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Series / Takin' Over the Asylum

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We are loonies and we are proud!

Takin' Over the Asylum is a six-part BBC drama which asks the fundamental question "What measure is a non-looney?"

Eddie (Ken Stott of Rebus fame) is a double-glazing salesman in Glasgow, who lives with his Grandmother (she lives with him!), drinks too much and whose dreams of being a DJ are dwindling fast with every passing year. After being pushed out of his unpaid spot on a community radio station, he is put in charge of revamping St. Jude's hospital radio - not knowing that St. Jude's is a mental institution. Once there Eddie encounters a slew of inmates; Rosalie the Obsessive Compulsive Neat Freak, Fergus the Schizophrenic electrical genius who puts Steve McQueen to shame, Francine the self-harming depressant with a tragic past and a soft spot for cats, and the enthusiastic manic-depressive Campbell, played by a young David Tennant who is determined that he and Eddie will break into the big-time.


Throughout the series we learn more and more about how the characters ended up in St. Jude's, Eddie learns more about his own problems and starts asking questions about where the line is drawn between sanity and madness. It also has a bunch of your favourite tunes and won more BAFTAs than you could shake a stick at.

Not to be confused with Running the Asylum.

This series provides examples of:

  • There's a more straightforward example when Fergus cleans up after spending an episode or so wandering around with messy hair, stubble, and a blank look in his eyes. Then once he gets interested in the radio station, he turns up in a lab coat, wearing a pair of glasses, with his mullet in ponytail and his face nicely shaved. The administrator lady checks up on them and assumes he's one of the staff. He does look convincing. It was his ploy to be able to fix or troubleshoot the mixing desk's issues without someone like Stuart restraining him.
  • Aluminum Christmas Trees:
    • Campbell, who has bipolar disorder, frequently uses the slogan "We are loonies and we are proud!" as a rallying cry and cheerfully refers to himself as a loony. This might seem unlikely to some viewers, but in real life some groups of mentally ill people - like the UK Mad Pride movement - are happy to reclaim and use words like mad, crazy or bonkers.
  • An Aesop: Plenty - it's a TV series with a social conscience. Just some: "Loonies" and "Normal People" aren't always so easy to distinguish. The Mental Health system in the UK is a mess and needs to be reformed. The stigma against mental illness must be overcome. Mentally ill people can easily be abused because of stigma and their powerlessness within the mental health system.
    • A secondary one can be, "If you really want to succeed in life, sometimes you need to bend and break the rules." note 
  • The Alcoholic: Eddie as well as "Nana".
  • Angst Coma: Francine in episode 6.
  • Appropriated Appelation: Campbell's rousing trademark rallying cry, "WE ARE LOONIES AND WE ARE PROUD!". In fact, he embraces the term "Loony" as a badge of pride.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: The Administrators succeed in shutting down the Station for good.
  • Bald of Evil: The goony, completely un-professional, metal-band T-shirt-clad, head-butt inflicting cretinous Orderlie, Stuart.
  • Batman Gambit: Campbell pulls this when his father tells him he's going to be discharged and sent to Perth to live with relatives. This would ruin Campbell's DJ dreams so a very memorable scene that even has us viewers fooled....feigns a severe Manic episode during one of his radio broadcasts, rightfully expecting that he would have to be kept in the hospital much longer (and to work on the DJ thing). Had he not done this, he wouldn't have achieved his dream of being a professional D.J. by the series end (and thus proving his father wrong).
  • Bilingual Bonus: Eddie's Grandma does this. Eddie would do something then she may complain or scold in Lithuanian. This also is the source of the problem with the stranded Latvian refugee "Nana".
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: The seemingly sweet, matronly Administrator, Mrs. MacDonald.
  • Bittersweet Ending
    • The Bitter: Eddie fails to achieve his dream and loses his job. Fergus commits suicide. The radio station is shut down and it's windows drywalled over.
    • The Sweet: Campbell achieves his dream of being a D.J. note . Rosalie finally gets her life in order and is released. Francine snaps out of her despair-coma and is last seen on a bench with Eddie and they become a couple note . Finally; The Radio Station was converted into the "Group Therapy Room" which was one of Dr. Winter's other genuinely therapeutic ideas (which Evelyn scoffed at earlier) note .
  • Blithe Spirit: Campbell.
  • Bookends: Eddie and Campbell getting hate mail from listeners (Eddie at his previous Hospital Radio job in the beginning and Campbell at his new Pro-DJ job at the end).
