Series: Jeeves and Wooster
Wooster: Why is it, do you think, Jeeves, that the thought of the "little thing" my Aunt Dahlia wants me to do for her fills me with a nameless foreboding?
Jeeves: Experience, sir?A TV Series starring Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie and based on the short stories and novels of P. G. Wodehouse, Jeeves and Wooster is set sometime between the wars and focuses on Bertie Wooster, an affable but not overly bright young chap with an unfortunate tendency to get accidentally engaged to every woman he so much as looks at, while his valet (not butler), Jeeves, is the brains of the operation, suggesting the various schemes that help Bertie and his friends get out of trouble. Well sometimes. Sometimes, he gives them what they need, not what they want.The plots tend to be quite similar - a friend of Bertie's is in love but they lack the courage to propose/their family doesn't approve of the match/they've forgotten the girl's name and address, and they require Bertie to propose in their stead/pretend to be engaged to their fiancée/pose as a burglar to make them look heroic when they foil him; this will go wrong and Bertie will get unwillingly engaged to someone, or be caught stealing something, or both. At the last minute everything will turn out all right and Jeeves will explain how he solved everything. Grateful at being saved from the altar or prison (or both) once again, Bertie will give permission for Jeeves to book the cruise he's been angling for, or destroy the hat of Bertie's he dislikes; inevitably, Jeeves has already done so.
- Abhorrent Admirer: Honoria Glossop, Florence Craye, and Madeleine Bassett. Rare examples where the primary problems are with their personalities, and not their appearances.
- With Honoria Glossop it is more the case of No Guy Wants an Amazon, which is a special case of Bertie who is mortally afraid of strong-willed women mainly due to bad experiences with his aunts.
- Accidental Dance Craze: On one occasion, when Gussie and Bertie are in the Drones Club discussing Gussie's difficulty confessing his love to Madeline Bassett, Gussie complains to Bertie that male newts have it much easier, as they profess attraction by performing a simple body-shaking movement — which he demonstrates, inspiring two nearby Drones to invent a new dance which nearly everyone in the room is doing by the time Gussie and Bertie leave.
- Accidental Engagement: Throughout the series, often to the same women (Honoria, Madeline, and Florence) two or three times, though in the final episode Bertie outdoes himself when he ends up accidentally engaged to two women simultaneously.
- Adaptation Dye-Job: During the first season, the blonde Madeline Bassett was portrayed by a brunette. Both actresses who were cast as the platinum blonde Florence Craye were also brunettes. Finally, the hair of the actress who portrayed Bobbie Wickham during the first season could hardly be described as a vivid shade of red (or any shade of red unless you squinted really hard).
- Aesop Amnesia: In several of the stories Bertie tries to fix things on his own, invariably making them ten times worse, and realising that the only one who can get him out of this mess is Jeeves. He often seems to have forgotten this lesson by the beginning of the next story. However, there was also at least one time when Bertie remembered the aesop, but decided to ignore it in order to prove he didn't need Jeeves. He did
- Affectionate Gesture to the Head: In the very first episode, Bingo does this to Oliver Glossop (the boy he's tutoring) during dinner, dismissing something the boy just said.
- Ambiguously Jewish: New York theater owner Blumenfeld and his son
- Animated Credits Opening: Watch it here.
- Apron Matron: Aunt Dahlia
- Arc Words: More like Episode Words: "Eulalie" and "Celia."
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Roderick Spode enters the show with this
"Our policies are clear, our policies are just, our policies are fully laid out in my book, Whither England?, priced 3 and sixpence from all good booksellers.
- Introducing his manifesto to 'rebuild Britain':
"One, the right – nay the duty – of every free born Englishman to grow his own potatoes. Two, an immediate ban on the import of foreign root vegetables into the United Kingdom. And three, the compulsory scientific measurement of all adult male knees."
- Reading out the 'policies' of the manifesto:
- At the Opera Tonight: In one episode a group of young men, including Wooster, attend an opera and fall asleep.
- Attractive Bent-Gender: In the last season, Jeeves has to dress as a female novelist. Bertie finds his feminine appearance rather amusing, but Stilton Cheesewright finds him more attractive than his ex-fiancée. (Just to remind you, Jeeves is played by Stephen Fry, who is nearly six-and-a-half feet tall, and does not have what you would call a traditionally feminine build.)Aunt Dahlia: What do you mean, Cheesewright's taken a fancy to her? She's Jeeves!
