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Studio: A&e Home Video Release Date: 05/26/2009
Fans of Hugh Laurie's prickly, sardonic House character may not realize that Laurie started as a slapstick comedian of the most British type: Veddy, veddy silly. And nowhere has Laurie been sillier, or more divine, than as Bertie Wooster in Jeeves & Wooster, the British TV series based on the famed P.G. Wodehouse characters. Playing off Laurie is the equally splendid Stephen Fry a longtime Laurie pal and co-star as the arch and supremely competent valet Jeeves. The two create a winning, hilarious pair of tour guides into the rarified world of early-20th-century upper-crust England. Bertie is kind-hearted and a soft touch, and, well, not exactly street smart. When Bertie's Aunt Agatha "the nephew-crusher" decides he must be groomed to be a proper prospective husband for a proper well-off young lady, Bertie snaps, "I don't want to be molded, I'm not a jelly!" Auntie: "That's a matter of opinion. Dear." Happily, Jeeves is there to anticipate the worst of Bertie's mishaps usually involving alcohol and to find creative ways to bail him out. Fry is deadpan and delightful playing Jeeves, and Laurie is a revelation to any comedy fan who's only experienced him as House. The Wodehouse dialogue is preserved in all its exquisite tossed-away glory. Bertie's short chat with a barkeep doing renovations contains this small gem, from the musing pubman: "Well, they can't abide mooses, the committee can't." It's all about softening that stiff upper lip--and in this, Jeeves & Wooster succeeds brilliantly.--A.T. Hurley