That Mitchell and Webb Look
That Mitchell and Webb Look is a BBC Two Sketch Show starring David Mitchell and Robert Webb, best known for their characters Mark and Jeremy in Britcom Peep Show. Run from 2006 to 2010. Recurring characters tend to be limited to one series, although some (such as The Surprising Adventures of Sir Digby Chicken-Caesar) have run for longer. The sketches are occasionally intercut with Faux Documentary "behind-the-scenes footage" of the comedians, featuring much Lampshade Hanging and Self-Deprecation, and zigzagging between mocking and playing up their respective Smart Guy & Man Child personas.
- After the End: The Quiz Broadcast takes place after "The (vaguely defined) Event" which caused The End of the World as We Know It. (Remain indoors)
Host: God, imagine The Event happening again...[[[Beat]]]...NO! DO NOT IMAGINE THE EVENT HAPPENING AGAIN. IT WILL CAUSE DISTRESS. THE EVENT IS IN THE PAST.
- A.I. Is a Crapshoot: During the "history of Numberwang" sketch, it is revealed that Colosson the Numberwang robot has gone insane and wants to destroy everything that isn't Numberwang.
- All Girls Want Bad Boys: See Playing Cyrano below.
- Alternative Character Interpretation: The "Dinner Party Guests" sketches play this for laughs In-Universe, revealing why people such as James Bond, Scooby and Shaggy and Gandhi would be a nightmare at a party.
- They also suggest that Scrappy-Doo would be an absolute delight, if a little bit boisterous (which can be forgiven in a small talking dog, let's be fair).
- Amazingly Embarrassing Parents: Fatally so - the kid was literally embarrassed to death.
- Amoral Attorney:
Speedo: I don't know. I guess I just liked rapists.
- He does, however, then say that he was only joking.
- Anachronism Stew: "Posh Dancing" puts conga lines and freestyle disco into Pride and Prejudice.
- Ancient Conspiracy: An episode presents a trailer for The Number Wang Code, where we learn that all numbers are part of a conspiracy. Also, the above-mentioned Inebriati (or Knights Tippler), a select cabal of people who have shaped the world for the better for centuries, all on the principle that "everything is much, much easier if you're ever-so-slightly drunk." Being completely drunk, however...
- And Man Grew Proud: An awful lot of knowledge appears to have been lost barely two and a half years after The Event.
- Anyone Can Die: Parodied in the backstage show:
"If this show's going to mean anything at all, somebody has got to die!"
- As the Good Book Says...: One The Quiz Broadcast sketch has the Test Card Girl writing "Revelation 6 13 15" on the blackboard.
Revelation 6:13-15 reads: "and the stars in the sky fell to earth, as late figs drop from a fig tree when shaken by a strong wind. The sky receded like a scroll, rolling up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place.
Then the kings of the earth, the princes, the generals, the rich, the mighty, and every slave and every free man hid in caves and among the rocks of the mountains."
- Awesome but Impractical: The doorbell replacement product, a cannon that fires small dogs at your window with a note attached to their collar. If you visit multiple people in one go, you may need to carry more than one dog.
"I estimate you can shoot the same dog through twenty four windows before it becomes an terrifying lump of mutilated flesh."
- Bad Boss: Hennimore's boss is not really mean-spirited or a bad man, but he never fails to give Hennimore two simultaneous tasks with instructions so confusing that no one could possibly handle both without screwing them up in the most comedic way possible. Needless to say, Hilarity Ensues.
- Berserk Button: The TV Realtor really doesn't like non-white...bathroom suites.
- Big No: Professor Death every time one of his inventions is proposed for a military application.
- Bilingual Bonus: The man who wants to make a cup of tea for everyone in Belgium tries talking to them in French. The police car in the background says 'politie' (the Dutch word for police) meaning he's in Flanders. No wonder they're ignoring the guy speaking terrible French.
- Bi the Way:
- In one of the 'Behind the Scenes' segments, Robert was implied to have been in a long term relationship with a man before marrying his wife.
- Also, in an earlier episode, he tells David that he 'tried the gay thing... remember my earring?'
