16 thoughts on “Jeeves and Wooster – Low on Costume, High on Hilarity

  1. Always loved the Wodehouse stories, so funny! I’ll definitely watch these. I think Dorothy Sayers was inspired by Bertie and Jeeves when she wrote the Lord Peter Wimsey series. (Who wouldn’t be!)

    1. Even before the Laurie and Fry Jeeves and Wooster, Pauline Collins and John Alderton did Wodehouse Playhouse , which included a lot of the fabulous Mulliner stories. There was some fiddling with a few of the plot points, but on the whole, they were very well done—especially “The Truth About George.”

      And Wodehouse himself introduced each episode.

    2. I think the first Jeeves and Wooster stories were published the same year as Sayers’ first Wimsey mystery (1923), so no, not that likely. It was an established type, populating lots of British fiction, well before then. Wimsey was the inspiration for Allingham’s Albert Campion, though, but that’s very obvious and completely above-board; Campion started life as a Wimsey parody but grew into a distinct character of his own.

      I love Honoria Glossop. I can relate to her frustration with being pressured into marrying a hopeless guy like Wooster for no very good reason.

  2. Absolutely love this series too. Fry and Laurie created pure gold here. That said, am I the only one who thought Wodehouse had an incredible disdain for women by proof of how they are portrayed in these stories?

    1. Read some of his other stories to see real solid disdain for women in action. Seriously appalling, but he just writes so well that you keep reading anyway.

    2. I absolutely do not sense “disdain for women” in Wodehouse’s work. And I’m a lifelong feminist (was a feminist long before I ever heard that word) who’s been reading Wodehouse since the age of fourteen.

      Sure, Madeleine’s a dimwit. And so is Veronica Wedge. Any takers on Gussie Fink-Nottle (who actually did seem like the perfect match for Madeleine), Bingo Little, Stilton Cheesewright? (Incidentally, Georgette Heyer’s novel The Foundling features a young woman who’s got to be an ancestor of Veronica Wedge.)

      Wodehouse created so many hilarious characters: the bullies, the airheads, the schemers. But these types seem to be pretty evenly distributed as to sex and age. The author seems hardest on the very beautiful (male or female), pretentious but untalented artists and poets, and wealthy snobs. Oh yes, and explorers and Empire builders.

    3. Sorry, I know I’m responding to an old post, but this has been chewing at me for weeks since I read it, and I simply have to defend Wodehouse from the charge of disdaining women. I can see how you might get that idea if you just look at the Jeeves series, but Wodehouse’s many, many other books are simply stuffed with delightful female characters, many of whom are American. (It’s my pet theory that the inspiration for those characters is Adele Astaire, whom Wodehouse met.) Try the Blandings series, for example–which also has some prime battleaxes and airheads.

  3. Pure gold. That scene where Gussie imitates a newt, and the guys at the club make it their new dance to 47 Ginger Headed Sailors is one of my favorite TV moments of all time.

  4. One of the things I really enjoy about this series is the attention to the social detail of the men’s clothing. Jeeves is always correct for his role and location. For example, following the dictum that when wearing formal clothing, servants should always wear it a little bit ‘wrong’, Jeeves always wears a four-in-hand tie with morning dress as opposed to the ‘proper’ plastron tie. Similarly, Bertie wears clothing appropriate to his activities. He has a striped, dark ‘City’ suit, a medium grey herringbone suit, a wide variety of country suits and jackets, and his formal clothes: morning suit, dinner jacket, and tails.

    Regarding Bertie’s formal clothing, the episode involving his wearing the off-white spencer jacket is spot on to 1933. That year, (among civilians), those jackets were all the go for the season but very quickly fell into disfavor as one has to have a trim athletic body to successfully carry it off, and more importantly, the jacket became associated with waiters and bellhops. Jeeves wisely kept Bertie from being more of a source of amusement than he already was.

  5. I love Jeeves and Wooster. Both in book and Fry & Laurie. The men’s clothing looks spot on and you never stop ROTFLI. I even believe that the Drones Club invented pelting TV screens (in their case movie screens) with food.
    I don’t believe Woodhouse was per se anti-woman. What he was was a typical Englishman who was educated with the Victorian attitudes towards women. They were okay in their proper sphere. And that elderly ones were a force of nature.
    I will have to re-watch them soon.

    1. Well, yes, the Wodehousian upper-class male does view women as a completely different species, although Wodehouse himself seems to think them smarter–apart from Madeline– and more ruthless. My favorite moment might be when Honoria Glossop gets her suitor on the phone and snaps, “Let me talk to someone with a brain.” (Also when Bertie is entertaining some would-be lefties, and Jeeves addresses him as “Comrade Sir.”)

    1. The Wodehouse books and stories definitely need to be read. His turns of phrase simply do not communicate in dramatizations, funny and clever as they may be. Wodehouse is one of the few authors who makes me laugh out loud as I read, and I’ve had a couple of close calls when reading and drinking at the same time.

  6. I have such great love for this show. I’m re-watching the series now with my kids and we’re loving it! So much hilarious banter and 20s slang.

    I would beg to differ on the costumes though. Pretty much every episode has really nice examples of ladies’ country/sportswear from the era. All that time spent in country houses shooting, rambling, golfing, playing tennis, motoring means a lot of tweed, plaid and other sporty attire. Yeah, it’s not Downton’s endless parade of evening gowns, but I love me a great houndstooth jacket and skirt ensemble.

  7. I know I’m late, but any person who reads to the end of the comments must know:
    Bertie (Laurie) has a rubber ducky or several in the bathroom with him in every bathing scene he’s in. It shows up like three times a season. I love noticing them and imagining the dry banter as to why exactly Jeeves has to pack 2-5 rubber duckies when they go down to Totleigh Towers or wherever for a visit. Bertie has almost certainly named them and is offended when they are misnamed.

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