Sunday, February 17, 2013

Blandings - too bland for Wodehouse

Blandings - a good job the Beeb said the series is 'based on' P G Wodehouse's stories. The originals are much better and far, far funnier. As a Sunday evening sub-Downton offering Timothy Spall and Jennifer Saunders have been mildly amusing, but after I got a couple of 'Plumb' Wodehouse's books from the library (we still have them in Calderdale - and damn good they are too), I realised the written version is much better than the screen performance. For a start, Wodehouse carefully crafts his humour and lets the reader in - slowly - to the unfolding action. What is a short piece of virtual slapstick to Spall's Lord Emsworth is a verbal delight on the page - and laugh out loud funny when he reaches the squishy punchline. The hero - in Blandings it would be Lord Emsworth - is just a liable as the villain to end up looking ridiculous, and even the most inconsequential of plotlines is made to feel like the stuff of major importance as Wodehouse's elegant prose leads you into the action. Turn off the TV - read the books. Aside from the Jeeves and Wooster series, I particularly recommend Blandings Castle and A Few Quick Ones (ten short and very funny stories).