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The series was notable in that, despite being set at the fictional East Hampton Hospital Trust (and filmed in a real-live working hospital, complete with genuine patients and doctors as extras), the plot rarely ever touched actual medicine or patient storylines in favor of focusing on the surgeons playing games mid-operations, the Love Dodecahedron the staff are invariably trapped in and the occasional misadventures of the HR department.
Managed to win the "Comedy Of The Year" award in 2006.
Some plots and tropes used:
- Air Vent Passageway: Sue White pulls this as an escape tactic in the first episode of season 2.
- Anguished Declaration of Love: A played for laughs version done by Guy to Caroline. She's in the bathroom at the time and the confession is so difficult, the best he can must is that he doesn't just like her but he likes her.
- Amusing Injuries: Guy getting stabbed by Mac and Jake getting stabbed by Guy.
- Attractive Bent Gender: The sight of Boyce in a nurse's uniform made Alan feel
even moreconfused than normal.
- Balloonacy: The special/series ends with Caroline getting lifted away by a bunch of balloons. The alternate ending has both Mac and Guy failing at bringing her back down and getting picked up themselves.
- Bedmate Reveal: Alan and Boyce at the end of S1E08. Whether or not anything actually happened is up for debate.
- Bigger Is Better in Bed: Sue discovers this about Martin in one episode, complete with oil painting.
- Bittersweet Ending: Mac and Caroline get married. Mac's still dying.
- Bumbling Sidekick: Martin.
- Butt Monkey: Karen. And Martin.
- Call Back - The show does have some continuity, referring to gags made a couple of episodes before. Most of them are just throwaway lines.
- Calvin Ball: It's called Guyball (pronounced Gee-ball) and it is played with a basket upon the head.
- The Cast Showoff: Amongst other things, Mark Heap's impressive ping pong skills.
- Casting Gag: Kim and Boyce having a relationship is a reference to The Office, where the two actors also played a young couple. They had similar relationships on both shows.
- Catapult Nightmare: Martin on the morning of his exam.
- The Chew Toy: Office staff member Karen Ball -- not even the deeply pathetic Martin Dear can bring himself to be nice to her. Neither can the office copy machine or the printer.
- Cliff Hanger: Used literally- twice. The scenes were almost identical, as both occur with a large vehicle losing control in a field, swerve to miss a sheep and ends up hanging over the exact same cliff, even with two people sitting in the front seats and Martin in the back.
- Cloudcuckooland: Everyone, with the possible exception of Mac, is a Cloudcuckoolander, so the hospital counts as this. Bear in mind that this is a place where riding a motorbike naked through a hospital isn't considered too weird and neither is giving birth to a lion...
- Comedic Sociopathy: Sue White in a nutshell. Her hobbies including stalking people, molesting people, threatening to put SPELLS on people and shooting at people with a bow and arrow. She also gives birth to a lion cub, which raises a whole lot of questions that don't need to be answered.
- Also, Joanna and Alan's Bonnie and Clyde-style crime spree.
- Construction Catcalls: Joanne tries to get a react out of some workers by walking past them repeatedly. It doesn't work so she flashes them instead.
- Continuity Nod: In the first series Guy is seen talking on the phone with one of his friends who has just bought a jet ski, "You don't buy a jet ski, you hire them! No,how are you gonna get it on the plane? When are you ever gonna use a jet ski?!". In series 2 after the "incident" Guy has lost his driver's license and been blacklisted from using both taxis and the bus, so he ends up jet skiing to work.
- Country Matters: The way in which Dr. Alan Statham (Consultant Radiologist)'s name badge gets defaced.
- Cut His Heart Out with a Spoon: Threatened by Guy to Mac if he told anyone that he was a bridesmaid when he was five.
- The Ditz: Harriet Schulenburg manages to forget either her kids or an article of clothing in about every episode. She once arrived at work and a cat jumped out of her bag:
"Who did I leave at the vet?"
- Drama Bomb Finale: The end of series two, and the tone of the series finale/special.
- Driven to Suicide: Alan and Joanna so they do get caught by the police. The extended ending shows they weren't very successful at dying though.
- Dude Looks Like a Lady: Boyce is referred to as a "porcelain ladyboy".
- Eat the Evidence: When Doctor Statham decides to invade the operating theatre.
- Even the Guys Want Him: Lyndon.
- Eye Scream: Joanna mistakenly putting liquid paper in her eyes.
- Face Doodling: Alan does this to a man in a coma.
- The Fun in Funeral: Sue wears a bunny costume to Angela's funeral and Martin shares his thoughts and feelings through the medium of interpretive dance.
- Harp of Femininity: Angela plays one to Grade 7, while her more tomboyish housemate Caroline struggles to get a sound out of her flute:
Caroline: "What a shame you never made Grade 8..."
- Harpo Does Something Funny: The scenes between Sue and Guy, as both of the actors are improv actors. Example.
