Explain the Annoying Couple on The Catherine Tate Show, Please.
July 14, 2008 8:01 PM   Subscribe

On "The Catherine Tate Show," there is a sketch that features a really annoying couple. The woman has long, straight dark brown hair and the man has short dark hair. They always talk about something inane that happened to the female character during the day. Their mouths are always gaping open and they appear to be intentionally over-doing it as they jabber on and on. What is this all about--is this a spoof on something in British media? Are these characters based on something?
posted by FergieBelle to Media & Arts (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Can you link to any clips?
posted by [NOT HERMITOSIS-IST] at 8:22 PM on July 14, 2008

Thanks for asking this! Wifey and I are in the middle of this and are just as stumped as you are. According to Wikipedia, they're based on people Catherine Tate knows.

Not to derail, but the whole skit reminds me a bit of the "Oooh, and that's a bad miss!" sketch from That Mitchell and Webb Look. Completely zany and after you watch enough of them are funny on a whole different level.
posted by adamwolf at 8:28 PM on July 14, 2008

posted by iconomy at 8:52 PM on July 14, 2008

It's just an exaggeration of how some slightly dim people really speak and act in Britain but it's not taking aim at anyone in particular. I don't think there is anything particularly clever that has gone over your head.

I'd describe it as a cross between Jam's Thick People sketch and the Little Britain's Vicky Pallard sketches but not as clever or funny as either.

adamwolf: The Snooker Sketch ("Oooh, and that's a bad miss") from That Mitchell and Webb Look probably appears zany if you don't know the anything about Snooker, the inane Snooker commentary (it's a popular TV sport in the UK) or possibly the old Snooker clich├ęs it's satiring.

NB: I'm British, but I'm really not a fan of The Catherine Tate Show.
posted by HaloMan at 9:45 PM on July 14, 2008

Best answer: I can't speak for other countries but there do seem to be far, far too many people in Britain just like this sometimes. But it's hard to describe, exactly - it's the sort of comedy where you're laughing because you've come across people like this, and they've made you feel awkward/embarrased/like you want to beat them to a pulp for their own good, and yet you can't quite describe what it is.

Maybe it's where being a bit loud, a bit thick and a bit needing to be the centre of attention all collide. I had a factory job for a bit as a student and I was surrounded by this. Drove me absolutely bloody mad. Why couldn't they all just shut the fuck up for a bit?

Actually, I think I laugh because I'm just a bit prejudiced against them.

I'm British and I think Tate's fantastic, but she's a bit 'Marmite' - you love her or hate her.
posted by dowcrag at 12:45 AM on July 15, 2008 [1 favorite]

Best answer: They're a very accurate piss-take of those people you meet who tell mind-blowingly mundane and unfunny anecdotes as if they were the funniest thing they, or you, had ever or would ever hear. Basically, they're perpetually amazed and amused by life in general, and having met, worked with and been stuck at parties with such folk, these sketches make me wince in recognition.

They're broadly in the same group as people who tell anecdotes and always finish the story by telling you 'cos I'm crrrazy, mad as a hatter me, innit?'
posted by Happy Dave at 1:30 AM on July 15, 2008 [1 favorite]

It's satire about the inane and vapid day to day life of middle class Britain.

Sadly, they are not overdoing it. But that's why it's funny.
posted by DarlingBri at 2:04 AM on July 15, 2008

I always assumed there was an element of Posh and Becks there.
posted by xchmp at 3:18 AM on July 15, 2008

Happy Dave comes closest, IMHO. I wouldn't say it was an accurate portrayal of anyone in particular, but an example of a tendency in British comedy sketch shows to take one everyday attribute (in this case the ability to take a quite mundane anecdote and treat it as if it was the best. story. ever) and exaggerate it to the point of ridiculousness.

While the initial premise is, indeed, a mildly satirical jab at certain everyday types, much of the humour comes from that fact that a) it's an uncomfortable situation because it's so obviously off-kilter and b) it's repeated time and again from show to show in different contexts so that the uncomfortable transforms into something else - it builds with repetition, you know it's coming, you're powerless to prevent its mild awfulness, and laughter becomes almost a defense mechanism - like being tickled.

C.f. Little Britain, who do the same thing but arguably better.
posted by Sparx at 5:51 AM on July 15, 2008

Gosh Catherine Tate makes me unhappy. So does Little Britain.

I don't really buy the 'cumulative comedy' thing - I just think there's a paucity of imagination in either show. Jam got to the bottom of this topic in a couple of minutes with Thick People, then moved on.
posted by Cantdosleepy at 7:47 AM on July 15, 2008

Ah, Thick People...$%#@ing brilliant...

"It's a niche business..."
posted by dubitable at 6:49 PM on July 15, 2008

I've always assumed that this sketch was meant affectionately, and I think it makes more sense that way - basically if you're looking for some kind of edge to it, I don't think it's there.
posted by tomcooke at 2:40 AM on July 17, 2008

I'll go with Happy Dave on this one. If you've ever worked outside of London in an office, you'll have met people such as these. They're harmless, but irritating in a retrospective manner.

Anyone who says "Ooooh, I'm MAAAAD me" is an immediate candidate for this type of person. You're not mad, you just have no other way of summing your boring existence up, love.

Not that I claim mine is any better, you understand. I just don't put it in their faces.
posted by triv at 3:43 PM on July 18, 2008

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