Keeping Up Appearances (1990–1995)
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Patricia Routledge can't be more perfect as Hyacinth Bucket, the charming and altogether frightening definition of an English lady, despite her mediocre financial status. The series follows her incessant efforts to make a name for herself as a social elite, inviting neighbors and important townsfolk over for "candlelight suppers," among other social events she so daftly names. Of course, the whole Hyacinth image wouldn't be nearly as funny unless the hysterical supporting cast weren't there to ground Mrs. Bucket (pronounced "Bouquet") in her place. Her working class sisters, the hussy Rose and the meek Daisy are perfect as Hyacinth's inescapable link to mediocrity. The image is complete with Daisy's slob of a husband Onslo, who dispenses his frank advice with racous results. Rounding up the innocent bystanders of Hyacinth's misadventures are her nervous neighbor Elizabeth and her brother Emmitt, but most of all Hyacinth's whipped yet sardonic husband, Richard, whom you can't help but pity and root for at the same time.
This is a British comedy to end all comedies. The chances for conflict between Hyacinth's goal as a social mistress and her bourgeois reality are infinite, and the laugh track doesn't lie when Hyacinth is caught between a rock and a hard place - more often literally than figuratively. If you aren't a fan of Brit comedy, you may only be able to stomach a few episodes before the formula seems to wear. However, a true social connoiseur of such a series would scoff at the idea. :-)
Everyone is fantastic for their roles, especially Patricia Routledge as Hyacinth Bouquet. It is a shame that the show is no longer in production but nonetheless I enjoy watching the reruns over and over again and I am planning on purchasing KUA on DVD.
This is a awesome show from the UK and, the best imported show we here in the US have ever been graced with. If you love laughing till your sides hurt this is the show you must have.
I remember watching it years ago when it was first on BBC1, and thinking it was SOOO funny! Now it's back on UK Gold, and I can't help but watch it every time it's on.
Patrcia Routledge as Hyacinth is fantastic! The casting and acting are perfect. OK, as some people have pointed out, there are so many running jokes - but that is what is all part of what makes this show great!
Hyacinth's candlelight suppers, her answering the phone "the Bucket residence, the lady of the house speaking!", Elizabth constantly spilling her coffee, always trying to resist her daily order from Hyacinth for morning coffee, Emmett and "she'll sing at me", Onslow "Oh Nice", Vilot - "It's MA Sister Violet, "Daddy!", the vicar, Rose and Mr. whoever, and throughout all this poor old Richard, lol.
And one of the best and most famous Hyacinth lines - "Sauna, Swimming Pool and room for a pony!!!!"
It is a true proper British comedy, and is up there with the likes of that other great 90's BBC sitcom - One Foot in the Grave. And also the likes of To The Manor Born, The Good Life, and Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em.
Everybody you talk to always raises a smile when you mention "the Bucket woman"!
Only the other day I watched an episode when Hyacinth wanted to test drive a new Rolls Royce so she could get one-up on another one of her posh local rivals - Lydia Hawsworth, whom had just overtaken them in her brand new Jag.
She made Richard drive it out of the garage without the salesman's permission, and take it to this posh hotel deliberately, as she knew this was where this woman had afternoon tea. Of course Rose, Daisy and Onslow turn up as usual, so they have to get out of there before she bumps into them - how embarrassing! lol. When they get into her "getaway car" as she callas it to Richard, the police turn up and arrest them outside the hotel! And then just at that point who turns up but Lydia Hawksworth!
This is just an example of how great this show is!
Quite frankly, I really don't understand how anybody could NOT like it!
If they don't, then I actually feel slightly sorry for them - as they are missing out on so much enjoyment!
Oh...and contrary to what somebody has said - in my opinion it is just about the closest thing to perfection that a sitcom can get!
5 seasons 5 years of pure comedy the best of britain...
Hyacinth Bucket (Pronounced Bou-kay) is a middle class snob who lives with her long suffering husband Richard. Patricia Routledge is perfectly cast as Hyacinth and really makes the part her own, her facial expressions are hilarious, especially when she blinks her eyes erratically when something catastrophic has happened (Mainly her brother in law Onslow in a dirty vest) and she loves to sing.
The supporting cast are crucial to make Hyacinth appear even worse, she annoys them like mad but they can't tell her how they feel, she never listens. sister Daisy and bro in law Onslow are the opposite of Hyacinth, slobby and lazy and her sister Rose in her hotpants loves all the men in the area.
Elizabeth and her brother Emmet are the terrified next door neighbours, Elizabeth can't be in Hyacinth's company without breaking the bone china and Emmet will do anything to avoid Mrs. Bou-kay.
As he puts it:
"She'll sing at me"
I also like the local vicar (The one Hyacinth dies to impress) he calls her the bucket woman!
This programme is a simple idea that works, it doesn't give us weeks of wonderful, trivial plot lines, it's pretty much the same; Hyacinth tries to impress someone important but her plans ate thwarted by her Daddy or Daisy or Onslow, but this is why it's funny. People are the same as they were last week and the more we watch the character's eccentricities the more we grow to love them. it's great to see how Hyacinth will react in the situations she's placed in.
Overall it never lost its spark and even though it finished a while back it still brings a smile to my face.
The series also have a 'happy atmosphere' around them. From the first minute, when you see Hyacinth appear dusting her books, it almost makes you laugh immediately. She can say 'The Bouquet Residence, Lady of the house speaking' 1000 times, it still makes you laugh. And apart from those many catch phrases and some predictable stories it feels so 'real'. They drink real coffee, when she cleans her thee pot it is actually filled with real hot water, ... I bet thousands of people have such a neighbor like Hyacinth.
