It focused on two twenty-something friends at crossroads in their lives. Tim is a cynical aspiring comic book artist and geek who is dumped by his girlfriend in the first episode. Daisy is a bubbly aspiring journalist who doesn't have anything to say nor the work ethic to say it. They pretend to be a couple in order to rent an inexpensive flat. The show focuses on their zany adventures as they struggle to get their lives on track. Tim's military-obsessed friend Mike, Daisy's ditzy glamour friend Twist, Mad Artist Brian in the flat below and dipsomaniac landlady Marsha complete the main cast.
The show was written by its stars, Simon Pegg and Jessica Stevenson, and directed by Edgar Wright. Because Pegg and Wright went on to collaborate on a string of successful films, Stevenson's contributions are often ignored by overeager marketing executives who label the show as "From the creators of Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz." Still, the show's manic camera work and frequent references to popular genre films and TV shows can ring very familiar.
In 2018, Pegg definitively ruled out any possibility of continuing the series saying "it couldnt possibly ever exist again" because it was about "a group of twenty-somethings at the turn of the century" and "I dunno what I have to say thats relatable about life now. Its not gonna happen, kids unless you want a sitcom about some clueless actor who cant tie his own shoelaces."
Contains examples of:
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: When Marsha's daughter starts throwing a tantrum, both Tim and Daisy imagine different scenarios involving smeared lipstick.
- Growing Up Sucks: A rare post-childhood example; all of the main characters are pretty immature and struggle to come to terms with the fact that their childhoods are over and they're becoming adults, with all the responsibilities that involves. Tim in particular seems to have a bit of a complex about it.Tim: [About Marsha] We've potentially destroyed her faith in today's youth!
[Everyone looks at him skeptically]
Tim: [Sheepishly] Young adults.
- Imagine Spot: Used frequently.
- Magic Realism: The show presents an exaggerated, cartoonish, and often subjective reality with extreme camerawork, fast editing, and sound effects. Frequent references to genre films and TV shows also blur the lines of reality, while outright dream sequences and fantasies are also very common. It happens to such an extent it prompts the characters to question if things they thought just happened really did happen, or to comment on the unbelievability of some of the situations they end up in.
- Mundane Made Awesome: Several seemingly trivial situations are given a huge amount of gravitas with a dash of Shout Outs. Tyres dancing to everyday sound effects (traffic signals, phone calls, pouring water etc.) is a good example.
- Platonic Life-Partners: Tim and Daisy share a flat, and both are single heterosexuals attempting the Masquerade of being a couple, nothing sexual happens between them. The audience's expectations of UST are the source of several misdirection jokes. It's implied that the reason Daisy attempted to move out in the final episode was partially because the UST was becoming unbearable for her, and in the Skip to the End extra, it's confirmed that they are now a real couple with a baby and are still squabbling happily in the same flat.
- Shout-Out, Homage, The Parody: By the bucket, of everything, including some rather obscure films and TV shows. The DVDs even have a subtitle track consisting purely of the sources of each reference, including, rather confusingly, those from shows within the show. For example, in one episode, Daisy is making up a story about working on a movie to impress someone, saying the movie's to be named Guacamole Window. The subtitle on that track then says "Film Ref: Guacamole Window, Directed by and starring Daisy Steiner." And indeed itself, when it harks back to the victory walk when Bilbo takes Tim back.
- Alpha Bitch: Daisy's friend Twist is as shallow as a saucer, quite vicious and uncaring of her friend's feelings. And a Fag Hag.
- Ambiguously Gay: Brian is quickly asked point-blank if he is gay, which he denies with an almost regretful tone. He later claims to have had "a love-affair between two straight men" with his "post-sexual" collaborator Vulva, whom he refers to as a she. Mike straight out says "I've always fancied you" to Tim. Also, Edgar Wright said that "[they] might have ended up getting him together with Dexter or someone like that. Or him just admitting he was gay."
- Background Halo: The "devil horns" variant is played for laughs as Daisy realises she and Tim are going to have to keep lying to Marsha about them being a couple in order to continue renting her flat; "We're evil," Daisy laments, just as the shot is reframed to conspicuously position a pair of bananas in a fruit bowl as horns on her head.