- Batman Gambit: Jeeves is the master of the Gambit, based on what he calls "the psychology of the individual."
- Beach Bury: In the episode where Bertie is staying by the seaside and his aunt's necklace gets stolen, there's a scene that opens with Bertie already buried, which hampers his ability to run away from the girl of the week when she shows up. One can only assume that he asked Jeeves to bury him.
- Because I'm Jonesy: In season 1 episode 5, "Brinkley Manor," Jeeves is away and Bertie is forced to take care of himself. While he is struggling to make tea, Barmy Fotheringay-Phipps arrives for a visit. When the phone rings, Bertie asks Barmy to answer it and pretend he is Jeeves.Barmy: Mr. Wooster's residence. [pause] Where is Mr. Wooster? He's not at home, sir. I'm Jeeves. [pause] What do you mean 'you think not?' [pause] Oh! [He hangs up.]
Bertie: Who was it?
- Used later on a Brick Joke. In an earlier episode, Bertie had pretended to be a writer of romance novels under the pseudonym "Rosie M. Banks" in order to help one of his friends convince his uncle to approve of an engagement to a woman of lower social station. It doesn't work the first time, but in the fourth season, when his friend has fallen for another woman of lower social station, it proves to be helpful and after some initial reluctance the uncle is willing to support the marriage. That is, until it's revealed that the woman Bertie's friend married actually IS Rosie M. Banks, and she's quite indignant that someone has been impersonating her, and insulted that the uncle doesn't believe her.
- Bedsheet Ladder: Subverted. Gussie wanted to use Bertie's sheet to escape. Bertie refused to let him, as much because it wouldn't work as because he didn't want his sheets dirty and knotted.
- Berserk Button:
- Don't mess with Gussie's newts
- Don't try to get rude with or cheat on Madeline unless you're sure Spode will not find out.
- Big Eater: Tuppy Glossop
- Big "NO!": Sir Watkyn Bassett, upon learning of Bertie and Madeleine's "engagement".
- Blackmail Is Such an Ugly Word: Set up and then averted in "A Plan for Gussie", when Bertie is trying to retrieve Gussie's notebook (which is full of hateful observations on Roderick Spode and Sir Watkyn Bassett) from Stephanie. Stephanie won't give the notebook back unless Bertie gets Jeeves to try and convince Sir Watkyn to allow Stephanie and Pinker to marry.Bertie: Stiffy...are you trying to blackmail me?*beat*Stephanie: Yes.
- Blatant Lies: Very much Jeeves' modus operandi, although other characters occasionally engage in it as well in an emergency, such as when Bertie locks Lord Chiswick in a room to prevent Ms. Rockmetteller from meeting him:note
- Occasionally subverted for comic effect when Jeeves DOESN'T lie even when he has suggested the subterfuge, although normally for the greater good, but still with hilarious consequences.
- On this occasion Bertie (at Jeeves' suggestion) attempts to cover for Wilmot's short stay in prison by telling his overbearing mother that he is in Boston
- Occasionally subverted for comic effect when Jeeves DOESN'T lie even when he has suggested the subterfuge, although normally for the greater good, but still with hilarious consequences.
- Blue and Orange Morality: Jeeves doesn't give a fig if Bertie gambles, drinks too much, or commits burglary. In fact he actively helps Bertie blackmail Roderick Spode for the return of Gussie's notebook. Although he refuses to actually tell Bertie what the secret he has discovered is, he happily equips him with the word 'Eulalie' to do with as he sees fit. But he will countenance no fiancées, mustaches, monogrammed handkerchiefs, 'American hats' or white dinner jackets.
- He is driven to weeping upon hearing that Bertie's friend Rocky "dresses" by throwing on a sweater over his pyjamas at 5 in the afternoon.
- There's also the Code of the Woosters, which means that Bertie can never do something so unchivalrous as break an engagement. He can, however, get the girl to break it off through lying to her and her family, stealing, blackmailing, and ruining other people's relationships so the girl will go back to her ex.
