Mrs Brown's Boys is a Dom Com about an Irish Catholic housewife with a dirty mind and equally dirty mouth and little shame about using it. She is the matriarch of her family, having four sons and one daughter (many of whom live in her small working class house as they aren't able to afford to move out yet) as well as with her senile father-in-law. The show was created and written by Irish comedian Brendan O'Carroll — who also plays Mrs Agnes Brown herself by dressing in drag.
Originally airing on RTÉ One in Ireland, and broadcast shortly after on BBC One, note it has had very mixed reception on either side of the Irish Sea, with criticism about its cliché plots and the fact that the idea of a man pretending to be a dirty-mouthed old lady is considered outdated humour. However it has received high ratings on both channels, and aside from the predictable plots there is a certain irreverence to the series which centres on how harsh Mrs Brown can act towards her family and friends as well as having fair amount of "meta" humour and jokes which break the fourth wall, with Brendan O'Carroll occasionally going wildly off-script just to see what the rest of the cast will do.
A movie was produced by Universal Studios and was released June 27th 2014.
There's also a stage version, released on DVD, which the TV scripts are based on, but has more swearing.
There is also a French-Canadian version called Mme Lebrun.
Tropes associated with Mrs Brown's Boys:
- Animated Credits Opening: A very brief one of Agnes Brown hanging polaroid photographs of her relatives out on her washing line.
- Attending Your Own Funeral: In the season one finale, Granddad gets suspicious about what people will say about him at his funeral, so he fakes his death with the help of the family to have an old-fashioned Irish wake. When the call for people to say something positive about the deceased is made and leads to an awkward silence, he breaks character as the corpse in outrage.
- Bad Job, Worse Uniform: Dermot Brown has a string of these for all the different crappy jobs he's held over the course of the series, including a giant penguin when he was selling Penguin Biscuits and a giant cigarette butt when he was part of a stop smoking campaign.
- Bait-and-Switch Comparison: Frequently. Lampshaded once;Agnes: I still remember the first time he held the baby. The little red face, all wrinkly and covered in drool ... and then there was the baby.
Winnie: [laughing] I knew you were gonna say that.
Agnes: Winnie... everyone knew I was gonna say that. [aside glance]
- Bizarrchitecture: In the stage version — the front door is at the edge of the set, logically enough. The problem is that the staircase leads up to a door that's set into the same wall as the front door — in other words, the upstairs floor must be hanging over the street!
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: Always done at the start and end of each episode, as well as numerous times throughout, usually with hilarious results.
- Brick Joke: Early in one episode, Agnes is tricked into believing that Jesus is speaking to her through the portrait-with-electric-cross she keeps in the kitchen. Later in the episode, a similar circumstance has her angrily ask her washing machine if it's going to start talking too.
- British Brevity: Has made three series with six episodes each, and two annual specials every Christmas holiday, a tradition still held after the ongoing series stopped. It currently totals to 39 episodes (plus a theatrical movie) over a decade.
- Butt-Monkey: Grandad and Buster Brady are often the butt of Agnes' dry wit. Agnes herself takes a lot of slapstick throughout the series.
- Camera Abuse:
- Notable instances include a camera crashing in through the kitchen window and when Agnes is cleaning the windows she is struck by one.
- In the 2012 Christmas specials, Agnes gets a magnet for horses stuck on her wrist. After she pulls it away from the kitchen sink, it gets stuck on one of the cameras.
- Camp Gay: Rory Brown and even more so his boyfriend Dino Doyle. So much so that it takes a surprisingly long time for Agnes to catch on.
- Characterisation Marches On: In the early episodes of the first series, Winnie wasn't as much of The Ditz as she is from the second series onwards.
- Crosscast Role: Mrs. Agnes Brown, played by series creator and writer Brendan O'Carroll.
- The Ditz: Winnie, to the point where her thoughts during a tense poker game are just birdsong.
- Domestic Abuse: Agnes often comically mistreats her elderly father-in-law. Grandad gets revenge in the Christmas specials.
- Flash Step: Agnes pulls one off in "Mammy Swings" when Dermot tries to tell her from another room that Rory and Dino got married in private.Dermot: Mammy... Mammy? *Looks through the partition window.* Where did she go?
*Winnie shrugs. Dermot turns round to find Agnes right behind him.*
Dermot: Jesus! Well, Mammy, I- Out of the way, Cathy, move!
- Genre Savvy:
- The viewers.Winnie: I knew you were going to say that.
Agnes (with a nod to the audience) Winnie — everyone knew I was gonna say that!
- Eventually the cast as well, becoming aware when Brendan O'Carroll is about to go off script to make them laugh. The end of the episode where Agnes' dog dies has Agnes make a Bait-and-Switch Comparison that Cathy and Dermot see coming a mile off — yet still laugh at — and then holding back Dermot for a second, who has this priceless "Oh God, what's he gonna make me do?" grin on his face. What does she ask him to do? Perform "I'm a Little Teapot". He legs it out of there.
- The viewers.
- Gift Shake: In "Mammy's Memories?", after Winnie drops off a gift envelope for Cathy's birthday, Agnes holds it up to the light, shakes it next to her ear, and sniffs it for good measure.
- Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Most of the Brown boys are quite tall, and tower over their female partners. Even Cathy's boyfriend Mick is One Head Taller than her.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Mrs Brown pretty much epitomizes this trope. Maria like her mother can be quite snooty.
