My Family

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My Family (2000–present) is a BBC sitcom created by Fred Barron and starring Robert Lindsay and Zoë Wanamaker.

Ben Harper

  • Who invented christmas anyway? The sparkly lights, the happy carolers, the rosey cheeked children. Oh, hand me my spit bowl.
  • Susan, admit it. All these years, you have been screwing up the kids. It's me, I've been the perfect parent.
  • (To Susan) Come on, don't fight it. This could be your only chance to find out what your kids get up to when you're not there. What's the harm in one little look? You know you want to...
  • Don't worry, I've got a way out of this... (pulls out a bottle of wine from inside his coat) Drink!
  • (after a patient has finished talking about the joys of children) You haven't got a clue what you're talking about, have you?
  • (Susan complains about how peole are forced to lock up their true emotions) Susan, I'm a dentist. I spend all day listening to how people really feel, and it's usually "Ouch!" and after a long day of "Ouch!", I like to come home to a bit of "Aah..."
  • (talking to Michael about death) When I was younger, I thought people died because life was unfair. Then you and your brother and sister were born, and I realised life really was unfair.
  • (to Abi) You, you're demented! (to Michael) You, you're unhinged! (to Nick) You, you're... you're just you!
  • Look, your mother's sweet and everything, and we love her, but there's something wrong with her brain!


Ben Harper: Ignorance is bliss.
Susan Harper: Then you must be the happiest man in the world.

(Michael attempts to follow Nick and Janey to the pub)
Ben Harper: Hey, you're not allowed in pubs.
Michael Harper: I am if I have a plated meal in a clearly designated restaurant area.

Nick Harper: Dad, have you seen the car keys?
Ben Harper: No.
Nick Harper: (holds up the keys and jingles them in his face) Well take a good look, I won't be back till late!

(Ben and Susan are discussing Janey's new friend, Kate, who is a lesbian)
Susan Harper: (looking at the positive side of things) It's good Kate's a lesbian.
Ben Harper: Yeah?
Susan Harper: There are many notable lesbians in history.
Ben Harper: Really?
Susan Harper: Cathrine the Great.
Ben Harper: Name says it all.
Susan Harper: kd lang.
Ben Harper: Amazing voice. Sharon Simpson.
Susan Harper: Who?
Ben Harper: One of my patients. She's got lovely teeth.

(Ben arrives home to find Susan auditioning numerous clowns for Kenzo's third birthday party)
Ben Harper: Susan, I though we had a deal that you'd warn me when the inlaws were coming?
Susan Harper: Oh, I'm glad your here. I'd like to introduce you to Cheerful Charlie Chortle, Uncle Morris, and The Amazing Beppo.
Ben Harper: Well if they're here, who's running the country?

Ben Harper: Good God! No wonder Charlie Chortle's chortling, look how much Charlie Chortles charging!
Susan Harper: Actually we're not having Charlie Chortle. He's having gall bladder surgery.
Ben Harper: Can't the kids watch that? It'll be cheaper and funnier.

(Ben and Susan discuss Janey's habit of going out with boy after boy for her own benefit)
Susan Harper: It's just a phase, she'll grow out of it.
Ben Harper: I should hope so.
Susan Harper: I did.
Ben Harper: I should bloody hope so.

Susan Harper: For little girls get bigger every day...
Ben Harper: Grow up then.

Ben Harper: (moaning about his annoying neighbour Mr. Casey, who he detests) Whatever possessed Mr. Casey to get a dog? I mean, if I popped my cloggs, would you replace me with a pet?
Susan Harper: No pet could replace you. Except perhaps a bad tempered ferret.

(Susan's new boss, the rotund American Scott Taylor, has come round for dinner. Ben and Susan have to cater for his every need)
Ben Harper: Coffee. Scott, to make you feel at home, yours has been stewed, reheated and served in a plastic cup.
Scott Taylor: No coffee for me. I feel sick. Your wife has triggered my acid reflux.
Ben Harper: I know, I know. Isn't she marvolous.