- Brawn Hilda: Honoria Glossop
- Buffy Speak: Bertie is especially prone to this.
- Butt Monkey: Bertie is this to practically everyone (including his valet! Then again...)
- Can Not Spit It Out: All Gussie needs to do to get the woman he loves is to confess his feelings - he already knows she feels the same way. But when it comes to the moment he loses nerve and launches into a 30-minute lecture on the care and habits of newts.
- Captain Obvious: Bertie. "Also, ribbon-like seaweed... which is seawead that sort of looks like... ribbon."
Aunt Dahlia: Have you heard of Market Snodsbury Grammar School?
- And this exchange:
Aunt Dahlia: It's a grammar school. In Market Snodsbury.
- The Cast Show Off: Laurie was fond of playing the piano and singing 1920s and '30s songs.
- All of those old show tunes that seem so aloof nowadays next to modern songs? NOTHING makes you realize how constant the silliness of pop music has been like listening to Bertie Wooster sing them to his valet.
- Catapult Nightmare: In "Return to New York", Bertie experiences this after spending an unwanted night on the town with Claude and Eustace. Accompanied by yelling of "NO NO I DON'T WANT ANY MORE CHAMPAGNE!"
- Character Development: Sir Roderick Glossop mellows out over the second season, in sort of a small-scale Heel-Face Turn.
- Otherwise mostly averted.
- Character Name Alias: When Bertie and his friends get arrested.Judge: These are serious charges. But I'm inclined to believe that you, Alfred Trotsky, and you, Frederick Aloisius Lenin, were led astray. You are discharged. But as for the rest of you: Boko Disraeli, Oofy Lloyd George, Barmy, Lord Tennyson, and the rest — not only have you been guilty of a breach of the peace of considerable magnitude, I also strongly suspect that you have given false names and addresses! You are each fined the sum of five pounds.
Bertie: I say!
Judge: Quiet, Dr. Crippen!
- Chick Magnet: Bertie manages to attract a large number of women. Then again, he's rich, not too hard on the eyes and quite a pleasant person.
Waitress: (to Jeeves) Say, you're pretty cute, you know that?
- Jeeves too
Jeeves: Thank you. So I have been informed.
Waitress: (Giggling) You really slay me.
Bertie: Jeeves, you seem to have a fatal fascination with the women in this country.
Jeeves: Yes, it is a problem, sir.
Bertie: No chance of your switching it off, or something, I suppose?
Jeeves: I regret not, sir. I have to learn to bear it.
Bertie: As do the rest of us, Jeeves.
- Compromising Memoirs: Sir Watkin's memoirs become the centre of a truly awesome farce.
- Cool Old Lady: Aunt Dahlia
- Critical Research Failure: One is committed by Tuppy: he has a scheme to sell the Spritz Polecat, an American automobile, to his fellow fops, but he fails to take into account that people in the United States drive on the right side of the road, and the automobile maker won't even consider making a model for left-side driving unless he'd be selling a thousand cars a week.
- Cut His Heart Out with a Spoon: Over the course of one episode, Stilton Cheesewright threatens to break Bertie's "rotten spine in [three, four, five, SIX] places!".
- Dark Secret: Jeeves reveals British fascist leader Sir Roderick Spode's terrible secret to Bertie: Spode owns a ladies' fashion boutique. Should this become widely known it would ruin his reputation.Bertie: You can't be a successful Dictator and design womens' underclothing. One or the other. Not both.
- * I Have Your Wife: Roderick Spode, in the final episode, chooses to renounce his title of the Earl of Sidcup, to contest election to the House of Commons. He is, however, convinced to take back his title after Jeeves reveals the secret of 'Celia'- a kangaroo he whisked away from Australia, which Jeeves brings before him.
- Dashingly Dapper Derby: Jeeves' hat of choice.
- Deadpan Snarker: Jeeves, Jeeves, Jeeves. Although he's quite reliant on the Stealth Insult.
- Dirty Commies: Bingo falls in love with a member of a Communist revolutionary group and delivers firey speeches about the bourgeoisie in a park under a fake beard so none of his bourgeois friends or relatives can recognize him. He invites himself and his new Communist friends over to Bertie's flat for tea, wherein both Bertie and Jeeves have to pretend to be Communists as well (not very sucessfully).