- Bitter Wedding Speech: A sketch has a best man slowly screwing up a wedding speech and disparaging the wedding, and then trying to fix it ineffectually
- Black Comedy: All the Quiz Broadcast segments, and a few of the one-offs too.
"Pre-Event sources talk about "hope". What was hope?"
- Bond One-Liner: Parodied in one of the Party Planners sketches, in the middle of an extended What the Hell, Hero? aimed at Bond.
Mitchell: Everyone's in shock, except for James, who strolls over to the window, glances down, and says "What a piercing bore"
Webb: "A piercing bore"? There's no such expression!
Mitchell: Well, right next to the railing was a rock crusher. It's pretty clear he'd wanted to say "what a crushing bore" but missed and was making the best of a bad job...
- The 'Agent Suave' sketch revealed that all of the titular superspy's quips and Double Entendres came from a pair of lazy comedy writers sitting in a van outside reading from a book called '1001 Super Spy Jokes'. They were also providing this service for the villain. This backfired on them.
- Brick Joke: In series 4 episode 5, the 'backstage' sketches talk about the idea of ending the show in an emotionally affecting way, but ultimately determine that the announcer would just talk over the credits and ruin the mood. In the next episode, the last of the series, the final sketch is a genuine Tear Jerker featuring an elderly Sherlock Holmes... and the announcer doesn't talk over the credits.
- Brown Note: "I've got a Red Tuba that makes you shit yourself!" And from the same sketch, the eponymous green clarinet which makes you sing embarrassing truths to the tune of "I Saw Three Ships".
- Bullet-Proof Fashion Plate: The host of The Quiz Broadcast (remain indoors) starts out looking remarkably well groomed, all things considering -- and then progressively unravels as things get worse and worse.
- Butt Monkey: Julie would always lose Numberwang. The only time she won was when there was a sudden death round, and the first person to die won. That's Numberwang! for you. In fact, in their live show, the host started verbally abusing Julie in the last round and showing blatant favouritism towards Simon.
- Calling Card: The Identity Killer, who leaves photo identification of himself, his driver's license, his passport and, on one occasion himself, at his crime scenes. The police have no leads for this Magnificent Bastard.
- Call Back: A series four sketch parodying Cash For Gold adverts has a Cash for Plutonium commercial that says it's "Definitely not a front for a maniacal supervillain" at which point a picture of Leslie, the Bond villain parody from earlier series flashes up on the screen
- Calvin Ball: Numberwang, the maths quiz that simply everyone! Is talking about? Yes.
- Catch Phrase: "That's Numberwang!" and "Let's rotate the board!" for Numberwang; "Hello, good evening and remain indoors!" for The Quiz Broadcast.
- Also "That's a bad miss" from the the billiards radio commentator.
- Worth noting that their most notable catch phrases are usually set right at the start of the sketch, rather than having them as the 'pay-off' at the end.
- The News live broadcast: What's your reckon?
- Chekhov's Boomerang: Episode 5 of Series 4 has a series of "behind the scenes" sketches about the pair trying to create an serious thought-provoking ending akin to the ending of Blackadder Goes Forth. ("I think we desperately need to show maturity with something with something tacked on and mawkish. Like we care about MS ... doesn't have to be MS, just people and their relationships and their disgusting problems, like we give a shit.") This is apparently fulfilled when the episode ends with one of the cast members being killed off, fading to the message "SOD CANCER".
- However, Episode 6, the series finale, then ends in a desperately sad depiction of Sherlock Holmes with dementia, showing the inevitability of losing one's former glory in old age. This time, it's not played for laughs.
- Cloudcuckoolander: Sir Digby Chicken Caesar. "You mean, you detect the dread hand of my nemesis' henchman, Viscount von Sausageroll?" "No, I can smell sausage rolls!"
- Comes Great Responsibility: The Green Clarinet. Subverted when the Enigmatic Empowering Entity comes to claim the clarinet back for misuse, as the owner just uses the clarinet to embarrass him into running away in floods of tears. Played straight again when he meets the guy with the Red Tuba.
- Conspiracy Theories: Parodied and Lampshaded in series 4, with a shady government cabal discussing how to fake the moon landings and assassinate Princess Diana. It turns out that it's easier and cheaper to fly to the moon than it is to fake flying to the moon, and that any assassination involving car crashes and paparazzi would be so improbable that it's more likely to happen by accident.
