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Series / Man to Man with Dean Learner

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Garth Marenghi (Matthew Holness) and Dean Learner (Richard Ayoade)
A Spin-Off of Garth Marenghis Darkplace, Man to Man with Dean Learner is a spoof Talk Show that aired in 2006, starring Darkplace's 'producer', and "club owner, celebrity manager, restaurateur, entrepreneur and publisher of high-class gentlemen's magazines", Dean Learner (Richard Ayoade) as the host, interviewing various celebrity friends (all played by Matthew Holness).

Similar to Knowing Me, Knowing You with Alan Partridge but played more like a late-night 'culture' show than a prime-time showbiz extravaganza.

Tropes used include:

  • Beauty Equals Goodness: Randolph Caer is typecast as psychopaths because he's ugly.
  • Better than Sex: In Dean's interview with Steve Pising, former Formula Five motor racer, Steve refers to the speed of a Formula Five car as being better than sex... or, at least, better than any sex that he's ever had.
  • Black Comedy: Much of the humour arises from the pathetic careers of the celebrities and how their association with Dean Learner has ruined their lives.
  • The Bore: Despite having been a racing driver Steve Pising is an amazingly boring man, describing even tense moments in a race like he's reading a shopping list.
  • Brainless Beauty: Satu Suominen
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Or at least Cluster A-hole Bomb, courtesy of Amir Chanan at the end of his episode.
    Amir Chanan: "You, Satu and this whole show are assholes! You're an asshole, you're an asshole and this is an asshole. And in fact, you are an asshole, too. All of you at home, you are all assholes. Everyone in this country, you are all assholes. You are all assholes. Okay, you are, you're an asshole."
  • Doorstopper: Garth Marenghi's collected works in one volume. It's a regular format hardback book in every way, except that it's about twenty feet thick.
    Garth Marenghi: "If you only buy one Garth Marenghi book, buy this one, which is all of them."
  • Informed Deformity: We're repeatedly told that Randolph Caer is quite ugly.
  • Metaphorgotten:
    Dean Learner: "It's like that philosophical question: If a tree falls in the forest, and I'm not there, and it makes a sound, but I don't hear it, but someone records it and plays it back to me at a dinner party, does that mean I'm still in the forest? And if I am, then why can't I just take a piss in the garden rather than queuing for the toilet? And that's if the toilet even exists; I've been trying to use it all fucking night. I'm starting to doubt the existence of the toilet quite frankly at this stage of the proceedings. Get a portaloo is what I'm saying. If you're going to have a party of that size, get a portaloo. 'Cause I don't want to spend my entire fucking evening in the corridor. And if philosophy can solve those questions, then it's worth it. But thus far it can't. So I'm fucking busting, and what's Plato doing about it? Nothing."
  • Mock Millionaire: Learner is implied to be trying very hard to look more wealthy than he really is. The announcer crows about his luxury apartment in London's "glittering East End."
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Most of the guests. The psychic is a "fork-bender" (Uri Geller), Glynn Nimron is Elvis Presley meets Leonard Nimoy, and "Formula Five" racing driver Steve Pising is Nigel Mansell, with a bit of old-school Jeremy Clarkson thrown in.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Dean Learner, Garth Marenghi, Amir Chanan and Glynn Nimron are all a lot less famous and successful then they think they are.
  • Spiritual Successor: Effectively a spin-off of Darkplace, and Garth Marenghi is the first guest.
  • Stealth Parody: Broadcast in a late night slot, it looked much like a real chatshow. Especially if people hadn't seem Darkplace.
  • Stylistic Suck: The show is a vanity project by Learner, a wanna-be playboy who's really just a sleazy businessman and pornographer. All of the guests are C-grade celebrities with rather depressing careers.
  • Unfortunate Names: Steve Pising, which he is very clear is pronounced the same as "pissing," seemingly oblivious to why this might be an issue. His documentary "Pising In The Driver's Seat" doesn't help.
  • Universal-Adaptor Cast: Three of the male protagonists from Garth Marenghi's upcoming film, The War Of The Wasps, are Rick Dagless, Lucien Sanchez, and Thornton Reed transplanted as Ace Pilots instead of doctors. Marenghi's acting style is slightly different, however, as he's downplayed the Serious Business approach to channel what appears to be a bit of Ace Rimmer.
  • Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist: Dean Learner. Even if you didn't get the hints in Darkplace, it becomes increasingly apparent that Learner is a thoroughly crooked businessman, misogynist and sleaze merchant. His guests are all gullible C-grade celebrities that he bullies and exploits. It's implied that he tried to murder Steve Pising and drove Randolph Caer to commit suicide.


Video Example(s):


Garth Marenghi's The Oeuvre

The Oeuvre is a compilation volume of all 436 of Garth Marenghi's books. It even comes with balancing poles to read it safely and wall mounts for storage.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (6 votes)

Example of:

Main / Doorstopper

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