    EDDIE (Episode One): "Now! Last week I asked you to let me know if you wanted to hear more Fifties music, more Sixties music or more Seventies music....and after reading through a total reply....the answer is *fanfare music snippet*....'I hope you break your leg and get gangrene!' *funny buzzer noise* SO! In next week's Mail Bag; Would you like me to break my leg OR get gangrene or would you to like me to break my leg AND get gangrene?!...."
    CAMPBELL (Episode Six): "....And that was 'Hit The Road, Jack', a special dedication to ME, would you believe....from an anonymous listener in Bishopbriggs who writes, 'I know what you are! You should be locked up and have your balls cut off!' So! Well go into next week Mail Bag and you let me know what you think; Should I be locked up OR just have my balls cut off or should I have be locked up AND have my balls cut off?! This is Campbell Bain's Gold Show so don't touch that dial and just....'Let It Be'!...."
  • Born Unlucky: Eddie! Eddie! Eddie! He's a poor loser who's depressed, a functional alcoholic, works at a crappy job with horrible people where he never does well, ends up losing said job at the end and never realizes his dream of being a professional DJ and his Grandma bails at the worst time. Fergus would also apply and he's Driven to Suicide. In fact; Campbell and Rosalie are the only ones who end the series better off than before and even then, Campbell gets hate mail and Rosalie's future may still be up in the air.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Campbell, oh so very much, whose exuberant and over-the-top antics bewilder and befuddle everyone whose not used to him, and turns out to be a natural DJ, due in no small part to said antics.
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday: The Caretaker attempts to shut down the "Loonies'" fundraiser and cut off the power to their set up. When Campbell angrily calls him out on it, the Caretaker simply responds with "Just another day for me". Luckily; Eddie finds the spare electrical generator to keep the whole thing going in the nick of time.
  • Butt-Monkey: Eddie is this at his workplace.
  • Cathartic Chores: this is implied to be how Rosalie's obsessive-compulsive cleaning originated. At first she cleaned things because she and her husband didn't know why her son was sick, and she wanted to make sure it wasn't something in the food or the house. As her son's illness got worse, she kept cleaning, even though she knew it was leukemia - and it became a compulsion.
  • Cerebus Callback: Fergus' suicide scene echoes, in many ways, his earlier hang-glider scene.
  • Cerebus Rollercoaster: And HOW! Enough to get you a metaphorical barf-bag! There's comedy! There's drama! Things appear to look up for our protagonists only to crash down. The show is might as well be called "Hope Spot: The Show!". It finally culminates with one character failing to achieve his dream (Eddie), another character achieving his dream (Campbell), another character dying (Fergus), another getting her life together (Rosalie), a bunch of people losing something that helped them (St. Jude's Patients) and two people finding solace in a shoulder to cry on from someone who loves you and genuinely understands you (Eddie & Francine).
  • Cerebus Syndrome: The first three episodes pretty much consist of a mostly quirky and upbeat comedy with a few dramatic moments (the only real bummer being 'Nana', a minor character who's only in the first episode ending up on the street, again). The last three, however, is a lot darker and tragic (but with a few funny moments courtesy of Campbell)....starting with Fergus' being denied work and committing suicide.
  • Cheshire Cat Grin: Campbell Bain is a master of these.
  • Chivalrous Pervert: Campbell Bain wants to lose his virginity and has never had a girlfriend....despite being a lovable, idealistic, kindhearted, funny, playful Pretty Boy in the highest order. Either his condition without psychiatric care/medication is a billion times worse or he grew up surrounded by either girls who preferred jocks or blind lesbians.
  • Christmas Cake: Eddie is a male version in his Grandma's eyes. Apparently; According to Lithuanian tradition, if you're not married by 30 (Eddie is 38) you're this, regardless of sex. She literally thinks he'll go to Hell if he dies single.
  • Cloud Cuckoo Lander
  • Cold Open: The episodes tend to start with these.
  • Crazy Homeless People: "Nana".
  • Cute, but Cacophonic: Campbell Bain and his chirpy, squeaky voice....except replace "cacophonic" with "adorkably chirpy and perky".
  • The Cutie: Campbell Bain, the endearing, bouncy, childlike, hyperactive budding D.J. (though a tad more worldly in being a guy who wants to eventually 'booze up with pals' and 'lose his virginity').