- Disguised in Drag: "The Delayed Arrival" has both Jeeves and Bertie briefly in drag; Jeeves disguised as an American author, and Bertie as a maid.
- The Ditz: Cyril 'Barmy' Fotheringay-Phipps"I don't think I've ever been to Kensington."
"[...]Yes, you have. Your mother lives in Kensington."
"Oh, that Kensington!"
- Bertie himself isn't overly gifted with intelligence, although compared to most of his social set he's a certified genius.
- Dramatic Sit-Down: Used for comedic effect in one episode, the normally unfazeable Jeeves has to stop and sit down on a convenient rock when a friend of Bertie's mentions that he often wears his pajamas well into the afternoon.
- Embarrassing First Name: Lord Chuffnell's first name is Marmaduke. His friends all know him as "Chuffy".
- Tuppy seems embarrassed when Bertie learns his real first name, Hildebrand.
- Likewise, in a late episode one Mr. Trotter avoids a knighthood for fear of being known as "Sir Lemuel". (This was likely based on Wodehouse's own fears of becoming known as "Sir Pelham".)
- Evil Matriarch: Aunt Agatha.Not so much "evil" as "constantly short-tempered and taking none of Bertie's shit," but the trope still stands
- Exact Words: when Stilton Cheesewright confronts Bertie about taking his fiancee to a "low nightclub," Bertie asks Jeeves for confirmation that he said he was going to bed with an improving book, leaving out that after he had said that Jeeves had informed him that Cheesewright's fianncee was indeed dragging him out to a low nightclub
- Extreme Doormat: Bertie will do any favor asked of him, no matter how dangerous or potentially embarrassing it might be. And when he does refuse, he's inevitably blackmailed by whoever is asking the favor. Notably, he agreed to try and steal a silver cow-creamer, a cheque for 50,000 dollars (although to destroy it, not cash it) and a manuscript, but has also been instrumental in making and breaking a large number of engagements and passing himself of as such disparate characters as a jute-salesman and Gussy Fink-Nottle, all at the behest of his various friends, most of whom are less able even than he.
- Expy: Jimmy Mundy, for evangelical preacher Billy Sunday
- Fanservice: The earlier episodes like showing Bertie in the bathtub a lot.
- Fascinating Eyebrow: Jeeves, constantly. Sir Roderick Glossop has these, too.
- Finale Credits: The last episode showed the title characters running from an angry mob during the end credits.
- Forgetful Jones: Charles Edward "Biffy" Biffen
- French Cuisine Is Haughty: Aunt Dahlia's French chef Anatole tends to be very temperamental and prone to threatening to quit whenever he feels like his work is not being appreciated.
- Full Name Ultimatum: The very first scene: "I find you guilty as charged, Bertram...Wilberforce...Wooster!"
- Funny Background Event: Arriving back from a tour across America, Bertie comes to his apartment wearing a cowboy hat, a very furry jacket, and a mustache. After he hands the hat to Jeeves, Jeeves can be seen handing the hat off to the doorman, who takes it and puts it on as he's leaving.
- Geek: Gussie Fink-Nottle (his particular geek-dom being newts)
- Genre Savvy: In addition to the quote at the top of this page, an early episode has Bertie's uncle getting engaged to a waitress and Aunt Agatha planning to pay the woman off. Bertie objects, pointing out that he's read lots of novels with this exact scenario, and in all of them the girl reacts with disgust and the objecting party ends up looking foolish. "What trash you do read, Bertie."
- Roderick Spode is frightened to bits when Bertie, then Jeeves, mentions the word Eulalie, when it was still a potent weapon. However, when Bertie, threatened by Spode, uses the second arc word Celia, Spode is initially frightened, but seconds later, asks Bertie what he knows about 'Celia', and finding Bertie knows nothing, proceeds to crush him.
- Genteel Interbellum Setting: The series is set in an idealized version of England at an indeterminate point between the World Wars, and largely picks and chooses on matters of detail — Bertie Wooster drives a mid-'30s car, for instance, but Prohibition is still alive and well when he visits the US. (Not to mention how the Twin Towers appear in the very first scene set in New York, despite the fact that they were built in the 1970s! The interior shots, however, do look consistently like pre-war New York buildings.)