- Bi the Way: Mike. Undoubtedly.
- Bratty Teenage Daughter: Marsha's daughter Amber.
- Genki Girl: Daisy tries in her half-arsed way to be this, but without much success.
- She Who Must Not Be Seen: Marsha's daughter Amber, despite the incomprehensible noise of her rows with her mother, is only ever seen as a faceless blur storming down the stairs. Played by the producer's sister in a wig. Amber's part in angry conversations heard but not seen are done by Jessica Stevenson.
- She is commented by most of the characters as being quite a looker... apparently.
- Lady Drunk: Marsha.
- Mad Artist: Brian is incredibly angsty and tortured (not to mention pretentious) though not in a dangerous way. He does find he's unable to paint when he's happy.
- Mood-Swinger: Tyres, whose brain is so fried from drugs and raving that he can't sustain a single emotion for more than a few seconds.Tyres: "Last night was an A1, tip-top, clubbing jam fair, it was a sandwich of fun, on ecstasy bread, wrapped up in a big bag like disco fudge. It doesn't get much better than that, I just wish I could control these FUCKING MOOD SWINGS!!"
- Stalker with a Crush: Brian.Brian: "I see all of my ex-girlfriends. Well, not so much see as watch."
- The Ace: Duane Benzie is clearly this in Tim's memories (more athletic, higher income, nice car, more attractive to women). In both of his appearances, however, his treatment makes him more akin to a Butt-Monkey.
- Actor Allusion: Peter Serafinowicz (as Duane) quotes one of his (few) lines as Darth Maul in the episode "Gone". At the time, this was only known from the trailer, and they were looking forward to it. It turned that the only thing Tim would hate more than Duane Benzie was The Phantom Menace.
- Air-Vent Passageway: Used by Tim in the episode "Help".
- Art Shift: Flashbacks are shot in a blurry, pink-hued style.
- Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: Played with. Tim starts to explain to Daisy about how easily distracted Tyres has been an certain occasions, but both of them are immediately distracted by the TV.Tim: "Tyres has got a really short attention span; I remember once we were oh look, wrestling!"
- Mike is implied to have had this happen to him as well. Prior to series one, Mike stole a tank and attempted to invade Paris and was only apprehended when he stopped off at Disneyland Paris to ride Space Mountain.
- Berserk Button: For Tim, anyone complimenting the Star Wars prequels. He even throws a little kid out of the comic book store he works at for wanting a Jar Jar Binks action figure. Bilbo Bagshot also punches anyone who calls Hawk the Slayer rubbish.
Tim: I hate it! It's boil-in-the-bag perversion for sexually repressed accountants and first-year drama students with too many posters of Betty Blue, The Blues Brothers, Big Blue and Blue Velvet on their blue bloody walls!
- Perhaps the only thing that aggravates Tim as much as the Star Wars prequels is romantic rival Duane Benzie, played by Peter Serafinowicz, the voice of... Darth Maul in The Phantom Menace!
- He also flips out in the beginning over the group playing "Time Warp" at his housewarming party.
- Bilbo's rival, Derek, will not hear a bad word said about Babylon 5
- Biggus Dickus: Brian has one that he uses as a paintbrush on occasion. Tim happens to get a glance and simply calls it "huge".
- Big "NO!": Parodied, particularly in "Battles" after Mike takes a paintball for Tim.
- Big "YES!": A munted Daisy reacts this way when Tim orders tequila slammers.
- Binge Montage: Especially in "Gone".
- Blood from the Mouth: Parodied with Mike's Taking the Bullet of a paintball pellet, which is set up earlier in the episode:"Don't eat the paintballs."
- A Bloody Mess: "Brian, NOOO! Oh God, why? ...This [shirt] was new!"
- Boggles the Mind:
Guard: Three letters; to walk quickly, manage or oversee.
- When Tim and Daisy get into a Scrabble-tile-throwing fight after an argument over whether "Shazam" or "Pro-V" counted as words, Daisy notices that the last 4 tiles they threw at each other spelt "Fuck". Tim asks her what she thinks that means...
