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Series / The Young Offenders

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Best friends Conor and Jock do everything together. From various petty crimes to school to their love lives, they're inseparable.

Following on from the success of the film of the same name, the series focuses on the two lads during their Junior Cert year, making this a Prequel of sorts. Before the first season's run was even complete, a second season was confirmed.

The series airs on RTÉ2 in Ireland and on BBC Three in the UK.

This show provides examples of:

  • Abusive Parents: Jock's father is an Alcoholic Parent who regularly beats Jock. Mairéad ends up taking Jock in after witnessing this.
  • Action Mom: Mairéad is not afraid to engage in fisticuffs when required. Of particular note is the No-Holds-Barred Beatdown she delivers to Sergeant Healy as a diversion to allow Conor And Jock to escape the creamery.
  • Adaptation Name Change: Jock's last name is changed from Murphy to O'Keefe, presumably because Billy's last name is also Murphy.
  • Adam Westing: Robert Sheehan appears as himself shooting a movie, where his Mr. Fanservice qualities are Played for Laughs and he attempts to drum up publicity by joining in a blockade.
  • The Alleged Car:
    • Mairead's battered Opel Corsa. The bodywork is badly aged, the engine sounds clapped out, and internal bits like the rear view mirror are easily broken.
    • The chip van doesn't even run at first and when it does, Conor and Jock have to leave a bribe in the glove box for it to pass its Department Of The Environment test.
  • Alternate Continuity: Possibly with regards to the film. The circumstances of Jock moving out from his alcoholic father are different this time around.
  • Anti-Villain: Billy becomes this in the first season finale when he's given some Character Development and focus. He might be an Axe-Crazy thug, but the guy is so likeable that the bus passengers he has ostensibly taken hostage actually feel sorry for him and help him escape.
  • Artistic License – History: In the Christmas Special, Mairead claims to have never seen a white Christmas. In reality, Cork experienced one in 2004.
  • Artistic License – Law Enforcement: Nancy Madigan is apparently a full Garda around a year after being sacked as a teacher, while in reality it takes two years to complete Garda training. Sergeant Healy's superior is seen with Sergeant stripes, despite being referred to as a Superintendent.
  • Auto Erotica: Conor and Linda enjoy Their First Time in the back of Barry and Orla's car.
  • Bad "Bad Acting": Conor and Jock end up as extras on Robert Sheehan's film because they're the weirdest looking people. They proceed to balls up several takes, frustrating Sheehan to tears. It does sort of work for Sheehan, because his frustration works perfectly for the scene being shot, but the two lads are hilariously clueless.
  • Berserk Button: Insult the father of his granddaughter all you like, but the one thing Barry Walsh really takes umbridge with is if you insult his school.
  • Big Damn Kiss: After six episodes of being unable to pluck up the courage to do so, Conor and Linda finally have their first kiss on the bus during the hostage situation.
  • Boxing Episode: Series 3, episode 5 has Jock accidentally challenge the All Ireland Under 18 boxing champion to a boxing match, so he has to train for it. He wins.
  • Breaking the Cycle of Bad Parenting: While not perfect (bringing his baby daughter on a heist is the biggest example), Jock is leagues above his own father when it comes to parennting Star. He dotes on her and she's often his motivation, seen in the boxing episode.
  • Broad Strokes: Certain aspects of continuity between the film and the series don't quite line up - the series nominally takes place before the movie, but most of the character interaction is based on things that happened in it, and some events, like Jock moving in with Mairead and Conor, happen slightly differently.
  • Broke Episode: Episode 5 in series 1 has money tight, especially since Mairead has taken Jock in from his abusive father. The lads decide to steal a rare blue fin tuna to sell to help her out, but end up stealing the wrong fish and losing it. At the end of the episode, they end up donating the money they earn from their work experience to Mairead to help out.
  • Call-Back: After Billy Murphy's rendition of "After All" by The Frank And Walters in the series 1 finale, the Franks themselves have a cameo in series 3 as the band playing at the Debs.
  • The Cameo: Roy Keane has a single scene at Turner's Cross where he's told by Conor, Jock, and Mairéad to fuck off.
  • Continuity Nod: A couple of scenes from the movie make it in, as well as allusions to certain events:
    • Billy's Establishing Character Moment where he mugs Conor and Jock creates Fake Billy to get back at him shows up.
    • Conor's father's death is shown again.
    • Conor and Jock dancing at the end of Carey's Lane is recreated at the end of the first episode 1.
    • The lads do work experience at the fishmongers in the English Market, where they were actually employed during the movie. Series 3 establishes them as being employed there on a more regular basis.
    • Mairead taking Jock in from his abusive father, though the circumstances are different.
  • Christmas Episode: The 2018 Christmas Special, which focuses on Conor and Jock's attempts to arrange a white Christmas for an ill Mairead.
  • Cluster Bleep-Bomb: When Conor, Jock, Linda, and Siobhan are interviewed by RTE about the whales that have swam into the city, they all excitedly describe it while cursing. Since it's for the news it's bleeped out. Jock appears to have said nothing but swear words.
  • Cool, but Inefficient: In series 3, Conor and Jock steal a pair of bikes that look cool, but are described by Jock as "the slowest bikes ever", leading a comically slow bike chase thanks to Segeant Healy's tyres getting burst.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Jock might be Book Dumb, but with a bit of training and some luck, he's able to beat a champion boxer in a prizefight.
  • Dating Catwoman: Everyone treats Mairead's eventual relationship with Sergeant Healy as this.