- Gorgeous Period Dress: It makes a man wish that dinner jackets (tuxedos to Americans) were still de rigueur, even when dining alone in your own home.
- Gosh Dang It to Heck!: Played for laughs at one point where Bertie says "blasted" when talking to Aunt Agatha. A group of old ladies nearby react with horror and Aunt Agatha angrily tells Bertie to watch his language.
- Guile Hero: Jeeves
- Hanging Judge: "In Court After the Boat Race (or, Jeeves' Arrival)" features a magistrate who hands down a five-pound fine for stealing a policeman's helmet as if he were pronouncing a death sentence. Of course, in modern money, that's around £500.
- Heroic BSOD: Jeeves, twice, when Bertie's friend's fashion quirks really are that bad.
- In one instance (where Bertie's friend is talking about how he wears pyjamas all day until mid evening when he throws on a jumper) Bertie actually calls out "Don't listen, Jeeves!" aware of the profound impact this will have on his manservant.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: The title characters, despite the fact that one of them is played by Stephen Fry.
- Hidden Depths: Sir Watkyn Basset, incredibly relieved that Bertie intended to marry his niece, not his daughter, rather optimistically (and against all available evidence to the contrary) speculates Bertie might have some. Bertie also is unconvinced.
- Hurricane of Euphemisms: "The money! The oof, the dibs, the do-re-mi! The happy cabbage! The oil of palm!" "Yes, I do speak English."
- Hypercompetent Sidekick: Jeeves
- Hypocrite: Roderick Spode, about Communists.
- He ridicules the Red Dawn in particular and Communists in general, even though he made an entry into the show with overly populist promises not very different from them.
- When a clash occured as Red Dawn members got violent, he condemned the unruly ways of the Communists, who resorted to violence, only for himself to call for violence from his own supporters.
- Idle Rich: Bertie, and many of his acquaintances.
- I Have This Friend: Bertie never seems to learn that when he says things like 'there is a heart here that yearns for you', it's bound to be taken the wrong way. He really does have this friend.
- Although played straight at least once, when he tried to ask for Jeeves' help with a situation that came about because he deliberately hadn't asked for help, in order to prove he didn't always need him.
- Inflationary Dialogue: Bertie is trying to pose as author Rosie M. Banks for his friend Bingo's family. Bingo's young cousin asks him how many words there are on a page. Clearly having no idea, he comes out with:Uh... twenty or thirty. I mean, depends on the page. About... two hundred. About a thousand, more or less. I mean, on a single page, you mean. Yes, mmm... about ten thousand. I mean, that would be one of the bigger pages.
- Informed Attribute: Despite what Bertie's nearest and dearest seem to think, he shows no signs of insanity. Terminal stupidity, yes, but not insanity.
- He does have a tendency to put himself into situations that to those unaware of the reasoning (i.e most of the 'adult' characters) seem to be utterly illogical and certainly without explanation might seem a little mad. Having been arrested numerous times, engaged to just about every eligible woman he has met and involved in all manner of hijinks, pranks, attempted burglaries, escapes from the police and general tomfoolery, the weight of evidence might suggest that he is not entirely normal.
- Inter-Class Romance: One of Bertie's friends wants to marry a waitress. To convince his uncle that it's a good idea, he makes him read romance novels where chambermaids end up marrying their masters. The uncle is convinced and promptly marries his cook.
- Likewise, Uncle George, the Earl of Yaxley, has a habit of falling love with barmaids. He eventually gets married to his original barmaid.
- It's All About Me: Everyone in Bertie's social circle are perfectly willing to ruin the lives of everyone else around them, but are appalled the moment anything remotely inconveniences them.
- It's Been Done: "Return to New York." Tuppy's recipe for cockaleekie soup isn't as secret as he thinks it is.
- I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Parodied, as Madeline Bassett believes this is why Bertie tries so hard to save her relationship with his friend Gussie. Actually, it's because he's frankly terrified by the thought of marrying a woman who believes the stars are God's daisy chain.
- Jerk Ass: Stiffie Byng seems to relish throwing Bertie to the lions to accomplish whatever she's trying to do in each episode (generally getting her guardian to approve of her marrying her sweetheart, the village curate)
- The Jeeves: An incarnation of the Trope Namer.