- A crossword gag from another episode;
- Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs: "...we drink until we (A) fall over, (B) puke, or (C) fall over and puke!"
- Breakup Breakout: Although it cannot be said that Jessica Hynes (nee Stevenson) career has floundered since the show, she has definitely been overshadowed by Pegg, who has gone on to star in several noted films since, some of which have been highly successful hits.
- Brick Joke: Daisy humping the air to mock Twist fancying Brian in 'Chaos', then being forced to listen to the real thing in Season 2.
- Broke the Rating Scale: Meta-example, the bonus subtitles that point out all the references just give up for the Paintball episode and declares that it's referencing "every war movie, ever".
- Chekhov's Gun: In "Gone", the fact that any man will throw everything into a pretend gunfight at the drop of a hat.
- Cold Opening
- Commuting on a Bus: Twist in Series 2.
- Compliment Backfire: Most of Twist's communication with Daisy in particular takes the form of possibility unintentional but definitely hurtful and snide backhanded compliments.
- Marsha gets a few of these in as well: "You look really well! A lot of people lose weight when they're travelling."
- Country Matters: Implied when Sophie has to work late due to a misprint on the cover of the latest issue of "Total Cult".
- Cover Identity Anomaly: When Tim and Daisy pretend to be a couple in order to rent an apartment. Though they attempt to be as thorough as possible by learning a multitude of mundane details about each other ("I forgot what you got for your fifth birthday!" "Miniature drum kit"), they get caught in their lie while fumbling around regarding what day they had sex first vs. what day they kissed first. Also, it's not until after they get the story of their shared history straight that they think to tell each other their names.
- Credits Gag: At the end of "Epiphanies", cast names were presented in alternate, rave-ish names, such as The Fresh Pegg, Jazzy Jess, and Edgar Wright Here Wright Now.
- Crew of One: Implied in Mike's backstory where he stole a tank with the intention of invading Paris. Averted in "Leaves", where Mike needs Brian, Tim, Dexter and Cromwell's help to crew the tank he borrows to help persuade Marsha to come home.
- Cut Apart: The first scene appears to be Tim and Daisy splitting up, with Tim shouting up to Daisy's window. We see at the end of the scene that the two characters are talking to different characters, as Tim leaves.
- A Date with Rosie Palms:Sophie: We can still have sex on the internet.Tim: What do you think I was doing before?
- Daydream Surprise: And plenty of them. In some cases, Tim and Daisy break from the fantasy, then follow it up by doing exactly the same thing later.
- Deep-Immersion Gaming: Tim does this with Resident Evil 2 at the beginning of episode 3.
- Distant Finale: Arguably, the last scene from the "Skip to the End" documentary.
- Drugs Are Good: Recreational drug use is a) rather prominent and b) not a big deal.
- Dual Wielding: Paintball guns. And finger guns.
- Mike likes to dual wield MP5s.
- Dutch Angle: During the Good Cop/Bad Cop scene in Help. WHAT?!
- Episode of the Dead: Series 1 Episode 3 "Art" has Tim hallucinate that a party is full of zombies as a result of taking some cheap speed the night before (he didn't want to offend the overly-friendly Scottish drug dealers) and then spending all night playing Resident Evil 2.
- Even Evil Has Standards: Duane would shoot a man at point blank range in the back of the head (with a paintball gun), but he would never shoot someone directly in the face.
- Evil Laugh: Mike when he's finally allowed back in the TA starts one when he's firing two large rifles at a shooting range.
- Evil Sounds Deep: Duane Benzie (Peter Serafinowicz supplying a voice almost as deep as the one that left Fran Katzenjammer weak at the knees. Tim tries to out-gravel him while Volleying Insults, and it just makes him cough.
- Failed a Spot Check: Marsha, repeatedly. Tim and Daisy are terrible at maintaining The Masquerade but Marsha is apparently blind to their endless slip-ups (including two in as many minutes in the first episode, see Cover Identity Anomaly above).
- Fight Clubbing: The "Robot Club."
