Skip to main content

This just about takes the giddy biscuit!

Jeeves and Wooster
1.5 Brinkley Manor

The finale begins with a lovely sequence in which Bertie, struggling to fend for himself, consults Mrs Beeton’s Household Management in respect of making a cup of tea, and so becomes thoroughly confused. Woven into this are neat plays on the identity of Jeeves as Bertie is trying to avoid all calls following the Brinkley Manor fiasco. Batty Barmy, who has arrived for crafty cigarette due to a bet with Oofy on how long he can go without smoking, is convinced Bertie’s impression of his valet through the door is the real thing. Subsequently Bertie enlists Barmy to pretend to be Jeeves when the phone rings (Adam Blackwood does a more than passable Jeeves impression).


Barmy: (on the phone) What do you mean, you think not?
Barmy puts the phone down.
Bertie: Well, who was it?
Barmy: Jeeves.

Jeeves saves the day and makes a pot of tea, of course. He also secures the return of Anatole, appealing to the role of the Gallic races in bringing civilisation to the rest of us. Bertie just can’t keep away from Brinkley Court however, and returns on his own recognisees.


Bertie’s first major encounter on his return is with Tuppy (“I’m Scots!” he responds on being told by Bertie that eavesdropping isn’t very English). It’s during this sequence that Madeline leaves Tuppy a plate of sandwiches (“It’s like leaving food out for a little animal, isn’t it?”) and Tuppy swings a well-aimed foot at it. Tuppy’s later pursuit of “that serpent Fink-Nottle”, who has proposed to Angela in a post-Madeline funk, is grist to the mill of the boiling imbroglio cooked up by Bertie (or “Attilla the Hun”, as Aunt Dahlia decides to refer to him).


Jeeves: It is not always a simple matter to gauge the effects of alcohol on subjects previously unexposed to such stimulants. It can have distressing results in the case of parrots…

The highlight of the episode is Gussie’s blotto presentation of prizes, however. Even Jeeves appears to be persuaded by the fortification that a surreptitious snifter can have on the constitution and mettle. And, indeed, it works in the first place. Gussie summons up the goods to propose to Madeline. Unfortunately, both Jeeves and Bertie separately added a significant quantity of gin to Gussie’s orange juice. This happens in quick succession, leading Jeeves to quote the Scottish play. Gussie may not be a parrot, but he is a poop (or “a sensitive plant”, as Jeeves suggests).


At the prize giving, Garnett does a tremendously winning drunk, one who goes down well with the kids when he takes a poke at the headmaster (“Well of course you should, you silly ass” he retorts when the latter admonishes himself on calling Gussie Fitz-Wattle). Gussie rambles on about how it’s a beautiful world and takes shots at Bertie, whom he despise as a pessimist and, evidently, a cheat whom he considers received the scripture knowledge prize unfairly.


As with any Wodehouse, the true glory of his scene needs to be savoured in unexpurgated form on the page, where Bertie’s account of events washes it with gloriously tickling prose. But that’s not to say the screen version isn’t hilarious in and of itself, as Gussie asks young PK Purvis if he is married and launches into an attack on GG Simmons, winner of the Scripture Knowledge prize (the subject at which Bertie apparently cheated).


Jeeves’ fire alarm incident is yet another “cruel to be kind” plan whereby the instant degradation and mockery Bertie experiences turns to relief and gratitude (“Your methods are a little on the rough side”). Jeeves conceals the key and Bertie is sent on a wild goose chase to fetch one from butler Seppings (the staff are off having their annual dance).


This does provide Bertie with one of his best lines, noting of Jeeves’ successful wheeze, which is based on the idea that each man would save the object closest to them from a potential fire, “It seems to me there’s a grave danger of seeing Tuppy come out carrying a steak and kidney pie...” In absentia, the parties make up through collective blaming of Bertie; ice was broken and, “Of course, rain was a bonus”.


