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Series / The Smoking Room

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The Smoking Room is a British television sitcom written by Brian Dooley, who won a BAFTA for the series in 2005. It centres around a group of people working in an office somewhere in London, taking their breaks in the titular smoking room. The first series, consisting of eight episodes, was originally transmitted on BBC Three between 29 June and 17 August 2004. The Christmas Special was first transmitted on the same channel on 20 December 2004. A second series of eight episodes began airing on 26 July 2005.


This show contains examples of:

  • The Alcoholic: Gordon, who was in recovery until his wife left him. Bad day to hold a birthday party in the smoking room, sparkling wine included...
  • Biting-the-Hand Humor: Sort-of - "You couldn't get on TV with that act. Not even digital..."
  • Bottle Episode: Every episode.
  • Break the Motivational Speaker: One episode has a smoking cessation workshop, "CigZowt", in the smoking room. The hapless speaker struggles to control the staff, and their short attention spans and snarkiness eventually cause him to lose his temper.
  • Conspiracy Theorist: Clint.
  • Contemplating Your Hands: Len, after he accidentally gets high on glue.
  • Crossword Puzzle: Barry is always doing one, even though he's awful at them; Robin tends to get the clues as soon as he reads them out.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Robin, pretty much perpetually.
  • Advertisement:
  • The Ditz: Clint.
  • Domestic Abuse: Heidi's comments about Keith heavily imply she's in an abusive relationship.
  • Embarrassing Nickname: Janet and her nephew Dominic have a rather curious greeting for one another, one that might have been cute when he was five, but which hasn't aged well now he's in college:
    Janet: Minicky-Monicky!
    Dominic: Auntie Jantie!
    Janet: Hellopellopa!
    Dominic: Hellopillipee!
  • Fake Static: Sally, to her mother.
  • Forced Out of the Closet: Janet finally snaps and outs Robin after he pours scorn on her engagement to a man in her church's congregation.
    Janet: But at least it's a real relationship. I am not, like certain people I could mention, dreaming my best years away - or the tail-end of them at any rate - on some pointless, soul-sapping crush!
    [Long awkward pause]
  • He Who Must Not Be Seen: Most of the company other than the main cast.
  • Intoxication Ensues: Len absentmindedly sniffs at some glue Clint was using to fix a floor tile, and before long he's away with the fairies.
    Len: Aren't hands strange? They're like feet, only on your arms...
  • Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places: Annie, Lillian.
  • My Local: "The Nag's Head" is often mentioned. May be a clue as to the location of the office since there is a Nag's Head near Covent Garden.
  • Obliquely Obfuscated Occupation: It's never made clear what industry the company is involved in, or even the name of the company. Understandable, given the "no shop-talk" rule in the smoking room.
  • Pointy-Haired Boss: Sharon.
  • Pop-Cultural Osmosis Failure: Sharon particularly, who says she doesn't even own a television, but also Janet to a lesser extent. In one episode, Janet thinks Clint's Yoda impersonation is him mocking a Japanese visitor's accent.
  • Precision F-Strike: The normally strait-laced Janet, when particularly stressed out because the staff Christmas variety show isn't going well, unleashes one on Clint that makes him jump out of his chair.
  • Prone to Tears: Annie, who frequently bursts into tears at the slightest provocation.
  • Real Song Theme Tune: The Cure's "Close To Me", at least when it was on BBC Three.
  • "Reason You Suck" Speech: Janet's nephew Dominic, who is shadowing Robin for his psychology class, gives a gloriously passive-aggressive one to Robin under the guise of an analysis.
    Dominic: You know, I would say that your relentless sarcasm is an obvious attempt to put people at a distance, due to an almost crippling sense of inadequacy. I would say that your barbed, defensive humour is prompted by a fear of intimacy because there's something you're trying to hide, an aspect of yourself you're desperate to suppress because you hate it so. You hate yourself. I would say all that, if I weren't simply a passive observer.
  • Seinfeldian Conversation
  • Sir Swears-a-Lot: Len. His grandson Ethan has taken to calling him "Grandad Fuck-Off".
  • Those Two Girls: Annie and Sally
  • Transparent Closet: Robin.
  • Ultimate Job Security: Everyone, apparently, but especially Clint.
  • The Unseen: Any of the characters mentioned by the cast but who never come into the smoking room. Recurring example include Ben from the post room, and Len's junior Ranjit.
  • Waxing Lyrical: Cleverly done when Annie returns to the smoking room after she stormed out in tears:
    Sally: Annie, are you okay?
    Lillian: Are you okay?
    Robin: Are you okay, Annie?
    Lillian: Annie, are you okay?
    Sally: You okay?
    Len: You okay, Annie?
  • Work Com
  • Yes-Man: Janet.
  • You Put the "X" in "XY": The CigZowt smoking cessation speaker has a particularly ill-thought-out version of this, which the smokers quickly dissect.
    Derek: I'm here to put the "F-U-N" into "quitting"!
    Robin: How would you pronounce that? "Quiffunting"?
    Barry: "Quitfunning"?
    Len: 'Ere, you could split it up - have "fuckwitting".


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