- Finger Gun: The episode Gone features two epic finger gun battles; Mike and Tim demonstrate the "unspoken male telepathy" that leads any group of men left together to inevitably have a finger gunfight, and later in the episode Tim and Daisy trick a gang of muggers into engaging in one (thereby gaining the chance to escape while the muggers are playing dead).
- Food Fight: One that starts with a Food Slap in "Dissolution".
- "Friends" Rent Control: Although the apartment is significantly smaller than most sitcom residences, Simon Pegg remarks in the documentary "Skip to the End" what a big joke it was that they could rent such a place for £90/week.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: Sophie has to blow off a date with Tim because there was a misprint on the cover of one of Dark Star's comics. The comic in question was called Total Cult... that's definitely a typo that needs to be fixed quite urgently.
- Girlish Pigtails: Twist can been seen wearing these quite a bit.
- Good Cop/Bad Cop: Tim and Mike subject Daisy to this in the episode Help. Mike was the good cop.
- Groin Attack: Paintballs.Tim: No hard feelings, eh?
Duane: You shot me in the bollocks, Tim.
Tim: Yeah, well like I said... No hard feelings.
- Happy Dance: Tim does one walking down the street, Brian utterly fails to imitate it later in the episode. In a later episode, Tim and Bilbo do one in sync.
- Heroic BSoD: Tim seems to be having one regarding Sarah in the first series, as evidenced by the drawings Daisy finds of him torturing Sarah and Duane. The last one she finds shows that he's gotten better. Tim also apparently had another major one in 1990 when Johnny Alpha died.
- He's Just Hiding!: In-Universe. Mike thought his childhood pet rabbit was still living next-door.
- He's Not My Boyfriend: Said word for word by Tim, about Mike. More in the spirit of the trope, Tim and Daisy have a few moments of this.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: Tim's boss tells him a story about a guy who trained his dog to attack rich people, only to win the lottery himself one day...
- Humans Are Morons: Tim defends the Sci-Fi genre arguing that "the thoughts and speculations of our contemporary authors and thinkers have probably never been closer to the truth." Cut to a group of aliens outside the comic book shop laughing at how ridiculous everything on display is. To make it even better, the aliens look exactly like they would in some cheesy 1950s B-movie.
- Hypocritical Humour: Right after Daisy says she's not going to be one of those dog owners who dresses their pet up in stupid costumes & takes photos, it's revealed that Brian had dressed Colin up whilst she was talking about not dressing him up, and is now taking pictures of the dog. Daisy promptly joins in.
- I Always Wanted to Say That:Tim: "I can't believe you said 'step on it'!"
Daisy: "Why not?"
Tim: "...I wanted to say it."
- I Coulda Been a Contender!: Marsha claims she was once on track to be an Olympic sprinter, until a guy hit her with his car and gave her a drink, saying it'd 'help with the pain' ("he was not wrong...").
- I Never Told You My Name: Played this in the Homage (of sorts) to The Matrix. With the agents grilling Brian at the front door when they were looking for Daisy.Agent 1: Can you tell us where she [Daisy] is, Mr. Topp?Brian: How do you know my name?Agent 1: It's written on the doorbell.Brian: ...Alright.Agent 2: Where is she, Brian?
- Improbable Age: The employment agency boss in series 2. She has braces, appears to be a about 15... and is one of the most mature characters to ever appear on the show.
- Inner Monologue Conversation: This happens several times. It is also subverted: Daisy, while they are fumbling to come up with a lie, thinks (It's times like this I wish I was telepathic. Don't you, Tim?) She looks over to Tim, whose thoughts are dead silent. It's later played with when Tim answers Daisy's internal monologue.
- Irrevocable Message: Tim's unflattering caricature of Damien Knox, which was of course inadvertently sent to Knox as part of a job application.
- The Ken Burns Effect: Used several times on the show, with the camera panning over the comics used to tell a story.
- Lame Pun Reaction: During the paintballing Mexican Standoff between Tim and Duane, Duane's mobile phone rings:Tim: Aren't you going to answer that?
Duane: I've got an answering service.