- Counterfeit Cash: A forger proudly displays his work: "ten punds" scrawled in marker pen on an oversized piece of orange paper displaying the image of Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands.
- Cruel and Unusual Death: The sketch where the Host refuses to accept the correct answers from his contestants... before the reveal that he's got 6 months left to live and he's imprisoned the contestants on a spaceship heading into the Sun. And he's going to drag it out for as long as he can...
- Cursed with Awesome: Parodied: Biscuit telekinesis can ruin your life.
- Dead Line News
- Deadly Euphemism: "'Have him removed'? 'Take him out of the picture'? I thought we agreed that these terms were needlessly ambiguous? We all agreed that when we want someone murdered, as in deliberately killed to death, that's what we were going to say!"
- Deconstructor Fleet: Just try to count the number of tropes this show parodies, subverts, deconstructs or otherwise plays with. Often examples of Don't Explain the Sketch being scathingly accurate and funny.
- Did Not Do the Research: In character. There's a series of strips about writers who do no research whatsoever for their various projects. They tend to be the funniest sketches in the show. For example, The Full Number of Overs that are Scheduled to be Bowled That Day.
- Disproportionate Retribution: One sketch featured a man who shot anybody who made a grammatical mistake dead.
- Double Entendre: A doctor working at a typical 'bawdy 1970s hospital' has a bit of trouble grasping the nature of Double Entendre, with unfortunate results ("Shall I rub them against my cock?").
- Downer Ending: Played with in the "Sod Cancer" sketch, and played straight with Sherlock Holmes suffering with dementia at the end of season four.
- Drama Bomb Finale: Discussed in Series 4 ep 5 as a way to shoehorn some depth and maturity into the program -- they finally go with Tonight Someone Dies, with a Really Dead Montage involving a minor player who makes the mistake of showing off his beloved girlfriend's Facebook page.
- Electric Torture: One of the contestants on the Remain Indoors quiz show is taken away to be "voltage-calmed".
- Eleventy-Zillion: Parodied in a Numberwang skit involving "imaginary numbers." The contestants offer "twentington" and "frilve hundred and neeb" as their numbers, followed by "shinty-six." The host then stops the contestant and says, "Oh, I'm afraid shinty-six is a real number. As in the popular phrase, 'I only have shinty-six days left to live." Behind him, a board displays the number shinty-six (fifty-six with a reversed five).
- Given the nature of the Numberwang board, we could have been looking at frilve hundred and neeb, or even Nova Scotia, for all we know.
- Embarrassing Slide
- Epunymous Title: Comedy Duos Fish & Chip and Pin & Cushion split up to form Chip & Pin... but Fish & Cushion end up being more successful. And even get the gig to promote the Chip & PIN system.
- Everybody's Dead, Dave: Twice in the Quiz Broadcast statements - first when everyone but the main three has simply succumbed to the harsh conditions of the collapsing society, then, after being found again, when They kill everyone but Peter and the host before inexplicably disintegrating, leaving the two of them alone and extremely disturbed.
- Evil Is Sexy: A woman gets progressively better hair & make-up, and more cleavage, as she confesses to murder. This is, of course, lampshaded and invoked.
- Exact Words: Numberwang's "Sudden Death" round.
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Parodied in the 'Mad Scientist' sketch, where the Giant Death Ray is aptly named... but not for the reason the President of the United States and the head of the US Army think, which prompts this reaction when they discover it's not quite as lethal as they expected:
- Facecam: "The Surprising Adventures of me, Sir Digby Chicken-Caesar!"
- First-Name Basis: The final sketch of the show, which features Dr. Watson visiting an aging, senile Sherlock Holmes in a nursing home, Holmes addresses Watson as "John" in his final speech, where he admits that he knows his mind has gone, but he can not do anything about it.
- Last Name Ultimatum: HENNIMOOOOOORRREE!!!
- Genre Blindness: Hennimore's boss never seems to learn to either stop making his instructions to Hennimore so confusing, contradictory and overlapping or just get someone other than or as well as Hennimore to do it instead.
- Genre Savvy: In the SS sketches, and again in the Hercule Poirot sketch in series three.