(Ben, Susan, Nick and Michael are stuck on the tube with a bunch of halfwits for company)
Ben Harper: Oh, for crying out loud...
Susan Harper: Calm down, Ben. It's only been five minutes.
Nick Harper: (staring at a nervous, elderly couple) That's how it always starts. With five minutes. Then ten. Then half an hour. Then an hour. Then two hours... and then a month.
Ben Harper: Nick.
Nick Harper: Then two months.
Ben Harper: Nick.
Nick Harper: Then a year!
Ben Harper: Nick, please!
Barry Hall: Could you please get your son to be quiet.
Ben Harper: No, but you have a go, by all means.
Barry Hall: He's making my wife nervous.
Ben Harper: You'll get used to it.
Barry Hall: That's right. Nothing to do with you. Just wash your hands of it.
Susan Harper: Don't worry. He has.

(it's Ben's birthday and no one has got him any presents, as he said he didn't want any fuss)
Nick Harper: Who's the birthday boy!
Ben Harper: I dread to think what you got me for a present.
Nick Harper: I didn't get you anything.
Ben Harper: I, er... thank you.
Nick Harper: No, only joking!
Ben Harper: Ha, ha, ha! So where is it?
Nick Harper: So here it is. "The soft answer turneth away wrath."
Ben Harper: What kinda hell present's that?
Nick Harper: The best kind. A few well chosen words of advice. May not cost much, but they'll last you a lifetime.
Ben Harper: Yeah, well these cornflakes won't.

Susan Harper: The glass is always half empty with you, isn't it?
Ben Harper: Half empty. Chipped. Cracked. Dirty. Smeared with toxic, germ ridden, radioactive se--
Susan Harper: Anyway...

(Susan's alcoholic mother, Grace, is staying for Christmas)
Ben Harper: (turns a corner and finds Grace standing in his way) Nosferato! Oh, Grace. Uh, as much as I hate to ask, I need you to do a favour for me.
Grace: (eagerly) You want me to feed the hose through the window while you start the engine?
Ben Harper: Let's save something for the new year, Grace. I was just wondering if you might have a suggestion for Susan's Christmas present?
Grace: A divorce?
Ben Harper: I wasn't thinking of spending that much.

(Ben is trying to reach the top of the Christmas tree to put the fairy on top)
Grace: Oh, higher, Ben! The fairy goes on the top.
Ben Harper: I know where to stick the fairy! I also know where I would like to stick the fairy.

Grace: (drunk) Anyone want an asperin? I do!
Ben Harper: Why don't you swallow the whole bottle, ya bat.

(Nick is watching bull baiting on Spanish TV)
Nick Harper: Wow, man. This is fantastic!
Michael Harper: What do you mean?
Nick Harper: Well, this. The special effects. It really does look like that bull is gettin' skewered.
Michael Harper: It is.
Nick Harper: (chuckles) Michael, you're so naive. I mean, that is a special blend of anamatronics and CGI. I mean, did you think Jurassic Park was real?
Michael Harper: No.
Nick Harper: Well, there you are. Do you seriously think that grown up people would spend three hours in a hot, dusty arena, tormenting a fellow creature to death?
Michael Harper: Yes.
Nick Harper: Oh, come on, the whole country would be up in arms!

