Spaced

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A Britcom focused on two twenty-something friends at crossroads in their lives. Tim is a cynical aspiring comic book artist and geek who is dumped by his girlfriend in the first episode. Daisy is a bubbly aspiring journalist who doesn't have anything to say nor the work ethic to say it. They pretend to be a couple in order to rent an inexpensive flat. The show focuses on their zany adventures as they struggle to get their lives on track. Tim's military-obsessed friend Mike, Daisy's ditzy glamour friend Twist, Mad Artist Brian in the flat below and dipsomaniac landlady Marsha complete the main cast.

The show was written by its stars, Simon Pegg and Jessica Stevenson, and directed by Edgar Wright. Because Pegg and Wright went on to collaborate on a string of successful films, Stevenson's contributions are often ignored by overeager marketing executives who label the show as "From the creators of Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz." Still, the show's manic camera work and frequent references to popular genre films and TV shows can ring very familiar.

Came sixty-sixth in Britain's Best Sitcom.


Tropes used in Spaced include:

Themes[edit | hide | hide all]

  • Magic Realism: The show presents an exaggerated, cartoonish, and often subjective reality with extreme camerawork, fast editing, and sound effects. Frequent references to genre films and TV shows also blur the lines of reality, while outright dream sequences and fantasies are also very common. It happens to such an extent it prompts the characters to question if things they thought just happened really did happen, or to comment on the unbelievability of some of the situations they end up in.
  • Platonic Life Partners: Tim and Daisy share a flat, and both are single heterosexuals attempting the Masquerade of being a couple, nothing sexual happens between them. The audience's expectations of UST are the source of several misdirection jokes. It's implied that the reason Daisy attempted to move out in the final episode was partially because the UST was becoming unbearable for her, and in the Skip to the End extra, it's confirmed that they are now a real couple with a baby and are still squabbling happily in the same flat. Awwwww.
  • Shout-Out, Homage, The Parody: By the bucket, of everything, including some rather obscure films and TV shows. The DVDs even have a subtitle track consisting purely of the sources of each reference, including, rather confusingly, those from shows within the show. For example, in one episode, Daisy is making up a story about working on a movie to impress someone, saying the movie's to be named Guacamole Window. The subtitle on that track then says "Film Ref: Guacamole Window, Directed by and starring Daisy Steiner." And indeed itself, when it harks back to the victory walk when Bilbo takes Tim back.
  • Sitcom

Characters[edit | hide]

"Last Night was an A1, tip-top, clubbing, jam fair. It was a sandwich of fun, on ecstasy bread, wrapped up in a big bag like disco fudge. It doesn't get much better than that. I just wish that I could control these fucking mood swings!"

"I see all of my ex-girlfriends. Well, not so much see as watch."

Tropes used in Spaced include:
  • The Ace: Duane Benzie is clearly this in Tim's memories (more athletic, higher income, nice car, more attractive to women). In both of his appearances, however, his treatment makes him more akin to a Butt Monkey.
  • Actor Allusion: Peter Serafinowicz (as Duane) quotes one of his (few) lines as Darth Maul in the episode "Gone". At the time, this was only known from the trailer, and they were looking forward to it. It turned that the only thing Tim would hate more than Duane Benzie was The Phantom Menace.
  • Air Vent Passageway: Used by Tim in the episode "Help".
  • Attention Deficit Ooh Shiny: Played with. Tim starts to explain to Daisy about how easily distracted Tyres has been an certain occasions, but both of them are immediately distracted by the TV.

Tim: "Tyres has got a really short attention span; I remember once we were — oh look, wrestling!"

  • Berserk Button: For Tim, anyone complimenting The Star Wars prequels. He even throws a little kid out of the comic book store he works at for wanting a Jar Jar Binks action figure. Bilbo Bagshot also punches anyone who calls Hawk the Slayer rubbish.
    • Perhaps the only thing that aggravates Tim as much as the Star Wars prequels is romantic rival Duane Benzie, played by Peter Serafinowicz, the voice of... Darth Maul in The Phantom Menace!
    • He also flips out in the beginning over the group playing "Time Warp" at his housewarming party.

Tim: I hate it! It's boil-in-the-bag perversion for sexually repressed accountants and first-year drama students with too many posters of Betty Blue, The Blues Brothers, Big Blue and Blue Velvet on their blue bloody walls!