So the first season of Jeeves and Wooster ends on a high. The “amatory entanglements of Brinkley” turn out to be ideal material for adaptation. Fry is a dependable face of valet-dom, and Laurie is, of course, a defining Wooster throughout. He makes a particularly fine show here of a bedraggled and bewildered Bertie, subject to the ridicule of the reconciled parties on his return from Kingham Manor. However, he is battered but unbowed and perks up at the prospect of an omelette and “Perhaps a little half bottle of something”.



Featuring:

Aunt Dahlia (1.2, 1.4, 1.5)
Tuppy Glossop (1.1, 1.2, 1.4, 1.5)
Madeline Bassett (1.4, 1.5)
Gussie Fink Nottle (1.4, 1.5)
Anatole (1.4, 1.5)
Tom Travers (1.4, 1.5)
Angela Travers (1.4, 1.5)

Brief Appearances:

Barmy Fotheringay Phipps (1.1, 1.2, 1.4, 1.5)

Oofy Prosser (1.1, 1.2, 1.4, 1.5)






Comments

Popular posts from this blog

She writes Twilight fan fiction.

Vampire Academy (2014)
My willingness to give writer Daniel Waters some slack on the grounds of early glories sometimes pays off (Sex and Death 101) and sometimes, as with this messy and indistinct Young Adult adaptation, it doesn’t. If Vampire Academy plods along as a less than innovative smart-mouthed Buffy rip-off that might be because, if you added vampires to Heathers, you would probably get something not so far from the world of Joss Whedon. Unfortunately inspiration is a low ebb throughout, not helped any by tepid direction from Daniel’s sometimes-reliable brother Mark and a couple of hopelessly plankish leads who do their best to dampen down any wit that occasionally attempts to surface.

I can only presume there’s a never-ending pile of Young Adult fiction poised for big screen failure, all of it comprising multi-novel storylines just begging for a moment in the Sun. Every time an adaptation crashes and burns (and the odds are that they will) another one rises, hydra-like, hoping…

Our very strength incites challenge. Challenge incites conflict. And conflict... breeds catastrophe.

The MCU Ranked Worst to Best

Why would I turn into a filing cabinet?

Captain Marvel (2019)
(SPOILERS) All superhero movies are formulaic to a greater or lesser degree. Mostly greater. The key to an actually great one – or just a pretty good one – is making that a virtue, rather than something you’re conscious of limiting the whole exercise. The irony of the last two stand-alone MCU pictures is that, while attempting to bring somewhat down-the-line progressive cachet to the series, they’ve delivered rather pedestrian results. Of course, that didn’t dim Black Panther’s cultural cachet (and what do I know, swathes of people also profess to loving it), and Captain Marvel has hit half a billion in its first few days – it seems that, unless you’re poor unloved Ant-Man, an easy $1bn is the new $700m for the MCU – but neither’s protagonist really made that all-important iconic impact.

Can you float through the air when you smell a delicious pie?

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018)
(SPOILERS) Ironically, given the source material, think I probably fell into the category of many who weren't overly disposed to give this big screen Spider-Man a go on the grounds that it was an animation. After all, if it wasn’t "good enough" for live-action, why should I give it my time? Not even Phil Lord and Christopher Miller's pedigree wholly persuaded me; they'd had their stumble of late, although admittedly in that live-action arena. As such, it was only the near-unanimous critics' approval that swayed me, suggesting I'd have been missing out. They – not always the most reliable arbiters of such populist fare, which made the vote of confidence all the more notable – were right. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is not only a first-rate Spider-Man movie, it's a fresh, playful and (perhaps) surprisingly heartfelt origins story.

My name is Dr. King Schultz, this is my valet, Django, and these are our horses, Fritz, and Tony.