- Left the Background Music On:
- Cathy says that due to a fraudulent death certificate, Mrs Brown could go to prison. Cue the "Psycho" Strings... until she darts out into the garden to yell at the random string quartet standing there.Agnes Brown: FUCK OFF THE LOT OF YEH!
- After an EastEnders drum-beat (after Cathy's ex-boyfriend returns), Cathy looks out the door to find Buster Brady turning it into a full drum solo.
- Cathy says that due to a fraudulent death certificate, Mrs Brown could go to prison. Cue the "Psycho" Strings... until she darts out into the garden to yell at the random string quartet standing there.
- Medium Awareness:
- They know they're in a TV show and will often interact with the cameras, crew or mention the fact it's a TV show. If any actors laugh, as they frequently do, it is left in.Agnes: What are you doing here?
Buster: It's in the script.
- They're also aware of who broadcasts the programme.Agnes: What's with the black tape on the side of the box?
Buster: Oh, to cover up the name. BBC rules.
Agnes: Although it's very obvious from the box that it's an iPhone 4S.
- From the first season:Dermot: Mrs Nicholson's dead posh, Ma.
Agnes: And so are we! We have a show on the BBC, I don't think she has!
- From the third Christmas Special:Agnes: An exploding cracker. It must be the Christmas episode.
- From the second Christmas Special:Winnie: I used to get that a lot with Jacko. It's called Wa-
Agnes: Winnie! It's the Christmas episode! *mouths to audience* I'm sorry.
- They know they're in a TV show and will often interact with the cameras, crew or mention the fact it's a TV show. If any actors laugh, as they frequently do, it is left in.
- No Fourth Wall: Mrs Brown frequently talks to the audience, and has been known to drop character and comment on the surrealism of the situation, or point out that they are on a studio set.Studio Audience: Awwwwww.... (at a sad situation which upsets Mrs Brown)
Brendan O'Carroll / Mrs Brown: It's a man in a fuckin' dress!
- Also:Mrs Brown (Getting up and walking from the living room to the kitchen) Come on, Ciarán. (To audience, as the camera follows her) Ciarán the cameraman.
- And yes, according to the closing credits one of the camera crew is named Ciarán.
- In another episode the phone in the Browns house rings and Mrs Brown declares that it's for Ciarán before handing it off to a camera man... twice.
- The show may as well be called The Fourth Wall Demolition Crew. In one episode from the third season, Mrs Brown walks out of the kitchen, stopping as the camera is about to pass the set partition, and immediately steps back. She does this twice, giving a glance to the camera.
- At the end of the second season, they acknowledge that it's the end of the season, "but it can't be, we've no song!"
- In one episode, Mrs. Brown walks outside the set, only for one of the camera men to knock into him/her. Brendan O'Carroll/Mrs. Brown laughed as the camera man moved away, and O'Carroll/Mrs. Brown wiped his head with a dish cloth before the episode went back underway.
- Taken up to eleven in Mammy's Gamble: Agnes runs around the living room wall to join Dermot in the kitchen briefly in a scene where she's trapped in the living room with Buster.
- In one episode, a camera man breaks the kitchen window, something that Agnes comments on.
- In another, one of the cameras accidentally appears in shot whilst moving to its next position. Agnes calls out, "Dermot! The man's here about the wedding video!"
- "Psycho" Strings: Appears to appear after Mrs Brown says something shocking and ominous in one episode in one episode, but is subverted (see Left the Background Music On).
- Running Gag: "That's nice." note
- Refuge in Audacity: Most of the time. One example is when Mrs Brown goes out to the pub wearing a bra that increases your breast size. She shows it to Winnie, but then it won’t stop getting bigger. While they’re both panicking about her chest size, which is growing to ridiculous proportions, the local priest comes over and starts chatting to them. He finally decided to comment on the bra(“Mrs Brown, are your tits swelling?”) and Winnie just bites Mrs Brown’s breasts, to burst the bra.
- Script Breaking: Constantly. Brendan O'Carroll usually says/does things that the other actors don't expect. One particular example causes one of the actors to burst out laughing
- Hell! Brendan himself sometimes screws up.
- In an extended scene on the series one DVD, the actors go so far off the rails O'Carrol breaks character to ask the camera crew "if you hear anything I wrote, fuckin' say bingo, will you?"
- Shout-Out: Mrs Brown tries to set a booby trap with Acme branded products
- Sir Swears-a-Lot: Though not continuously swearing, she has no shame in doing so if she feels the situation requires it. (She sometimes substitutes the less obscene "feck", although the hard-of-hearing subtitlers don't always get it right.)
- Sitcom Archnemesis: Agnes and Hilary in the majority of series 2-3.
- Sliding Scale of Fourth Wall Hardness: In the Christmas specials for Agnes' friends and family. Buster is unsettled by Agnes randomly giving a PSA, while Mark and Cathy end the episode for Agnes in the first special.
- In the first episode of the third season, Winnie refers to Agnes's opening monologue being in the local pub as "talking to yersel'."Winnie: You usually do that in your kitchen.
- The end-of-season songs count as well.
- In the first episode of the third season, Winnie refers to Agnes's opening monologue being in the local pub as "talking to yersel'."
- Studio Audience: Occasionally included in shot, as well as addressed.
- Unexplained Recovery: After Rory crashed his car through the remodelled kitchen, the original returns in the next episode with no explanation.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Agnes frequently mentions having six children, but only five ever appear.
- For those curious, the sixth child, Simon, only appeared in the radio show. He was Rory's twin brother, and spoke with a stutter.