  • Cute Kitten: Francine gets a bunch of them in a box and begins to recover... then Stuart ruins it by spitefully getting them taken away by the Animal Control people, causing Francine's breakdown/Angst Coma. He then headbutts Eddie in the face, breaking his nose.
  • Deconstruction: The second half of the miniseries is basically this. The first half is pretty much a mostly-upbeat classic, successful, Saving the Orphanage plot in a mediocre-but-not-particularly-Bedlam House mental hospital where they found a cool "Loony-run Radio Station". The second half, basically becomes a grimmer, more serious drama about how an evil and inhumane mental hospital successfully undoes everything, having The Ace killing himself, the Blithe Spirit only succeeding in helping himself and not the protagonist (who ends up with his dream over and unemployed). Again; If you prefer your tales upbeat and idealistic, just watch the first three episodes.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Eddie and Fergus, after discovering that they can't have their dream jobs
  • The Determinator: Campbell oh so VERY much!
  • Didn't Think This Through: Campbell's schemes tend to suffer from the others often have to pick up the slack when they can.
    • Campbell comes up with an impromptu "publicity stunt" by illegally busking on the street and getting the cops mad at them. He intended on getting in the papers but he never bothered to ask any of them to attend. Thus; It's just some incident on the street that's completely not-newsworthy.
    • Campbell comes up with Plan B: A cool fundraiser full of fun and games with a big rented speaker system, a flatbed truck and other stuff....but THAT stuff also costs money (Rosalie, however, manages to pull off getting that stuff).
      • Related to this, he briefly entertained the hair-brained idea of threatening to jump off the roof unless the public donated money for the new mixer.
    • In the end; Campbell makes a last ditch effort to "Save The Station" by having a radiothon....which is only heard by the patients and, needless to say, they can't donate much.... leading to the station shut down for good.
  • Domestic Abuse: subverted. Rosalie comes back from meeting her angry, tense husband with a black eye - but he didn't hit her, she had stuff thrown at her by some kids whose parents don't like the idea of her and other "loonies" moving into their neighbourhood.
  • Dramedy: Especially the Lighter and Softer first three episodes.
  • Driven to Suicide: Fergus. And Francine's mother
  • Drowning My Sorrows: Campbell at Fergus' funeral. Eddie in general.
  • Dying Moment of Awesome: Fergus' suicide may even be this. He killed himself because Dr. Hollis wanted him to be her Unwitting Test Subject after seeing him paraglide (Hollis is a prestigious writer of books on Schizophrenia). After she destroys what would've been guaranteed employment for Fergus....Fergus, with nothing left to live for, one-ups her by killing himself before her eyes....depriving her of her latest Meal Ticket.
  • Dynamic Entry: Campbell does these a few times.
  • Evil Gloating: Stuart to Eddie after Eddie calls him out on taking away Francine's kittens and causing her to enter a Angst Coma in response. Another thuggish male nurse then beats Eddie up.
  • Expospeak Gag: Or in this case Game-Rule-O-Speak gag. Campbell's long, confusing ramble concerning how the "Loony Pool" scoring system works....producing a Flat "What" from the geeky-looking patient, Hector.
  • Failure Montage: Eddie gets this in Episode 2 in regards to selling windows and being late for Campbell's radio show (and getting a parking ticket). This is interspersed with Campbell and Fergus preparing for the show, getting nervous about Eddie being late, running the show without him and succeeding!
  • Fantasy-Forbidding Father: Campbell's clueless, grumpy dad, who wants Campbell to "Grow Up" and just doesn't "get" the kid and thinks his D.J. dreams are stupid. However; Old Mr. Bain takes it even further and threatens to have Campbell "Sectioned" (Permanently, involuntarily and indefinitely committed, perhaps for life) and regards his own son as the Black Sheep due to the young man's condition. Dad even assumes Campbell could just turn off his condition like a switch.
  • First Law of Tragicomedies: The first three episodes are less dark and more quirky and humorous than the last three.
  • The Fool: Campbell Bain, of course!
  • Foreshadowing: A lot with Fergus; There's Fergus' frequent use of his Organ Donor card as an impromptu lock-pick, his off-handed quip of "I've been wanting to jump" when Campbell suggested the idea of threatening to jumping off the roof as a publicity stunt (see Didn't Think This Through, above) and even his Paragliding.
    • At one point; A rather depressed Fergus can be seen reading The Great Escape, which matches his story arc, perfectly. note 
  • Funny Schizophrenia: Averted, as it is treated as a very serious issue.