- Jive Turkey: In New York, Jeeves warns some visiting small-town Midwesterners against letting it get out that they've been "mousetrapped by a pair of suede-shoed feather merchants."
- Just Eat Gilligan: Bertie can never just explain beforehand that he doesn't want to get engaged or even just break it off once he's in the situation. It would just be too awkward, so it always requires a complex social scheme (usually from Jeeves) or a lucky turn or two to get him out of it.
- More than that, it's "The Code of the Woosters"; to do so would be unchivalrous. Lying, stealing identities, scheming, stealing, and breaking up other people's engagements so the girl would get back together with her ex, though that's all fine.
- The Klutz: Rev. Harold "Stinker" Pinker
- Large Ham:
- Roderick Spode. It helps that he was written as a No Celebrities Were Harmed version of Oswald Mosley, leader of the British Union of Fascists in the 1930s. Apparently, he is unable to give a speech without gnawing his lectern and uses simulated cheering to get help give the impression that he is important. He uses a record of a screaming appreciative crowd to give more weight to his speech to a near empty hall. When we see him practicing a speech by himself, he simply exclaims the key words of his policies in order, all dripping with dramatic intent (Bicycles! Umbrellas! Brussel sprouts!) making his own cheering audience sounds between each to further increase the effect. All of this underlines the fact that it is all a massive ego trip and that despite his best efforts, his movement is tiny. There is something so much funnier about ludicrous policies delivered with such obvious intensity and intent but with almost no-one listening. Specifically, if you actually listen to his speeches, you will not only notice plenty of Cloudcuckoolander ideas (replacing 27,000 miles of railway track in order to widen their spacing by eight inches to facilitate the transportation of livestock, paid for by the fact that sheep will be able to stand sideways), but also a lot of mixed metaphors ("to take up the reins of the ship of state") and sentences which he thinks will be profound sound-bites but clearly show that he has no idea what he's talking about ("Rome may have been built in a day, but it took only a trumpet. To bring down. The walls. Of Jericho").
- The priest at Twing. "Do we, like Ezekiel... DOUBT... the Lord's power? Do we, like Ezekiel... ask... 'Can these bones LIIIVE?!'" Later on, we see him when he's not sermonizing, and he is - if anything, even more over-the-top: "Wrrrrretched boy!"
- Leaning on the Fourth Wall: At the end of the second episode of the second season, Bertie starts playing the theme song on piano, leading into the closing credits.
- Love Freak: Madeline Bassett.
- Love Informant: In the first episode, Bertie Wooster attempts to play this role for his friend Bingo Little, who is infatuated with Honoria Glossop, but Honoria instead gets the impression that he's speaking on his own behalf, and spends the rest of the series convinced that Bertie is pining for her.
- Majored in Western Hypocrisy: An episode where Bertie blacks up and attempts caveman-speak to impersonate a visiting African chief is arguably saved from cringeworthiness when the real chief shows up and turns out to have a posher voice than Bertie, and to be an Old Harrovian (educated in England).
- Meaningful Name: Jeeves' first name, Reginald, means "council power" in Old German; appropriate for someone that everyone goes to for advice. Inverted with Bertie, which (also in Old German) means "bright,"
- Also, Jeeves belongs to a club for valets called The Junior Ganymede...
- The club that Bertie and his friends belong to is called the Drones. Rich young men with nothing to do, buzzing around wasting time.
- Specifically, killing time until they are forced to marry and father children, their only serious responsibility in life being to breed and continue the Heir Club for Men. So pretty much exactly like drone bees.
- Another one is that it wouldn't be too surprising if Bertie was named after/alludes to Prince Bertie, the guy the Edwardian Age was named after. While that Bertie was short for Albert (not Bertram), like Bertie Wooster, he had a reputation as a well-meaning but dim hedonist, and had a bad relationship with his Grand Dame mother, Queen Victoria, much like Bertie's relationship with his aunts.
- Also, Jeeves belongs to a club for valets called The Junior Ganymede...
- Metaphorgotten:Spode: Because he's a butterfly, who toys with women's hearts and throws them aside like soiled gloves!
Bertie: Do butterflies do that?
