Jeeves and Wooster (Series 1-4)

Many lives before he was the sadistic doctor in House M.D., Hugh Laurie was an enormously talented British TV actor who paired with another great persona that is Stephen Fry in the rib-tickling comedy series Jeeves and Wooster. Any bookworm from the Indian subcontinent should be familiar with the books by P. G. Wodehouse, which was a staple of all circulating libraries during my school days. This TV series is loosely based on the works of Wodehouse. Set in UK of the pre-WWII era, Wooster (Hugh Laurie) is a parentless young high-society gentleman and Jeeves (Stephen Fry) is his valet. In a seemingly never-ending string of stories, the feckless Wooster adventures through the various girls who are thrust at him by his Aunt Agatha, escaping the clutches of each by a mix of luck, pluck and the intelligence lent by Jeeves.

Some of the finest things in life are an acquired taste and Jeeves and Wooster is no exception. I cannot fathom how this series will be received by folks who are not familiar with the works of P. G. Wodehouse. For me, it took a few episodes before the yin and yang of Jeeves and Wooster became intimately familiar. After that it is one sweet long ride of pure joy. Through 4 seasons of 50-minute long episodes, this series is a keeper. Not just the enormous talent of the two principal actors, but the whole cast is excellent. Though it aired in the early 90s, the 1930 setting of UK and USA have been faithfully recreated. The dress, mannerisms, culture, the weirdly amusing English names and the verbal volleys exchanged between the gentleman and his valet are sure to remain etched in one’s memory. Watched through the glasses of 2011, Jeeves and Wooster has only gotten better, this is a series for everyone and anytime.

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4 thoughts on “Jeeves and Wooster (Series 1-4)

  1. srivaid 2011-07-03 / 18:39

    Not a butler, but a valet, as Jeeves would correct you. 🙂
    I watched the whole 4 seasons religiously through Netflix and was one of those where I reached the end and was disappointed that it got over. IIRC, it does not ‘end’ as such. It just stops like any other episode. Very addictive. You just can’t think of better chemistry than between Laurie and Fry, they are just so good in their parts! If you read any Jeeves novels after this, you just can’t avoid mentally casting these two in those roles. They were so perfect!
    Can’t believe they shelved it after 4 seasons.

    One of the best TV series I’ve seen I’d say.

    • Ashwin Nanjappa 2011-07-03 / 19:23

      Srivaid: My bad, thanks for the correction! I made the mistake despite having noted several times during the series that Jeeves pronounces it as va-let instead of the (now) more common pronunciation va-ley.

      I completely agree, this is one of the best series, one of the best onscreen chemistry and best acting. If I go back to read more Wodehouse books, Stephen Fry will most definitely be the voice of Jeeves in my head 🙂

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