- Hey, It's That Guy!: Johnson as Lyndon and Sophie as Harriet, Fran as Caroline, Brian as Alan, and Susan Walker as Angela, while John Oliver (of The Daily Show and Mock the Week) plays a car salesman in the first episode.
- CBBC actor Ed Petrie plays the sports coach when Guy was teaching a group of kids Guy Ball.
- Hospital Hottie: Angela, Boyce, Guy, Lyndon and Mac.
- Ho Yay: Massive sexual tension between Alan and Boyce, especially during the Special, when Boyce can't get over Alan's disappearance and Alan serenades him with Lionel Ritchie over the phone. They also wake up in bed together in the first series.
- Also between Mac and Guy, but played for laughs and heavily lampshaded, such as Mac's coma-hallucination where they wrestle in front of a fire a la Rupert and Gerald of Women In Love. And, of course, the scene where Mac is taking a new job elsewhere, and they pick who they'd be in Top Gun and then discuss the homoeroticism of that film.
- Guy knows how big Mac's penis is because "I watch him when he showers".
- I Call Him "Mister Happy": Karen and a heavily pregnant Harriet are reading through a book of male baby names, leading everyone to believe they're discussing names for Harriet's baby, what they're actually doing is choosing a name for Martin's penis.
- Improv: Part of the auditions were "improv battles" so naturally all of the actors had the freedom to mess around with the script as long as the end result was good. In the DVD extras The writers joked how they would create the perfect script and the actors would simply ignore it.
- I'm a Humanitarian: Non-violent example: Sue White eats umbilical cord sushi.
- Incest Is Relative: Exploited with hilarity... and caught on tape. The consequences are dire.
- Incredibly Lame Pun: Alan is so fond of these it hurts
- It Is Pronounced "Tro-PAY": Guy's fond of using this one.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Guy Secretan.
- Kavorka Man: Dr. Guy Secretan manages to get just about any woman he wants by pretending to cry and/or ending cell phone conversations with "I'll see you in Zurich." Parodied when he reels off a sorrowful cock-and-bull story in an attempt to hit on Joanna Clore, who laughs it off (but is perfectly willing to sleep with him anyway).
- Kick the Dog: One example is when Guy reads Martin's exam results for him and tells him he's passed. Martin is ecstatic, everyone's cheering and celebrating, and Martin goes off on his merry way. Only Guy was lying, Martin failed them all.
- Kill'Em All: Not quite, but the finale manages to "take care of" Angela, Joanna and Dr. Statham.
- Lame Comeback: Dr. Statham loves this trope.
- Law of Inverse Fertility: Harriet and her husband.
- Little People Are Surreal: Especially when painted green.
- Love Dodecahedron: Almost every character is romantically involved with two or more people;
- Caroline - fought over by Mac, Guy, Martin (sometimes), Sue (when she isn't trying to murder her) and Jake.
- Martin - in an on/off relationship with Karen from HR.
- Boyce - in a relationship with Kim from HR, yet has a love/hate relationship with Alan.
- Lyndon - fought over by everyone in HR (including an affair with the heavily pregnant and married-with-four-kids Harriet.
- Joanna - in an on/off relationship with Alan, save for when she has sex with Guy and for some of series 2.
- Les Yay: Among the several people Caroline kisses during her party is Sue White.
- Sue, when Angela is trying to secure an early release.
Sue: Do I look like a mug? Have I got a handle? Am I made of china, am I kept in a cupboard or on a small wooden tree? Would you like to put your lips on my rim? You may answer that question, the others were rhetorical.
- Another from Sue, to Caroline.
Sue: I think I would like to touch a big woman's breasts. I'm not a lesbian, but I think I might just like to touch a big woman's breasts. Actually, maybe I am a lesbian.
- Luke, I Am Your Father: It is revealed that one of the reasons Martin can still practice medicine despite being pretty bad is because he is Joanna's unwanted son. Taken Up to Eleven during the series one finale with Joanna discovering Guy is her son after having sex with him.
- Master of the Mixed Message: Mac is aware that Caroline is besotted with him and takes pleasure in teasing her over it, though he obviously does have some feelings towards her. She puts up with it for a long time but eventually confronts him about his cruel behaviour.
- Meaningful Name: When Sue impregnates herself with Mac's sperm, she names her baby Simba. Besides the obvious reference, it means "lion," referring to how she calls Mac's hair the lion's mane. However, it get even more meaningful as she quite literally gives birth to a lion.
- Midlife Crisis Car: The very first scene features Joanna asking a salesman which of two cars will make her look younger: the salesman deadpans, "Neither. They are just cars."
- Mistaken for Gay: In the special, while Joanna and Alan are hiding out in the caravan park, a man thinks Alan's gay because of "the shorts and 'tache", Joanna doesn't correct him and so the man promptly invites Alan on a walk by the river.
- No Name Given: Mac/Macartney. Lampshaded when he is looking at some of his medical test results:
"Sometimes I forget I have a first name."
