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Series / Whites

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Whites is a low-key British comedy show set in the kitchen of a country house hotel.

Starring Alan Davies (sporting new facial hair) as a thinly-veiled parody of Marco Pierre White, the show aired in 2010 for one series. It was cancelled by The BBC because of its high cost of production.

Now available on Hulu and Tubi. Compare to Chef! (1993).

This show provides examples of:

  • Accidental Pun: When Celia catches Roland spying on Caroline and Robin.
    Celia: Being a dick?
    Roland: What?
    Celia: You! Playing detective.
  • Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy: Played for Laughs with the self-proclaimed kickboxer in Episode 3.
  • Babies Ever After: For Bib.
  • Backstory: The last episode provides some insight into Roland's past, explaining (but not excusing) his current outlook and lack of success.
  • Bad "Bad Acting": Roland and Skoose are extremely awkward during their TV appearance in Episode 5.
  • Beleaguered Assistant: Bib.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Caroline mocks the fighting between Bib and Skoose by suggesting that they share this ("Why don't you two just get naked and wrestle?").
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Bib can only take so much abuse from Roland and Skoose...
  • Billed Above the Title: Alan Davies in the Title Sequence.
  • Bribe Backfire: Roland attempts to bribe a health and safety inspector with a nice bottle of wine.
  • Brutal Honesty: Bib tells Roland exactly what he thinks of him before he leaves the hotel in the last episode.
  • Camp Straight: To a minor degree, Caroline's boyfriend (and later fiancé), Robin.
  • Catchphrase: Roland invents some for his television appearance in Episode 5. Specifically, "bang it in," "don't tell your mum," and (when holding an egg) "eggy eggy eggy."
  • Chekhov's Gun: In the second episode, Bib's comment about the "dead man's fingers" (crab gills). In the fourth episode, the Parkinson's disease charity wristband.
  • Children in Tow: A duck and ducklings crossing the road in Episode 3 lead to sudden braking and some unfortunate spillage.
  • Cool Chair: Roland's smoke break chair looks like a throne, which is fitting given his high opinion of himself.
  • Corrupt Bureaucrat: In Episode 4, Roland expects a laid-back health and safety inspection from his regular guy, Colin. It turns out that Colin has been fired for accepting bribes.
  • Creator Cameo: Matt King, one of the show's writers, has a recurring role as Melvin.
  • Digging Yourself Deeper: Roland, while sitting in the dining room with Alison.
  • Disabled Means Helpless: Among other faux pas, Roland pre-cuts Alison's steak for her when he learns she only has one arm. She isn't pleased.
  • Dismotivation: Roland has long since stopped caring about his art and has fallen out of touch with current trends. He recycles old menus and, when harassed by Caroline to come up with a new one, grants Bib the "honour" of doing it for him. Most of his creative energy is instead devoted to fame-seeking.
  • The Ditz: Kiki.
  • Double Meaning: When the health and safety inspector informs Caroline that "Bob" has Parkinson's disease (see Snowball Lie):
    Caroline: [to Roland] Parkinson's. Your brother. Wow, that is really, really, really shitty.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: Caroline in Episode 6, after her fiancé ditches her to go help deliver piglets on his farm.
  • Drunk with Power: In Episode 3, when Skoose is temporarily put in charge of the kitchen, he dons an absurdly tall toque and starts hurling insults like Gordon Ramsay.
  • Edible Ammunition: Celebrity chef Shay Marshall says he is "trying to figure out a way to make actual working bullets out of caramel, and then fire them directly into children's mouths."
  • Epunymous Title: "Whites" refers to chefs' uniforms, but also acknowledges the main character's surname (and by extension the name of the restaurant).
  • Headbutt of Love: Bib gives one to Roland following their reconciliation in Episode 6.
  • Henpecked Husband: Bib, who always sounds very meek when talking to his unseen wife, Sarah.
    • In Episode 5, when he is halfway home from the restaurant on his first vacation day in years, she makes him go back to the hotel to fetch his camera.
    • In Episode 6, Bib says that he won't be taking an exciting job in Sydney after all because Sarah doesn't want their babies to have Australian accents.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Roland and Bib. This is made most explicit in the finale — they even say "I love you" to each other before falling asleep on Roland's couch.
  • I Have My Ways: Melvin seems to have some pretty shady methods of sourcing his meat.
    Roland: Where'd you get [poussin] on such short notice?
    Melvin: Probably best we don't have that conversation.
  • Indirect Kiss: In Episode 6, Skoose plays Kiki's trumpet and they both point out that their spit is mixed together.
  • Is This Thing Still On?: The entire staff of the hotel overhears Bib and Roland's conversation (amplified via microphone) in Episode 6. When they realize this, they simply flee the scene.
  • It's All About Me: Roland thinks his happiness comes before everyone else's, and expects his subordinates to share this view.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: A variation — Roland doesn't agree with Shay's opinion of the restaurant, but is forced to admit that it is technically true.
    Shay: Wow, look at this place. Right up your street, Roly... old school. [wink]
    Roland: Well, it's an old building.
    Caroline: And it did use to be a school.
    Roland: Yeah, it is an old school, but I wouldn't describe it as—
    Shay: Right, I guess I should get checked in.