    • In fact; Fergus (adventurous acts of paragliding, disguise-wearing and stealth sneak-outs aside) was probably the most calm, rational, "normal" and emotionally "together" of all the "Loonies". We see Campbell being an adorable hybrid of Pinkie Pie and the The Tasmanian Devil. We see Rosalie obsessively cleaning everything. We see Francine self-harming and freaking out....Then we see Fergus being a very calm, soft-spoken, rational guy (excluding moments where he's just silently in the background with that brooding stare....though it's mainly in the beginning) troubleshooting the issues with the mixer and attempting to fix it....which makes his fate all the more jarring.
  • The Ghost: Campbell very briefly alludes to his his "all of" his "pals" whom he plans on "boozing up" with. Also; Mad John, two female Catatonics (Agnes and Myra) and a couple of brief mentions of the Chief Hospital Administrator, Dr. Winters (who actually cared about therapy for the Patients and had the station re-opened in the beginning of the Series). Fergus also swiped a lab coat and glasses from a certain "Dr. Brady".
  • Giant Space Flea Out Of Nowhere: The unnamed Caretaker in Episode Three and the Stewart-like male nurse who beats up Eddie in Episode Six. They show up once, be horrible and never show up again.
  • Gleeful and Grumpy Pairing: Campbell Bain and Eddie MacKenna, respectively.
  • Godwin's Law: Campbell compares Evelyn to a Nazi a couple of times.
  • Gonk: The chunky, grumpy Patient who really loves watching TV (see Those Two Guys, below).
  • Gory Discretion Shot: We don't actually see Fergus' entire fall to his death (though the characters do).
  • Granny Classic: Eddie's grandma is a grumpier, quirkier, disappointed version who's always cooking and telling Eddie to "EAT! EAT!".
  • Hard-Work Montage: A pretty neat one in Episode 3 involving the Gang planing and preparing for the Opening Day fundraiser to the sounds of "For Once In My Life" by Stevie Wonder (or rather, a soundalike singing it) which is humorously interspersed with Eddie's crappy work day (which at this moment, involves a birthday party full of old people).
  • Hey, Let's Put on a Show: Or in this case....a cool musical lawn-fete/rummage sale/"Looney Pool" with Campbell deejaying in a goofy outfit. Pretty much Campbell's answer for anything!
  • Hide Your Otherness: All the mental health patients (who are "officially" Other) are forced at different times to decide whether to try and hide their mental illness or to be open about it. If they pretend they're not ill, they can't be honest or get help if they need it - but if they're open about it, they face stigma, discrimination and loss of opportunities.
  • High Hopes, Zero Talent: Pretty much Eddie's issue. He knows how to DJ and the ins-and-outs of it and is not bad but he's rather unremarkable. Perhaps he'd fulfill his Radio dream better by getting into the news or Talk Radio.
  • Hollywood Psych: For the most part averted. These character's problems are shown as very complex and there are no easy fixes.
  • Hope Spot: "....The Show!"
  • "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: A low-key, non-villainous version with Eddie & Francine during the final scenes with the radio station.
  • Impossibly Tacky Clothes: The patients have a fundraiser to raise money for the mixing desk (complete with a Spike Milligan cameo)....emceed by the incomparable Campbell Bain in what could be described as a look worthy of Pee Wee's Playhouse. One might expect him to suddenly bust out with a rockabilly version of "Fruit Salad" while accompanied by a man in a rat costume. He looked like a weird hybrid of The Tenth Doctor (played by David 'Campbell Bain' Tennant, by the way), the Sixth Doctor and the Eleventh Doctor.
    • Campbell's "Windows Logo" hoodie and rainbow-tie-dyed sweatshirt may qualify a bit for some people and his otherwise-perfectly-normal-looking New York Giants cap might qualify for sheer out-of-place-ness.
  • Insane Equals Violent: Inverted as per Real Life. Most of the violence in this show is perpetrated by "normal people" against the "loonies" which is, of course, a statistical reality.
    • Especially that goon, Stuart, with his headbutts and being a thuggish jerk. There's even another nurse guy who beats the crap out of Eddie not long after.
    • Fergus is the ultimate subversion. The most nonviolent, gentle guy you'll ever meet with a gentle, soft voice.
  • I Reject Your Reality: Campbell: "Sometimes, you have to look somebody in the eye and tell the truth that should be instead of the truth that is."