(Susan enters a confession box, planning to confess that she killed her new boss, the rotund American businessman Scott Tatlor, who died of a heart attack after arguing with Susan. Susan beleives that if she hadn't have argued with him, he would still be alive)
Susan Harper: (entering the confession box and lighting a cigarette) It's so small in here. You'd think if you were cofessing your sins, they'd at least make it a little bit more comfortable.
(she pulls back the curtain and is surprised to see Reverend Boyle. She puts out her cigarette in a hurry)
Reverend Boyle: Welcome.
Susan Harper: Oh, hello! How are you?
Reverend Boyle: I'm fine. When was your last confession?
Susan Harper: I'm a little new to this. Forgive me.
Reverend Boyle: All right.
Susan Harper: Well, that was easy.
Reverend Boyle: Shall we just get right to the confessions then?
Susan Harper: Right, right. To be honest, I'm not sure how this works. I've seen films--
Reverend Boyle: Well, you tell me your sins and I give you a penance. For instance, have you taken the Lord's name in vane or had any impure thoughts?
Susan Harper: Of course, but that's not why I'm here. I... I killed a man.
Reverend Boyle: (excited) Really?
Susan Harper: That is a sin, right?
Reverend Boyle: (excited) Yes! One of the biggest!
Susan Harper: I didn't mean to do it.
Reverend Boyle: No, no, of course not.
Susan Harper: You see, my boss and I were having this... healthy debate, about his new company pollicies.
Reverend Boyle: (excited) Yes, yes, go on.
Susan Harper: All of them completely idiotic. Anyway, things got out of hand.
Reverend Boyle: (excited) Ooh!
Susan Harper: We had an arguement and...
Reverend Boyle: (desperately) And?!
Susan Harper: He had a heart attack.
Reverend Boyle: That's it?
Susan Harper: Isn't that enough?
Reverend Boyle: So you didn't really kill anyone?
Susan Harper: Yes I did. The full force of my argument was too much for the man.
Reverend Boyle: You can't argue someone to death.
Susan Harper: Yes you can.
Reverend Boyle: No you can't.
Susan Harper: Well, that's your opinion.
Reverend Boyle: Yes it is.
Susan Harper: Well your wrong.
Reverend Boyle: (exhausted) In God's eyes, you're not guilty.
Susan Harper: Oh, what does he know!

(it's bed time, and Susan is uncomfortable about sleeping on her side of the bed, as Scott Taylor passed away whilst sleeping on it the previous night)
Ben Harper: Hey, that's my side.
Susan Harper: Well, I'm not sleeping on my side, that's where Scott--
Ben Harper: No, no he did not. When I found him, he was on my side.
Susan Harper: You're lying, aren't you?
Ben Harper: No.
(Ben tries to push Susan onto her side, but she blocks him) Alright, Ben. You get in the dead side.
Ben Harper: (acting calm) Yeah, okay. Okay.
(he tries to pull back the covers, but jumps at each attempt)
Susan Harper: (jittery) Don't be silly! Just get into bed!
Ben Harper: Oh, I see. Being afraid of ghosts is the hight of rationality, but being slightly squeamish about sleeping on the death side is silly, is it?!
Susan Harper: Look, it's been a long day. Let's just calm down.
(Ben makes another attempt to get into bed)
Ben Harper: That's it. I'm gonna sleep on the couch. I'll just leave you two alone... (spooky) whooo!
Susan Harper: (throws the duvet over herself and trails after Ben) Oh, Ben! No! Don't do that!

Rodger Bailey: Ho, ho, ho, Ben!
Ben Harper: Go, go, go, Rodger!
Rodger Bailey: Don't be such a grumpy old Scrooge!
Ben Harper: For your information, Scrooge was very much the misunderstood hero of that book. Until the end where Dicken's copped out and made him nice.
Rodger Bailey: You're like this every year.
Ben Harper: I believe in tradition.

Susan Harper: You're so defeatist.
Ben Harper: I'm not defeatist, I'm defeated.

(Ben is eating Chinese takeaway in the kitchen. Nick enters from the living room)
Nick Harper: Is that Chinese takeaway?
Ben Harper: No, it's Chinese keep-away.

Susan: It's called Chocolate Raisin Turkey with Caramel.
(Ben looks at her cookbook)
Susan: It's Moroccan.
Ben: Ah, I see. Several pages of your cookbook are stuck together.
Susan: That's how great discoveries are made. Luddite.

Susan Harper: (hears someone knocking on the door) Who could that be at this hour?
Ben Harper: It'll be carol singers. Scum.

(Alfie, a scruffy yet well-mannered friend of Nick, arrives on the Harpers doorstep. Susan invites him in, much to Ben's dismay)
Susan Harper: Come on, Ben. Alfie is like the Christmas traveller, looking for shelter. Like Mary and Joseph?
Ben Harper: Yes, but no one was worried Mary and Joseph were gonna nick their video.

(it's Christmas Day, and Susan has given everyone revolting ties)
Ben: (cringng) It's the thought that counts.
Michael Harper: Shame it's such a horrible thought.

