Jeeves and Wooster
I’ve been binge watching Jeeves and Wooster on Acorn. It’s a BBC series based on the P.G. Wodehouse stories about Bertie Wooster, erstwhile English gentleman of leisure, and his manservant, Jeeves. To my thinking, this is excellent television. All TV ought to be this good.
It helps, I suppose, that the series stars Stephen Fry as Jeeves and Hugh Laurie as Wooster. Both established their comedic chops in this series, which originally aired from 1990-1993, and went on to achieve modest fame and acclaim in quite a lot of subsequent offerings.
Personally, I can’t get enough of this sort of thing. The theme music alone is enough to keep me coming back for more. The lines are hilarious, and they’re delivered with droll aplomb, especially by Fry. If that weren’t enough the cars are fabulous, the tailoring impeccable, and, if you watch carefully, you will see the debut television appearance of Highclere Castle, better known of late as Downton Abbey.
When you have to change your own clothes, you don’t do it nearly so often as you would with competent servants. (Personally, I’d like some competent servants, but that’s just me.)
There are some things about which I am curious:
- When people have to change clothes three and four times a day, should we even wonder why they never seem to accomplish anything more noteworthy than high tea? Should we wonder why they require servants to keep them alive and on schedule?
- In a house with a hundred rooms, it must be difficult to discover where the sex is happening. This is why we never see any sex in British shows about manners and class. On American TV, shot mostly in smaller homes with fewer people and hardly any servants at all, the sex is everywhere. We can hardly avoid it, much as we might like to.
- When people drink all day long, how are they still standing and speaking intelligibly when it’s time for cocktails before dinner? How are they not irritable and fog headed the following day? How did they manage an empire?
- Wodehouse claims to have taken two years to develop a plot to his own satisfaction, yet he wrote ninety books. Obviously he worked on more than one at a time, but, perhaps less obviously, he must not have changed clothes four times a day nor started drinking at breakfast.
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