  • Jerkass: Several. Stuart treats the patients like dirt even when he's not manhandling them, Gordon Griffin is the boss from Hell, and MacAteer is a back-stabbing, butt-kissing ball of sleaze who sabotages and belittles Eddie at every turn . . . . all because Eddie earned the commission he so badly wanted for a new car.
  • Jumped at the Call: Campbell.
  • Karma Houdini: The Hospital Administrators, Stuart, MacAteer, Griffin and perhaps Dr. Hollis (though possibly witnessing Fergus' final gruesome moments....caused by her....might be a mild subversion....perhaps leading to nightmares or a My God, What Have I Done? moment).
  • Keet: Again...Campbell (When happy and/or manic).
  • Killed Off for Real: Fergus. Rosalie's grandma.
  • Kindhearted Cat Lover: Francine.
  • Kubrick Stare: Fergus occasionally does this (perhaps inadvertently)....whenever being a Shrinking Violet, determined or genuinely messed up inside. This adds to his Misunderstood Loner with a Heart of Gold nature.
  • Lethal Chef: Eddie's Grandma tends to make food (mainly traditional Lithuanian dishes) that looks (and maybe even taste) unappetizing....Like that stew of orange glop, yellow rice with these brown things or burnt eggplant things....And she always wants him to "EAAAAT!"
  • Lonely Together: Eddie and Francine.
  • Loon with a Heart of Gold: Campbell....sweet, whimsical, idealistic, child-like, precious, lovable Campbell.
  • The Mad Hatter: Campbell knows exactly how loony he is and is quite proud of it, even finding ways to turn it to his advantage at times.
    • Possibly a subversion, as it's implied that his manic behaviour is actually conscious exploitation of others' expectations for his own amusement.
  • Meaningful Funeral:
  • Mental Health Recovery Arc: played with. Of the main cast, while some get control over their mental illness, others don't and their fate is left uncertain.
  • Misunderstood Loner with a Heart of Gold: Fergus, who spends much of the first episode lurking silently in the background, is about as sweet and harmless as people come.
  • Mood Whiplash: A number of moments....
    • After Campbell's Dad gets all Fantasy-Forbidding Father on Campbell, Campbell has a faked "episode". The "episode" starts off rather amusing and, apart from Eddie and Fergus noticing that Campbell locked the door, everybody continues dancing....then Campbell gets a little too nuts....then he appears to want to jump out of the window....then Stuart has to smash the door window glass to get in....then Campbell gets restrained and sedated.
    • Campbell has got that pro-DJ job! They are celebrating and chanting "We are loonies and we are proud"! Then this awesome moment gets ruined when Stuart and Animal Control barge in and take Francine's kittens....causing her to relapse and enter an Angst Coma.
  • Moving the Goalposts: The Authorities running the Asylum's M.O. in restricting what the patients can do. As explained here by Francine....
    Francine: "That’s how they do things here. They never say ‘you can’t do that’ or 'you can’t have that’ - but you can’t. If you want to put up a poster by your bed, they tell you there’s no Blu-Tack. If you find some Blu-Tack, they tell you it’ll damage the paint. If you get some paint they tell you the colour doesn’t match. They never actually stop you. But, somehow, you stop."
    • Now apply that to the Radio station: The mixer's in need of repairs....but here's a guy who can do it....but he's a patient..../....We'll but a new mixer....raise money and get a fat donation....I'm sorry but we'll have to confiscate said mixer because we won't let a patient do the job..../....Radio station in need of funds....cue radiothon.... which is quickly shut down forever. Victory for the Asylum Head Honchos. Back to 24/7 'Telly Time' for Patients. Bummer! Spike Milligan would be displeased! Campbell's pure "WIN!", though.
  • Motor Mouth: Campbell.
  • Nice Guy: Campbell. Fergus is also a very sweet young man.
  • The '90s
  • '90s Hair: Campbell's floppy 'do. Fergus wore a rather epic dark fluffy mullet.
  • No Indoor Voice: adorkably so! Also; The goofy motivational speaker that visits Eddie's workplace and acts ridiculous.
  • Noodle Incident: There are a few mentioned....
    • Fergus returns the next morning from one of his escape excursions with Campbell's new headphones. He's soaking wet and has wire-cutters in his back pocket (which the bemused Nurse Isabel quickly confiscates).
