A British sitcom starring Steve Coogan as Tommy Saxondale, an ex-roadie turned Stevenage pest exterminator. Having once toured with most of the great rock bands of the 1970s (though not Led Zeppelin, not that that bothers him), Tommy considers himself to be a maverick free-thinker and independent rebel against the 'straights' and the 'squares'; in fact, he's just an opinionated fool with a trigger-hair temper who's more than a bit stuck in the past and isn't quite the rebel without a cause he likes to make himself out to be. This causes problems for his live-in girlfriend Mags (Ruth Jones), owner of a shop selling 'radical' counter-cultural merchandise, and his quiet lodger Raymond, who find themselves constantly having to dance around his moods. It also means that he's probably not going to be passing the anger management course he finds himself stuck in any time soon, much to his frustration.
Provides examples of:
- Animal Wrongs Group: Tommy encounters a pack of these in the first episode, protesting his clearing a factory of a pigeon infestation. He ends up knee-capping one of them with a pellet gun (partly in self-defence).
- Berserk Button: Tommy has... several.
- Bourgeois Bohemian: Tommy is something of a New Age Retro Rocker at first glance, but he's actually more in line with this trope. He and Mags seem to live in a fairly middle-class suburban neighborhood, and he owns his own business, doesn't party like he did in the 70s, wears nice, fuzzy slippers, and thinks having a tidy-up is not selling out.
- Brilliant, but Lazy: One aspect of Tommy's character, though he's far from lazy and very conscientious about his work. While he sometimes comes across as more of a poseur than an intellectual, he does have a rather sharp mind. Presumably the 70s and his personality foibles have taken their toll on his prospects.
- British Brevity: Ran for two series of six episodes each.
- Early Installment Weirdness: The first series falls into this as the pilot episode features entirely different make-up for Tommy than the other episodes, a different van, an obvious prop dummy in the background at Vicky's office, and other oddities as the pilot was evidently never reshot. The entire first series then seems to invoke this as Tommy's appearance changes somewhat drastically in the second series.
- Hair-Trigger Temper: Tommy has anger management issues stemming from his very hard divorce, so whilst he sort-of tries to keep his temper in check, the slightest thing can set him off.
- Hypocritical Humor: Tommy falls into this trap a lot, most frequently when his "edgy-rebel-without-a-cause" pretensions crash into the reality of his "middle-class Bourgeois Bohemian" lifestyle.
- I Never Told You My Name: When Tommy tries to get his bag of home movies back from Keanu Reeves.
- Improbable Aiming Skills: Played with: Tommy first tries and fails to shoot a can of lager off a fence with a pellet rifle, using the excuse "It's out of alignment." Then, borrowing Raymond's pellet pistol, he uses Guns Akimbo to shoot a half dozen cans off the fence in rapid succession.
- Improbably Cool Car:
- Played with; whilst Tommy's '72 Mach One is a pretty nice car, it's also exactly the kind of car a stuck-in-the-past relic like Tommy would be drawn to. It's quite deliberately one of the less-cool Mustangs of the era. It's alluded to in the episode with a Captain Ersatz of Jeremy Clarkson, but what he really wanted was a Shelby. Much like working for Led Zeppelin, it never quite happened.
- Firmly subverted by the Renault Kangoo (not 'Kangaroo') that he drives for work.
- Jerkass Has a Point: Geoff explains why Tommy acts out in their anger management group session.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Tommy's a prat, no question, but he genuinely loves Mags.
- Know-Nothing Know-It-All: While he's not a complete fool, Tommy's pronouncements about various topics are not nearly as intelligent or well-informed as he likes to think they are.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: "Mice" from the first series sees Tommy called out for a mouse infestation at the home of TV car show presenter Jerome Wilson (Alexander Armstrong), who is very obviously a thinly-veiled fictionalisation of then-Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson. When Steve Coogan appeared in the "Star in a Reasonably-Priced Car" segment on Top Gear shortly after "Mice" aired, he assured Jeremy that while Wilson came across as a "bit of a dick" (Jeremy's words), he intended the character as an Affectionate Parody.
- Porn Stash: Tommy's "Batcave" has a stack of magazines going back to the 60s.
- Post-Mortem One-Liner: Downplayed, since the wound isn't lethal; but Tommy's discussion with the Animal Wrongs Group who threaten him with a knife is otherwise a perfect example of this.Tommy: [After one of them has given him a cut with a knife] Now that's interesting. I am now legally entitled to use reasonable force in a proportionate response.
Activist: [Sneering] What's that meant to mean?
[Tommy shoots him in the knee with a pellet gun; he goes down screaming in pain]
Tommy: Just that, I suppose.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: After exploiting a "person holding the object gets to speak" exercise to insult Geoff in their anger-management class, Tommy is a bit taken aback when Geoff returns the favour in a more devastating fashion:Geoff: I think you consistently disrupt the flow of each class because you pathologically feel the need to dominate every conversation—
Tommy: [Sarcastic aside] Is he talking about me?
Geoff: much like that. And in such situations, where people have the option to walk away from you I'm imagining they generally do.
Tommy: [Taken aback] Alistair...
Geoff: I've got the rabbit. I think also deep down you know that most people find you ridiculous, [Seething, Tommy reaches over to snatch back the rabbit, but Geoff quickly moves it out of his grasp] and your behaviour is some sort of defence mechanism. And when you are in fact offered criticism, [Tommy begins childishly mimicking Geoff] instead of taking it on board, you shoot the messenger.
- Running Gag:
- "...a bit of a dick."
- Tommy never actually toured with Led Zeppelin.
- Soapbox Sadie: Mags can dance around this trope, although despite her shop and hard-left political leanings, she is for the most part sweet, kind and tolerant, if easily ticked off by Tommy's antics.
- Tranquil Fury: A downplayed and simultaneously enforced example. Alistair, the counsellor who runs Tommy's group anger management sessions, is clearly very frustrated with Tommy's obnoxious, childish, petulant and disruptive behaviour during their sessions, but is also both a naturally calm and gentle person and isn't in a position where he can lose his temper with Tommy without fundamentally undermining the whole point of the sessions. Tommy exploits this to get away with his bad behaviour.
- Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist: Like most of Steve Coogan's characters, although Tommy isn't without his merits.