Django Unchained (2012)
(MINOR SPOILERS) Since the painful misstep of Grindhouse/Death Proof, Quentin Tarantino has regained the higher ground like never before. Pulp Fiction, his previous commercial and critical peak, has been at very least equalled by the back-to-back hits of Inglourious Basterds and Django Unchained. Having been underwhelmed by his post Pulp Fiction efforts (albeit, I admired his technical advances as a director in Kill Bill), I was pleasantly surprised by Inglourious Basterds. It was no work of genius (so not Pulp Fiction) by any means, but there was a gleeful irreverence in its treatment of history and even to the nominal heroic status of its titular protagonists. Tonally, it was a good fit for the director’s “cool” aesthetic. As a purveyor of postmodern pastiche, where the surface level is the subtext, in some ways he was operating at his zenith. Django Unchained is a retreat from that position, the director caught in the tug between his all-important aesthetic pr…

Only an idiot sees the simple beauty of life.

Forrest Gump (1994)
(SPOILERS) There was a time when I’d have made a case for, if not greatness, then Forrest Gump’s unjust dismissal from conversations regarding its merits. To an extent, I still would. Just not nearly so fervently. There’s simply too much going on in the picture to conclude that the manner in which it has generally been received is the end of the story. Tarantino, magnanimous in the face of Oscar defeat, wasn’t entirely wrong when he suggested to Robert Zemeckis that his was a, effectively, subversive movie. Its problem, however, is that it wants to have its cake and eat it.

Rejoice! The broken are the more evolved. Rejoice.

Split (2016)
(SPOILERS) M Night Shyamalan went from the toast of twist-based filmmaking to a one-trick pony to the object of abject ridicule in the space of only a couple of pictures: quite a feat. Along the way, I’ve managed to miss several of his pictures, including his last, The Visit, regarded as something of a re-locating of his footing in the low budget horror arena. Split continues that genre readjustment, another Blumhouse production, one that also manages to bridge the gap with the fare that made him famous. But it’s a thematically uneasy film, marrying shlock and serious subject matter in ways that don’t always quite gel.

Shyamalan has seized on a horror staple – nubile teenage girls in peril, prey to a psychotic antagonist – and, no doubt with the best intentions, attempted to warp it. But, in so doing, he has dragged in themes and threads from other, more meritable fare, with the consequence that, in the end, the conflicting positions rather subvert his attempts at subversion…

Basically, you’re saying marriage is just a way of getting out of an embarrassing pause in conversation?

Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994)
(SPOILERS) There can be a cumulative effect from revisiting a movie where one glaring element does not fit, however well-judged or integrated everything else is; the error is only magnified, and seems even more of a miscalculation. With Groundhog Day, there’s a workaround to the romance not working, which is that the central conceit of reliving your day works like a charm and the love story is ultimately inessential to the picture’s success. In the case of Four Weddings and a Funeral, if the romance doesn’t work… Well, you’ve still got three other weddings, and you’ve got a funeral. But our hero’s entire purpose is to find that perfect match, and what he winds up with is Andie McDowell. One can’t help thinking he’d have been better off with Duck Face (Anna Chancellor).

Stupid adult hands!

Shazam! (2019)
(SPOILERS) Shazam! is exactly the kind of movie I hoped it would be, funny, scary (for kids, at least), smart and delightfully dumb… until the final act. What takes place there isn’t a complete bummer, but right now, it does pretty much kill any interest I have in a sequel.

Do not mention the Tiptoe Man ever again.

Glass (2019)
(SPOILERS) If nothing else, one has to admire M Night Shyamalan’s willingness to plough ahead regardless with his straight-faced storytelling, taking him into areas that encourage outright rejection or merciless ridicule, with all the concomitant charges of hubris. Reactions to Glass have been mixed at best, but mostly more characteristic of the period he plummeted from his must-see, twist-master pedestal (during the period of The Village and The Happening), which is to say quite scornful. And yet, this is very clearly the story he wanted to tell, so if he undercuts audience expectations and leaves them dissatisfied, it’s most definitely not a result of miscalculation on his part. For my part, while I’d been prepared for a disappointment on the basis of the critical response, I came away very much enjoying the movie, by and large.