- Also, Boyce.
- Paper-Thin Disguise: When Guy is banned from visiting Mac's hospital room he wraps a black sheet round his head and pretends to be a crazy old Greek woman, Caroline is completely oblivious.
- She does rather pointedly mention Battleships to him later.
Guy: Her name's... Hhhhcccccchhhhhhh.
- Not What It Looks Like: Frequently. And frequently averted.
- Only Sane Man: Mac and Lyndon.
- Outlaw Couple: Alan and Joanna in the special. Most of the crimes they commit, though, are really due to their own stupidity.
- Overly Long Gag: "Get me Brian!"
- Parental Incest: Guy doesn't find out Joanna is his long-lost and presumed-dead mother until after they've slept together. And it's been caught on tape.
- Parody Sue: Angela
- The Prankster: Boyce.
- Put on a Bus: The character of Angela Hunter gets what is probably the most generous bus-sendoff ever. That is, until she is murdered by a moose.
- Running Gag: Several. Mac getting repeatedly called Ginger and replying he is blonde. Hair in general is running joke: Guy's gets increasingly curly over the series, Rachel dyes hers from blonde to brunette between season 1 and 2. Karne gets her hair trapped in the printer. Guy Ball. The Human Resources odd games. (Like diving to the floor whenever the phone rings, drawing a hopscotch on the floor, switching desks to confuse Joanna, etc.)
- Seinfeldian Conversation: Quite a few occur each episode.
- Sequential Symptom Syndrome: Joanna, with a donut in her mouth, walks in on Harriet describing the symptoms of pregnancy, including a craving for fatty foods, and finds herself feeling the rest of them too.
- Similar Squad: According to Word of God Naughty Rachel, Kim and Karen are respectively meant to be female versions of Guy, Mac and Martin.
- Although Kim is generally a lot more abrasive than easy-going Mac.
- Soap Opera: Caroline loves Mac who's with Holly who may or may not have had his baby, meanwhile Guy and Martin love Caroline...
- Sorry, I'm Gay: After being dumped by their respective girlfriends, Jake the complementary therapist and Lyndon sit together in the bar. Unfortunately, Joanna approaches and, in order to fend off her sexual advances, they claim they're gay. Upon her insistence, they kiss so she'll leave them alone. She later comes back and asks if they can do it again.
- Spy Speak: When Alan and Joanna go on the run.
Boyce: The weasel is still in its cage. The weasel is still in its cage... The weasel is out of the cage! The weasel is out of the cage! Fly, pelicans! Go, go - The weasel is returning to the cage! The weasel is returning to the cage, so pelicans to the kitchen! Pelicans, go to the kitchen. Go to the kitchen! The kitchen! The bush! The kitchen is the bush!
- Squick: Among many examples, Dr. Statham eating a gall bladder mid-operation and Guy accidentally having sex with his own mother.
- Stalker with a Crush: Sue White is this trope. The scene in which she makes a clay statue of Dr. Mac and considers differently sized genitalia is but one shining example. She even steals some of his genetic material while he's comatose to try to impregnate herself with his child.
- Joanna goes into the territory, though not quite to the extreme as Sue, with her chasing of Lyndon.
- The Stinger: In the extended version of the final episode, while Mac is flying away with Caroline on a balloon (with Guy) he has something very important to tell her, implying the disease may or may not be real.
- Stalker with a Test Tube: Sue who eventually gives birth to a lion.
- Surreal Humor
- Suspiciously Specific Denial: Dr. Statham "I DIDN'T KILL HIM" everyone in the waiting room stops and stares at him "....said the man...in the novel...about killing people. NOT DWARVES!"
- Terrible Interviewees Montage: When Caroline is looking for a new flatmate.
- Token Minority: Lyndon, the IT Guy and Chick Magnet. When Dr Statham asks to have him removed, Sue milks the fact he's the only black character and silently suggests he's racist.
- The Un-Reveal: An In-Universe example has Holly calling Mac "Paul"... only for her to explain she nicknamed him after Paul McCartney.
- Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist: The majority of the character's could be classed as this, but mainly Guy.
- Unusual Euphemism: Dr. Statham uses these all over the place.
- So does Sue. Brick out the front shitter. Sideways Smile.
- Violent Glaswegian: Sue White, presumably, as her actress is from Glasgow and uses her own accent.
- Vitriolic Best Buds : Mac and Guy.
- Welcome Episode: Dr. Caroline Todd goes to her first day at the job after sleeping in her car, locked out of her new house. She uses pine-scented air freshener as deodorant. The wacky ensues.
"You smell... is that minicabs?"
- Whammy Bid: Martin surprises all with a £3,000 bid on Caroline at the slave auction.
- What Did I Do Last Night?: Caroline trying to work out all the different people she kissed the day after her housewarming party.
- Dr Statham has this problem after Boyce wins him in the auction, they get incredibly drunk and wake up in bed together naked.