Tim: You've got an answer for everything.
Duane: I cannot believe you just said that.
- Left the Background Music On: After Tim tells Daisy that Sarah is single again, we hear a loud 'red alert' alarm. Daisy asks what the sound was, and it turns out it's the new doorbell Tim bought.
- Leitmotif: Throbbing club beats for Tyres. They tend to drown out his nonsensical monologues.
- "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy" for Colin.
- Love Makes You Uncreative: Brian realizes that his relationship with Twist is preventing him from painting, because he can only paint when he is unhappy. Subverted, because the realization that he must choose between his relationship and his career makes him unhappy, allowing him to paint successfully again.
- Manchild: All of them, with the possible exception of Tyres. Not that the women are any better.
- Maybe Ever After: For more than one couple, although a DVD extra clarifies one pairing.
- Meaningful Echo: When Tim asks Marsha what it'll take to keep her from selling the house, she replies "Something bloody spectacular". After Mike's got a suitable idea for what this could be, this exchange occurs:Mike: It's on.Tim: What's on?Mike: Something bloody spectacular.
- Meet Cute: Daisy mistakes Tim for a drug dealer.
- Metaphorgotten: Daisy's likening of her failed relationship with Richard to a sandwich toaster gets a bit off message, eventually leading to a Broken Aesop ("Chuck your boyfriend, have a sandwich.")
- Mondegreen: Daisy at the party in episode 2, singing along to The King Of Rock And Roll "Have a cookie"
- Mundane Made Awesome: Scenes from films are re-enacted with a fraction of the budget, in far more mundane circumstances. Played for bathos or pastiche.Tim: Now, we'll have to climb over a perimeter fence. It's about two meters high.Mike: It's not impossible, I used to climb over my neighbor's fence, it wasn't much higher than two meters.
[Mike and Tim are sitting in gridlock]Tim: What's the hold up?Mike: There's been an accident. Someone got hurt.Tim: Who?Mike: A lady.Tim: How d'you know?Mike: Because we hit her.Tim: Did we?Mike: Yeah. That's her there.[Female cyclist appears at the window, scaring Tim - played by Olivia Williams, star of The Sixth Sense]
- The gunfight. Not just a Finger Gun battle, it has Dual Wielding, frag grenades, gun jams, Big Nos, even a segue to classical music to pan over the "dead" and highlight the senseless waste of it all.
- The paintball duel. And Mike's Heroic Sacrifice, complete with Paint From The Mouth.
- A reenactment of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest set in the kitchen of a fast food restaurant. Called "Neo Nachos".
- In an early episode, Daisy and Mike share a moment out of Pulp Fiction, when Daisy finds Mike's Uzi on the counter when she gets home. He walks out of the bathroom to find his gun pointed at him. The two stare tensely at each other, and then they start to have a conversation and forget it happened.
- From The Sixth Sense:
- Part one of the second series finale ends with Tim and Mike about to go and talk to Marsha, done as an almost word-for-word take on the end of The Empire Strikes Back.
- Compete with Wookiee noises imitated (quite well!) by a yawning Mike.
- The first time Brian steps in to cover for Tim and Daisy's fake relationship with a well-timed excuse, he gets played out by the theme from The Magnificent Seven (and, being Brian, screws up his exit.)
- Murder Is the Best Solution: Daisy's Plan B on getting a dog."And if it doesn't work out... we'll kill it."
- Mushroom Samba: After getting cheap Es from a bunch of Scottish guys and playing too much Resident Evil 2, Tim starts seeing zombies everywhere.
- Never Say "Die": Not the series itself, but Tim falls victim to a childhood version of this when Daisy miserably remarks that Colin's "gone next door."Tim: Oh, Daisy, I'm so sorry, Daisy. How did it happen?
Daisy: [Bemused] ... He walked.
Tim: Right. Right. Sorry. It's just that my mum used to use 'going next door' as a euphemism for death.
Mike: [Shocked] Whoa whoa whoa! Hold on! Does that mean my rabbit's dead?!
Tim: It's been eighteen years, Mike, where did you think he was?
