Pelham Grenville Wodehouse's immortal characters are brought to glorious life in this hilarious series starring Hugh Laurie as the chinless but charming Bertie Wooster and Stephen Fry as his valet and frequent savior, Jeev... more »es. Superb period detail, performers who seem to have been born for these roles, and a hearty helping of Wodehouse wit make these shows essential viewing for anyone in search of a sophisticated chuckle. This collection comprises the second season of this delightful show, including the following six episodes: "Jeeves Saves the Cow-Creamer," "A Plan for Gussie," "Pearls Mean Tears," "Jeeves in the Country," "Kidnapped!," and "Jeeves the Matchmaker." --Simon Leake« less
"These six episodes are best described as great, great, great, great, great, and so-so. The humor is excellent. Hugh Laurie is very much fun to watch. And they hold up well under repeated viewing.
I read that Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry ... close friends since their college days at Cambridge (where they were introduced to each other by none other than Emma Thompson) ... were reluctant to accept the "Jeeves and Wooster" roles ... but the high quality of the writing made them take a second look and ... sign on.
This, the second season, is the best of the four "Jeeves and Wooster" seasons. Hugh Laurie has grown to completely fill out the Berite Wooster character ... and the material is never better. A recap of each episode is below:
PEARLS MEAN TEARS (also called "The Con") An excellent one.
Bertie is summoned to Westcomb on the Sea by his domineering aunt Agatha ... where she plays matchmaker (against Bertie's wishes) ... for Bertie and the "demure" Aileen Hemmingway. This story leads nicely into a second tale (in this same episode) where Bertie must help his chum Biffie escape from an unwanted engagement to the dreaded Honoria Glossup.
The dramatization here is of a very high quality. No expense was spared and no detail was overlooked. It is really quite amazing when you consider the preparation, the assembling, and the cost that went into the making of a scene that is a mere two minutes long (such as the railway station scene or the horse race track scene).
This is highbrow comedy at its best. My only reservation (every time I watch this episode) is caused by the bad guys here ... the confidence tricksters ... who are a bit too scary, and the trouble they cause (for Bertie) a bit too serious ... but it is all over with soon enough ... and the romp continues ... unabated.
JEEVES IN THE COUNTRY (also known as "Chuffy") Another excellent one ... and the first of two parts.
Here Bertie takes up the trombone ... and is oblivious to the disturbance it causes (and is surprised when told of it). Offended by the "lack of neighborly spirit" he retaliates by moving to the country (Devonshire) ... where he is near his old college pal Chuffy ... but must deal with a ticklish situation when a former fiancee appears on the scene.
The comedy flows at a good clip in this episode ... and there are nice touches throughout (background details that add to the fun and authenticity of a scene). Bertie and Jeeves have quite a bit of one-to-one talking, and this is ... the very heart of the "Jeeves and Wooster" humor and appeal.
(A couple of fun scenes here: Bertie (while arguing with his landlord) tries to quote Shakespeare ... only to stumble ... and then (with Jeeves help) recover his confidence ... with a triumphant gesture. Also, Jeeves is forced to make his master's morning tea ... al fresco.)
KIDNAPPED (also called "The Mysterious Stranger") This is a follow-up to "Jeeves in the Country" ... and it is just as good ... except maybe that it lacks the slam-bang finish.
Here Bertie has once again travelled out to the country ... where he finds himself trapped in a shotgun wedding situation. And, by coincidence, his chums from the Drones Club are also in Devonshire ... to give a ukulele concert ... in blackface.
P.G. Wodehouse (the creator of "Jeeves and Wooster") often used what might be called "coincidence" comedy ... where two or three different story elements come together accidentally ... to create a riotously funny situation.
Here in "Kidnapped" the coincidence is sort-of hard to buy into, but the pay-off ... the riotous scene ... is pretty satisfying ... so we let it go.
(Three fun Hugh Laurie bits here: When confronted by the parents of TWO former fiancees ... at the same moment ... "Oh, you know ... an engagement here ... an engagement there." Also, his impromptu singing of "Lady of Spain". And lastly his warming up to Roderick Glossup after learning that he (Glossup) had struck young Seabury (a real brat).)
JEEVES SAVES THE COW CREAMER (also called "The Silver Jug") This is arguably the best "Jeeves and Wooster" episode ... mainly because the story is so excellent.
Bertie receives a visit from his aunt Dahlia ... who wants him to visit an antique shop and ... "sneer at a cow creamer". The cow creamer is a silver creamer that is, well, in the shape of a cow ... a much valued objet d'art ... that Dahlia means to obtain ... and when a rival silver collector snatches it from under her nose ... she is ... incensed ... and orders Bertie to go and steal it.
This story is a veritable gold mine of comedy ... and the gold is indeed mined ... and delivered. Vivian Pickles is excellent as Bertie's aunt Dahlia ... and Richard Garnett is perfect for the part of Gussie.
(A fun moment here is when Bertie sends off a telegram to his aunt. Also, there's an excellent little scene when Jeeves attends a meeting of The Junior Gamamede Club ... a club for gentlemen's gentlemen (valets).)
A PLAN FOR GUSSIE (also called "The Bassett's Fancy Dress Ball") This is a follow-up to "Jeeves Saves the Cow Creamer" ... with the same setting, same actors and actresses, and the ... same fun.