    • Bilbo's rival, Derek, will not hear a bad word said about Babylon 5
  • Biggus Dickus: Brian has one that he uses as a paintbrush on occasion. Tim happens to get a glance and simply calls it "huge".
  • Big No: Parodied, particularly in "Combat" after Mike takes a paintball for Tim.
  • Big Yes: A munted Daisy reacts this way when Tim orders tequila slammers.
  • Binge Montage
  • Blood From the Mouth: Parodied with Mike's Taking the Bullet of a paintball pellet, which is set up earlier in the episode:

"Don't eat the paintballs."

  • A Bloody Mess: "Brian, NOOO! Oh God, why? ...This [shirt] was new!"
  • Boggles the Mind:
    • When Tim and Daisy get into a Scrabble-tile-throwing fight after an argument over whether "Shazam" or "Pro-V" counted as words, Daisy notices that the last 4 tiles they threw at each other spelt "Fuck". Tim asks her what she thinks that means...
    • A crossword gag from another episode;

Guard: Three letters; to walk quickly, manage or oversee.
[alarm sounds]
Mike: Run!

  • Breakup Breakout: Although it cannot be said that Jessica Hynes (nee Stevenson) career has floundered since the show, she has definitely been overshadowed by Pegg, who has gone on to star in several noted films since, some of which have been highly successful hits.
  • Chekhov's Gun: In "Gone", the fact that any man will throw everything into a pretend gunfight at the drop of a hat.
  • Compliment Backfire: Most of Twist's communication with Daisy in particular takes the form of possibility unintentional but definitely hurtful and snide backhanded compliments.
    • Marsha gets a few of these in as well: "You look really well! A lot of people lose weight when they're travelling."
  • Cold Opening
  • Cover Identity Anomaly: When Tim and Daisy pretend to be a couple in order to rent an apartment. Though they attempt to be as thorough as possible by learning a multitude of mundane details about each other ("I forgot what you got for your fifth birthday!" "Miniature drum kit"), they get caught in their lie while fumbling around regarding what day they had sex first vs. what day they kissed first.
  • Credits Gag: At the end of "Epiphanies", cast names were presented in alternate, rave-ish names, such as The Fresh Pegg, Jazzy Jess, and Edgar Wright Here Wright Now.
  • Cut Apart: The first scene appears to be Tim and Daisy splitting up, with Tim shouting up to Daisy's window. We see at the end of the scene that the two characters are talking to different characters, as Tim leaves.
  • A Date with Rosie Palms:

Sophie: We can still have sex on the internet.
Tim: What do you think I was doing before?

  • Daydream Surprise: And plenty of them. In some cases, Tim and Daisy break from the fantasy, then follow it up by doing exactly the same thing later.
  • Did Not Do the Research: Thoroughly averted in several places throughout the series, but quite interestingly, the show gets a lot of references in Brian's artistic career entirely right; The best artists are usually regarded as tormented individuals, and any manner of happiness or satisfaction with a work (or in life) can be regarded as a problem. Due to the difficulty of finding work in the profession, it can also be a source of embarrassment, as it is when Brian's mother visits. The series also references a variety of artistic styles across several mediums, from Pollock's 50's expressive style to modern day multimedia-ideas. Vulva's bizarre performance piece is also something that it wouldn't be uncommon to see (although it would still be trashy, terrifying nonsense), as is Bryan's installation work in the second series. In the latter example, the show also references Damien Hirst, with Bryan suggesting he needs to go to the Hospital, which the gallery owner misunderstands as a new venue by Hirst - after the artist was involved in a restaurant in real life called Pharmacy.
  • Distant Finale: Arguably, the last scene from the "Skip to the End" documentary.
  • Dual-Wielding: Paintball guns. And finger guns.
    • Mike likes to dual wield MP5s.
  • Dutch Angle: During the Good Cop, Bad Cop scene in Help. WHAT?!
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Duane would shoot a man at point blank range in the back of the head (with a paintball gun), but he would never shoot someone directly in the face.
  • Evil Laugh: Mike when he's finally allowed back in the TA starts one when he's firing two large rifles at a shooting range.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: Duane Benzie (Peter Serafinowicz supplying a voice almost as deep as the one that left Fran Katzenjammer weak at the knees. Tim tries to out-gravel him while Volleying Insults, and it just makes him cough.
  • Failed a Spot Check: Marsha, repeatedly. Tim and Daisy are terrible at maintaining The Masquerade but Marsha is apparently blind to their endless slip-ups (including two in as many minutes in the first episode, see Cover Identity Anomaly above).
  • Fight Clubbing: The "Robot Club."
  • Finger Gun: The episode Gone features two epic finger gun battles; Mike and Tim demonstrate the "unspoken male telepathy" that leads any group of men left together to inevitably have a finger gunfight, and later in the episode Tim and Daisy trick a gang of muggers into engaging in one (thereby gaining the chance to escape while the muggers are playing dead).
  • Friends Rent Control: Simon Pegg remarks in the documentary "Skip to the End" what a big joke it was that they could rent such a place for £90/week.
  • Girlish Pigtails: Twist can been seen wearing these quite a bit.
  • Good Cop, Bad Cop: Tim and Mike subject Daisy to this in the episode Help. Mike was the good cop.
  • Groin Attack: Paintballs.

