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'"... Monkey Tennis?"
1997-2002 Britcom starring Steve Coogan as Alan Partridge, a failed chat show host and candidate for the most Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist of all time. An utterly loathsome, pathologically narcissistic and self-absorbed failure of a human being with a permanent sneer, an entire wardrobe of Pringle jumpers and an unhealthy fascination with 'ladyboys', Partridge, after a failed chat show in which he failed to get an appearance from Roger Moore, shot a guest dead, and punched his BBC boss with a turkey (Knowing Me Knowing You With Alan Partridge), is reduced to the graveyard shift on local radio and living in a motel after being kicked out by his wife. The series took a fly on the wall view on Partridge's life (such as it was) and his increasingly desperate attempts to get back on television. A second series was broadcast in 2002, which showed Partridge- following an off-screen nervous breakdown- as slightly more successful and a lot more smug. Other important characters include:
- Lynn: Alan's mousy personal assistant-slash-doormat, who organises his life to such an extent that he can't survive without her, but whom he nevertheless treats with thoughtless contempt;
- Michael: Alan's only friend - a emotionally tortured and desperate ex-soldier who is, possibly, even more of a loser than Alan is.
- Sonja (season 2 only): Alan's Ukrainian girlfriend, who even he describes as "mildly cretinous". But she is 14 years younger than him -- back of the net!
This is the role that Steve Coogan will forever be remembered as, and rightly so; one of the best British sitcoms ever made. Came forty-second in Britains Best Sitcom.
- Attractive Bent Gender: Potentially the Bangkok Chickboys.
- Bigger Is Better: A significant part of why Alan won't drive a Mini Metro, even though Lynn points out it would make more sense for him to do so if he wants to keep his company Pear Tree Productions in business.
- Blessed Are the Cheesemakers: "SMELL MY CHEESE, YOU MUTHA!"
- Break the Cutie: Sweet and smiling hotel receptionist Susan on the night before Alan checks out:
"I’LL TELL YOU WHAT MY PROBLEM IS! HAVING TO LISTEN TO YOUR CRAP FOR THE LAST SIX MONTHS! YOU'VE BEEN IN THIS HOTEL FOR A HUNDRED AND EIGHTY-TWO DAYS, YOU LITTLE SHIT!"
- Brick Joke: In the first season, Alan speaks to his ex-wife's new boyfriend (a fitness instructor) about switching on the immersion heater to get a deep bath. In the second, one of Alan's radio segments is called Alan's Deep Bath.
- Brief Accent Imitation: Alan finds this trope pretty funny, Michael less so, and John the builder even less so.
- British Brevity: Only 12 episodes were made.
- Bully Hunter: In the last season of episode two, Lynn introduces Alan to her fiance, a retired policeman who attends her church, who reveals that he's heard all about Alan -- and has managed to piece together exactly what sort of a man he is, informing him in no uncertain terms that if he doesn't stop bullying Lynne and treating her like a doormat he'll get what's coming to him. Alan is sufficiently intimidated to start by raising her salary.
- Country Matters: A couple of examples from, fittingly enough, the angry farmers who take over Alan's phone-in.
- Curse Cut Short: Several examples in the space of the farmers' phone-in: "You ignorant cu.."
- Dumbass DJ: Dave Clifton, in a way which is nicely lampshaded by Alan:
"It's difficult to understand you when you say 'splidding' as I know in real life you say splitting. It's interesting, the way you substitute a D for a T when you're broadcasting. If you ask me it's the behaviour of a dosser"
- Erotic Dream - a recurring gag in the first series has Alan frequently segue into a kind of daydream in which he offers to do a lapdance for a variety of men whilst wearing a leather codpiece and one of his pringle jumpers with the nipples cut out, whenever he's whoring himself to get back on TV.
- Erotic Eating: Jill and the chocolate mousse. Alan is a little squicked out.
- Although it's important to note that the joke seems to be about how bizarre and neurotic Alan can be in his approach to women and sex.
- Mr. Fanservice: John the sexy builder.
- Faux Documentary - the program was filmed in the style of a fly-on-the-wall documentary, albeit with a laughter track and several scenes a documentary would be unlikely to be given space to record.