    • In a similar vein; After they successfully raise money for the new mixer at the end of Episode 3, Fergus returns with a muddy shovel and muddy lower legs. His explanation to Nurse Isabel: He was getting the morning papers (with the articles about Spike Milligan and the fundraiser). Why this required digging with a shovel is never explained. Fergus must have some interesting adventures during his escapes.
    • Francine is doing deejay duties as Campbell makes a loud Dynamic Entry into the studio (excited about his audition for the big national radio station). Francine assumes Campbell pulled another unspecified, mess-making prank (Campbell is implied to be a prankster who gets into all sorts of hijinks at St. Judes, though we never really see this ourselves).
  • Obfuscating Insanity: Zig-zagged. All the patients are mentally ill, but they're aware of how people see them because of this. At various times, both Campbell and Fergus exaggerate the symptoms of their mental illness for their own benefit - Campbell so he can stay in the hospital long enough to work on the radio station, Fergus so people will leave him alone.
  • Odd Couple: World-weary, stressed-out, self-loathing Eddie who keeps his head down and plays by the rules and exuberant, over-confident, eccentric Campbell. Although we learn that Campbell has confidence issues of his own
  • Only in It for the Money: This may be Dr. Hollis' main attribute. She wants to write books and collect accolades....even if it means destroying the lives of people like Fergus.
  • Only Sane Man: Eddie at the start my seem like this but by the end he realises he isn't so different.
    • In a minor way; Fergus (ironically the one with the most profound mental condition of the bunch, Schizophrenia) is a tad like this.
  • Orderlies Are Creeps: Stuart; The goon who skulks about in his Motörhead T-Shirt like he owns the place who bullies the patients, has Francine's kittens taken away and violently headbutts Eddie. Another previously unseen thuggish male nurse also pummels Eddie when Eddie confronts Stewart and Evelyn about the whole "Francine's kittens" issue. You REALLY want them to get hit by a semi!
  • Parental Neglect: This leads to Francine's abuse.
  • Percussive Maintenance: Before his ill-fated job interview, the dashingly-handsome post-makeover Fergus is awesome for one last time by giving the malfunctioning radio station a whack with his fist....which works!.note 
  • Perpetual Poverty
  • Plucky Comic Relief: There's a few characters; Two that really come to mind is the silly Yosemite Sam-esque motivational speaker at Eddie's workplace and those two fellow Patients, a lumpy grump and his geeky-looking sidekick named Hector.
  • Poor Communication Kills: In this case, literally! When Fergus informs Francine that he's going on the roof to commit suicide, she freaks out and is restrained by Stuart. She's screaming her warnings to the others about Fergus and what he's up too but is too incoherent for the others to figure out, right away. After a couple of minutes of this, they figure it out and run to the tower but are too late to stop Fergus from jumping. Had Francine been a bit calmer, not panicked and been more coherent, they would have figured out quicker and likely stopped Fergus in the nick of time.
  • Pretty Boy: CAMPBELL!
  • Psycho Psychologist: Dr. Hollis is likely this, as well as Only in It for the Money. She a famous writer of Psychiatry books who meddles with Fergus' soon-to-be new employers behind his back so they don't hire him because she sees him as her new big Unwitting Test Subject. In fact; She wasn't even his regular doctor. She was just a person who showed up during Fergus' hangglider caper, saw "Pound Signs" and thought, "I must study this guy!".
  • Pyromaniac: Played for Laughs. Off-screen character "Mad John the Pyromaniac" keeps conveniently getting his hands on items the patients want rid of.
    • Campbell even traded a carton of cigarettes with Mad John for a bunch of money to buy headphones. Read that again: He gave A PYROMANIAC a WHOLE CARTON OF CIGARETTES!
  • The Quiet One: Fergus rarely opens his mouth unless directly addressed, and speaks very softly, possibly because he's all too aware of the stereotypes that exist of schizophrenics.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: The unseen, Chief Administrator is implied to be this.
  • Re-Release Soundtrack: On the DVDs, cover versions of Beatles tracks finishing up episodes have been swapped in.
  • Rousing Speech: Campbell gets to deliver quite a few of these.
  • Running Gag:
    • The patients make a habit of escaping from the asylum to do odd jobs and coming back in time for tea, especially Fergus, who escapes just to pass the time. Subverted horribly when he "escapes" from a a tower he had previously glided majestically from by jumping to his death.
    • "Then guess!"