- Germanic Efficiency: Parodied in Reports Mode - a Bavarian entertainment show centering around graphs and charts, even featuring a break from all those reports so we can take a look at how the show is doing in terms of efficiency.
- Going Native: In a garden center.
- Government Conspiracy: Parodied in a series of sketches which deconstruct conspiracy theories around Roswell, the Moon landing and Princess Diana's death, lampshading the inherent ludicrousness of them by having a trio of government spooks play them perfectly straight.
- Grammar Nazi: A boss who shoots his staff dead when they make errors. Ironically, his misuse of the word "acronym" goes unnoticed.
- Gratuitous French: The Agent Suave sketch, being set in a Monaco-esque casino offering a selection of country fete games, has such treats as "Frappez le Rat".
- Gratuitous German: Das ist Nümberwang!
- Gretzky Has the Ball: the cricket version
- Heartwarming Moments: Parodied and Invoked with "Sod Cancer!"
- Heel Realization: One of Those Wacky Nazis is starting to think that maybe they are the bad guys.
- "Hans... are we the baddies?"
- "It's just all these skulls, good guys don't wear skulls do they?"
- Hide Your Pregnancy: Averted with actress Olivia Colman, whose prominent belly was visible no matter what sketch she was in. They never talked about it directly, but they didn't really try and hide it either.
- Incurable Cough of Death: Lampshaded and averted, naturally, in "The Man Who Has A Cough And It's Just A Cough And He's Fine".
- Indecisive Parody: Obviously they couldn't end the episode where they heartily take the piss out of Sudden Downer Ending with a genuine example, so they parody it instead. The next episode ends with a proper one, with an elderly Sherlock Holmes descending into dementia.
- Infant Immortality: Averted hard in The Quiz Broadcast when the host asks the contestants what they wished they had learned prior to the event.
Sheila: Survival tips for children.
Host: Yes, the world would be a different place... if some of the children had survived...
- It Never Gets Any Easier: word for word, on a Did Not Do the Research medical show, when a doctor has to... pull off a plaster.
- It's Been Done
- I Want My Jetpack: Both the attitude, and the concept of jetpacks, are spoofed in-universe here.
- Just Think of the Potential: Professor Death made a Giant Death Ray and an Armoured Scorpion of Death for peaceful purposes, damnit!
- Juxtaposition Gag: The Quiz Broadcast and Sir Digby Chicken-Caesar are both versions of this.
- Kill the Ones You Love: At the end of the "Avocado Bathroom" sketch, the husband kills his (pregnant) wife because she's revealed that she not only doesn't mind an avocado bathroom, but quite likes it.
Webb: That was for the best. Now, come on. Let's go and look at the guest bedroom. It's got flock wallpaper. You'll know what to say.
Mitchell: [sobbing] "I couldn't live with it."
Webb: Could you live with it?
Mitchell: I couldn't live with it!
- Kill the Poor: One sketch was based around contemplating this as an easy solution to revitalizing the economy.
- Lampshade Hanging: They are growing increasingly fond of using their 'out of character' segments of the show to do humourous lampshade hanging, a recent example being hanging a lampshade on the fact they weren't using Southern accents in a sketch highlighting the absurdity of KKK costumes by reflecting (out of character) on how bad it would be if they tried.
- Laugh Track: Surprisingly, it doesn't kill the humor as it would on a programme like Peep Show.
- Mad Scientist: Subverted with Professor Death, who doesn't want his Giant Death Ray, Armoured Scorpion of Death, or Doom Melon used for military applications.
- Magical Defibrillator: "Nurse, fetch me the electric paddles that can make you better if you're really sick but can make you sort of ill if you're fine!" Moments later: "Oh no... he was fine. And now he's poorly from too much electric."
- Magic Music: The Green Clarinet and the aforementioned Red Tuba.
- Maximum Fun Chamber: "Come on, what's the worst torture story you've got?"
- The Mean Brit: Anne Robinson's hosting persona is parodied in "Hole in the Ring".
Host: So, at the end of that round, you've scored a pathetic, a gay; one point. Which is shit. So...you idiots.
