Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Eros of Jeeves

Whew, my blog posts have been heavy lately. It's time for something lighter. It's time for a series of posts about things that are unexpectedly arousing.

Such as Jeeves and Wooster, a British comedy that aired on TV (or, as the British would call it, "telly") from 1990 to 1993. Jeeves, the ultimate valet, is played by Stephen Fry, and his goofy employer/charge is played by Hugh Laurie. They make quite a contrast. Those who are familiar with Laurie from the medical drama House might be surprised to see him in a Jeeves and Wooster episode, with his goofy facial expressions, randomly poking-out hair and popping eyeballs. (And of course his British accent. Laurie fakes an American accent so perfectly that many House viewers don't even know he's British.) In contrast, Fry as Jeeves is forever smooth, unruffled and as calm as the surface of a lake on a windless day.

When the two of them are on the screen together, it's Jeeves that I look at, even though Wooster is the funnier one. I like his oval face, so much more appealing than Wooster's skinny, twisted-up one. I love to watch him going about his duties in Wooster's house. I want Jeeves to come to my house and wait on me, the way he does on Wooster. I want him to serve me tea, to iron my shirts and turn down my bedsheets, smoothing the fabric down in that careful, sensual way he has. Watching Jeeves at work gets me all tingly.

Yes, I know that Stephen Fry is gay. So what? When you have a fantasy that would never, ever come true in your lifetime, because it is about some famous person you are never going to meet, why should their sexual orientation be relevant? I know it matters to some people. A guy I used to know once who told me that his wife took down her Keanu Reeves poster after she heard that he was gay. Isn't that silly? A better reason would be that he lost too much weight, and looks like a junkie. No, Fry can be as gay as he wants as far as I'm concerned.

Actually, his gayness fits nicely into the Jeeves and Wooster storyline. Here's an interesting fact: fag, which in my country means a male homosexual, in Britain means "a schoolboy forced to do menial work for another, usually older boy" (source: The Chambers Dictionary). Jeeves is a sort of grown-up fag, doing menial work for Wooster. But don't think that Jeeves is a submissive servant. Anyone who has seen the TV episodes, or read the original stories by P.G. Wodehouse, knows that Jeeves is the one in charge. Many of the episodes/stories start with Wooster acquiring an article of clothing that Jeeves, with his superior, faggy fashion sense, finds objectionable, be it a hat, vest or overly-flashy pair of socks. At first, Wooster refuses to part from the item, but by the end of the episode/story, overwhelmed with gratitude for the way Jeeves has masterfully solved all his problems, he tells Jeeves he may dispose of the item, at which point Jeeves admits that he already did. Jeeves rules Wooster with a hand in a velvet glove. Not necessarily an iron hand. More of a soft, gentle hand, one that I imagine would touch the objects of its affection with the same gentleness that it demonstrates with shirts, sheets and cups of tea.

Of Interest

Now that Hugh Laurie is playing a mean doctor instead of a rich fop, people think he's sexy too. You can see the evidence on You Tube, in the form of clips from House set to the tune of "Sexyback" by Justin Timberlake. There are a whole bunch like this.

If you enjoyed the TV series, and don't mind books, you really must read the P.G. Wodehouse stories upon which the show was based. You can find them in The World of Jeeves: A Jeeves and Wooster Omnibus. If you don't want to buy it, there's probably a copy at your local library.

If you've never seen the TV series and would like to, the complete Jeeves & Wooster series is available on DVD.

Coming up next: can a movie with Muppets in it be sexy? Apparently so.


James said...

Dude, I didn't realise Keanu Reeves was gay! I don't have a poster of him, but wouldn't take it down if I did. I remember seeing Stephen Fry on Tottenham Courd Road one time in the early 1990s, looking stubbly and even taller than he looks on "telly".

Vivian said...

I should probably clarify: I don't know Keanu Reeves's sexual orientation. This woman heard that he was gay, and chose to believe it. I just did a Google search and it looks like there have long been rumours that he's gay. That doesn't mean it's true. There was even a rumour that he married Alan Cummings (whoever that is). That wasn't true. It looks like Reeves himself has been vague on the question. I've found a web page that gathers together the things he's said on the subject (sometimes amusingly incoherent). Go to and look near the bottom.

Cool, celebrity sighting! Did you say hello? You probably didn't. I usually don't. I don't want to bug them. Once I talked to Josh Freed (famous in Montreal), but he actually talked to me first! That was kind of exciting. Once I spotted Axl Rose in MacDonald's, but I didn't do anything about it.

hello. said...

You SAW Stephen Fry? Woah. You are so lucky- he's a national treasure!
Those fan videos which are set to music crack me up XD Some of them are probably the funniest videos on the internet!
You might be delighted to hear that there's a few Fry ones-
And as always, I found them hilarious, but the one that I've just given you the URL for is the funniest. :D

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