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Bertram Wilberforce "Bertie" Wooster
"It's amazing," [Aunt Dahlia] said, drinking me in once more. "To look at you, one would think you were just an ordinary sort of amiable idiot - certifiable, perhaps, but quite harmless. Yet, in reality, you are a worse scourge than the Black Death."
- Alcohol-Induced Idiocy: Pretty much any time he gets a little sozzled.
- As the Good Book Says...: He's prone to quoting the Bible, often reminding the reader that he won the prize for Scripture Knowledge at school.
- Badly Battered Babysitter: Any time he has to look after some irresponsible young chump (or, in one case, dog).
- Benevolent Boss: Very polite and affable to his valets.
- Big Brother Instinct: Tends to develop it easily, perhaps as a side effect of Chronic Hero Syndrome.
- Black Sheep: Extremely out-of-place in his Big, Screwed-Up Family, he hardly gets along with any of his relatives. His Aunt Agatha disapproves of his lifestyle and spends a lot of time trying to turn him into a credit to the name of Wooster, to no avail. He considers his Aunt Dahlia the nice one; she's exasperated by his stupidity but at least she doesn't regard him with contempt.
- Brits Love Tea: Has been known to rhapsodize about the glories of the sacred British beverage. Additionally, he can't wake up without it.
- Buffy Speak: Well, the Genteel Interbellum Setting version.
- Cannot Spit It Out: He's too much of a gentleman to correct any girl who thinks he's in love with her.
- "This is a bit thick."
- "Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of the party."
- (in the narration) "… And I meant it to sting."
- "… if that's the word I want." / "What's the word I want?" / "That's the word I want."
- "The Code of the Woosters". (In the same vein, beginning sentences with "We Woosters..." or "We Woosters know when...")
- "Thank you, Jeeves."
- "What ho!"
- The Chew Toy: Bertie endures many humiliations and a few Amusing Injuries, but through them all, he keeps the lip stiff and upper.
- Child Hater: Justified due to the series' constant use of the Bratty Half-Pint trope. He does have a fondness for little girls, although even that tendency seems to have vanished as of "Bertie Changes His Mind".
- Chick Magnet: Even he's noticed that he has a remarkable tendency to attract exactly the kind of girl he most fears.Bertie: I mean to say, I know perfectly well that I've got, roughly speaking, half the amount of brain a normal bloke ought to possess. And when a girl comes along who has about twice the regular allowance, she too often makes a bee line for me with the love light in her eyes. I don't know how to account for it, but it is so.Jeeves: It may be Nature's provision for maintaining the balance of the species, sir.
- Chronic Hero Syndrome: He always gets dragged into some crazy scheme, because he can't say no to an old friend or a girl.
- Classic Cultural Osmosis: Brief phrases from Shakespeare, the Bible, songs from the period, and various classical poets keep turning up in Bertie's narration and dialogue. A reader of the Wodehouse books will often absorb garbled forms of the classics himself or herself as a result.
- Cloudcuckoolander's Minder: In a serious case of The Blind Leading the Blind, he sometimes has to play this role for his crazier friends, Bingo Little in particular.
- Confirmed Bachelor: He gradually realizes he doesn't really want to get married to anyone, prefering his arrangement with Jeeves.
- The Dandy: He loves fashion. If he and Jeeves ever have a falling-out, it's usually because he's insisting on wearing some utterly ridiculous article of clothing that Jeeves doesn't approve of.
- The Ditherer: Due to letting Jeeves run his life. Aunt Dahlia actually calls him "poor ditherer" in one story.
- The Ditz: Comments at one point that "Providence looks after all the chumps of this world, and personally, I'm all for it". Unlike some of his friends, he doesn't quite qualify as an example of The Fool; as Jeeves says, he is capable of acting quite shrewdly on occasion.
- Drama Queen: Everything he does is Serious Business: indeed, retaliation in a prank war is a heroic defense of the Wooster name likened to participation in the Crusades. After being forced to sing at a "clean, bright entertainment", he goes into Shell-Shocked Veteran mode, insisting that the pain he went through was "unparalleled since the days of the early Martyrs."
- Dreadful Musician: Not as a general rule—even if you don't count his excellent piano playing in the TV series, he's said to be a good singer with a "light, pleasant baritone". Though his playing of the banjolele in Thank You, Jeeves isn't terrible, his sheer devotion to it causes his neighbors in the flat collectively give him the ultimatum to give it up or clear out, and even Jeeves deserts him rather than put up with it in isolated quarters. (When the TV series adapted the plot, the banjolele was replaced with a trombone.)