Rodger Bailey: I've closed the surgery early, for Christmas!
Ben Harper: Are you totally insane? This is our buisiest time of the year, all the cracked teeth from the nuts, the smashed mouths from all the office party punch ups. Yes, this is the dentist's season to be jolly.

(Ben's anti-Yuletide sentiments)
Susan: It'll be different this year.
Ben: No it won't.
Susan: Then we'll make it different.
Ben: No we won't. It'll be a disaster, like last year. It's traditional.
Susan: No it isn't.
Ben: There you are, always looking to the negative. You know I'm right, look at last year.
Susan: We all had a lovely time.
Ben: Yes, you did. I got beaten up by carol singers...
Susan: Ah, yes... lovely voices.
Ben: Before that there was the year of the turkey.
Susan: All right, it needed to stay in for a bit longer.
Ben: Susan, it was still alive. I'm trying to forget the year of the puppy.
Susan: Oh, the puppy... yes, that was sad, wasn't it? But those aren't reasons to hate Christmas.
Ben: Alright, try these. You have to jolly up to people you normally wouldn't bother to rescue from drowning, you get drunken men in suits vomiting in your flowerbeds, you're essentially trapped in the house with the central heating on full blast, and then someone throws a log on the fire because they think it's festive!

Ben: Let's get one thing straight: who wears the trousers in this house?
Susan: You do, only I get to choose which ones you wear.

Susan: (about Roger and Abi) You see that, he fancies her. It's so sweet.
Ben: It is not sweet, it's dangerous!
Susan: Why? I think they'd make a nice couple.
Ben: Two wrongs do not make a right.

Susan: Oh, I worry about Abi, I feel that Craig is using her.
Ben: Thank God someone's found a use for her.

[Ben discovers his Barry White record is broken]

Susan: I'm sure there's a reasonable explanation.
Ben: Yes there is. Nick!
Susan: How do you know?
Ben: It's a fact of life that my property plus broken always equals, NICK!

Susan: We have three children. Nick, Janey and Michael.
Ben: Or in our hearts Huey, Duey and Louis.
Susan: Michael is my rock.

[Flashback of Susan hugging Michael]

Michael: I can't breath.
Susan: Janey is lovely.

[Flashback of Janey in a tantrum]

Janey: I HATE you!
Susan: Nick is...our eldest.

[Various flashbacks of Nick telling of his latest jobs]

Nick: I'm an astronaut.
Nick: I'm forming a motorcycle stunt display team.
Nick: Sperm donor.
Ben: He's a pillock.

Nick: Good afternoon sir, lovely day.
Ben: What in the name of all that's holy are YOU doing here?
Nick: I work here.
Ben: You told me you worked at Quelco.
Nick: I know, you'd never have come here otherwise. This is great, I've dreamt of the day you come walking up to my checkout with a groaning basket.
Ben: Why?
Nick: I just want you to see me make a sucesss of something.
Ben: [Scoffs] A success.
Nick:: Yeah watch this.[holds up biscuits]Chocolate Bourbons!
Man: 49p
Ben: Get on with it Nick.
Nick: Certianly sir. [holds up bin liners] Condoms!
Man: £1.25
Ben: Don't do that again Nick.
Nick: Certainly not, I'm a professional.[holds up jar of coffee] Hemaroid Cream.
Man: £1.80.

Ben: And now that you' know.
Janey: Dad, I'm not gay.
Ben: Gay I know and I want you to know that...
Susan: Hang on. What do you mean you're not gay?
Janey: I'm NOT gay.
Ben: Well that about takes the biscuit doesn't it? How DARE you not be gay. Good GOD! You put us through anger, doubt, confusion, fear, anger...
Sususn: You said anger.
Ben: I was angry twice. Then we finally reach a position of understanding and you go and tell us you're not gay. My own daughter, I feel betrayed.

Characters in My Family

Abi Harper - Siobhan Hayes
Roger Bailey - Keiron Self
Ben Harper - Robert Lindsay
Janey Harper - Daniela Denby-Ashe
Michael Harper - Gabriel Thomson
Nick Harper - Kris Marshall
Susan Harper - Zoë Wanamaker

External links

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