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Series / The Sarah Silverman Program

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"If we can put a man on the Moon, then we can put a man with AIDS on the Moon. And pretty soon, we'll be able to put everyone with AIDS on the Moon!"

The Sarah Silverman Program was a 200710 Sitcom starring Sarah Silverman, created by Dan Harmon and Rob Schrab along with Silverman herself.

The show's humor is predominantly based on satirizing conventional "family-friendly" or wholesome television programs. The show was originally titled with British English, as "The Sarah Silverman Programme". It was shown on Comedy Central in the United States, for three seasons consisting of six episodes each, then it was canceled.

Comedy Central then decided to bring it back for a third season after Logo decided to co-fund it, apparently only because the show features a Straight Gay couple (who are actually played by straight actors). The show was cancelled again, after Comedy Central seemed to give up on it.

Silverman played a sometimes-sweet often times-jerkass but always oblivious version of herself, similar to her persona from her stand-up routine. She is unemployed and supported by her sister Laura (Laura Silverman), a nurse who is dating a cop named Jay (Jay Johnston). Then there's Brian (Brian Posehn) and Steve (Steve Agee), Sarah's gay neighbors... or "gaybors", as her Nana calls them.

This show provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Abuse Mistake: The weird accidents happening to Laura. She only needed glasses.
  • Adam Westing
  • All Take and No Give: Sarah. Oh god, Sarah. She is a lazy freeloader who has all of her money and her apartment provided to her by her sister, a hard-working nurse, and for this Sarah gives zero gratitude.
  • Alliterative Name: Sarah, natch.
    • But averted in the show's own title, as "The Sarah Silverman Show" would have been the more intuitive choice.
  • Attention Whore: Sarah can and will twist almost anything into being about her. She's even entered a beauty pageant only for young pre-teen girls.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Averted in that Sarah is shown on the toilet in the title sequence.
  • Berserk Button: Sarah befriends a homeless guy she knew in high school. When she mentions his mother 'queefing' he goes crazy and tries to kill her. He is stopped by Brian who Took a Level in Badass and stops him with the karate he had learned.
    • Jay hates slang. (Except for "redonkulous".)
  • Black Hole Sueinvoked: Sarah, played entirely for laughs
  • Black Like Me: Parodied. The plot of an entire episode involves Sarah getting into an argument with a black guy over whether it's harder to be black or Jewish. Sarah spends the rest of the episode in Al Jolson-style blackface, while the black guy dresses up in a false hooked nose, a yarmulke, glued-on side curls and a T-shirt that says "I <3 MONEY!" in faux-Hebrew text. The main Running Gag of the episode is that both of them receive a great deal of hate from people due to their offensive disguises, but since they both think their disguises are flawless, they interpret this hate as genuine racism (in Sarah's case) or antisemitism (in the black guy's case).
  • Brainless Beauty: Sarah, though not so much brainless as outright insane (though she's still pretty brainless).
    "How can someone this crazy have such nice skin!?"
  • Butt-Monkey: Jay is this to Sarah, and sometimes to the other characters as well, especially Brian and Steve. Jay may come off as a little cocky but he never does anything remotely deserving of the treatment he receives from the other characters.
  • The Cast Showoff: Silverman's musical talents are naturally put to good use in many episodes.
  • Class Reunion: Sarah attends one of these, with God as her date.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Sarah.
  • Comedic Sociopathy: One of Sarah's specialties.
  • Coming-Out Story: Sarah tries to help Steve's parents accept him for being gay. Of course she does this by explicitly describing his sex life and then giving them acid.
  • Condescending Compassion: Sarah with Fred Blorth, constantly shilling herself for helping him (she even brings it up on the ceremony on which Jay was celebrated) ostentatiously pitying him, and making fun of his mother on tv. The reason to help Fred in the first place was jealousy of Jay's spotlight for his charity.
  • Cringe Comedy
  • Crossover: Mini Coffee originally appeared in the failed Channel101 pilot Thriller Chiller Theatre.
