode is "This... is Paul Slippery."
  • Running Gag: Someone will ask Edwin why he's not at school.
  • Sibling Triangle: More like sibling rectangle, which eventually resolves itself into something approximating Double In-Law Marriage.
  • Silver Vixen: Gwendolen is not young but a very good-looking woman.
  • Young Entrepreneur: Edwin, much to Paul's chagrin, as one of Edwin's business ventures results in a load of refrigerators delivered to their house... and another results in crates of sex toys sitting around the Slipperys' yard.