Tim: No hard feelings, eh?
Duane: You shot me in the bollocks, Tim.
Tim: Yeah, well like I said... No hard feelings.

"He's not my boyfriend...hey, babe."

  • Humans Are Morons: Tim defends the Sci-Fi genre arguing that "the thoughts and speculations of our contemporary authors and thinkers have probably never been closer to the truth." Cut to a group of aliens outside the comic book shop laughing at how ridiculous everything on display is. To make it even better, the aliens look exactly like they would in some cheesy 1950s B-movie.
  • Hypocritical Humour: Right after Daisy says she's not going to be one of those dog owners who dresses their pet up in stupid costumes & takes photos, it's revealed that Brian had dressed Colin up whilst she was talking about not dressing him up, and is now taking pictures of the dog. Daisy promptly joins in.
  • I Always Wanted to Say That:

Tim: "I can't believe you said 'step on it'!"
Daisy: "Why not?"
Tim: "...I wanted to say it."

Agent 1: Can you tell us where she [Daisy] is, Mr. Topp?
Brian: How do you know my name?
Agent 1: It's written on the doorbell.
Brian: ...Alright.
Agent 2: Where is she, Brian?
Brian: ..."Brian" isn't on the doorbell.

Tim: Aren't you going to answer that?
Duane: I've got an answering service.
Tim: You've got an answer for everything.
Duane: I cannot believe you just said that.

    • And after Mike crashes his canoe:

Tim: So it wasn't so much an Eskimo roll; it was more a case of rolling right Inuit... "Inuit" is another word for "Eskimo!"

  • Inner Monologue Conversation: This happens several times. It is also subverted: Daisy, while they are fumbling to come up with a lie, thinks (It's times like this I wish I was telepathic. Don't you, Tim?) She looks over to Tim, whose thoughts are dead silent. It's later played with when Tim answers Daisy's internal monologue.
  • Irrevocable Message: Tim's unflattering caricature of Damien Knox, which was of course inadvertently sent to Knox as part of a job application.
  • Leitmotif: Throbbing club beats for Tyres. They tend to drown out his nonsensical monologues.
  • Maybe Ever After: For more than one couple, although a DVD extra clarifies one pairing.
  • Meet Cute: Daisy mistakes Tim for a drug dealer.
  • Metaphorgotten: Daisy's likening of her failed relationship with Richard to a sandwich toaster gets a bit off message, eventually leading to a Broken Aesop ("Chuck your boyfriend, have a sandwich.")
  • Mondegreen: Daisy at the party in episode 2, singing along to The King Of Rock And Roll "Have a cookie"
  • Murder Is the Best Solution: Daisy's Plan B on getting a dog.

"And if it doesn't work out... we'll kill it."

  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Tim drew a caricature of of head of Dark Star Comics describing himself as a massive wanker. Naturally, Tim removed this piece before submitting his portfolio to Dark Star for consideration. Only Daisy, who apparently only wanted to help, put it back in.
    • There's a few subtle hints dropped that Daisy may have been jealous of Tim's break, and wanted to sabotage it.
  • Noodle Incident: From "Epiphanies,"

Tyres: Last time I've seen Mike he was on Crime Watch.
Tim: Oh no, no, that was a case of mistaken identity. Police had his house surrounded all last week.
Tyres: No, this was about two months ago.
Tim: Oh yeah, that was him.