Mike: Next door!
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Tim drew a caricature of of head of Dark Star Comics describing himself as a massive wanker. Naturally, Tim removed this piece before submitting his portfolio to Dark Star for consideration. Only Daisy, who apparently only wanted to help, put it back in.
- There's a few subtle hints dropped that Daisy may have been jealous of Tim's break, and wanted to sabotage it.
- Noodle Incident: From "Epiphanies,"Tyres: Last time I've seen Mike he was on Crime Watch.Tim: Oh no, no, that was a case of mistaken identity. Police had his house surrounded all last week.Tyres: No, this was about two months ago.Tim: Oh yeah, that was him.
- The Incident that happened with Tim and Mike in their childhood also counts, until the details are revealed at the end of series 1. Tim dared Mike to jump out of a tree and insinuated he was a chicken when he didn't. When he finally did jump, Mike landed badly and detached his retinas
- The Not-So-Harmless Punishment: Tim, unable to cope with The Phantom Menace, is admonished by Bilbo for getting cross with a child who wanted to buy a Jar Jar Binks doll. When he asks Bilbo what he's going to do about his behavior, Bilbo responds, "I'm going to have to let you go." Tim, relieved that he's being let off the hook when he thought he was going to be fired, takes a brief moment before understanding that firing him is exactly what Bilbo had intended doing all along.
- Obstructive Bureaucrat: Daisy does not have a good time in the Job Centre: "No, this is the A-b form, you need the A-B form, capital B." The clerk responds to her questions with a simpering smile and an inane, "I'm sorry, I don't understand." Although he's a definite example of the trope, Daisy isn't exactly in the right; she's a would-be benefit sponge making a transparent attempt to claim fraudulent benefits, and the clerk has clearly seen through her feeble efforts and clocked exactly what she's up to.
- Hilariously subverted by ''Tim's'' clerk;
- Odd Friendship: Tim and Brian. Tim denies disliking Brian when asked, but also admits that he's not sure why he likes him, and openly mocks him for being pretentious.
- Ominous Latin Chanting:
- At the end of the episode "Battles," in which Tim revealed his phobia of dogs, lightning, and bamboo, some ominous latin chanting accompanies an image of the dog Colin sitting on Tim's bed, chewing on some bamboo sticks during a lightning storm.
- Used several times in "Dissolution", as part of an extended parody of The Omen.
- One Dialogue, Two Conversations: In "Dissolution", between Marsha and Tim regarding "what [Tim's] up to". Marsha is talking about what she perceives as Tim cheating on Daisy, while Tim is talking about the typewriter-shaped cake he secretly bought for Daisy's birthday. This is driven home by cuts to a Tim/Sophie kiss and a shot of the cake after all of Marsha's and Tim's lines, respectively.
- Pac-Man Fever: Averted. Tim plays what were, at the time, relatively up-to-date video games, and the several scenes feature then very overtly.
- And, in fact, Simon Pegg was actually playing the game through each take.
- Notably one of the games he's seen playing, Resident Evil 2 factors into the plot of the episode.
- Another notable example that comes to mind was an argument between Tim and Daisy interspersed with cutaway shots of a game of Tekken. At the end of the argument, Tim walked away as the Tekken game displayed 'NINA WINS!' on the screen, and following that Daisy stood in a similar winning pose to Nina and it displayed 'DAISY WINS' on the screen.
- Paintball Episode
- Pair the Spares: Toyed with in the second series with Mike and Marsha. Nearly all of their scenes together are open to interpretation, but their last scene in the series finale - involving each one's respective favourite thing - seems to speak volumes.
- Please Put Some Clothes On: Brian is often naked or close to it, and appears oblivious to the discomfort this causes in his flatmates.
- Plucky Office Girl: Averted. Daisy predicts she'll end up as one of these, but it just doesn't happen.
- Post-Somethingism: During a job interview, Daisy is asked if she considers herself a post-feminist, to her confusion. The interviewer simplifies the question to whether she drinks pints or shots.
