Friday, April 16, 2010

Review - Right Ho, Jeeves!

Right Ho, Jeeves - From the Manor Wodehouse Collection, a selection from the early works of P. G. WodehouseMy wife and I stumbled across the 1990s Jeeves and Wooster TV series years ago and absolutely loved the show. We've watched them again and again with a ton of amusement. Since then, I've read snippets from some of the stories and really enjoyed the writing as well (showing that even though Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry are fabulous actors…that the story/writing itself is astounding). Right Ho Jeeves was my first time with an entire novel, and it was fabulous.

Jeeves & Wooster: The Complete SeriesFor those unfamiliar with the Jeeves/Wooster story dynamic, the idea is that you've got Bertie Wooster who is a well-to-do bachelor living in England in the 20s/30s. Jeeves is his 'gentleman's personal gentleman' who, in addition to being an excellent personal valet helps solve the crazy problems that Bertie and his friends get into. The writing is tight, witty and great fun.

In Right Ho Jeeves, Bertie has decided that Jeeves has lost some of his skills and tries to solve his friends' and relatives' problems without Jeeves' help. Due to Bertie's often bumbling and clueless nature, he generally causes more problems than he solves. The result is a wild romp through the verbal slapstick of British humor.

I absolutely love the characters in the story and their outrageous personalities. The dialog is hilarious and I laughed out loud on a number of occasions. My only real complaint is that there are sometimes where the dialog is so quick that I, for a moment, lost track of who was speaking, but that was quickly resolved and easy to work through.

Enter Jeeves: 15 Early StoriesI acknowledge that "British Humor" is not something that everyone enjoys. But if you have the slightest inkling towards it, or if you just want to try out some funny writing about social and mental hijinks, then give P.G. Wodehouse's books a try. I can definitely recommend Right Ho Jeeves and, even without reading them, suspect that the other books will be equally hilarious. If you want to try watching some of them first, you can find a number of clips on YouTube or can buy the entire collection. This particular book was translated to TV in two episodes at the end of season 1.

So, if you're feeling a little smaltzy, melancholic or just fed up with life's malarkey, then slap yourself into a chair and fix your peepers on Jeeves & Wooster. They really are the cat's pajamas.

4.5 out of 5 stars

View all my reviews

As an added bonus, here's a link to a clip from Season 1, Episode 4...a clip that takes place about midway through the book (by now, Bertie has gotten his plans well underway and things are really in a mess). It's about 10 minutes long and may have be a bit of spoiler on the novel, but it gives an idea of the very straight/deadpan humor that is so characteristic of the book. Great fun. Enjoy.


Brian Miller said...

hmmm...never heard of it...wil check it out...have a great weekend.

Matthew MacNish said...

I've never heard of this but my GF loves House, and pretty much everything Hugh Laurie, so I guess we'll have to check it out.

Thanks for sharing Okie!

Today's guest blogger is Rachel Alpine!

Okie said...

Wooster is a lot of fun and Hugh Laurie did a fabulous job portraying him. He's just so off kilter and fun. It's great fun to read/see/hear the banter between the overly enthused Wooster and the reserved, deadpan Jeeves.

WPW said...

You might be interested in reading my friend Robert McCrum's biography of Wodehouse. 'Plum' (as he was known) was a huge hit in the USA, and wrote a good many Broadway musicals. He lived in Manhattan for several years. He is generally regarded by those who take these things seriously (writers, rather than academics, that is) as the finest writer of English prose of the twentieth century (on either side of the Atlantic).