- Mistaken for Cheating: In more than one episode, Madeline walks in on Gussie in compromising but completely innocent positions with other women.
- Name and Name
- Nazi Nobleman: Roderick Spode. For once, though, brought off successfully. Wodehouse based Spode on an actual person. In addition, once Spode inherits his familial title (becoming the 7th Earl of Sidcup), he gives up his quirky version of fascism.
- Nephewism: Bertie. In the original novels, it is established that his parents are dead. No mention is made of them in the show, aside from a remark that his mother "thought [him] intelligent."
- Nice Hat: So many...
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Bertie's trademark.
- No Guy Wants an Amazon: Bertie is constantly dodging engagement proposals from women, but Honoria Glossop may be the only woman he's actually afraid of marrying
- No Indoor Voice: Aunt Dahlia.
- No Name Given: Jeeves. His first name isn't revealed until the final episode; it hadn't occured to Bertie that he even had one.
- Noodle Incident: "Bridegroom Wanted" ends with everyone who has a grudge with Bertie cornering him and Jeeves on a ship. With no other alternative, they both jump off the ship, and the scene cuts to Bertie's apartment in London, several months later, with both Bertie and Jeeves just arriving home in tattered clothing and with very long beards, after apparently rowing home...going the wrong way around the world, if their comments are to be believed. Bertie remarks that if his hat could talk, it would have some pretty interesting tales to tell
- No Sense of Humor: Sir Roderick Glossop not only has no sense of humor, he seems to think that humor is an obvious sign of insanity, given his reactions to the constantly jovial Bertie
- Not Good with People: Gussy Fink-Nottle finds newts easy, people difficult. Especially women.
- Not What It Looks Like: Happens constantly to Gussie and often enough to Bertie
- Oireland: There's an episode in which Gussie and Spode are hired to play a pair of stage Irishmen named Pat and Mike for the village talent show. They put on woolly green beards and wave around umbrellas. Gussy really can't do the accent and Spode doesn't even bother. Much like the episode with the blackface minstrels, it managed to avoid being offensive just by being utterly ludicrous.
- One Steve Limit: Averted in Sir Roderick Glossop and Roderick Spode; Cyril "Barmy" Fotheringay-Phipps and Cyril Bassington-Bassington; and Brinkley the valet and Brinkley Court.
- Accidentally averted in the case of Sir Roderick Glossop and Hildebrandt "Tuppy" Glossop. In the books, Tuppy was Roderick's nephew, but this is never mentioned on the series.
- In a later episode, Brinkley the valet's name was retconned when Jeeves informed Bertie that his name was Bingley, not Brinkley, and Bingley just never bothered correcting him.
- Only Known by Their Nickname: Bertie's friend "Chuffy" Chuffnell; the only person who calls him by his real first name is the girl he loves, which initially results in her having to explain to Bertie who this "Marmaduke" person she keeps mentioning is.
- Likewise, Bertie appears shocked to learn that Tuppy's first name is Hildebrand.
- Out-of-Character Moment: Despite Jeeves's remarkably superior language skills (which, in the first episode, were shown to stretch to American phrases such as 'hooch'), Bertie has to translate New York diner slang for him in "The Full House."Jeeves: "Just a cup of coffee, please."Waitress: "You got it."Jeeves: "No, I don't believe I do, madam."
- In that same episode, Jeeves is seen going about the city and taking notes of New York night life. It is extremely unusual to see him laughing, clapping and wearing a party hat in one such scene. (It is possible, given the sheer number of Jazz Age celebrities that show up in the stories of these parties, that he made them up.)
- Overprotective Dad: Sir Watkyn Bassett, J. Washburn Stoker, and Sir Roderick Glossop.
- Parental Marriage Veto: Usually from Sir Watkyn Bassett, trying to prevent his young ward Stephanie from marrying the Rev. Harold "Stinker" Pinker.
- Parents for a Day: "Return to New York," when Bertie's "temporary kidnapping" of a child doesn't go the way he plans.
- Politically Correct History: A definite aversion as the series manages to have scenes in blackface still be humorous, shows the segregation of America during the time period, and perhaps most notably, is accurate to the books in showing Roderick Spode and his Black Shorts dressed as the British Union of Fascists. It is still toned down from the original books, which has Bertie blacking up to blend in with a group of black minstrels and features characters freely using the N-word..
