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My Parents Are Aliens is a British children's sitcom which aired on ITV between 1999 and 2006. It told the story of Brian and Sophie Johnson, a couple of Shapeshifting Valuxians stranded on Earth, and their adopted children, Mel, Josh and Lucy, with new children being adopted into the family in later seasons. For the final season, the set and most of the cast were completely changed, to the dismay of many of the fans.
While stranded, Brian and Sophie attempt to study Earth culture, in order to fit in and thus avoid being found out and taken away for scientific experimentation. A typical episode would begin with Brian and Sophie learning about some aspect of Earth culture and misunderstanding it completely, resulting in various wacky hijinks. Often, they would attempt to help the children out with their schoolwork and social lives, inadvertently making things far more complicated than they were in the first place and resulting in some painfully farcical plots.
The show's self-referential humour and frequent Parental Bonuses attracted a cult following above the target age group. Sadly, few episodes were ever released on VHS, and the closing of ITV's in-house production of children's shows means that the show ended abruptly after the eighth series. The show continues to be repeated on ITV's children's channel, CITV.
My Parents Are Aliens provides examples of:
- Alien Among Us: The titular 'parents'
- Alien Catnip: the Bizarre Alien Biology of the titular parents cause them to get very high from various innocent things. A Running Gag was that eating ice cream would cause Brian to sprout a pair of moose antlers.
- Amazingly Embarrassing Parents: This happens at least once an episode, and largely has Brian responsible.
- Amusing Alien: Again, the titular parents.
- Annoying Younger Sibling: It's played straight, and subverted at the same time. Lucy due to her cleverness and, in particular Josh with his mischievous behaviour, fit the trope quite well for Mel (just as she, with her aggressive and sarcastic attitude, sort of does for them), but there is also Brian, since, despite being their foster-father is able to morph into any one of the siblings at will (though usually only when asked) and can cause "annoying" problems in that sense. Also, since he and Sophie are not from planet Earth, the role of an adult using experience to explain things to a clueless child is generally reversed from the parents to the children throughout.
- Bizarre Alien Biology: Aliens can morph into the appearance of anyone/thing.
- Bratty Teenage Daughter: Arguably Mel at times, but it isn't a primary characteristic.
- Canon Dis Continuity: Reruns on CITV omit Season 8, and after the Season 7 finale go back to the Season 1 opener.
- Child Prodigy: Lucy Barker
- Edited for Syndication: In recent years, CITV has made it so there are no ad breaks in the middle of a show, only in-between one show ending and the other beginning (excluding reruns of Jungle Run, where the ad break is just one advert). This seems to have resulted in small pieces of episodes to be cut out. They aren't important to the story, but the fact they've been edited out is painfully obvious at times, especially to those who seen the episodes when they first aired. My Parents Are Aliens appears to be the only show to suffer this.
- Fantastic Comedy
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: The series is a master of it. One of the most notable examples being a two-part story called "Beauty and the Breast". The episode, starting from its title, is a non-stopping shitting on the radar. The title alludes to the "parents" undergoing a Sexual Identity Crisis. Both of them. In another episode Brian starts using a voice synthesizer, and later on, when it is noticed that he's stopped using it, he says that it broke when he made a spelling mistake talking to a trucker. There are so many examples of this trope, the show might as well have it's own page.
- Homeschooled Kids: One episode had Brian try to do this with Josh after falling foul with his teacher. It didn't last very long as Josh found Brian's Biology lesson stupid.
- Hong Kong Dub: An episode has Lucy arriving home to find Brain in a karate outfit. When he talks his lips don't match up with his mouth. Lucy then sees Brian has been watching a karate videotape and tells him that it is dubbed.
- Involuntary Shapeshifting: An extremely frequent element, both as minor gags and plot points, with Brian's aforementioned ice cream-induced antlers being a memorable example.
- Just in Time: Subverted in Aliens Go Home: a countdown clock reaches zero — and goes on down into the negative numbers. "On our home planet, countdowns go to minus 10!"
- Lethal Chef: Virtually everything cooked by Sophie Johnson uses rather... nonstandard ingredients. Like sausage cake, or chicken nuggets — complete with bones, feathers and "fresh" chemical additives.
- My Friends and Zoidberg: Josh is a victim of this on several occasions.
- In the Series 6 episode, The Alienist, where Brian gives a speech on alien rights.
Brian: "Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, carbon and silicon-based organisms, Josh."
- In the Series 7 episode, The Love Bug, a letter that Brian and Sophie leave behind after they run away starts with "To our dear children... and Josh." Justified in that Brian loathed Josh for apparently trying to steal Sophie from him, when he just wanted them to stop being all lovey-duvey.
- Not Allowed to Grow Up: The character Lucy Barker, who was still dressed in primary school uniform when the character should have been in the high school.
- Lucy was supposed to be about 8 in the first season, so for the first 3 seasons or so she was in primary school. However in later seasons, Lucy was clearly seen to now be going to the same school as her brother. In the final season (season 8 does not count), Lucy would be 15 and taking her GCSEs, and Josh would be 17 and studying for his A-levels.
- The Nth Doctor: In series 1 and 2, Sophie Johnson was played by the blonde Barbara Durkin. From series 3 onwards, Sophie was played brown-haired Carla Mendonsa. It was explained in-show as Sophie having got 'stuck' that way after morphing.
- The Other Darrin: Tanya Thomas, despite being human, was played by three different actresses over the course of the show's run.
- Outer Space Astronauts: Brian and Sophie
- Promotion to Parent: Despite being fostered by the Johnsons - or arguably, it contributes - Mel is this to her two younger siblings after the death of their parents. This is most notable in the earlier seasons, and particularly towards youngest sister, Lucy.
- Relationship Upgrade: Mel and Trent in series 6. Continues in series 7 though Mel is not in the series until the last episode. However this does give us a moment of heartwarming in that episode.
- Retcon: There's a few examples, but there is one which sticks out the most:
- How Brian and Sophie chose their disguises. Originally they had disguises resembling two people they had seen on television. Unfortunately, the show was Crimewatch and the forms they had taken were wanted felons. One quick catalogue search through later, and they were in their familiar forms. In the series 7 finale, Thanks for All the Earthworm Custard, it was said that they had taken the familiar (series 1 and 2 for Sophie) forms from the real uncle and aunt of the Barker children, who also happened to be named Brian and Sophie
- Retool: Series 8. Brian and Sophie's memories were erased, resulting in them not remembering anything of the Barkers, any events that occurred, or Earthling ways that they learnt during the shows entire run. This series was dubbed "Phase 2" by fans, as the styles of Brian and Sophie, the rest of the cast, the sets, the location and even the galactic guidebook all changed. Needless to say, it was not taken well. With only one series of this new style, some fans felt that the final episode of series 7, Thanks for All the Earthworm Custard, should have been the final episode, as it was the last to feature the original regular cast, and concluded ongoing plots from the first seven series.
- Schmuck Bait: The website had a button in its side menu which when you rolled over it highlighted in red and a voice said "Do not press" (and was labeled accordingly). The question is, what did happen if you pressed it?
- Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Harri for Mel in the penultimate season, even in-universe.
- Those Two Guys: The show had Frankie and Pete for seven years. There was also a kid called Mikey for the first three episodes,and occasionally a kid called Dave. Frankie and Pete found out everything in Series 7 Episode 20 but then they had their memories erased. We were then subjected to the terrible Series 8.
- Token Minority: C.J.
- Voluntary Shapeshifting