- Ms. Fanservice/She Cleans Up Nicely: Sarah Hadland. Take note of her appearance in the Quiz Broadcast sketches as "Sheila" and then in season 4's "Dog Poker" and "Reports Mode" sketches. She also plays the Agatha Christie villainess in the Evil Is Sexy example above.
- Mood Dissonance: The "elderly Sherlock Holmes" sketch, in which Holmes' obvious mental deterioration -- and Watson's equally obvious desperation to pretend for his sake that nothing is wrong -- is played for laughs... until Holmes, in a moment of lucidity, reveals he knows only too well what's happening to him.
- Name and Name
- Narrative Filigree: Parodied by the "realistic director" sketch. His films include Sometimes Fires Go Out and The Man Who Has A Cough And It's Just A Cough And He's Fine.
- Never Say "Die": Parodied in one of the evil genius skits. "This is gonna be 'Let's hope Professor Ritson meets with a little accident,' all over again! We spent nine months hoping that Professor Ritson would meet with an accident before Leslie made it clear it was an accident we were supposed to make happen!"
- Nobody Poops: "No one goes for a piss in Star Wars, you can watch the whole of Ghostbusters and no-one brushes their teeth, and in Lost in Translation, nothing happens. At all."
- Noble Bigot: Of all people, Jesus is called out on this for his racist attitude to Samaritans.
"The fact you wouldn't expect goodness from a Samaritan belies your inherent rascism!"
- No OSHA Compliance: deconstructed with the Evil Genius trying to persuade a contractor to disregard the impracticalities of his plans.
Muahahaha! I think you'll find that neither Health nor Safety are among my primary concerns...
- Not Using the Z Word: Them.
- Obviously Evil and Those Wacky Nazis
Nazi: They've got skulls on them. Have you noticed that our caps actually have little pictures of skulls on them?
Hans: Uh - I don't... uh-
Nazi: Hans... Are we the baddies?
- Offscreen Teleportation: Parodied in the Inebriati sketch. "Were you just hiding behind that pillar?"
- Oh Crap: In one Get Me Hennimore! sketch, Hennimore imagines the results of the instructions Mr. Boss is giving him (though we never hear what the exact instructions are) and knows that things are going to badly, as usual. His face gets more and more distressed as the sketch goes on. Unusually for a Hennimore sketch, things go just fine and no problems occur... until the nuclear warhead detonates.
- Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Usually averted, as the cast have a handle on many regional dialects, as well as Mitchell and cast member James Bachman being quite good at affecting American accents.
- Parodied with a sketch set in the American deep south: The 'behind-the-scenes' footage beforehand shows Webb trying and failing to put on a convincing American south accent. The duo play the sketch entirely with their normal voices until an actress comes on at the end to deliver her one line in an appallingly bad accent; Webb reminds her 'we said we weren't doing the voices.'
- The Other Darrin: Played for laughs with Speedo, in which the actor playing the white main character died, only to be replaced by an African American actor. The (fictional) writers were too lazy to rewrite the scripts, resulting in the now black Speedo telling a young black client he knows he doesn't want a "big white guy in a suit" like him defending him.
- Our Zombies Are Different: Them, from the Quiz Broadcast. It's never made clear if these cannibalistic former humans are zombies or just atrocious mutants, but they are unquestioningly terrifying.
- Overshadowed by Awesome: Deliciously Exaggerated in the sketches about the Angel Summoner and BMX Bandit duo.
BMX Bandit: "Well, we're supposed to be a partnership, but, to be honest, I'm starting to feel a bit overshadowed here."
Angel Summoner: "Oh, right... Why is that?"
BMX Bandit: "Well. I think the thing is, that your ability to summon a horde of celestial super-beings at will... Is making my BMX skills look a bit... redundant..."
- The Perry Mason Method: Speedo, parodying American legal dramas.
(Speedo in a courtroom.)
Speedo: Did you rape this woman?!
Speedo: Did you rape this woman?!
(Speedo pulls out a gun and fires it above the perp's head.)
Speedo: Did you rape this woman?!
Perp: Yes, yes, whatever you say!
