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Series / Grandma's House

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Tanya: How can you lie to your mother? You came from my womb!
Simon: Yes, but... I live in Hampstead now.

Grandma's House (2010–12) is a British Dom Com following Simon Amstell As Himself, fresh from quitting his job as host of Nevermind The Buzzcocks and desperately seeking a new purpose in life.

Retreating to the bosom of his family and their get-togethers in his grandma's house, he finds they are less than sympathetic when he tells them he's leaving behind fame and fortune. In turn he struggles to deal with his mother Tanya's impending marriage to a rich but deathly dull man, his sex-obsessed cousin Adam, and his death-obsessed grandfather. The first series ran from August to September 2010, and a second series ran from April to May 2012.

Not to be confused with the similar "dysfunctional Jewish family meets for a meal" sitcom Friday Night Dinner.


Provides Examples Of:

  • The Alcoholic: Clive. Inevitably he falls Off the Wagon.
  • Amazingly Embarrassing Parents: All over the place.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Simon's list of Clive's flaws.
    Simon: You're OK with that? A history of alcoholism, murder and child-staining?
  • Belief Makes You Stupid: "We just need to treat religious people with kindness and love, in the same way you'd treat a child running around saying: I'm a helicopter!"
    • Combined with an element of Hypocritical Humor - as he criticises religion, Simon starts taking up New Age "Your Mind Makes It Real" beliefs, which inspire him to back the truly disasterous decision of inviting his divorced father over to his grandma's.
  • Bratty Half-Pint: Adam.
  • Children Are Innocent: Subverted with Adam: "Adam's finally raped someone!"
  • Comically Missing the Point: Simon writes a play in which the characters discuss a "bad egg, with a controlling yolk" who "fell on a penniless egg and killed him". Clive, who Simon sees as a Karma Houdini for getting away with running over a homeless man while drunk, isn't impressed... because he thinks the play attacks Liz.
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  • Cringe Comedy
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Clive, played for laughs. Well, mostly.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Deconstructed by Simon. He's very popular as the host of Nevermind The Buzzcocks for his cruel wit and snappy comebacks... but being praised for meanness just depresses him (learning that a guest attempted suicide after the show makes him feel worse, even if it is almost certainly a publicity stunt), and he can't turn it off when talking to his family, which doesn't endear him to anyone.
  • Disappeared Dad: Simon's father.
  • Distracted by the Luxury: Tanya's reason for glossing over the unpleasant aspects of Clive's personality.
    Tanya: He's very kind to me. And he's got Sky HD. And a 47-inch plasma screen. You can see every single hair in Noel Edmonds' beard! What more do you want from life?
    Simon: Love? True love?
    Tanya: Don't be odd.
  • Downer Ending: The season two finale ends with Simon, still living in his Grandma's spare room, single and miserable, eating junk food while watching old videos of himself on Youtube.
  • Dysfunctional Family
  • Embarrassing Old Photo: Tanya's collection of videos showing Simon's early attempts at acting.
  • Freudian Excuse: Rather than just admit to her fiance that her son doesn't like him, Tanya claims that Simon's antagonistic behaviour is because his father abused himnote . Hilarity Ensues when Simon's dad then turns up.
  • Granola Girl: Simon with his various plans to "find himself", such as becoming a Buddhist monk and taking part in dubious self-improvement programmes.
  • Hipster: Zazzie, and sometimes Simon.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Each episode title begins with "The Day Simon..." (for example, "The Day Simon Announced He Was in Control of the Universe").
  • I Take Offense to That Last One: Inverted. Simon calls his aunt something like "unfunny, irritating and racist." She protests that she's not unfunny or irritating.
  • Insane Troll Logic: Liz claims that Simon's parents getting divorced caused Grandad's diabetes.
  • Jews Love to Argue: The episodes all revolve around this trope.
  • Love Martyr. Simon. Why else would he dote on Ben, the emotionally distant, pretentious mumbler?
  • Manchild: Simon. In the first episode, when his grandfather confides that he might have cancer, Simon (who's 30) looks incredibly awkward and asks "should I go and get a grown-up?"
  • Meat Versus Veggies: Clive and Simon, respectively in the first episode.
  • Mirror Monologue: Simon does this in the bathroom before going out to meet Ben.
    Simon: Okay. You can do this. You're a person who can exist in real life. [acting cool and restrained] 'Hey. How are you? How funny to see you here. You okay? Hi.'
    [cut to Simon walking into the living room]
    Simon: BEN THEODORE?!
  • My Beloved Smother: Tanya and Liz are both this (and Jewish mothers to boot) to their respective sons. Slightly more justifiable in Liz's case as Adam is still a child, whereas Simon is a fully-grown adult.
  • No Accounting for Taste: Tanya and her plans to marry Clive, which Simon suspects have more to do with his big house and well-paid job than any actual love she may feel for him. He turns out to be right.
  • Older Than They Look: Amstell himself looks uncannily like a young Michael Cera, who he's ten years older than.
  • Performance Artist: Simon again.
  • Porn Stash: Bernie's old Playboys up in the loft. See Taking the Heat.
  • Seinfeldian Conversation.
  • Self-Deprecation: In the second series, Simon is going to start acting in a play. The other characters routinely warn him that he can't act.
  • Shirtless Scene: Simon in his underwear at the start of the first episode of series two. He's so very thin.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Simon is this to Ben Theodore, the actor he follows around, convinced he's in a relationship with him.
    • Come season two, they actually are in a relationship. Sort of.
  • Stripper/Cop Confusion: It takes grandma a long time to work out that the fireman waiting patiently in the kitchen during Tanya's birthday party isn't there to check the smoke alarm.
  • Stylistic Suck: Simon's "abstract" play about two eggs questioning their existence.
  • Taking the Heat: A minor version. When Adam is discovered in the bathroom, surrounded by his late grandfather's porn mags which he'd just been masturbating to, Clive claims that they were his in order to save embarrassment for both Adam and Grandma. He says that he had been masturbating to them in the loft and that they fell through the hole in the ceiling he'd just accidentally made.
    Tanya: Clive is a generous and kind man. Let him have a wank in the loft!
  • This Is a Work of Fiction: "Grandma's House, its storyline and all associated characters are entirely fictional. So let's not make a whole business."
  • The Un-Favourite: Liz seems to be this to her parents.
  • Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist: Simon Amstell, sending himself up.
  • What Did I Do Last Night?: Simon wakes up confused, in bed with someone (who turns out to be sixteen), convinced he had only been drinking water the previous night. Turns out he was drugged.
  • Yiddish as a Second Language: Mostly Grandpa and his habit of calling people schmocks.