  • Couch Gag: The opening monologue and the pictures shown are different for each episode.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Jay may be goofy and bumbling most of the time, but you should never underestimate his skill as a cop. Case in point: he stopped a hitman using a slice of lemon.
  • Crying Wolf: Season 2, Episode 10, Patriot Act. Sarah attacks and accuses many bearded folks of being Osama bin Laden. Obviously, they're not. Laura grows tired of it, and demands that Sarah just control herself, no matter what she thinks she sees. Later, while riding her green sit-and-bounce, Sarah actually does cross paths with Bin Laden, who is getting ready for a round of tennis.
  • The Cutie: Laura.
  • Dead TV Remote Gag: Pilot episode.
  • Deadly Prank: Sarah accidentally decapitates her neighbor Slip during a prank-gone-wrong.
  • Divine Race Lift:
    • God has appeared twice in this series as a black man, but as of yet has not stolen the moon.
  • A Dog Named "Dog": Or, in this case, Doug.
  • Downer Ending: Oh god, Breve...
  • Egg Sitting: Jay and Laura try to put Sarah through this to give her a chance to prove that she's capable of raising her baby herself. The egg rolls out of Sarah's hand and breaks on the floor the moment Laura lets go of it.
  • End-of-Episode Silliness: Some of Sarah's episode-ending conversations with her dog veer in this direction.
  • The Eponymous Show
  • Fag Hag: Her best, if not only friends are the gay couple next door, though she seems to forget that they're even gay sometimes.
  • Fantasy-Forbidding Father: Sarah's, literally.
  • "Freaky Friday" Flip: Brian and Steve switch bodies in "A Fairly Attractive Mind."
  • Frivolous Lawsuit: Sarah sues Home Alone. Not the makers of it, the movie itself. The judge points out that you can't sue a movie, which is an amorphous concept. She ends up winning the case anyways.
  • Good Girls Avoid Abortion: Parodied. One episode revolves around Brian and Steve attempting to stop pro-life activists from blowing up an abortion clinic, and it's shown that Sarah has had quite a few abortions herself.
    • Also, just to play with the trope, the moral sweetheart Laura is assisting as a nurse at the clinic and even attempts to give a neutral talk to the activists of how aborting a pregnancy isn't so black and white.
  • Groin Attack: The first season finale ends with Sarah getting kicked in the crotch by some kid with leukemia.
    • Steve gets hit in the crotch over and over again after he says he's an atheist.
    • Sarah actually kicks God in the groin.
  • Has a Type: Steve feels temptation for other chubby men.
  • The Hays Code: Parodied with Sarah's super safe censored television channel.
  • Hilariously Abusive Childhood: Sarah's father, before leaving, went so far as to murder her imaginary friend with a baseball bat in front of her.
  • Hitler's Time Travel Exemption Act: Averted. Dougie kills a certain Austrian art student and saves Sarah's life, incidentally preventing the Holocaust too. She admonishes him for messing with history, but lets him off easy considering all the good he did.
  • Hugh Mann: Subverted. Brian and Steve try to impersonate one another in an attempt to convince Brian's father that they did not change bodies after touching a Chinese dragon phone at the same time, but this fails, as he himself is actually a Chinese hooker who switched bodies with him through the same means.
  • Impromptu Tracheotomy: Sarah's aesop for an episode.
  • I Take Offense to That Last One:
    Girl: What do you know about talent? You're unemployed, single, over 30 and you severely overestimate your cuteness!
    Sarah: I choose to be over 30!
  • Informed Judaism: Sarah and her sister are mentioned as being Jewish several times in the show.
  • Insane Proprietor: Sarah makes one when promoted to supermarket manager, using her alleged mental retardation.
  • Inspirationally Disadvantaged: Sarah thinks of herself as one in A fairly attractive mind.
  • It Makes Sense in Context: Many subplots, and, occasionally, entire plots, are built around the deconstruction of this trope.
  • Jerkass: Sarah.
  • Line-of-Sight Name: Parodied. Young Sarah has to give her new imaginary friend Troy a last name, and looks around for inspiration. Spying a television set in her room she settles on Troy Bulletinboard.
  • Love at First Sight: Laura and Jay.
  • Mundane Wish: God grants Sarah a wish for her "I Want" Song, and she wishes for...a funny fart.