- The Dulcinea Effect: He suffers from this regularly at first, only to regret his impulsiveness. Bobbie Wickham, Gwladys Pendlebury, and (in backstory) Pauline Stoker are examples.
- Embarrassing Middle Name: His middle name is Wilberforce (his father won money on a horse named Wilberforce a day before Bertie was born), which seems to cause him varying levels of discomfort depending on his mood. May count as a Genius Bonus joke; the name "Wilberforce" is best known as the surname of various famous evangelicals and social reformers, but instead Bertie got it through his father's gambling addiction.
- Et Tu, Brute?: His reaction upon being betrayed or let down by Jeeves.
- Expy: Of Wodehouse's earlier character Reggie Pepper. A few of Reggie's stories were even rewritten to star Bertie (with Jeeves in tow) instead.
- Extreme Doormat: He can be talked into pretty much anything. He suffers the worst of one Zany Scheme after another because he's simply unable to say "no" to a friend or a girl. Besides that, he's afraid to stand up to his aunt, and he lets Jeeves dictate every facet of his existence, even down to the details of his wardrobe. Attempts to assert his rights by keeping an article of clothing Jeeves disapproves of invariably give out by the end of the story.
- Family Honor: "We Woosters have our code." (It's "never let a pal down".)
- Fleeting Passionate Hobbies: Such as his banjolele kick in Thank You, Jeeves.
- A Friend in Need: He never lets down a pal in distress, even when prudence (and/or Jeeves) suggests he probably should.
- Genius Ditz: He thinks of himself as such, since when it comes to figuring out if people are in love, he is "Hawkshaw the Detective himself in person". In a slight meta-example, as many critics have pointed out, he has a gift for language and humorous phrasing, due to being written by P. G. Wodehouse. The TV series made him an accomplished piano player, as well.
- Gentleman and a Scholar: Strangely enough, the "mentally negligible" Bertie fits this trope. He's definitely a gentleman, always well-dressed, believing in Sacred Hospitality and honourable to a fault, but if you look at his prose style you can see that he's half-forgotten more classic English literature than most of us managed to learn in the first place.
- Gratuitous French: He often uses French phrases, sometimes wondering if they're correct.
- Gratuitous Latin: He sometimes quotes Latin tags, usually of the schoolboy variety, quite unnecessarily.
- Hangover Sensitivity: He is suffering from this when he and Jeeves first meet; when Jeeves offers up a concoction which cures the problem, he's hired on the spot.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Jeeves.
- Hidden Depths: Bertie may not be the smartest guy in the world, but he's intelligent enough to realise it, which makes him highly unusual.
- Honour Before Reason: The Code of the Woosters demands he marry any girl who believes he is in love with her, whether he likes it or not.
- Idle Rich: He never works and is never short of money.
- I Need a Freaking Drink: His automatic stress response.
- Infinite Supplies: He never runs out of money, no matter how much he spends or has to pay in fines.
- Informed Flaw: He doesn't appeal to most girls, just every girl who actually appears.
- Innocent Blue Eyes: Mentioned specifically by Chuffy in Thank You, Jeeves."You would see him face a furious headmaster with a sort of dauntless look in those big blue eyes of his..."
- Kindhearted Cat Lover: Cats instinctively take a liking to him.
- This becomes an actual plot point in Aunts Aren't Gentlemen (published also under the title The Cat-Nappers.)
- Kindhearted Simpleton
- Like Brother and Sister: With his ex-fiancée; Pauline Stoker in Thank You, Jeeves (Bertie outright says that she's like a sister to him). Really! It's Not What It Looks Like!
- Nice Guy: Dash it all, he may not be the brightest bulb in the box, but he makes up for it by being a thoroughly decent and likeable sort of chap.
- Nice to the Waiter:Most fellows, no doubt, are all for having their valets confine their activities to creasing trousers and what not without trying to run the home; but it's different with Jeeves. Right from the first day he came to me, I have looked on him as a sort of guide, philosopher, and friend.
- No Guy Wants an Amazon: Hence his avoidance of Honoria Glossop and her ilk....my ideal wife was something quite different, something a lot more clinging and drooping and prattling, and what not.
- However, these ideal traits do need to be moderated; Madeline Basset fits this description to a tee, and he is equally terrified by the prospect of marrying her.
- Not a Morning Person: Does not take kindly to being awoken before noon.
- Obfuscating Insanity: More than one scheme has been pulled off only because Jeeves told everyone involved that Bertie was insane. This doesn't make him happy in The Inimitable Jeeves, but by Very Good, Jeeves! he's gotten used to it and even goes along with it if necessary.