This is the only good comedy of the '90, absolutely. Brilliant television filled with all sorts of comedy: dry, subtle, physical,... They can make as many sitcoms as they want, not any will ever come near 'Keeping Up Appearances'. Congratulations to Roy Clarke, Patricia Routledge, Clive Swift and the rest of the cast & crew who made this a wonderful series.
"This is not the Chinese restaurant. This is a residential number and you are speaking to the lady of the house on a white, slim line telephone with last number redial facility!" BRILLIANT! I LOVE KEEPING UP APPEARANCES!
Supporting cast includes faithful (and long suffering) husband Richard, 3 sisters (of various social standings and emotional stability) and their husbands/gentleman-friends, ever-nervous next-door neighbors Elizabeth (whose husband is permanently on business trips) and her brother Emmett (who is happily divorced, now concentrating on his work as small-time music director at local functions). The sister's "Daddy" makes occasional appearances as dementia-ridden old man who is known for his flair to suddenly disappear. The oft-discussed and frequently telephoning "Sheridan" (Hyacinth's pride and joy son who is off at University studying needle-work and related arts and crafts and enjoys asking for regular hand-outs from his Mummy and Daddy) is actually never seen, assuring that any actual person would be a disappointment after hearing all of the colorful stories about "My Sheridan".
This is Brit-Coms at their very best! The laughs never stop long enough to catch your breath completely. This is the "I Love Lucy" of BBC's sit-com vault! There is no chance that anyone would not be absolutely thrilled with this collection of humorous situations. A five-star DVD set - highly recommended!
Hyacinth Bucket ("that's Bouquet . . . B-U-C-K-E-T") is a woman possessed. She'll stop at nothing to propel herself up the social ladder. She'll spend the weekend in a country cottage that isn't big enough to turn around in if it makes her look a bit more upwardly mobile. What with the unseen Sheridan constantly on the phone for more money that his father can't afford to give him or bothering Elizabeth next door to join her for coffee in ten minutes, Hyacinth certainly has her life worked out. And everyone else's, for that matter.
What I particularly like is everything that holds Hyacinth back. Her sister Violet has a swimming pool, sauna and room for a pony (I've seen Keeping Up Appearances so many times I can rattle that one off without thinking) and a cross-dressing husband named Bruce. Her other sister Rose is possibly two steps away from being a prostitute - she's always got at least three men on the go and doesn't know what to do with any of them - and lives in what Hyacinth would consider squalor with the fourth sister, Daisy, and Daisy's carefree slob of a husband Onslow. I always love it when Daisy tries to get a bit romantic with Onslow and he just thinks she's mad.
At least Violet and Bruce, and Daisy and Rose and Onslow have the compensation of living far away from Hyacinth. Poor Elizabeth next door has had her nerves shattered by Hyacinth's glass-shattering voice (which has often led poor Liz to shatter several dozen pieces of Hyacinth's crockery) and her brother Emmet vents his frustration out on his piano. One wonderful scene when Hyacinth volunteers to help at the church hall sees Richard, Onslow, Emmet and Michael the Vicar hiding in the basement in the dark as they try to fix the electrics. Everyone needs a place to hide from Hyacinth.
Patricia Routledge is a marvellous clown and was made for the role of Hyyacynth Bucket, Clive Swift was excellent as Richard and Daisy, Onslow and Rose well couldn't get better.
Keeping up Appearances is one of the very best sitcoms of the 90's and should be on television every week without fail along with the fabulous Roy Clarke's Last of the summer Wine.
Essentially the show is about a woman named Hyacinth who is like Patrick Bateman from "American Psycho" on a less psychopathic scale - all she worries about are the material things: social status, clothing, items, upkeep of her home, etc.
Her husband Richard (Clive Swift) puts up with all her belittlement. Swift is one of the great comedians of the 1990s for providing the performances he did in this show; he compliments it so nicely.
Routledge, known to the UK public as a drama actress, managed to provide her audience with comedy in 1990 and the result was an instant classic. Her role, Hyacinth Bucket ("Bouquet!"), shall never be forgotten.
It's also worth mentioning Jeoffrey Hughes as Hyacinth's brother-in-law, who plays a lovable slob whom Hyacinth hates.
This show will make you laugh and care for the characters. Highly recommended.
Yes, it's the same jokes over and over again. But that's part of the magic that worked for the Marx Brothers.
Hyacinth's adored son, Sheridan, was never seen on screen, but it was established that the lad was very much his mother's son! Why did long-suffering husband Richard and neighbours Liz and Emmett put up with Hyacinth? Wherever she went, she caused chaos in her endless pursuit of a refined and elegant existence.
This is the most English of comedies: on the island of Britain, no nation takes class more seriously than England - and this series also demonstrates the wonderful ability of the English to laugh at their own peculiarities.
A wonderful series - and one of the last truly great English sitcoms.
Keeping Up Appearances is truly delightfully written. With a talented cast; each episode unfolds into another problem for Hyacinth and her family. Her estranged son Sheriden, who never appears on screen is her true treasure. She is so proud of him and his achievements but is forever missing the signs that he is doing a drama and arts course and living with another man. Hilarious! Hyacinth's ever so hard efforts to climb the social ladder are so funny. Each and every episode she is trying to better herself and her long-loving and long-suffering husband, Richard.
The essence of the programme is how different from Hyacinth her two sisters are. Rose and Daisy, from the nearby council estate give Hyacinth nothing but grief and embarrassment! From their old Ford Cortina parked on the driveway on bricks, with a dog on the back seat to Rose's new man, Hyacinth is forever worried about what the upper classes will think of her.
Excellent script writing makes the on-screen chemistry between Hyacinth and her family truly remarkable. I love the true British style to this comedy drama. There's a Hyacinth in every village and that's what makes it so funny to watch.
An outstanding programme, with good and very good acting throughout. Well done to all those associated with Keeping Up Appearance.