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Series / The Librarians (2007)

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Far more sordid than it appears.

The Librarians is a 2007-2010 Australian Work Com produced by Robyn Butler and Wayne Hope. It mainly centres on Frances O'Brien, who is head librarian in a particularly dysfunctional suburban library, and her utter failure to ever get anything right in her work or personal life.

Not to be confused with the American series of the same name, which is based on The Librarian and its sequels.


  • Aerosol Flamethrower: Frances' daughters improvise one from Dawn's deodorant.
  • Awful Wedded Life: Frances and Terry's marriage.
  • Beleaguered Assistant: Nada, who actually gets the library in something approximating order in those times when Frances isn't around.
  • Break the Cutie: Young Frances who did not deserve what happened to her. She gradually turned into someone who did.
  • Butt-Monkey: Dawn.
  • Camp Gay: Ky Lee, whose name is a Shout-Out to influential Australian gay icon Kylie Minogue.
  • Caught with Your Pants Down: Frances walking in on Terry is a running joke.
  • The Chew Toy: Nothing Frances ever does goes the way she wants it to. NOTHING.
  • Cringe Comedy: In a similar vein to The Office.
  • Dead Animal Warning: After Frances upsets the local community (yet again), a pig's head is shoved into the library's book return chute.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Pretty much everyone, but particularly Frances and Neil.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Frances, whenever Lachie is around and, to a lesser extent, Christine.
  • Dogged Nice Guy: Neil, who is besotted with Christine, but such a useless ne'er do well that even she can do better.
  • Fiction Is Not Fair: The midwife's stubborn refusal to give Christine any pain relief despite her never requesting a natural birth would have her sued for malpractise in Real Life.
  • Keet: Ky Lee, who is possibly the only person in the series without malice.
  • Lovable Rogue: Neil thinks he's one of these.
  • My Friends... and Zoidberg: While delivering a Rousing Speech, Frances describes her staff as "dedicated librarians... and cleaners".
  • Noble Bigot: Frances "Our Country, Our Rules" O'Brien. In spite of her frequently culturally insensitive comments and racially stereotyping (thinking that an Arabic internet banking site was advocating terrorism), she still manages to work with and even apparently care about a highly diverse group (many of whom she presumably does have the authority to fire). She's made more sympathetic by her unfortunate home life, her past and her panic disorder.
  • No Sympathy: Frances lives and breathes this trope. Particularly towards Dawn. Whom she was responsible for crippling.
  • Poor Man's Porn: Terry is caught jerking off over an underwear catalogue.
  • Screaming Birth: Christine goes to absurd lengths to avoid this, but the Rule of Funny intervenes.
  • Slap-Slap-Kiss: Subverted, when Frances attempts to make a move on Adrian. He's gay.
  • She Who Must Not Be Seen: Frances' daughter Bernadette .While the effects of her rampant sociopathy are visible, she herself never is. Later progresses to The Voice.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Matthew has literary pretensions out of all proportion to actual talent.
  • Really Gets Around/Hard-Drinking Party Girl: Christine.
  • Rousing Speech: A rather twisted one from the the finale, after Frances decides to stand up to Xavier Fisher over the cutbacks at the library, which would force her to fire three of the staff. The thing is, all of them were quite willing to be fired, each believing that they could find work elsewhere easier than the rest (and some of them were probably right). As such, her motive for taking action seems to be wanting them all to remain under her thumb if possible, since she wouldn't be able to get any satisfaction out of firing any of them - but none of them seem to pick up on this in the end.
    Frances: Gather round, everyone, please. I've made my decision. None of you will be vacating your position at the library.
    Neil: Are you going?
    Frances: No, I'm not going. Nobody's going.
    Christine: But Franny, how?
    Frances: None of you are leaving this library. I will not see one position, let alone three, discarded. You are highly-trained and highly-skilled... in your different ways, dedicated librarians ...and cleaners. I will not stand by for a moment longer while this library is undermined and its resources diminished. They think we can't do that for ourselves? Yes, the library is a drain on the public purse and, well, it should be because it's the public who use it - the... the students, the families, the elderly, the poor, the nutcases. I mean, where would the nutcases go if they didn't come in here to wee on our chairs while they read a big-print novel? Mr Fisher is not interested in anything that doesn't make money. Well, that's too bad, because the library is the last free public space and it's going to stay that way. I will not see a single member of my staff laid off to satisfy the corporate bullying of a government staffer. I do the bullying around here! You are librarians and, by God, you are going to stay librarians in this library!
    (The others rise and applaud her as she walks out.)
  • Twofer Token Minority: Much to Frances' dismay, she's surrounded by them: Nada is a devoutly Muslim woman, Dawn is a paraplegic woman and Ky Lee, who is a gaysian.
  • Transparent Closet: Frances is bisexual, widely assumed to be so by pretty much everyone, but deeply in denial about it on account of being a conservative Catholic.
  • Tyrant Takes the Helm: Adrian, although only from Frances's point of view. Frances, to everyone else.
  • Ultimate Job Security: Frances largely keeps her job as a result of exploiting loopholes in Australian employment law and convincingly portraying an image of being a morally upright Catholic woman.
  • Unexplained Accent: Played for Laughs. Neil has a British accent (which is the actor's natural accent). However, one episode reveals that he was born in Australia and grew up in the local area. This leads to one of the characters asking Neil's mother (who has an Australian accent) why he has British accent. She says she doesn't know, but that he's always had it.
  • Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist: Frances, a passive-agressive egomaniac who appears to be bigoted towards every minority group known to man.
  • Zany Scheme: Neil always has one going.