  • Sex as Rite-of-Passage: Campbell thinks this and really wants to get laid. This comes up when he yammers a litany of cool stuff he wants to do upon getting released (to his father). He tells Eddie that he learned how to play guitar and sing "to get a woman" and he makes a pass at the Radio Scotland receptionist.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: The bulk of the story is basically about saving the Asylum radio station and Eddie trying to achieve his dream of being a professional deejay.... Both are failures. Subverted, fortunately, with Campbell. At least Eddie and Francine got to become a cute couple and Rosalie patched up her personal life and overcame her OCD.
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: Male version with Fergus. Most of the time, he has a 5 O'Clock Shadow and a mullet. However; Before his fateful second interview with Dr. Hollis, he give himself a nice makeover in preparation for his new job (the same job thwarted by Hollis behind his back) and looks gorgeous. His brief "Doctor" disguise early-on foreshadows this.
  • Significant Wardrobe Shift: With an Expository Hairstyle Change.... Fergus' failed job interview followed by his suicide. He left this mortal coil clean-shaven, well-dressed with short hair.
  • The Slacker
  • Straightman And Wise Guy: Exasperated Everyman Eddie and the goofy manic Campbell.
  • "Take That!" Kiss: Making what would be a scene of defeat (Eddie loses his job) a hilarious act of triumph and revenge, instead (Highly doubtful MacAteer would enjoy Eddie slobbering on him).
  • Talkative Loon: A mysterious, sweet but very mentally-ill old woman called "Nana"....due to being elderly (like a 'nana') and singing (like "NA! NA! NA! NA!...") all the time. Turns out that she's actually a Latvian refugee who had been stranded in Scotland for years and the gibberish she was speaking was actually her native language, which nobody understood.
  • The Victim Must Be Confused: the patients (and Eddie) are subjected to this
  • Those Two Guys: A couple of fellow patients, a burly couch potato and his goofy sidekick he sort-of tolerated, a bespectacled nerdy-looking guy with possibly a slight, motor-based physical disability. Campbell & Eddie and Campbell & Fergus give off this vibe as well.
  • Thousand-Yard Stare: Fergus does this more than a few times - though it's not always clear whether it's caused by his illness, his medication or if he does it on purpose to stop people from bothering him.
  • There Are No Therapists: Averted, although in some of the cases you think that the patients would be better off without them.
    • Especially Fergus' shrink, Dr. Hollis and the Orderly from the Black Lagoon, Stuart.
  • Tough Love: One of the reasons that Grandma returns to Lithuania and leaves Eddie alone. She really wanted him to "get his act together" and also assumed Eddie, being in love with Francine, was ready to marry and move out (See Christmas Cake, above). She had no way of knowing he would lose his job in the end and have to search for another. Grandma was well-meaning but weary, ultra-traditional and misguided..
  • Tragically Misguided Favor: Eddie has a breakthrough concerning "Nana", the old lady who seemed to be talking in gibberish. It turns out she was a refugee from Latvia who was stranded in Scotland after her daughter, her only known family member and only linguistic link to the U.K., died. Nana is released from St. Jude's....only for Eddie to find out that she was released to the streets, has no family and no home and is now back to being a drunken bag lady in a bad neighborhood. Nana was perhaps better off mistaken for a gibberish-speaking headcase with a home at St. Judes.
  • True Companions
  • TV Teen: Campbell is pretty much this, complete with the hip, 90s-youth Young-Leonardo DiCaprio-esque "curtains"....but with Hypomania and an endearingly child-like, Pollyanna-nature thrown in.
  • Unusual Euphemism: A non-racy variant; Campbell refers to the mentally ill (like himself) as Loonies and the non-mentally-ill as Boring Folk/People.
  • Violent Glaswegian: STUART!
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Campbell and his issues with his Dad.
  • Wham Episode: Episode Four....The Episode where the Tone Shift begins and Cerebus Syndrome sets in with Fergus committing suicide.
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist: Campbell.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Campbell thinks he's in a big Saving the Orphanage movie plot. However; He is, instead, in a more realistic, somewhat cynical 6-Part miniseries with Anyone Can Die and a Bitter Sweet Ending which has messages and themes - namely, "Quit treating the mentally ill like's examples!" and "People running the Mental Health system....or many places of employment... are the real crazy ones".
  • You're Insane!: Eddie says something like this a few times to Campbell.
    Eddie: "You're a lunatic!"
    Campbell: "Aye! A singing lunatic!"
  • Youthful Freckles: Campbell's got 'em and it's adorable!