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It follows the Brockmans, a family of five, who live somewhere in South London:
- Pete (Hugh Dennis)- father, a teacher
- Sue (Claire Skinner)- mother, part time PA
- Jake (Tyger Drew-Honey)- older son at 11
- Ben (Daniel Roche)- younger son at 7, pathological liar
- Karen (Ramona Marquez)- disturbingly inquisitive 5-year-old daughter
The show is semi-improvised, with the kids being given the basic outline and then going from there. Not to be confused with the Super Solvers game of the same name.
This show contains examples of:
- Actor Allusion: In Series 4, there's a scene where Pete is flicking through TV channels and is disappointed at finding nothing but panel games. There's also a reference to Frankie Boyle and his standup, which is a reference to him and Hugh once being on the same show.
- Actually Pretty Funny: Jake's reaction to Ben's story about Ibrahim getting mugged.
- Adults Are Useless: large amounts of the show contain Pete & Sue getting everything spectacularly wrong, which also yields a large helping of Cringe Comedy.
- Affably Evil: A representative from Brick's attorneys is actually very polite and patient.
- The All Solving Hammer: Referenced when trying to fix a washing machine.
Ben: "Here's a bigger hammer!"
- Awesome McCoolname: Jake is played by Tyger Drew-Honey
- Beware the Nice Ones: Archie the Dog does seem rather playful when the family look after him on behalf of some friends of theirs, if a bit reluctant to go to his bed. Then Sue and Pete let him out the back garden; he goes into a garden next door and breaks into a guinea pig hutch, killing all the guinea pigs. Thankfully, this is offscreen.
- Cain and Abel: A female and relatively nonviolent version with Angela as Cain and Sue as Abel.
- Celebrity Paradox: Of a type; in series 4, Ben uses a Frankie Boyle joke in his act for the school talent show.
- Creepy Child: Karen, frequently - especially when she outlines her plan to kill all the terrorists in the world, while looking completely adorable.
"Why don't they just put knives on them and put them all in a dark room, and they can walk around and then they'll all stab each other?"
- Cringe Comedy:
- A Day in Her Apron
- Deadpan Snarker: Jake - "I can see why they call it the Dangerous Book for Boys" "Karen's just brained Ben with it"
- Elephant in the Living Room: Semi-literal example in the second episode of the third series, only it's in the kitchen.
"What's that?" *indicating a paper-maché elephant head* "Oh that's the elephant in the room, we don't talk about that" "Why not?" "No, it's...never mind"
- Epic Fail:
- Pete throws the Wiimote into the TV by accident and breaks it, after managing to get first place on Mario and Sonic at the Olympics for the first time (which he only did because the others were all in bed).
- Earlier in that episode, Pete is shown doing very badly at the game, and Ben lampshades this word for word.
- Escalating Punchline
- Filler: Karen's stuffed-animal Reality Show parodies that have little, if anything to do with the episode they're in.
- The Fun in Funeral:
- In series 4 when the Brockmans attend the funeral of an uncle.
- Ben mentions the funeral when talking about acting as a comedian for the school talent contest, saying he farted in the church and caused a lot of people to laugh due to the echo. We don't see this onscreen, though.
- Funny Background Event: Karen kicking Alison as Pete talks to a clergyman in The Wedding episode.
- The brawl that occurs during Ben's football game, while Pete is on the phone in "The Quiet Night In".
- Girls Need Role Models: Sue seems to believe this In-Universe, explaining her dismay in series 4 when Karen suddenly develops an interest in shopping and fashion.
- He Who Must Not Be Seen: Sue's bosses. Veronica, in series 1, was replaced by Tyson for series 2.
- Hot Mom: Sue
- Hypocritical Humor: Frequently at the expense of Sue and Pete.
- The Internet Is for Porn: Jake seems to think so, in Series 3.
- Jail Bait: Jake is briefly nicknamed this in Series 4, as he's dating a 19-year old lap dancer. Turns out he was lying about his age. Then it turns out she was too. So he's not jailbait, but his girlfriend is lap dancing illegally. Pete and Sue are at a loss as to whether this is better or worse.
- Angela, Sue's sister. Has insulted the kids frequently and triggered many arguments. Also abandoned Grandad with pretty much no notice or regard for him.
- Brick is retroactively revealed to be one in the fifth episode of season four.
- On a slightly less serious note, the headmaster of the school Pete used to teach at. Blames Pete for doctoring a prospectus to make the school look better and lets him take the fall for it (though to be fair he did doctor it but under the headmaster's orders).
- Karma Houdini: Don't expect the kids to be held accountable for their actions.
- Kick the Dog: When Angela abandons her (and Sue's) father to return to America with virtually no notice. Or whenever she insults the kids.
- Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Typical example:
"Daddy, you ever think we're just characters in someone's dream?"
"I want to be chased by a tiger." "I think that can be arranged" (enter Jake, played by Tyger Drew-Honey)
- Mood Whiplash: A few of the scenes about Granddad's dementia in the second series lead to this when they instantly cut back to the kids.
- Nightmare Fuel Station Attendant: Ben. While his class is away on a trip, he causes a panic attack, makes his form tutor start smoking in an attempt to calm down, and leaves the rest of his group sleepless. That's just one episode.
- Noodle Incident: A lot of off-screen incidents.
- Not Allowed to Grow Up: Averted. The characters have aged appropriately (Jake is now 16, and a archetypical teenager, Ben is now 12, and Karen is now 9). Andy Hamilton and Guy Jenkin both joked it had happened in an interview stating that everything was true.
- Only Sane Man: every character seems to think that this is them.
- The closest examples would probably be Pete and Jake, but they still both have their moments.
- Papa Wolf: Pete meets the annoying anti-speedbump campaigner, after Karen gets hit by a car (don't worry, she's fine). Verbal asskicking ensues.#
- Pet the Dog: While Ben is not exactly a dog kicker and more a crazy child, he is actually very respectful of Uncle Bob, and is very nice when talking about him during the first episode of series 4. He also stops using the word "gay" as an insult after learing Uncle Bob and Uncle Bernard were a gay couple.
- Precision F-Strike: Karen does one when she sees Angela in the house and walks off muttering "Oh, Jesus". Not the strongest example of the trope, but from a nine year old girl it's not a bad example.
- "Previously On...": A surprisingly dramatic version opens the final episode of series 4.
- Realistic Diction Is Unrealistic: Wonderfully subverted because Karen and Ben talk just like children of their age would. Much of the children's dialogue (and thus the reaction dialogue of the adults) is improvised.
- Refuge in Audacity: It's only because Ben is saying it that you can get away with comparing an MTV stupid stunt show to the Battle of the Somme.
- Running Gag:
- The family hurting some random poor lady in the Airport episode.
- When Angela first shows up in the two parter ending to Season 4, she gets greeted with "Oh no" from both Jake and Ben. When Karen enters she has a double take and utters the phrase "Oh, Jesus."
- Ben wanting to watch Little Britain.
- School Uniforms Are the New Black: It's hit-or-miss whether not the kids bother changing if they're just hanging around the house.
- Take Our Word for It: Exactly how Ben managed to get both loads of washing into the machine at the same time is never shown.
- To Be Continued: series 4 episode 5
- Took a Level In Jerkass: Jake in season 3 goes from mild mannered to a rather moody Jerk with a Heart of Gold, as his teenage slouchiness and perversion kicks in.
- Totally Radical: Pete to Jake.
- Verbed Title