  • Dating What Daddy Hates: Conor and Jock start seeing Siobhan and Linda Walsh, the daughters of their school principal, Barry Walsh. He is clearly uncomfortable at the idea of this and ends up getting into a fight with Conor when the two lads have been invited to the house for a barbecue.
  • Dublin Skanger: Most of the cast are "Norries", the Cork equivalent. Conor and Jock are petty thieves with bikes being their main thing to steal, though they're not above taking scrap metal. Ironically, the only character actually from Dublin averts the trope by virtue of him being the school principal.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: As crazy as Billy Murphy is, he does seem to genuinely consider Connor and Jock (and to some extent Mairead) his friends. He lays an ex prison mate out for attacking the boys despite being terrified of him throughout the episode.
  • Failure Is the Only Option: Conor and Jock's attempt to run a chip van actually goes reasonably well until the van catches fire at the end of the episode.
  • Famed In-Story: The notorious bike thieves Fake Billy and Princess (actually Jock and Conor in masks) become well known enough that by series 3, a Dublin based psychologist knows who they are.
  • I Am Spartacus: How Jock and Conor manage to end the hostage situation. They get all the passengers to don the Fake Billy mask and leave the bus one by one. The real Billy is last off and walks off into the woods when the guards stop taking notice.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold:
    • Conor and Jock are petty thieves, but they'll often perform acts of extreme kindness, such as attempting to get more money for Mairead or comforting patients stuck in the hospital at Christmas.
    • Billy Murphy develops into one. He might be an Axe-Crazy nutcase, but he eventually helps Mairead by bringing a snow machine to give her a white Christmas.
  • Mood Whiplash: The show can go from hilarious to heartwarming and even tearjerking, often within the same scene.
  • One Drink Will Kill the Baby: After Siobhán tells Jock she's pregnant, Jock is outraged when a woman offers her a drink.
  • Parental Substitute: Despite her insistence she hasn't adopted Jock, Mairead is treated as Jock's mother and later as the paternal grandmother to Star, Jock's daughter.
  • The Psycho Rangers: During the Boxing Episode, nearly all of the main cast has an opposite number rooting for JP. Billy Murphy even helps train Jock because his own rival is on the other side and Barry Walsh has a similarly smarmy opposite number from another school to contend with. Naturally, the fight in the ring spills over into the crowd.
  • Red Baron:
    • Jock's Fake Billy alter ego carries over from the film. Jock gets Conor a mask of his own of a princess, which leads to Conor being known as Princess.
    • Jock uses "The Gorilla" as his ring name for a boxing match.
  • Sadist: Conor notes that inflicting pain is the only thing that gives Billy Murphy any kind of pleasure.
  • Setting Update: Compared to the original film, which was set in 2007, the series is implied to be set in 2018-2020, given the presence of smartphones and a reference to WhatsApp.
  • Shout-Out:
    • When Conor and Jock complain about work, one of the other employees at the fishmongers tells them "Welcome to The Matrix, lads."
    • At one point, Conor describes Sergeant Healy as "a shit Irish Terminator".
  • A Simple Plan:
    • Stealing a rare blue fin tuna from a wholesalers seems like an easy score, especially when Jock changes the lock on the freezer so he can open it. From there, it's a variety of disasters, starting with the lads' difficulty getting the tuna into the trolley they've brought and then dealing with patrolling Gardaí, dogs and other gangs while getting it through the city. This leads to them stealing a lifering and attaching it to the tuna to drag it through the river based on a plan they saw in an old movie. When Jock and Conor have a disagreement, the lifering accidentally falls in the river and Jock has to jump in the river to get it out. Upon retrieving the tuna, they find that the tail they tied the line to has broken off, leaving the rest of the fish floating in the river. This all becomes pointless, as it turns out they stole the wrong fish.
    • The TV heist from series 3. Billy has it all planned out where all that the lads have to do is park one van in front of the delivery van and load the tellies into their own van when Billy rings the driver, who's in on the plan. Of course, this ends up coinciding with Jock having to look after his baby, Star. Star ends up needing to be fed and changed and ends up crawling off. However, Billy ends up with the perfect alibi while talking to Segeant Healy, while Conor and Jock load the van, so the heist actually comes off perfectly.
  • Slap-Slap-Kiss: Mairéad delivers a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown to Sergeant Healy, kisses him, and then punches him once more for good measure.
  • Stockholm Syndrome: When Billy takes a busload of passengers hostage in order to find Fake Billy, they eventually take pity on him leading to every hostage getting off the bus don the Fake Billy mask to cover his escape.
  • Stupid Crooks: Conor and Jock, of course. Sergeant Healy shows them the CCTV footage from their attempt to steal the blue fin tuna telling them that they were the stupidest thieves he ever saw. Their lack of foresight meant that getting a large tuna into a shopping trolley was incredibly difficult.
  • Toilet Humor: Jock's idea of a prank involves taking a shit inside a hand dryer and waiting for someone to use it. Conor ends up being the unfortunate victim.
  • Token Minority: Linda Walsh. She's briefly stated to be of Nigerian descent in series 3, but her skin colour is not otherwise commented on and she has a Cork accent, having most likely been adopted at a very young age.
  • Whole-Plot Reference: The episode where Conor, Jock, and Mairéad buy a chip van with the intention of doing it up is a Cork take on Roddy Doyle's novel The Van with some of the details, such as it initially not having a functional engine, being much the same. Like in The Van, the episode even ends with the destruction of the van.