It's P.G. Wodehouse masterpiece of wacky upper-class british humour brought to life. So what if some episodes are variations on a theme when the theme is so luxuriantly served by the wit of "Plum".
Again, production values do not let a British show down and either in London, NY or the English countryside you begin to wonder if they are using really priceless objects d'art and vintage automobiles and the Manor houses are certainly for real.
Apart from a supporting cast where some of Britain's finest get their chance to shine in what is partly comedy of manners and partly elegant slapstick (think of an english version of screwball movies only faster-paced at times) there is that casting dream come true: the two leads are played by Stephen Fry as Jeeves and Hugh Laurie as Bertie Wooster. And once you go back to reading the stories it's very difficult to erase the image of these two who so perfectly inhabit roles you would swear were written for them.
There is no point in denying yourself the refined pleasure of being transported to this absolutely carefree yet always vaguely wild world. Wild in the sense that overdoing your champagne and the latest dance craze from America is wild. A safe wild. Especially when you know there will always be one of Jeeves pick-me-ups (secret recipe) the following morning.
Long before he achieved stardom in the U.S. for playing the tortured, acid-tongued title character on "House, M.D.", Hugh Laurie played Dr. House's polar opposite, Bertie Wooster, on the British TV series "Jeeves and Wooster" from 1990 to 1993. With the help of his frequent co-star Stephen Fry, Laurie brought P.G. Wodehouse's beloved characters from the classic "Jeeves" series vividly to life. The TV series follows the misadventures of dapper, doltish young millionaire Bertie Wooster, and his indispensable, saintly valet Jeeves (played to poker faced perfection by Fry). Every story was convoluted and gloriously silly, with Bertie being tangled in one ridiculous situation after the other (usually of his own doing), but always coming out on the right side of it... and always with help from the relentlessly patient Jeeves. Many familiar characters are here, from cranky, meddling Aunt Agatha to Bertie's brainless chum Bingo Little. But Laurie and Fry are the real reasons to watch. Laurie somehow makes the foppish, clumsy Bertie truly lovable, and his rubber-faced mugging could put Jim Carrey to shame. Fry somehow keeps Jeeves from being bland and dull, and he is almost an omniscient being, the way he never fails at bailing his fatuous master out of trouble. Plus, he never gets annoyed at Bertie's constant mangling of popular songs while playing the piano (check out the pilot, where Bertie attempts Cab Calloway's "Minnie the Moocher", complete with the hi-de-ho chorus). So, is this a splendid little series worth checking out on DVD? As Jeeves would say, "Indeed, sir."
Even though found by many as boring and too long, I must say it's one of the best (historical) comedy-series I've watched in a long time.
First of all there is the great acting of both Fry and Laurie.
With Laurie as a first class idiot with lots of money and Fry as his intelligent and cunning buttler.
Almost every episode people come with problems to Bertie who tries to solve them himself at first, and fails miserably.
(you just have to pay attention to Laurie's facial expressions when things go wrong)
Then he allways has to resort to asking Fry to help him.
And almost every time Jeeses makes sure that Wooster gets what's comming to him.
But you'll never see him be rude to his master. (but you can just sense what he's thinking)
The only downside to the entire series is the series of episodes set in America.
There is just not enough variation in additional characters. (but off course, the entire show is based on the novels, so Fry and Laurie are not to be blaimd for this)
The writings of Pelham Grenville Wodehouse are so typically British that it is not surprising therefore for a public school educated writer to have created the epitome of British aristocracy in the form of Bertie Wooster and his stallwart manservant, Jeeves. Of course Laurie is Eton educated and has personally experienced the public schoolboy system and, along with Fry, was at Cambridge University; however, no matter all the personal experience they could have drawn from, nothing can detract from their totally brilliant performances in each episode. Although, at the time, there was some doubt among members of the Wodehouse Society about their appropriateness for the parts, Fry and Laurie were simply perfect in the roles of unsurpassable valet Jeeves and bally ass Wooster, living in a 1920s-30s world of Hooray Henries and splendidly indomitable aunts (Agatha and Dahlia!). Both Fry and Laurie are extremely talented actors, well known today for their different styles; so one has to remember this series was first shown in 1990 when both actors were in their early 30s and were known for their roles, amongst others, in the very funny Blackadder series.
Jeeves and Wooster was, in my opinion, wonderfully written (by Clive Exton (who also adapted Agatha Christie's Poirot books for ITV), acted by some of the finest British actors and filmed in magnificent surroundings, showing British architecture and countryside at its best.
Fry and Laurie's delivery of lines is expertly done and one cannot but admire their repartee: “Jeeves; that young woman?” “Miss Finknottle Sir?” “Yes! She is the Finknottle we were worried about but as it... Hold on! You know she is who she is?” “Yes Sir. I happened to intercept a telegram from your Aunt addressed to Miss Gloria Finknottle.” “How do you know the telegram was from my aunt?” “The telegram was already open. The postman had accidentally dropped it, in a puddle. I advised we extract the contents before the ink became contaminated with water and to rid the dampness by placing it on the stove in the kitchen.” “I'm not going to ask how it ended up in the puddle!” “It would be most wise of you Sir, to not do so.” “Did it say much?” “I only took the liberty of glancing at a few lines. These said to the effect that Mrs Gregson wishes to enquire what Miss Finknottle thought of her nephew and to reply as soon as she can. Other talk about paintings and about the Professor and how your Aunt wanted so much to meet him.” “A rather large glance of this telegram I'd say Jeeves!” “Indeed Sir. Yet still a glance.” Absolutely brilliant ... don't you think!?
I've seen Jeeves & Wooster on dvd and it's great. The episodes are so well written, and this makes sense, since they're based on the books by P.G. Wodehouse. Those books are hilarious, and if you like this show and haven't read them, you should!
But the show is great, and both of the lead actors, Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie, are perfect in their roles. They're both great actors, and I'm sure they could have switched roles, but they just play the roles they have so wonderfully that I can't imagine either them in the other's role, nor can I imagine anyone else in those roles either.
The sets are fantastic as well. The old estates that are used for the 'country homes' of the early 20th century idle rich are just beautiful.
Overall, this is just a wonderful show, very funny, and something the whole family can enjoy. You should watch it.
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