- Playing Cyrano: A sketch revolved around Cyrano himself popping up to help a man woo a woman in the modern day. However, the man in question is a sensitive, good-natured fellow and the woman is, well, a slapper. Cyrano's advice is to be brash and offensive, and downright insulting, which the man in question takes only grudgingly -- but it works perfectly. As the scene progresses, he realizes that he has absolutely no interest in going out with a woman who actually likes being treated that way. Cyrano convinces him to go on anyway, since at least he can sleep with her tonight. Eventually the man refuses to continue, but Cyrano keeps shouting out the lines for him, and jams a bag of cocaine into his hands, which the girl mistakes for his continued efforts and she drags him inside.
- Please Don't Leave Me: Ginger to Sir Digby Chicken-Caesar when he is 'poisoned' by a cloud of poisonous gas (read: candyfloss).
Ginger: Don't leave me, sir! Don't leave me...
- Political Correctness Gone Mad: Not political correctness, but the backlash against it, is parodied in a sketch where some people organizing a church panto are told they can't include "traditional" scenes like dwarves being gassed and Cinderella fellating a horse, and react as if this is hypersensitivity.
- "I'm afraid we're going to have to cut the dame rape scene."
- Politically Incorrect Hero: Captain Todger, whose emblem is a crude drawing of a penis and ends up going to prison for statutory rape, to the horror of General Drayfox (the opposite of a Politically-Incorrect Villain).
- Poor Communication Kills: The recurring sketch "Get me Hennimore!" has the hapless titular character requested to do various tasks by his boss. These tasks always involve two objects that are never to be confused, yet look exactly the same. Naturally, the worst possible result occurs every time.
- Precision F-Strike: From the Numberwang board game skit: "No, Timmy, because that would be shit."
Mrs Patricia Wilberforce: Mr Compton, do be seated.
Mr Compton: Oh, I don't like to make a fuss.
Mrs Compton: (sobs) Oh, he's always like this.
Mrs Patricia Wilberforce: I'm sorry, but we'll have to stop it there as Mrs Compton has said "fuck".
(crew member whispers in her ear)
Mrs Patricia Wilberforce: Oh, I do beg your pardon viewers, Mrs Compton didn't say "fuck" after all!
- Promoted to Scapegoat: Admiral Doenitz is thrilled to learn that he's been named the next Fuhrer after the death of Adolf Hitler. Unfortunately, his underlings have to patiently explain that this means less that he gets to implement his various ideas about pensions and the housing shortage and more that he gets to call General Eisenhower and surrender to the Allies.
- Rambling Old Man Monologue: Anything the snooker commentators say that isn't "That's a bad miss."
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: How the Incredibly Intimidating And Aristocratic Person Who Still Unaccountable Sells Clothes justifies being horrible to his customers:
Because I'm trying to help you! I'm trying to help you have standards! I'm trying to make you know that the world isn't pleased to see you, you aren't needed or included or loved! You're ugly! And superfluous! And ignorant! And you should be frightened. And meek. And grateful. That's better. Now, first things first; let's get you a hat.
- Also, the "Little Date" man, who gives these to women, reducing them to tears so they'll go out with him to feel better.
- Red Eyes, Take Warning: The cannibalistic "Them" in the Event sketches have glowing red eyes.
- Reed Richards Is Useless: Monsieur Garnier (who is inexplicably a North-of-England mill owner rather than a French guy) suppresses the invention of a cure for Alzheimer's and a perpetual motion machine because he doesn't want his scientists to get distracted from hair products.
- Also, whoever built a sentient supercomputer and used it to determine what is, or is not, Numberwang.
- Ridiculously-Human Robots: Parodied in a Robot War sketch. Robots have infiltrated the base, and are supposedly indistinguishable from humans. Cut to a particularly clunky robot (who could conceivably be Cheezoid Mk 9), who is absolutely not humanoid. He even makes toast
- Cheezoid itself, a robot built for the purpose of determining what something smells like, was inexplicably given sentience that eventually led it to attempt suicide as a result of its incompetence at its intended function.
- Scandalgate: Rob refers to the original scandal as "Watergategate" on the grounds that, otherwise, what would you call a scandal about water?
- Scare'Em Straight: "If your children touch dirt, they'll explode."
- Service Sector Stereotypes: The Posh Waiter (cousin to the Scary Tailor and the Bad Vicar)
Customer: What happened to the friendly Australian girl who used to work here?