    • The Incident that happened with Tim and Mike in their childhood also counts, until the details are revealed at the end of series 1. Tim dared Mike to jump out of a tree and insinuated he was a chicken when he didn't. When he finally did jump, Mike landed badly and detached his retinas
  • The Not-So-Harmless Punishment: Tim, unable to cope with The Phantom Menace, is admonished by Bilbo for getting cross with a child who wanted to buy a Jar Jar Binks doll. When he asks Bilbo what he's going to do about his behavior, Bilbo responds, "I'm going to have to let you go." Tim, relieved that he's being let off the hook when he thought he was going to be fired, takes a brief moment before understanding that firing him is exactly what Bilbo had intended doing all along.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: Daisy does not have a good time in the Job Centre: "No, this is the A-b form, you need the A-B form, capital B." The clerk responds to her questions with a simpering smile and an inane, "I'm sorry, I don't understand." Although he's a definite example of the trope, Daisy isn't exactly in the right; she's a would-be benefit sponge making a transparent attempt to claim fraudulent benefits, and the clerk has clearly seen through her feeble efforts and clocked exactly what she's up to.
    • It also has something to do with that Daisy told that bureaucrat to fuck off earlier in a bar. While he was politely asking her for the service she was supposed to be providing as the barmaid, no less.

Clerk: And why did you leave your last job?
Tim: we had a... difference of opinion.
Clerk: The Phantom Menace?
Tim: [surprised] Yes!
Clerk: [casually] Did you like it?
Tim: [cautiously] ... No.
Clerk: [whispers] You leave this with me. I'll see what I can do.

  • Odd Friendship: Tim and Brian. Tim denies that he doesn't like Brian on several occasions, but also admits that he's not sure why he does like him.
  • Ominous Latin Chanting:
    • At the end of the episode "Battles," in which Tim revealed his phobia of dogs, lightning, and bamboo, some ominous latin chanting accompanies an image of the dog Colin sitting on Tim's bed, chewing on some bamboo sticks during a lightning storm.
    • Used several times in "Dissolution".
  • One Dialogue, Two Conversations: In "Dissolution", between Marsha and Tim regarding "what [Tim's] up to". Marsha is talking about what she perceives as Tim cheating on Daisy, while Tim is talking about the typewriter-shaped cake he secretly bought for Daisy's birthday. This is driven home by cuts to a Tim/Sophie kiss and a shot of the cake after all of Marsha's and Tim's lines, respectively.
  • Pac-Man Fever: Averted, hard. Tim plays what were, at the time, relatively up-to-date video games, and the several scenes feature then very overtly.
    • And, in fact, Simon Pegg was actually playing the game through each take.
    • Notably one of the games he's seen playing, Resident Evil 2 factors into the plot of the episode.
    • Another notable example that comes to mind was an argument between Tim and Daisy interspersed with cutaway shots of a game of Tekken. At the end of the argument, Tim walked away as the Tekken game displayed 'NINA WINS!' on the screen, and following that Daisy stood in a similar winning pose to Nina and it displayed 'DAISY WINS' on the screen.
  • Pair the Spares: Toyed with in the second series with Mike and Marsha. Nearly all of their scenes together are open to interpretation, but their last scene in the series finale - involving each one's respective favourite thing - seems to speak volumes.
  • Please Put Some Clothes On: Brian is often naked or close to it, and appears pretty much oblivious to the discomfort this causes in his flatmates.
  • Plucky Office Girl: Averted. Daisy predicts she'll end up as one of these, but it just doesn't happen.
  • Reference Overdosed: Not that there's anything wrong with that. People can watch the show, and those who don't get the references can enjoy the jokes without problems, and those who do catch all the reference can actually add more laughs. Wright and Pegg's films after the series have this as a method of writing and directing.
  • Romantic False Lead: Sophie. A perfectly charming girl and a good match for Tim, but Mike and Daisy resent her taking him away from them.
  • Running Gag: Plenty, to the series and individual episodes.
    • What does Brian paint? "Anger. Pain. Fear. Aggression." "Watercolours?"
    • The recurring memory of Tim and Mike's childhood in the treetop-- finally played out in its entirety in the series 1 finale.
    • In flashbacks the male characters always seem to have their current facial hair no matter how young they are.
  • Sanity Slippage: In the series 1 finale Daisy is initially disturbed when she finds a sketch book of increasingly violent doodles of horrific things happening to Tim' ex-girlfriend... then she notices the last sketch is of Tim and Daisy, holding their dog Colin and the large words "Happiness" underneath.
  • Scout Out: Marsha has two girls in uniform cleaning the cupboards when Daisy and Tim first apply for the flat. The uniforms are similar, but not identical to UK Girl Guide uniforms.
  • Second Episode Morning
  • Serious Business: Tim and Bilbo take their fantasy/sci-fi fandom extremely seriously. Tim was so disappointed by The Phantom Menace that he burned his Star Wars paraphernalia in a scene mirroring Darth Vader's cremation. Bilbo admits to punching out two people for describing Hawk the Slayer as "rubbish". One of them was his dad. Even still, he sacks Tim for verbally assaulting a child in search of a Jar Jar Binks doll. Then, when Bilbo offers Tim his old job back, all it takes to make Tim's new boss fire him on the spot is for Tim to declare "Babylon 5's a big pile of shit!"
    • The paintball game in Season 1 Episode 4.
  • Single-Issue Landlord: The ad for the flat Tim and Daisy rent from Marsha was for a "professional couple only," which led to Tim and Daisy to pretend to be a real couple to rent the flat, although late in the series it is revealed that this never was a requirement for the flat in the first place but a mistake of someone working for the newspaper the ad was published in.
  • Smoking Hot Sex Vacuuming: Tim and Daisy decide to resolve the lingering issue between them when they first move in, and we cut to them lying back enjoying a cigarette. Instead of screwing, it's cleaning the apartment.
  • Sorry I Left the BGM On: After Tim tells Daisy that Sarah is single again, we hear a loud 'red alert' alarm. Daisy asks what the sound was, and it turns out it's the new doorbell Tim bought.
  • Strange Minds Think Alike: When Brian tells Tim that he and Vulva used to make performance art together, we see Tim's idea of how ridiculous and pretentious it must have been. Then we see Brian's memory of a performance. The two are practically the same.
  • Stylistic Suck: Brian's art. Dear God, Brian's art: he even doubts his own endeavours from time to time (notably before meeting with former cohort Vulva).

