Keeping Up Appearances

There are few sitcoms I can watch over and over–I could list the series on one hand if pressed (Seinfeld, Strangers With CandyKath & Kim: The short-lived American version, The Comeback, Three’s Company). Okay, maybe I’m fibbing…I’ve already thought of a few more that I can watch to infinity (Daria, 227, Facts of Life, Peep Show, Are You Being Served, Mama’s Family, Party Down, Soap).  Wow, that’s more than two hands’ worth! My point being thus disproved, I do have one sitcom that I gravitate towards time and time again: Keeping Up Appearances, which ran on BBC from 1990-95. Like most Americans, I first discovered this Britcom on PBS’ Saturday night block of British imports. Over the years, I thought sure I’d seen every episode. Then the show began streaming on Netflix, and I purposely rewatched every ep on there. Alas, not even Netflix had every single episode. I’ve discovered a YouTube channel that seems to have all of them; in fact, I watched one yesterday that I’d never seen before. Here’s the link to the channel, though be advised the episodes might be yanked at any time due to YouTube following copyright laws: Watch here!

For many years before I started this blogging endeavour, I pondered why KUA struck such a chord with me. I knew I relished watching the show at 8PM on Saturday evenings on PBS; in fact, if I was off work that night, I’d base my whole evening around it (lame, but true). There’s something very comforting about the show to me, which stars the great Patricia Routledge as Hyacinth Bucket (pronounced “Bouquet” by Hyacinth) and co-stars Clive Swift as her long-suffering husband Richard. As I got older, I realized slowly but surely why the show held such appeal for me: I, like dear Hyacinth, try my best to keep up appearances. Being a sitcom, the situations she gets herself into are admittedly over-exaggerated. But she wants ever-so-much to be accepted by the upper-class, even though she and Richard are solidly middle-class. To be frank, this is one of the few sitcoms where the running gag never gets old: Hyacinth throwing a yacht party on a tiny boat, Hyacinth conning Richard into buying a timeshare in an old country manor (the timeshare being in the tippy-top, attic-like portion of the manor house), Hyacinth visiting an estate sale and only being able to afford the late homeowner’s strangely pungent homemade gooseberry wine. It’s all very ME! I suppose–no, I know–that explains the very title of this Web site/blog…with that being said, social aspiration never killed anyone.

KUA cast

I would write more, but this classic Britcom should be viewed to properly appreciate it. Pick any episode from the link above, brew some tea, sit back with a plate of biscuits, and enjoy.

brt

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