- Pre Ass Kicking One Liner: Mike attempts this on the agents in the pub ("Say hello to my little friend!") only for the agents to disarm him easily. He notes after ("Note to self: Shoot first, quip later.") that the Bond One-Liner would be much more effective.
- Quote-to-Quote Combat: In "Ends" Tim and Daisy fight with idioms when discussing about Tim moving back in with Sarah:Daisy: What do you mean you have a funny feeling?
Tim: I can read her like a book.
Daisy: Never judge a book by its cover.
Tim: He who dares wins.
Daisy: Look before you leap.
Tim: Do you believe in life after love?
Daisy: That's a song.
- Reference Overdosed: Not that there's anything wrong with that. People can watch the show, and those who don't get the references can enjoy the jokes without problems, and those who do catch all the reference can actually add more laughs. Wright and Pegg's films after the series have this as a method of writing and directing. The DVD boxsets come with an optional "Homage-O-Meter" setting to keep track of every Shout-Out.
- Romantic False Lead: Sophie. A perfectly charming girl and a good match for Tim, but Mike and Daisy resent her taking him away from them.
- Roommate Com: Two twenty-somethings share a flat in London, plus the various odd characters around them, with added pop-culture based surrealism. However, despite their improbably cheap flat, the depiction of their economic situation is pretty realistic (worries about jobs, no disposable income).
- Running Gag: Plenty, to the series and individual episodes.
- What does Brian paint? "Anger. Pain. Fear. Aggression." "Watercolours?"
- The recurring memory of Tim and Mike's childhood in the treetop— finally played out in its entirety in the series 1 finale.
- In flashbacks the male characters always seem to have their current facial hair no matter how young they are.
- Sanity Slippage: In the series 1 finale Daisy is initially disturbed when she finds a sketch book of increasingly violent doodles of horrific things happening to Tim' ex-girlfriend... then she notices the last sketch is of Tim and Daisy, holding their dog Colin and the large words "Happiness" underneath.
- Scout-Out: Marsha has two girls in uniform cleaning the cupboards when Daisy and Tim first apply for the flat. The uniforms are similar, but not identical to UK Girl Guide uniforms.
- They're actually archaic Guide uniforms, from sometime before 1991. (Bob-a-job week also no longer existed by then.)
- Second Episode Morning
- Serious Business: Tim and Bilbo take their fantasy/sci-fi fandom extremely seriously. Tim was so disappointed by The Phantom Menace that he burned his Star Wars paraphernalia in a scene mirroring Darth Vader's cremation. Bilbo admits to punching out two people for describing Hawk the Slayer as "rubbish". One of them was his dad. Even still, he sacks Tim for verbally assaulting a child in search of a Jar Jar Binks doll. Then, when Bilbo offers Tim his old job back, all it takes to make Tim's new boss fire him on the spot is for Tim to declare "Babylon 5's a big pile of shit!"
- The paintball game in Season 1 Episode 4.
- Significant Sketchbook: Daisy flips through Tim's sketchbook, growing increasingly alarmed as each page is filled with violent revenge fantasies Tim has drawn involving his ex-girlfriend. The final page shows Tim is happy again though - it's a drawing of him, Daisy and Colin the dog, titled "Happiness".
- Single-Issue Landlord: The ad for the flat Tim and Daisy rent from Marsha was for a "professional couple only," which led to Tim and Daisy to pretend to be a real couple to rent the flat, although late in the series it is revealed that this never was a requirement for the flat in the first place but a mistake of someone working for the newspaper the ad was published in.
- Smash Cut: A common fixture of the show and indeed of its director, Edgar Wright.
- Smoking Hot
SexVacuuming: Tim and Daisy decide to resolve the lingering issue between them when they first move in, and we cut to them lying back enjoying a cigarette. Instead of screwing, it's cleaning the apartment.
- Strange Minds Think Alike: When Brian tells Tim that he and Vulva used to make performance art together, we see Tim's idea of how ridiculous and pretentious it must have been. Then we see Brian's memory of a performance. The two are practically the same.
- When Tim tells a job centre receptionist that he was fired over a difference of opinion, she immediately and correctly guesses that it was because he didn't like The Phantom Menace.