- Odd Couple: With Jeeves.
- Only Sane Man: The fact he tends to take on this role among his friends may give you some indication of the general lack of common sense and wisdom operating among his social set.
- Parental Abandonment: His parents presumably died when he was little, and he was raised by his aunts and uncles.
- Ping Pong Naïveté: His level of stupidity is entirely dependent on the Rule of Funny.
- Pity the Kidnapper: In "Helping Freddie".
- Rich Boredom: Develops it briefly in "Bertie Changes His Mind", though it doesn't last.
- Seemingly Profound Fool: Sometimes he'll come up with an idea or apposite quotation, but it's usually subverted before long.
- Self-Deprecation: Bertie knows full well that he's not the brightest fellow around, and consequently the narration is full of it.
- Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Although he struggles to remember the right words, he actually has quite the vocabulary; this is Hand Waved as a result of having spent so much time with Jeeves.
- Slowly increases over the course of the series - largely due to Jeeves. Honorable mention goes to the Reverend Aubrey Upjohn, Bertie's grammar school teacher, whose efforts to pump English literature and culture into Bertie's vacuous skull must have been truly Herculean.
- Sheltered Aristocrat: Bertie is a type one "innocent and childlike". He's especially prone to this when he and Jeeves are separated
- Shout-Out to Shakespeare: Frequently takes a stab at quoting the Bard, though he usually errs. Fortunately, Jeeves always knows the real one.
- Snark Ball: Despite being "mentally negligible", he can be quite witty (especially in the narration, but also in the dialogue).
- The So-Called Coward: He cheerfully acknowledges his cowardice in the television series, along with his quite rational fear of the latest spurned fiancée out for his blood, but nonetheless always ends up facing them.
- Interestingly, despite his innate fearfulness, Bertie will almost always face any peril if it's a matter of chivalry, noblesse oblige, a bet, or supporting a pal. Except where Aunt Agatha is involved.
- Taking Advantage of Generosity: Everybody does it to him.
- Temporary Love Interest: Subverted: Bertie generally falls out of love with the girl by the end of the book (if he's in love with her at all). In later books where it looks like he's safe, previous fiancées display an alarming tendency to get engaged with Bertie again, inevitably breaking it off by the end of the story.
- That Makes Me Feel Angry: At times, Bertie will (as the narrator) inform the reader how he feels... and then turn to Jeeves and say how he feels in exactly the same words.My soul was darkened by a nameless fear."Jeeves," I said, "My soul is darkened by a nameless fear.""Indeed, sir?"
- Third-Person Person: In the narration, he references himself as "Bertram" fairly often.
- Translator Buddy: Often has to translate Jeeves' Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness for the benefit of those present.
- Upper-Class Twit: An archetypal example, though a lot nicer and well-meaning than many.
- Verbal Tic: And plenty of them, what?
- Vitriolic Best Buds: With Jeeves, Bingo Little and Aunt Dahlia.
- Why Did It Have To Be Aunt Agatha
- Wouldn't Hit a Girl: He has to remind himself that a proper gentleman never hits a lady, when he deals with girls like Bobbie Wickham.
Bertie: Jeeves, you've done it again.
Jeeves: I endeavor to give satisfaction, sir.
- The Ace: Not only is he the perfect "gentleman's personal gentleman", he seems to be utterly infallible at anything he tries. The only skill he appears not to have is safe-cracking, which he claims requires a 'specialized education and upbringing.'
- Ascended Extra: Literally. In the first short story featuring Bertie, "Extricating Young Gussie", he simply appeared in the background as the necessary valet, and, according to Word of God, was never intended as anything more than that. It wasn't until the second story that he became the conniving genius of a gentleman's gentleman we know today.
- Battle Butler: Generally handles things with his wits alone, but is equally able to descend to violence if the situation calls for it, such as coshing police officers.
- Blue-and-Orange Morality: Assisting his master in theft, blackmail and gambling is perfectly fine. Errors in dinner dress are not.
- Captain Obvious: But when you have to explain things to Bertie, stating the obvious becomes necessary.
- "I endeavor to give satisfaction."
- "Very good, sir."
- "Most disturbing, sir."
- "Indeed, sir?"
- The Chessmaster: Has an uncanny knowledge of people and situations and a knack for The Plan.
- Cloudcuckoolander's Minder: Almost to the point of being The Caretaker. Aunt Agatha has referred to him as Bertie's "keeper", and he doesn't even go on vacation without making sure that Bertie is staying with friends, relatives or a substitute valet.
