Thursday, June 23, 2011

When a good show goes bad

A while back, I recommended the Jeeves & Wooster television series. At the time I wrote that blog entry, I was well into the first season of the show and utterly charmed.

I'm now one episode from the end of the four-season run, and I find I must qualify my earlier recommendation: Watch the first two seasons of this show, then consider stopping. Some good bits do await you in the third and fourth seasons, but the quality level decreases so much that I can't recommend investing time or money in them.

The third season's weak moments almost entirely center on the duo's time in New York, an ill-advised move (if only a virtual one) out of England. The shows after they return to England are better, though not up to those of the first two seasons.

In the fourth season, you can almost see the Fonz on his surfboard jumping the shark as Jeeves and Wooster dive off a cruise liner, only to reappear with long, straggly beards and a spear. The next episode puts them both in drag, though at different times. And so it goes, the humor running downhill from clever to cheap, the episodes gaining in similarity as they lose in wit and entertainment.

Watch these latter seasons only if a few good bits of dialog are adequate recompense for an hour of your time.

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