- Poor Communication Kills: The reason for 90% of the conflicts in the series.
- Produce Pelting: The crowd are sure to love a rendition of Sonny Boy!
- Punched Across the Room: Happens to Wooster once, in a rather surreal moment.
- Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: "ANATOLE. HAS GIVEN. NOTICE."
- Puppy-Dog Eyes: Bertie, as this seems to be an inherent trait of Hugh Laurie's characters. Also, Tuppy and Bingo when they're swooning over girls.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Bertie is the former, Jeeves the latter.
- Running Gag: Stinker Pinker repeatedly tripping and falling over, Spode getting hit on the head, the American lift operator's confused mannerism each time he encounters Wooster, like he feels something's perpetually not right.
- Scenery Censor: In one episode there is a nude statue of a child in the background, with a flower just between its legs.
- Serial Romeo: Richard "Bingo" Little
- Servile Snarker: Jeeves.
- Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Jeeves.
- Shoutout: In the first episode, one of Bertie's cousins mentions that Bertie's last valet stole his socks, a reference to an episode of Blackadder the Third
- Soft Glass: Bertie Wooster jumps through a closed glass window, and emerges unharmed.
- Spock Speak: Jeeves
- Spoiled Brat: Stiffy Byng
- Spot of Tea: Jeeves brings Bertie one every morning. Bertie refers to his morning cuppa as "the life-saving"
- Status Quo Is God: An episode may begin with Jeeves giving notice or Bertie getting engaged, but things are always back to normal by the end. This trope is less applicable to the supporting characters, who do sometimes undergo major life-changes.
- Stealth Insult:
- Bertie: Oh, stop playing with the hat, Jeeves. I knew you wouldn't like it.
Jeeves: Oh, not at all, sir!
- Bertie: She gave it to me, you know. Trying to improve my mind, I dare say.
Jeeves: That seems scarcely possible, sir.
- Jeeves sneaks in a dig at the song "Nagasaki" in response to Bertie's expressed love of the song:Jeeves: Extremely... invigorating, sir.
Bertie: Yes, Jeeves, that is just the word I would have used. Yes, it makes you want to get up and bally well have a run 'round the park.
Jeeves: My feelings precisely, sir.
- Suckiness Is Painful: See Heroic BSOD above; Bertie's friends' more garish fashion decisions seem to cause Jeeves actual physical discomfort.
- Take Our Word for It: Subverted in "Introduction on Broadway" when we finally do get to see Corky's hideously Cubist painting.
- Tap on the Head: Extensively.
- Theme-and-Variations Soundtrack: The jazzy opening theme tune gets reworked to set all kinds of different moods.
- They Stole Our Act: In one episode, Jeeves deliberately arranges for this to occur, as part of his current scheme.
- Throwing Out the Script: Bertie attempts to help Gussie give a speech by fortifying him with a large quantity of gin. Gussie throws away his notes at the start of the speech and begins saying what he thinks, with things rapidly going downhill from there.
- Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: Gussie Fink-Nottle and Madeleine Bassett, although they're merely engaged, not actually married. Since they're both Cloudcuckoolanders, they match in personality in a way what they don't in looks.
- Unwanted Harem: Mostly true for Bertie in some respects, but Jeeves starts to veer in this direction in the first 10-15 minutes or so of "The Full House."
- Upper-Class Twit: Bertie and most of his friends; he actually comes across as more intelligent than most of them, in a faithful reflection of the original Wodehouse stories.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: The title characters to some extent. Bertie and his Aunt Dahlia very much so.
- Will They or Won't They?: In spades, although in this case the trope name should be immediately followed by "Ever Get Married." Notably, Madeline and Gussie's on-again off-again engagement is the only one that spans the whole series. In the end, they don't.
- Xanatos Speed Chess: Jeeves can work around almost anything that spoils his stratagems on a moment's notice.
- You Look Familiar: The actress who plays Madeline in the first series comes back as Florence in the last series. Also The Other Darrin.
- Rupert Steggles, sinister gambler and con man, comes back as the second Gussie Fink-Nottle, kind hearted and timid newt fancier.
- Zany Scheme: Every. Single. Episode.