February 12, 2009

I say, bit of a pickle, this, what?

The Code of the Woosters The Code of the Woosters by P.G. Wodehouse

rating: 5 of 5 stars

I've never read Wodehouse before, but enjoyed the Fry / Laurie 'Jeeves and Wooster' series. I can see why so many people count it a favorite. From this exchange on the first page, I knew I'd enjoy it:

"We are in Autumn. A season of mists and mellow fruitfulness."
"A season of what?"
"Mists, sir, and mellow fruitfulness."

The hilarious thing in reading these stories eighty years after they were written is that you can see how they've entered the minds of other writers. All the references Bertie makes, the weaving in and out of French phrases and peculiar anecdotes--it's like watching an episode of I Love Lucy. It's a familiar gag, but seeing it when the comedy was fresh, when nobody had ever made the joke before, is something spectacular. I'll have to catch Wodehouse playhouse on PBS the next time it comes round.

2 comments:

Uncle John said...

Longtime Wodehouse fan here, but only the Jeeves and Wooster ones. (Quelle surprise, I know.) Alas, after you read a dozen or so they all seem to run together. But they are great trifles of entertainment, in the same way that cotton candy is a pure way to get a sugar rush.

Sarah Beedoo said...

Well said. The jokes get the funny from the atmos (hee) and after two or three of them I wouldn't be able to tell them apart, either. Like a Whitman's sampler, the humor's easy, reasonably cheap, and you know exactly what you're getting. It's dependable, but that's not a bad thing.