Brian: I'm doing a lot of work with paint. Big projects with paint. Big... fucking loser.

Brian: What are you playing?
Tim: Tomb Raider 3.
Brian: She's drowning.
Tim: Yeah.
Brian: Is that the point of the game?
Tim: It depends what mood you're in really.
Brian: What sort of mood are you in then?
Tim: Well, I got a letter from my girlfriend this morning three months too late explaining why she dumped me. It was full of "You'll always be special" and "I'll always love you" platitudes designed to make me feel better while simultaneously appeasing her deep-seated sense of guilt for running off with a slimy little city boy named Duane and destroying my faith in everything in the world that is good and pure.
Brian: So it didn't really work then.
Tim: No, it made me want to drown things!

Tim: Now, we'll have to climb over a perimeter fence. It's about two meters high.
Brian: Two meters! That's impossible!
Mike: It's not impossible, I used to climb over my neighbor's fence, it wasn't much higher than two meters.

    • The gunfight. Not just a Finger Gun battle, it has Dual-Wielding, frag grenades, gun jams, Big Nos, even a segue to classical music to pan over the "dead" and highlight the senseless waste of it all.
    • The paintball duel. And Mike's Heroic Sacrifice, complete with Paint From The Mouth.
    • A reenactment of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest set in the kitchen of a fast food restaurant.
      • Called "Neo Nachos".
    • In an early episode, Daisy and Mike share a moment out of Pulp Fiction, when Daisy finds Mike's Uzi on the counter when she gets home. He walks out of the bathroom to find his gun pointed at him. The two stare tensely at each other, and then they start to have a conversation and forget it happened.
    • From The Sixth Sense:

[Mike and Tim are sitting in gridlock]
Tim: What's the hold up?
Mike: There's been an accident. Someone got hurt.
Tim: Who?
Mike: A lady.
Tim: How d'you know?
Mike: Because we hit her.
Tim: Did we?
Mike: Yeah. That's her there.
[Female cyclist appears at the window, scaring Tim - played by Olivia Williams, star of The Sixth Sense]

    • Part one of the second series finale ends with Tim and Mike about to go and talk to Marsha, done as an almost word-for-word take on the end of The Empire Strikes Back.
      • Compete with Wookiee noises imitated (quite well!) by a yawning Mike.
    • The first time Brian steps in to cover for Tim and Daisy's fake relationship with a well-timed excuse, he gets played out by the theme from The Magnificent Seven (and, being Brian, screws up his exit.)
  • World of Ham
  • Yoko Oh No: Both Daisy and Mike dislike Tim's new girlfriend on general principle, at least at first.