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Series / Smack the Pony

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Smack the Pony is a British Sketch Comedy show that aired on Channel 4 from 1999 to 2003 (3 seasons comprised of 7 episodes each, with 2 Christmas specials) and starred comedians Fiona Allen, Doon Mackichan and Sally Phillips, with regular appearances from Sarah Alexander, Cavan Clerkin, Darren Boyd and James Lance. It was notable for the main cast being entirely female, the male characters and performers usually only having bit parts.

The comedy style is surreal and often nonsensical, with quick, rapid-fire skits that tend to feature otherwise normal, everyday situations with one really off-the-wall element inserted and taking up most of the focus — such as a boss who tells off her employees in silly voices, an otherwise shy woman having dozens of nude paintings of herself in her living room and asking guests not to look at the paintings, a wife keeping her husband awake, first by hogging the covers and then by playing the drums in her sleep. Every episode also had one musical number towards the ending, which was usually a pastiche or spoof of contemporary music.

The show won an Emmy in both 1999 and 2000 for "Best Popular Arts Show." Two of the skits also made it onto Channel 4's list of the 50 Greatest Comedy Sketches, with Saying Goodbye at 39 and Singing Match at 22. It was also the root inspiration - and occasional source of borrowed material - for similar all-female comedy shows on French and German TV.

Provides examples of:

  • All Men Are Perverts: Some of the skits take this point of view. Then again, other skits show that All Women Are Lustful as well.
  • Cheek Copy: Done a couple of times in office-themed sketches, most spectacularly as a disgruntled employee's way of getting back at her overbearing boss:
    Employee: You know you asked me to make photocopies of your memo for the office?
    Boss: Yes, is it a problem? I would have thought it was a simple enough task, even for somebody secretarily challenged as you.
    Employee: Yeah, well, I think there's something wrong with the photocopier.
    Boss: You think? *mocking laugh* Aaaaw, that's a good one, Jackie.
    Employee: Yeah, instead of making photocopies of your memo, it's made three hundred copies of my naked breasts. *holds up a black-and-white photocopy of, yes, a pair of naked breasts* And three hundred copies of my bare arse. *holds up a black-and-white photocopy of, yeah, you get the picture*
    Boss: this your way of telling me you quit, Jackie?
    Employee: Yeah. Yeah, it is.
  • Chewing the Scenery: All the performers do this from time to time, but Doon Mackichan tends to do it the most.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: A lot of the characters in the various skits.
  • Comic Sutra: One of the dating videos features a couple who claim to be familiar with sexual acts such as "Upstairs Downstairs", the "Half-Eaten Samosa", and "making the puffin fly".
  • Crazy Cat Lady: A spoof advert depicts a woman who treats her cat as a substitute boyfriend, to the extent of feeding it cans of beer, sharing lines of coke with it, and beckoning it into the bedroom.
  • Cross Channel Equivalent The French TV series Vous- Les Femmes, which began in 2009, also featured a troupe of comediennes performing sketches about being women, relationships with men, having children and the pressures of working life, which often started small and escalated into absurdity. note 
    • A German TV show called Knallerfrauen covered the same ground using a troupe of comediennes and also heavily homages STP.
  • Cutting the Electronic Leash: A character throws her phone into a lake. She immediately regrets it and goes into the water to look for it.
  • Disney Creatures of the Farce: One sketch features a live-action Snow White working in an ordinary office, with animated bluebirds flying around her head and cartoon bunnies skipping beside her.
  • Drama Queen: A few examples, the most notable probably being the ice cream saleswoman who, when finding out her temporary employment is coming to an end, threatens to drown herself — and when her bemused employer fails to react with concern, begins screaming: "Do you like that? Me drowning myself?! Does it make you feel big?! Important?! You killer!"
  • Eating the Eye Candy: Subverted here, in a parody of the Diet Coke adverts.
  • Embarrassing Tattoo: A dating video sketch had "an ex-punk, looking for a soulmate with equally regrettable past" and revealing she has an obscene tattoo on her forehead covered by her long fringe.
  • Fainting: A Running Gag, especially in Series 1: Random women will be going about their everyday lives, and then either a random still image will be inserted for a second, or a completely naked man will walk by, whereupon the women faint.
  • Girl on Girl Is Hot: One of the recurring "Dating Video" segments involves a lesbian couple (who are both apparently rather naive) looking for a man who is willing to join them for a threesome, only to sadly give up in the belief that no man would ever want to watch two women having sex or join in with them.
  • Grammar Correction Gag: A man writes "Rick love's Sofie" in the sand, which she corrects to "Rick loves Sophie". Then he crosses out the "loves", and she adds a "P" to the beginning of his name.
  • Have I Mentioned I Am Heterosexual Today?: Parodied herein a sketch involving two female actresses filming a lesbian kiss scene. One of them is given to loudly expressing how disgusting she finds the whole process once the cameras have stopped filming, and at one point demands that an aide call her fiancee and "tell him I love him." Unfortunately for her, her co-star is clearly nursing quite a heavy crush on her, and keeps suggesting that they might need to retake the scene a little too frequently and eagerly.
  • Master of the Mixed Message: A woman's friend advises her to play hard to get. Her first attempt at this is going up to a guy at a bar, saying "do you want my number?" and throwing her drink in his face before he's even opened his mouth.
  • Musical Pastiche: Every Episode Ending, generally of a contemporary hit.
  • The '90s: The very end of them.
  • Queer Character, Queer Actor: In-universe example: one sketch involves two actresses who have to play a lesbian scene. The straight actress is queasy about it all and wants to get it out of the way as quickly as possible. But the lesbian actress keeps inventing excuses for reshoots.
    "No, I'm not happy with the way I did that. sorry! My fault! But can we do just one more take?"
  • Running Gag: Lots and lots.
  • Slapstick: It's definitely the girls doing the majority of pratfalls in this series.
  • Stripperiffic: A procession of women getting out of limos and walking up a red carpet, each coming out in more revealing dresses and stealing the press attention from the others. The first one has a Sexy Slit Dress, the second a Navel-Deep Neckline, the third a dress slit from top to bottom but for a single knot at the waist. The last woman is wearing what looks like a conservative long black dress... until she turns around to reveal a circular window exposing her bare arse.
  • Terrible Interviewees Montage: The recurring dating video sketches.
  • Wacky Marriage Proposal: A sketch features a man who thinks hiding a ring in a cake is far too predictable, so he chooses to hide a World War I German helmet inside the cake inside, much to his girlfriend's bemusement.
  • Wiper Start: A pair of police officers on a stakeout are supposed to send a signal by flashing their headlights. Instead they manage to put the siren, lights, and alarm on all at once.
  • Woman Child: An occasional source of comedy, with grown women acting like immature, bratty or hyper children.
  • Women Drivers: An occasional target of Self-Deprecation.