- Stylistic Suck: Brian's art. Dear God, Brian's art: he even doubts his own endeavours from time to time (notably before meeting with former cohort Vulva).Brian: I'm doing a lot of work with paint. Big projects with paint. Big... fucking loser.
- His portrait of Twist shows he's pretty competent at Cubism, at least Mike recognised who it was straight away (though he did also think it was the real Twist).
- Daisy's writing probably qualifies as well, at least early on.
- Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Bilbo hires a new employee who looks a lot like Tim. Unfortunately for him, he insults Hawk the Slayer.
- Taking the Bullet, Leap and Fire: Mike does both on a paintball trip, along with many other war tropes, as the bonus feature subtitles attest to.
- The Thing That Would Not Leave: Subverted: Mike moves in for a little while and when he leaves Daisy and Tim are actually disappointed. Though this is at least partially because both of them had lost what little income they had and were kind of hoping he'd help them pay the rent.
- Throw the Dog a Bone: Mike getting re-admitted into the TA, and later getting promoted over his Sitcom Arch-Nemesis. Tim landing his dream job. Brian starting to have some success as an artist.
- Took a Level in Badass: Daisy, between series 1 and 2.
- Troperiffic: Affectionate Parodies and Shout Outs by the score in every episode.
- True Art Is Angsty: In-Universe. Brian's art is completely defined by negative emotions. He later finds that he can't paint when he is happy.
- True Art Is Incomprehensible: In-Universe.
- Brian's friend Vulva performs incomprehensible performance art pieces that he finds ingenious. When Daisy tries her hand at a similarly ridiculous performance, Brian is moved to tears.
- Later, Brian and Twist go to an exhibition of paintings that are entirely white.
- Except for one single painting (a post-date-with-Twist still-life of some flowers), Brian's entire artistic output is this trope.
- The Unfair Sex: Played with; both Sarah and Twist are presented as incredibly thoughtless at best with regards to how they treat Tim and Brian respectively, but both are ultimately presented as unsympathetic and unfair with regards to this. However, Marsha seems to find the idea of Daisy possibly cheating on Tim titillating, whereas the idea of Tim cheating on Daisy disgusts her. Daisy also cheated on her long-distance boyfriend Richard during their relationship, which was one of the central reasons why they broke up; while she's not really condemned for it in the same way that the other two are, it's also pretty clearly suggested that Richard was justified in breaking up with her.
- Two Scenes, One Dialogue: The cold opening for the first season is shot as if Tim and Daisy are having an argument/breakup but in fact it's Tim breaking up with Sarah, intercut with Daisy trying to get rid of a tramp she apparently took home and slept with whilst drunk. Most of it dovetails surprisingly well, but some of it ends to some fairly uncomfortable non-sequitursTim: Is there somebody else?Daisy: Sort ofTim: What? Who?Daisy: My boyfriendTim: That bastard! I knew it!
- Unfortunate Names: Vulva.
- Verbed Title
- Videogame Cruelty Potential:Brian: What are you playing?
Tim: Tomb Raider III.
Brian: She's drowning.
Brian: Is that the point of the game?
Tim: It depends what mood you're in really.
Brian: What sort of mood are you in then?
Tim: Well, I got a letter from my girlfriend this morning three months too late explaining why she dumped me. It was full of "You'll always be special" and "I'll always love you" platitudes designed to make me feel better while simultaneously appeasing her deep-seated sense of guilt for running off with a slimy little city boy named Duane and destroying my faith in everything in the world that is good and pure.
Brian: So it didn't really work then.
Tim: No, it made me want to drown things!
- Volleying Insults:
- Tim and Duane, every time they meet.
- Women Are Wiser: Generally subverted; while neither Tim nor Daisy are perfect people and each has their flaws, on balance Tim is generally a bit more responsible, focused on his goals and willing to work towards them than the work-shy Daisy.
- World of Ham
- Would Hit a Girl:Daisy: Now hang on, boys. If you think I'm gonna just stand here and watch as you beat up my friend, you've got another thing coming.Thug: Oh, we're gonna beat you up too.