Saturday, April 02, 2005

Keeping Up Appearances I

Of late the gang at the lake has been focused on the British sitcom “Keeping Up Appearances.” In KUA, Hyacinth Bucket [pronounced “Bouquet”] is determined to overcome her lower class beginnings by being as arrogant as she can. Her husband Richard takes it and takes it from her. He dishes it back quietly. Hyacinth lives in a world of her own. She is totally oblivious to the fact that every one knows she is a tactless bore. In one episode, they stand on the streets in relief as she leaves for the country. She thinks they are appreciating her and she wonders how they will all get along without her; but they are all ready to sing and dance.

Richard puts up with it all. He is a model of love. She is packed with flaws, but he quietly persists; occasionally given the recognition granted a long-suffering prisoner of war by others. They all seem to think he needs a vacation by himself.

Richard also is a slight passive-aggressive. In every episode, he flips tiny digs at Hyacinth. She is so much of a non-listener that she never hears or sense them. Every one expects Richard to break at some point. He does only once that I can find. Hyacinth is rudely pushing herself ahead of line at a phone booth—asserting her right to use the phone first outside of normal politeness—and Richard yells at her to get back in the car. She is shocked. What has taken place escapes her. Richard is wrong and she is right. It could not be otherwise.

In the end all of her exploits to raise her status in society fail. The fail because she over estimates herself. They fail because she fails to note that the people she admires (any one royal or rcih) are either snooty like her or most often nice people who prefer the people she most degrades as beneath herself.

The gang has undertaken a count of the number of times Richard gets a dig in. The record seems to be seven in one episode. The count may change because every time you watch more details emerge. For now the “Iron Age Remains” episode is on top. The gang watches as often as twice a day in their pursuit of an accurate count.

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