Posh Waiter: She's gone, sir. They've all gone, and we're back. The incredibly posh people who are still unaccountably waiters...and I'm afraid we've changed the rules.
- Shallow Parody: They are more frequent in That Mitchell And Webb Sound, with some sketches parodying things like Batman or Pinocchio with little or no resemblance to the parodied material, but they do show up a couple of times in the TV version as well.
- Sinister Minister: "We're back." "Who?" "The incredibly horrible and twisted people who are still unaccountably vicars." (the full sketch is here)
- Sound to Screen Adaptation: Adapted from Radio 4's That Mitchell And Webb Sound.
- Stealth Pun: Busman and Christmas.
- Stepford Smiler: The host of the quiz broadcast.
- Story-Breaker Team-Up: Angel Summoner and BMX Bandit are a parody of this trope. They Fight Crime.
- Sudden Death: First one to die wins.
- This round is also announced in one Quiz Broadcast, at which point one of the contestants immediately keels over. If he were on Numberwang, that would've been a victory, but The Quiz Broadcast evidently operates under different rules.
- Super-Powered Robot Meter Maids: Colosson, the robot with the job of determining whether or not something is Numberwang, was given mobility and laser cannons. This was apparently the result of the scientists who were creating him wondering late in development whether he could be used for the war effort. Because this didn't change what they used him for, it achieved nothing but creating a problem when he decides to take over the world.
- Superpower Lottery: Angel Summoner and the BMX Bandit.
- Surreal Humour: Numberwang's hilarity derives from the complete lack of sense, not just in the rules, but in everything.
- Take That: A sketch about a comedian making a cup of tea for everyone in Belgium as the result of a bet, and as a result writing a bestselling book about his exploits, was a dig at comedians who did similarly unlikely things supposedly as the result of bets, such as Tony Hawks (played the entire Moldovan football team at tennis, hitchhiked round Ireland with a fridge) David Gorman (flew around the world meeting people called Dave Gorman), and Danny Wallace (spent a year saying yes to everything).
- They delightfully skewer James Bond in their "Friends of Moneypenny" sketch:
Remember that drinks do I had just before Christmas, Moneypenny brings James along - Oh God, but Christmas spirit and all that. So I said, "hi James there's some mulled wine and I think there's some beer in the fridge." Cock asked for a martini...what does he think it is? 1973?
- Talking to Himself: Played with. In a sketch Mitchell plays both a captain and a Hercule Poirot-esque detective who are on screen at the same time. Webb angrily enters the set, and demands a role, to which both(!) of the Mitchells answer that David is best at detective and captain kind of roles. As Webb retorts that it is just a bad excuse for Mitchell to fulfill his narcissistic fantasies, another Webb (in drag) enters the set and tells the first Webb that he is ready for their sex-scene.
- Tear Jerker: After discussing the ending of Blackadder in the penultimate episode, the series 4 finale ends with a heartbreaking "sketch" featuring an elderly Sherlock Holmes with dementia.
Sherlock: I can't get the fog to clear.
- Made all the worse because it starts off amusing before becoming increasingly depressing and ending with Holmes and Watson in tears
- The "Remain Indoors" Quiz Broadcast sketches have quite a few as well, as things become increasingly hopeless and the host's Stepford Smiler act starts to slip more and more. The finale has him quietly holding the blind last surviving contestant's hand as they face the possibility there's no one else left alive ANYWHERE after having seen the formerly-human cannibalistic Them all die for no apparent reason.
- Made all the worse because it starts off amusing before becoming increasingly depressing and ending with Holmes and Watson in tears
Blind Contestant: Are you here?
Host: (Takes his hand) Yes.
- Techno Babble: Subverted by "Now he's poorly from too much electric"
- They Fight Crime: BMX Bandit and Angel Summoner.
- They Look Like Us Now: Parodied - they really don't.
- This Ain't Rocket Surgery: A sketch has a neurosurgeon mingling at a party and boasting that what other people do "isn't exactly brain surgery". Then;
"Brain surgery? Huh. Not exactly rocket science, is it?".
- Tuxedo and Martini: Parodied with 'Agent Suave'.