  • NEET: Sarah is this. She's been unemployed her whole life even into her 30s and has to depend on and live with her sister for food and housing (but will even stoop as low as to steal Laura's rent money). She hates working being more focused on "correcting" society in her own way and it seems her only career goal in making money was to win a beauty pageant only eligible for young girls below age 13.
  • No Bisexuals: Averted in that Brian thinks he might be bi instead of gay in one episode.
    Sarah: I learned today ... gay, bisexual, it really doesn't matter, because at the end of the day they're both gross.
  • Opening Narration: "Hi, I'm Sarah Silverman and I'm just like you..."
  • Potty Emergency: She relieves herself in a public mailbox.
  • Pun-Based Title: Many episodes feature these.
  • Radish Cure: Inverted in the episode Muffin' Man when Steve tells Brian to drink a Tab soft drink Brian doesn't really want, Brian pretends to become obsessed with Tab. Steve reciprocates and it becomes an escalating war.
  • Recurring Character: Tig (Tig Notaro), Jay's lesbian cop partner.
  • Refuge in Audacity / Refuge in Vulgarity
  • Retirony: Sarah's childbirth would be the last to the doctor, who was planning to retire and live happily with his family thereafter. And he gets burned to death by the Eldritch Abomination Sarah borned.
  • Shout-Out: Christopher Eccleston appears in a clear Doctor Who parody.
  • Sickeningly Sweethearts: Laura and Jay.
  • Single-Target Sexuality: Brian says he's bisexual, and by bisexual, we mean he glues pictures of Steve's head over the bodies of girls in bikinis. He doesn't know what to make of it.
  • Sitcom Arch-Nemesis: Jay to Sarah. Jay is generally a nice guy but Sarah resents having to compete with him for her sister's attention.
  • Sit Comic
  • So Unfunny, It's Funny: Can almost be said of the whole show due to it being a Black Comedy as stated above, but specifically Sarah's little intentionally lame jokes and puns.
    • Jay's 'gentle' comedy.
  • Spit Take: Jay let's out a massive one, all over Tig, when he finds out that Sarah has replaced his favourite children's show host.
  • Spoof Aesop: Every episode ends with one.
  • Stage Mom: Sarah with "Heather", who may be her childhood self.
  • Stoners Are Funny: Brian and Steve.
  • Straight Gay: Brian and Steve.
    • To the point that for the first two seasons they had to regularly remind the audience that they were gay. The most the couple had ever done on screen had give a hyper-manly fist-bump.
    • They come off much more as overweight nerds than Camp Gay. In fact, their nerdiness is much more important to their characters than the incidental fact of their sexuality.
    • In DVD commentary Brian mentions that he didn't know the two characters were supposed to be gay until well into the 1st season. It was an afterthought, apparently.
  • Sugar Bowl: In spite of the show being a Black Comedy, Valley Village is very much an idealistic place to live.
  • They Call Me MISTER Tibbs!: In the episode "'Positively Negative'" Sarah has this interaction with a third grade class she is educating about AIDS awareness
    Class: Good morning, Mrs. Silverman.
    Sarah: Sarah, please. Mrs. Silverman was my mom, and she was a bitch!
  • Toilet Humor: This show has it in spades.
    • In the pilot, Sarah accidentally poops on herself while attempting to make a fart joke.
    • Sarah and a young girl sing about pooping at the mall.
    • The plot of an entire episode is about the consequences of Sarah licking her dog's anus.
    • Steve farts in Jay's police cruiser after Jay complains that Steve shouldn't have called 911 just to have Jay give him a ride.
    • "Whatever happened to that white dog poop from The '70s?"
    • Sarah's attempts to queef are part of an episode's plot.
  • Undisclosed Funds: Non-monetary variation when Sarah writes down the number of sex partners she has had instead of saying the number aloud.
    • Played with in another episode when Sarah says, "Maybe this will change your mind", writes something on a piece of paper (presumably a monetary amount) and slides it over face down. When turned over it says: "Please!"
  • Unkempt Beauty: Sarah.
  • Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist
  • Viewers Are Morons: lampshaded.
  • Womanchild: Sarah, to the point characters frequently point out she is this.
  • What The Hell, Costuming Department?invoked: When Sarah is trying to dress up prettily.
  • Whoopi Epiphany Speech: Subverted in that Sarah never learns anything, at least not anything true, sensible or worthwhile.