Keeping Up Appearances (Season 5) DVD Review - www.impulsegamer.com -

Feature 9.0
Video 8.0
Audio 8.5
Special Features 7.5
Total 8.2
Distributor: Roadshow
Running Time:
374 minutes
Classification:
 PG
Reviewer:
Felix Staica

8.2


Keeping Up Appearances (Season 5)

“Bouquet residence—the lady of the house speaking!” Ah, the eternally repeated catchphrase of Hyacinth Bucket answering her “white slimline telephone”. Patricia Routledge dominates this ironic British comedy about the ultimate ‘aspirational voter’ who treasures the Queen, her Royal Doultan “with the hand-painted periwinkles” is irrepressibly funny in my opinion. The endless situations in which she, her husband, her family and her unfortunate neighbours and even the vicar find themselves are gems of comedy. 

Rather than describe such situations in even one episode, let alone the whole fifth (and final) season, I want to sketch for you what I find to appealing and endearing about Keeping up Appearance. Writer Roy Clarke and director Harold Snoad have created the suburban nightmare from the suburban dream. There are four florally named sisters: Hyacinth (Routledge) who has probably ingested well over half of all the etiquette books ever published (but only in English!); Daisy (Judy Cornwell) whose grey hair is always in pigtails and who is unkempt but endearing—she yearns for her slovenly husband Onslow’s (Geoffrey Hughes) sexual attention but he doesn’t want to be treated “as a sex object” and prefers to read a thick book on Condensed Matter Physical; Rose (Mary Millar) who thinks virtually any man (including the vicar) is “dishy” and wears skirts so short she’d put Nanny Fine to shame; finally there’s Violet, only an occasional character whose husband Bruce is a wealthy bookie and so has a Mercedes, a sauna and room for a pony. 

An off-screen character which almost rival’s Frasier’s Meris (but not quite) is Hyancinth’s beloved son Sheridan who lives with a male flatmate: they sew their own curtains. The deliciousness comes from her delirious ignorance of his flamboyant homosexuality. 

Like most good Britcoms, this show’s greatest strength is in the writing. The witty use of language and the crazy lampooning of manners by showing their extreme manifestation can only be enjoyable. I wouldn’t recommend the whole series for the uninitiated though. It takes some getting used to. But once you’re in the ‘Bucket zone’, you’ll find it hard to leave. 

The audio and video are quite good and there are even some extras, such as out-takes and a talkshow interview, plus a weird retrospective episode of some of the funnier scenes all put together using the device of Hyacinth’s diary. 

Felix Staica






 
 



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