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Series / The Peter Serafinowicz Show

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The Peter Serafinowicz Show was a sketch show made by Peter Serafinowicz and several actors that you might recognise from other comedy shows. It lasted seven episodes, including a Christmas Special aired a year after the rest of the series. Features several memorable sketches, such as the Brian Butterfield adverts for various services that he has come up with (including a karaoke bar or a diet plan) and looks very similar to well known injury compensation adverts. There are also parodies of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? (Heads Or Tails, Which Hand Is It In?) and Sherlock Holmes, among other things.

Tropes present in this show include:

  • All Musicals Are Adaptations: One O News segment has Al Pacino performing a one-man show musical adaptation of The Godfather.
    Oh, what's this? A horse's head
    What's it doing at the bottom of the bed
  • Ambiguous Syntax: "Elvene One-Hair" is built entirely on this, playing on how one uses "my hair" in the singular to refer to multiple hairs. If there weren't reference to the product's name (and it weren't accompanied by video of an almost entirely bald man brushing a single long strand), it could be mistaken for a regular haircare ad.
  • ...And 99: One Complico ad quotes an MP3 player as being priced at £79.99 / £89.99 x 9.9. (If you do the maths, it comes out to £8.80, which seems astonishingly cheap.)
  • "Before" and "After" Pictures: Parodied when Brian Butterfield shows a picture of himself before taking his diet plan, and then cutting to him doing the advertisement and looking exactly the same.
  • The Blank: The result of having "face-wipe surgery", in one O News segment, is having no visible facial features.
  • Bond One-Liner: In "License to Tell Jokes", James Bond repackages various one-liners from his career, including "I think he got the point" and "Shocking", as part of a stand-up act.
  • Brick Joke: In the "Riddles to Riches" sketch, it randomly cuts to demands that the viewers attempt to kill the French Ambassador, and a caller mentions that she is going to do so, which is brushed off relatively quickly. Later, in that episode's O News sketch, it is reported that the French Ambassador has died of a "mysterious illness".
  • British Brevity: The show ran for 7 episodes.
  • Broken Record: The vampire host from the Buy It channel. "I can do it, I can do it, I can do it, I can do it, I can do it..."
  • Brown Note: A visual equivalent is attempted in David Lynch's "You'll Get Diarrhea", in which the imagery is specifically designed to do Exactly What It Says on the Tin.
  • But Wait, There's More!:
    • Subverted on one occasion:
      Brian Butterfield "But wait! I haven't set up an account with the phone company!"
    • Played straight in the "Butterfield Detective Agency" sketch, where Butterfield repeatedly says "And that's not all" when describing his various disguises...until he runs out, and says "That's all."
  • "Cavemen vs. Astronauts" Debate: We learn from Ringo Starr that towards the end of The Beatles' career as a group, they began to argue over more and more ridiculous things—including whether or not they should go to the toilet. Eventually, Yoko persuades John to give in, and while on the toilet they write the world's first chart-topping song about taking a dump.
  • Censored Title: The X Factor parody called "You're A C**t."
  • Christmas Episode: The show as a whole had a Christmas special, which itself has examples contained within it in "Christmas with Brian Butterfield", featuring Butterfield celebrating the holiday in bizarre ways, and David Attenborough's "Planet Earth at Christmas".
  • Cluster F-Bomb: In the Laurel and Hardy parody, "Soap and Water", Hardy hits Laurel over the head, causing him to launch into an avalanche of "fucks". This scandalises his partner and a nearby police officer - and seems to be unintentional on his part.
  • Couch Gag: The voice announcing the title varies depending on the episode.
  • Deal with the Devil: Played with for a commercial for a skin product called "Évile." The commercial implies that customers have to sell their souls to Satan to obtain the product.
  • Doorstopper: The Mactini's user guide, which contains all the info you'll need to make 1 key produce thousands of characters.
  • The Eponymous Show
  • Evil Laugh: Derek Bum lets out a particularly manic one whilst showing off his Kitchen Gun on rusty taps.
  • Evil Sounds Raspy: In the Évile commercial, the woman who has sold her soul to Satan for beauty sounds notably raspy, much more so than her older-looking daughter (who has a fairly normal voice).
  • A Gift for Themselves: Played for Laughs in the Christmas Episode:
    Brian: Oh! A present! From me? I Shouldn't have! (reads the label) "To Brian, from Brian." I bought this present for myself with my eyes close, so I genuinely don't know what it is. (unwraps it) Oh... It's a pregnancy testing kit.
  • Heads, Tails, Edge: In the game show "Heads or Tails", where you can win millions just by guessing the side the coin will land on... it somehow lands on its edge. Cue disappointed audience.
  • Improbable Use of a Weapon: Who'd have thought a gun and a grenade could clean your home? Not the owner of the home, who's understandably distressed by the collateral destruction the Kitchen Gun and the Toilet Grenade cause.
  • Kent Brockman News: BBN News is an interesting example, where it's not the perfectly professional newscaster that make the parody, it's the producers who don't actually tell him the news and force him to guess.
  • Lost in Transmission: Happens during a Daddy DNA Test on Michael-6 where the titular host runs out of battery just as he's about to announce the result.
  • Lyrical Dissonance: Happens with a Retraux 40's style song about someone who's going to commit suicide if his girlfriend leaves him.
  • Machine Monotone: Robotic talk show host Michael-6 uses this when speaking.
  • The Magazine Rule: Multiple overly specific magazines are advertised, including "Elephants and Trains" (yes, that specific combination), "Gravies of the Ancients" (a magazine about types of gravy from early history), and "Rings, Wings, Bings, Mings, Stings, Kings, and Tings".