Bertie is back at Totleigh Towers ... the estate home of the dreaded Sir Watkin Bassett ... where he (Bertie) must save the marriage plans of his chum Gussie.
We get a lot of Bertie/Jeeves conversation here ... and that is good. The give-and-take is excellent ... with Jeeves at one point using "prandial jocundity" ... which means cheerfulness at dinner.
Simon Treves as Harold "Stinker" Pinker is excellent ... very entertaining ... once you zero in on him. Bertie has a funny diatribe at the tennis court and he also has a classic moment of triumph over Watkin Bassett.
JEEVES THE MATCHMAKER (also called "Wooster With a Wife") Of the six episodes in season number two, this one is by far the worst.
Three different stories are woven together here: Bertie must break up a romance between his chum Tuppie and "the interloper" Daisy ... also, Bertie tries to propose marriage to Bobbie Wickham ... and lastly, his (Bertie's) help is employed by pal Bingo to convince Bingo's rich uncle (and benefactor) that marriage to a middle class girl is both acceptable and honorable.
The Bingo story drags along ... and the Bobbie Wickham character is just a mean lady. There are dead ends (in this episode) here and there, and Jeeves is not given any brilliant solutions to come up with (always added fun for us viewers). The Tuppie story works OK, and we do get some vintage Hugh Laurie moments ... but the craft and the art ... of so high a quality in the other five episodes ... is definately missing here.
Not absolutely faithful to the books, but stronger for it
Jeffrey Lehman | Market Harborough, UK | 08/01/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This series is a brilliant adaption of the Jeeves stories of P.G. Wodehouse. A single episode of Jeeves & Wooster amalgamates several short stories into one longer story. The humor in Wodehouse's stories was focussed on word-play, while in the TV productions the humor is often physical. I think they were wise to go this direction, because a visual adaptions are never completely faithful to the original books. Instead of trying to be completely faithful to the written stories, they went with the strength of their medium and the results are brilliant. One reviewer commented that the second series is not quite as funny as the first. I'm not so sure about that. The second series contains some absolutely essential lines. "Its the bally ballyness of it all that makes it all so bally bally." Or this little exchange: Wooster,"Do you know what I look for in music, Jeeves." Jeeves, "I have often wondered, sir." How about this one: Wooster, "We Woosters have soldiered on with worse things than numb lips." Jeeves, "Indeed, sir." One of my favorite scenes is the one in which Jeeves, who has impeccable taste, has to leave the room and sit down when he sees someone wearing a tie with "little horseshoes on it". "Sometimes one can't just shrug these things off," is his comment. About the sets and scenery. I have tried to find anachronisms (such as power lines, etc.) but have been unable to. A brilliant adaption of brilliant stories, superb acting, gorgeous settings."
MUST SEE SERIES! BRILLANT COMIC ACTING!
Jim O'Brien | 03/27/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry are brilliant as Bertie Wooster and Jeeves, respectively. This is an extremely witty series - the script is excellent and the acting, some of the best comic acting I have ever seen! If you haven't seen Laurie and Fry at work, particularly in this stunning series, I highly recommend you to do so!"
Not as good as season one but still FUNNY!
Gwen Kramer | Sunny and not-so-sunny California | 07/13/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It only took one episode to addict me to Jeeves and Wooster. This season finds our heroes once again in and out of scrapes, most of them matrimonial. The fact that some of the actors are different is alarming at first, especially when you watch the two seasons back to back but the replacemnts are very good and soon it does not distract at all.My two favorite episodes are kidnapped, in which Bertie is almost forced into a shotgun wedding and The episode in which Aunt Agatha tries to set poor Bertie up with a young lady who happens to be a confidence trickster. Of course, brillian Jeeves saves the day.The DVD offers no extras except chapter search but the quality of the picture is good and DVDs are very convenient.If you've never seen Jeeves and Wooster don't be afraid to take the plunge. It's a lovely bit of British humor."
Smart, funny and very British indeed!
Wouter Heyse | Boston, MA USA | 05/16/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I have to admit that I never read the original source material, but I have been assured that it is brilliant. Notwithstanding this caveat on my part, I am still comfortable to say that this deliciously funny and intelligent series ranks amongst the best comedy series ever produced. First of all, the applaudable lack of an intrusive laugh-track means that the viewer is capable of determining his own personal moments of comedy. This leads to a very different appreciation of the humor for each individual viewer. And what humor there is! A hilarious send-up of class structures and mores in the English upper-class, this series manages to be funny and inventive throughout it's secong incarnation. Hugh Laurie is at the top of his game as the slightly dim-witted aritocrat Bertie Wooster (the type of character he also plays impeccably in the third season of Blackadder) and Stephen Fry is possibly even better as his ever present and highly skilled valet Jeeves. Intricate complications in the various episodes flow logically from one point to the other, and the conclusions somehow always ring true. If you are a fan of typical English humor and wit, this series of television episodes, as well as the first season, is sure to please. The presentation on DVD is not spectacular in any way, but a decent price level and solid production values make these DVD box sets the preferred way to go. Highly recommended for any lover of intelligent comedy!"