- It all gets a bit meta: on the in-universe commentary for series 1 Alan explains that IAP is actually a dramatisation of real events, and that aside from himself and Lynn everyone else was an actor. One has to wonder why he allowed such massively unflattering material to be made/aired, given his rank narcissism and very, very different take on the series' events as demonstrated in his in-universe autobiography I, Partridge: We Neeed to Talk About Alan.
- Hey, It's That Guy!: That big posh sod with plums in his mouth sounds and looks a lot like the news anchor Alan worked with back in The Day.
- Jaded Washout: Alan. The show is all about "The bitter life of a failed chat show host".
- Last-Second Word Swap - Many of Alan or Michael's stories end with this trope. Prime example:
Michael: "...so he flips him over, and he fu--
Lynn enters the room.
Michael:"--and fu-- and funnily enough it landed on all four wheels and they drove away."
Alan: "Strangest story I ever heard..."
- Incredibly Lame Pun: Alan, as a generally terrible broadcaster, is fond of these, and usually in incredibly bad taste.
Kate Fitzgerald, after describing her history with drugs: I notice you end almost every anecdote with the phrase "needless to say, I had the last laugh".
Alan: Yeah, well, you could end some of your chapters with "needles to say... I took drugs".
- Mail Order Bride: Sonya, Alan's Ukranian girlfriend. Also Michael's Thai wife who "didn't fit in with the culture in Newcastle", and left him to move to Sunderland.
- Moment Killer: Lynn decides that Alan's date with Jill is a good time to deliver his fungal foot powder.
- Noodle Implements: Alan keeps one in his drawer.
- According to Word of God (i.e. Coogan, on the commentary), it's exactly what you think it is. Yes, one of those.
- Off the Wagon: Alan's Radio Norwich colleague, Dave Clifton: "...you're back on the boddle!"
- Precision F-Strike: Alan's awesome response when Dave Clifton attempts a series of traffic cone puns.
- Running Gag: Frequent mentions of Bill Oddie.
Sophie: Oh, there was a call for you. A Mr. Nesshead rang.
Alan: Right. Never heard of him. Did he leave a first name?
Sophie: No, it was just a Mr. P. Nesshead.
Alan: Sophie, that’s a crank call. That’s another crank call.
Sophie: [Smirking] Is it?
Alan: Read it back to yourself.
Sophie: Oh yeah, I can see what he’s done now. Shall I put it on the list with all the others?
Alan: If you would. Actually, can I have a look at that list? I want to get to the bottom of this. [Reading] "Mr. G. String... Mr. Nick Hers... Y. Front... Mr. T. Osser"? That doesn’t even work! "Mr. B. Ody"? This is Bill Oddie! It’s not a prank call. Why have you put it on there?
Susan: Well, we thought it looked like "body".
Alan: What’s rude about a body?
- And Sue Cook: in reality inoffensive and mild-mannered, in the Alan universe she becomes a foul-mouthed, abusive heavy smoker. Cook sent a letter to Coogan after the show apologising for her behaviour.
- Sexy Discretion Shot: Alan dimming the light at Jill's request. Thankfully he dims it all the way and saves us a bit of Fan Disservice.
- Similar Squad: Alan's chance meeting with Dan. Dan. Dan. DAN! DAN! DAN! DAN! DAN! DAN...
- Sound Effect Bleep: Alan finds a few suitable farm animal noises to use on the angry farmers.
- And the hilariously distracting "background" music he uses for a traffic report in series 2, which has Alan delivering a screamed bleeped-out Cluster F-Bomb.
BG: "[BEEP BEEP] Get out the way, you f---ing idiot! [HONK] You could get a bus through there, you f---ing c--t! [HONK] You stupid ----ing ----, LET ME THROUGH! [AIRHORN] GO!! THERE'S NOTHING THERE!! GO!!!!"
Alan: "We've got a report -"
BG: "[HONK HONK]"
Alan: [turns it off] "Gonna just get rid of that, it's annoying."
- Spiritual Successor: To Knowing Me Knowing You With Alan Partridge
- Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist: Alan.