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Sinister, the company behind several of the Parody Commercials. Not at all unwarranted, given that they sell a moisturiser that sells your soul to Satan.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Largely averted, although there are a few examples:
    • Brian Butterfield, who in no way resembles the bloke from the PI Helpline ads. May have stretched into Parody Displacement by this point, as you'll see by looking into the comment section of the linked video and finding it full of Butterfield references.
    • Derek Bum in the Kitchen Gun/Toilet Grenade adverts, which bear no resemblance to Barry Scott of Cillit Bang fame.
    • Michael-6 is absolutely not a robotic version of Jeremy Kyle.
  • No Indoor Voice: Derek Bum in "Kitchen Gun" and "Toilet Grenade", which is only natural as it's a Ridiculously Loud Commercial.
  • Once an Episode: Each episode we get a new Brian Butterfield sketch, a new O! News broadcast, and (until the Christmas special) a new Acting Masterclass.
  • One Stev(i)e Limit: Averted in "Clone House", where all of the housemates are named Stevie (understandably, as they're all clones). No attempt is made to distinguish them, but apparently they all recognise when an individual Stevie is being called.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: "Butterfield Detective Agency" shows Butterfield donning a series of disguises, most of which are this, and all of which stand out more than blend in.
  • Parody Commercial: The show is littered with these, as if it were an actual ad break in between sketches. "Toilet Grenade" takes the commercial part to the next level, as it's displayed as an In-Universe ad break in between the two halves of "Heads or Tails".
  • Poirot Speak: Lampshaded, when Hercule Poirot reveals he can't actually speak French.
  • Portmanteau: The Buttertendo, Brian Butterfield's failed attempt at a games console.
  • Put a Face on the Company: Brian Butterfield is a subversion; being a parody of the PI Helpline man, you'd think this was played straight, but everything he advertises is so incompetent it's clear that he really is the only one running each operation.
  • Rattling Off Legal: Averted when Brian Butterfield mentions that his hotel contravenes European safety regulations.
  • Rapid-Fire Comedy: 30-Second Cook Off, where the episode has a time limit of 30 seconds. This causes the presenter to rapidly present the show before eventually passing out and/or dying.
  • Reading the Stage Directions Out Loud: Michael-6 does this at one point: "Welcome smily face".
  • Repeating Ad: An ad for Amnesia Magazine appears, then immediately reappears. The writers of the magazine probably made the valid assumption that their target audience might forget the magazine existed immediately after the ad ended. This is followed by a similar ad for Deja Vu Magazine.
  • Retraux: The Modern Guide to Life sketches are set in the 1970s, while "Who Would Like To Win £100?" takes place during World War II.
  • Rhymes on a Dime: There's a magazine entitled "Rings, Wings, Bings, Mings, Stings, Kings, and Tings", seemingly only because of those seven words rhyming.
    • Painful Rhyme: The price of said magazine - only two shill-ings.
  • Ridiculously Loud Commercial: During "Kitchen Gun", Derek Bum is incapable of dropping his voice below "air raid siren" levels, and as if that weren't loud enough, there's repeated gunshots and a grenade explosion.
  • Robo Speak: A fairly mild example with Michael-6, who is usually capable of speaking normal sentences (though in Machine Monotone), but he does slip into robotic cliché on occasion.
  • Secret Test: One sketch has a job interviewer inform an applicant that he's passed a hidden "test"... then failed another, then passed another, and so on repeatedly. At one point, pointing out that the entire thing is nonsense is a Secret Test which the applicant passes.
  • Serial Escalation: The reappearing sketches generally got more outlandish as the series went on.
  • Shoddy Knockoff Product: The first Buy It Channel sketch feature a pair of diamonelle earrings, which the presenters treat as this compared to real diamond, calling them rubbish that cost pennies to produce.
  • Take That!: One O News sketch mocked the frequent re-releases of Star Wars by showing a new version that was George Lucas' vision all along: a movie made up entirely of opening crawl.
  • Too Incompetent to Operate a Blanket: The people in the Butterfield Time Line advert are apparently unable to tell the time so they phone up Brian Butterfield to ask him what time it is, and the Gem Mania infomercial parodies this trope by showing someone unable to put gems on their clothes.
  • Try Everything: The BBN News reader mostly resorts to this, as the showrunners apparently don't actually tell him the news.
    • Exaggerated when he finds his name has been changed, but as usual, they don't tell him to what. He resorts to naming every first name and surname, a task which takes him almost the entire episode. He eventually finds that he's now Zeke Aaronovitch.
  • T-Word Euphemism: In one O News sketch, Robin Williams creates scandal by using, live on stage, a non-existent slur that is referred to as the "X-word". All we know is that it starts with X.
  • Unfortunate Names: One of the guests on Michael-6 was called Phil Penishole. In an aversion to the usual joke, Michael-6 refers to him as "Pen-I-so-lay" before being corrected.
  • Very False Advertising: In the advert for the Butterfield International Hotel:
    Customer "The advert said it was a 5 star hotel, but 5 star hotels should have a toilet."
    Brian Butterfield "Those aren't stars, they're asterisks, each one referring to a fault with the hotel, one of which is the lack of toilet facilities."
  • Who Wants to Be "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?": Subverted on one occasion, which has a Retraux version of the original ("Who Would Like To Win £100?") set in the middle of World War II. Played straight with the rest of the Game Show parodies though.