  • Land Down Under: When it turns out that Bib won't be going to Australia after all, he and Roland agree that it's probably for the best, what with the swarms of murderous animals and baby-eating dingoes.
  • Lie Back and Think of England: Roland says this when Bib frets about giving a sperm sample.
  • Literal-Minded: Kiki.
  • Locked in a Freezer: Skoose locks Bib in the walk-in fridge at the end of the first episode.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Skoose. While not actually all that bright, he knows exactly how to push Bib's buttons when no one else is around, bringing him closer and closer to the breaking point.
  • Meet Cute: Roland and Alison in Episode 3.
  • Mistaken for Racist: While playing with gold leaf, Skoose mistakenly calls the Midas touch "the miner's touch." Bib corrects him and adds that "the miner's touch" doesn't even make sense, as miners would have black fingers, not gold ones. As a South Asian employee walks in, Skoose accuses Bib of thinking that only black people should work in mines.
  • Never Got to Say Goodbye: Played for Laughs in Episode 6 — Bib says goodbye to Caroline, but she is too embarrassed to say goodbye back because she has just inhaled a balloon's worth of helium.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Shay Marshall is clearly based on Heston Blumenthal, what with his three Michelin stars, modern dishes, and scientific cooking techniques.
  • No Peripheral Vision: Roland fails to notice a job applicant sitting in his office in Episode 6.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: Heather, the by-the-book health and safety inspector in Episode 4.
  • One Head Taller: Bib to Roland, which causes problems in Episode 5.
  • Only Sane Employee: Caroline.
  • On the Next
  • Phoney Call: Roland does this in Episode 6 to make Bib think everything's fine without him. Bib calls him on it, since normally there is no cell phone reception in the basement.
  • Priceless Ming Vase: The huge piñata in Episode 6.
  • Product Displacement: The Porsche logo in Episode 3 is blurred out.
  • Rage Breaking Point: Bib hits it in Episode 5. While Skoose's insubordination and psychological warfare have taken their toll, the final straw ends up being Roland's jealous crushing of Bib's chance at a head chef job in Sydney.
  • Real Men Eat Meat: Roland, in the first episode.
  • Reset Button Ending: More or less. In the last episode, Roland realizes how much he needs Bib and apologizes for taking him for granted. As they drunkenly fall asleep in Roland's office, Roland says "You'll do breakfast tomorrow, yeah?" Roll credits.
  • Reunion Revenge: When an old rival books into the restaurant, Roland prepares a special dish just for him. The revenge attempt backfires when Roland learns that his so-called rival actually wanted to help him out. He changes his mind after leaving the restaurant in an ambulance.
  • Senseless Phagia: The kickboxer investigates a suspicious stain in the Porsche by touching it and licking his fingers.
  • Shirtless Scene: Shay in the second episode, much to Caroline's delight.
  • Shown Their Work: The actors apparently spent two weeks working in a restaurant so as to confidently work with the food onscreen.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Roland is convinced that he could be a bestselling author, convinced he could be a successful TV chef, and convinced his restaurant is heading for a Michelin Star. Bib knows otherwise.
  • Snowball Lie: Roland's improvised attempt to have the restaurant's health and safety violations dismissed in Episode 4. Noticing the inspector's charity wristband, he makes up a story about his younger brother "Bob" having Parkinson's. He uses a picture of himself and Bib to sell the story, but Bib walks in unexpectedly. Roland conveys to Bib that he needs to play along and pretend to have Parkinson's. It works, and even softens the inspector further. Then, as the inspector is about to leave, Caroline comes up to the three of them and makes some seemingly insensitive comments about Bib's shaking. When she realizes what's going on, Caroline is outraged but goes along with it, making this a rare case of such a lie not falling apart spectacularly in the context of a Cringe Comedy plotline — the only consequence is that Caroline and Bib are both furious at Roland.
  • Standard Snippet: In the first episode, Roland hums In the Hall of the Mountain King (thinking it's The Sorcerer's Apprentice) as a way of playfully indicating to Bib that he has hired an assistant for him.
  • The Star Scream: Skoose is rather unsubtle about his intentions to oust Bib as sous-chef.
  • Supreme Chef: Shay Marshall, a very young, very successful chef. Bib worships him.
  • Surpassed the Teacher: Shay used to be Roland's apprentice but is now much more successful than him. Roland hates him, but not just out of jealousy — he once sabotaged Roland's shot at a Michelin star.
  • Take This Job and Shove It: Bib to Roland in Episode 5.
  • Tell Him I'm Not Speaking to Him: Caroline refuses to speak to Roland at the end of Episode 4, so he has to make conversation with Robin.
  • Throw the Dog a Bone: The ending of Episode 5, when the Australian businessman is revealed to still be interested in Bib as a potential head chef.
  • Title Drop: Roland tells Bib to get Skoose "a nice new set of whites" in the first episode.
  • Token Minority: Axel.
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension: Roland and Caroline.
  • Visual Innuendo: Roland simulates an erection with a cucumber when Bib brings up his fertility clinic appointment.
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot: Shay (see Reunion Revenge).
  • Welcome Episode: Episode 1, for Scoose.
  • Will They or Won't They?: They don't. Caroline actually tries to initiate sex with Roland in Episode 6, but she's clearly just drunk and vulnerable, so he turns her away.