- Typecasting: a sketch where a ship captain was being interviewed by a detective had David Mitchell playing both roles - when Webb storms on set to complain about it, Mitchell replies "captains and detectives are my thing"
- With a twist when a second Rob (in drag) turns up to rehearse their sex scene (most likely in reference to Webb's triumphant 'Flashdance' drag act for Comic Relief).
- Umpteenth Customer: Parodied; a group of eccentric businessmen wait for the millionth visitor to their website, only to find that he completely ignored all the banner ads and pop-ups telling him this.
- Unfortunate Implications: Invoked and subverted. "I advise you to march in step with the rest of the white-bathroom loving nation -- REMEMBER, LIKE RACISM!"
- Villain Ball: Parodied in the Conspiracy sketches; when a member of the conspiracy asks why exactly they're doing this conspiracy in such a convoluted way -- or why they're even bothering at all -- the answer's usually along the lines of "it's just what we government types do."
- Visual Pun: Numberwang is like McDonald's, U2 and the Catholic Church all rolled into 1.
- Wham! Line: "I know, John. I do know."
- "Yes... they used to be... us."
- What Could Possibly Go Wrong? - Get Me Hennimore!
- What Do You Mean It's Not Awesome? - So That's The Football Coming Up Watch It Watch The Football Watch It IT'S GONNA MOVE!
- What Do You Mean It's Not Heinous?: In a 'behind the scenes' conversation discussing Drama Bomb Finales, Mood Whiplash and Tonight Someone Dies, Mitchell and Webb reserve their greatest venom for announcers who talk over the credits.
- What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway?: Telekinesis. Which only works on biscuits. And no, Jaffa Cakes are not true biscuits.
- Don't forget the BMX Bandit!
- You Bastard: The "Holmes with dementia" sketch goes from funny if very dark humor to the sudden realization that the audience has been laughing at the heartbreaking wreck of a brilliant mind.
- Zombie Apocalypse: In the later installments of "The Quiz Broadcast," the survivors (who'd been whittled by scarcity and disease down to the host, Peter, and Sheila) are found by soldiers fighting "Them," cannibals who, according to the Couch Gag, know what caused The Event.
- Bad Boss: The lead scientist in the virus research lab.
- The Caper: Hons, Dons and Two Smoking MA Oxons
- Couch Gag: The two homeless people in the closing credits.
- Deliberately Monochrome: The poisoning sketch.
- Harmless Villain: The poisoning sketch revolves around a man attempting to murder another with poison but becoming increasingly transparent with his attempts until finally...
Webb: I thought you might like an injection.
- Historical Re Creation: The Early 1990s House, where you have to cope with 28k dialup.
- It's Been Done: Parodied with a possible inversion in the 'two writers' Seinfeldian Conversation sketch; the two writers seem to be setting one of these up, but from the way they eagerly begin to start typing once the 'original' idea has come together, it's suggested that they are either amazingly sheltered or that they're the ones who came up with the idea in the first place. Played straight in the final episode, where all their ideas get this response.
- Master of Illusion: Two barmen who can make people believe something is happening just by making the proper sounds.
- Poisoned Chalice Switcheroo: The revolving table. A murderer's worst enemy.
- Seinfeldian Conversation: About religions, fairytales and the human reproductive system.
- The poisoning sketch is a parody of Suspicion, a movie directed by Alfred Hitchcock in the 40s.
- In the German version of Numberwang, the host wishes one contestant "Good luck!" only to furiously disqualify her when she responds in English with "Thanks very much!", a reference to how one of the escapees blows his cover in The Great Escape.
- In another Great Escape reference, a chef who loses his keen sense of smell tries to prove he still has it by putting a piece of cheese on the floor, only to end up getting caught out. This is identical to one POW putting a pin at a certain place on the floor to show he's not going blind. Even the dialogue ("You can't smell your hand in front of your face!") is taken from the film ("You can't see your hand etc.")
- What Do You Mean It's Not Awesome?: Parodied in the farmer sketch.
- X Meets Y: 'German Dad's Army' is essentially Dads Army meets Downfall.
- Zeerust: The iMac G3 and Clamshell iBook used in the abovementioned Seinfeldian Conversation, looking back on the show from the present day.
Sod Cancer. REMAIN INDOORS