- The Comically Serious: When stirred, he has been known to allow one corner of his mouth (generally the left) to rise slightly, or to raise an eyebrow as much as an eighth of an inch.
- The Confidant
- Cruel to Be Kind: Constantly. Bertie sums it up nicely after The Reveal in "Jeeves and the Yule-Tide Spirit":All the while I supposed he had been landing me in the soup, he had really been steering me clear away from it.
- A Day in the Limelight: He narrates only one story in the canon: "Bertie Changes His Mind".
- Early-Installment Weirdness: In the original magazine version of "Bertie Changes His Mind", which is the only story narrated by Jeeves, Jeeves referred to Bertie as "the guv'nor" and used contractions. When the story was reprinted in a book, Wodehouse rewrote it using Jeeves' characteristic version of Spock Speak.
- Fascinating Eyebrow: The most obvious expression of his emotions is the elevation of his eyebrow, in mere fractions of an inch.
- Friend Versus Lover: Doesn't like the idea of Bertie getting married.
- Genius Book Club: Enjoys reading the work of the philosopher Spinoza, but considers the work of Friedrich Nietzsche to be "fundamentally unsound."
- Gratuitous French: Just as prone to it as Bertie.
- Haughty Help: Jeeves is stricter about etiquette and proprieties than his employer. While his disapproval of Bertie's choices never translates to disapproval of Bertie himself, and he always rallies around Bertie in the end, that doesn't mean he'll let his employer get away with lax standards. Of particular note are their periodic clashes about Bertie's fashion choices — Jeeves considers this a more Serious Business than Bertie does, and despite Bertie declaring more than once that he won't be pushed around by his valet, Jeeves always manages to quash any departures from correct gentlemen's attire.Jeeves: The tie, if I might suggest it, sir, a little more tightly knotted. One aims at the perfect butterfly effect. If you will permit me—
Bertie: What do ties matter, Jeeves, at a time like this? Do you realise that Mr Little's domestic happiness is hanging in the scale?
Jeeves: [pained] There is no time, sir, at which ties do not matter.
- Heroic Comedic Sociopath: Will throw anyone, especially Bertie, under the bus if it's necessary for a scheme, but downplayed inasmuch as he always has Bertie's best interests at heart. If Bertie has to be humiliated for a night in order to avoid being married for the rest of his life, so be it.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Bertie.
- Hidden Depths: Bertie constantly discovers startling things about him; for instance, the fact that he's quite the man-about-town when he's not valeting.
- Hypercompetent Sidekick: A distinct contributor in codifying the trope, although certainly not its originator; however, see The Jeeves.
- Instant Waking Skills:Jeeves came in looking as fresh as a dewy violet. It's a mystery to me how he does it.
- I Want My Beloved to Be Fashionable: Non-romantic example. To him, the valet's task of managing the employer's wardrobe is Serious Business, and he gives away, sends back, and/or utterly destroys anything he doesn't approve of, with or without Bertie's permission.
- The Jeeves: Trope Namer, albeit with a shade of Unbuilt Trope. Your average Jeeves is a stuffy domestic obsessed with propriety. Jeeves is all of the above... while he's on the clock. In his spare time he is a man-about-town with a wider circle of friends than Bertie, several clubs and at least one on-and-off girlfriend. He is also a highly skilled card player, and is not above hustling his employers' friends when his wallet is getting thin. To top it off, he is apparently well-acquainted with violence, a highly skilled shotgun marksman and fully capable of silently incapacitating a police officer when the need arises.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Particularly evident in the Jeeves-narrated "Bertie Changes His Mind", where his resolve almost falters upon seeing how distraught Bertie is due to his scheming.
- The Lancer
- Last-Name Basis: Bertie was surprised to learn that Jeeves even has a first name.
- Living Emotional Crutch: To Bertie, although this lessens somewhat as the series continues.
- Living MacGuffin: Most of Bertie's friends want him to work for them, and at least one offered him twice the amount Bertie was paying him. When he gives notice in Thank You, Jeeves, he goes into what Bertie refers to as "circulation". Bertie's friend Chuffy snatches him up almost instantly, and he proceeds to quit Chuffy's service when American millionaire J. Washburn Stoker offers him a position. Then he goes back to Chuffy and finally returns to Bertie, who is less than eager to let him go again.
- Meaningful Name: Reginald is the Latinized version of "Raginwald", a Germanic name that translates to "Ruler's Counsel".
- My Brain Is Big: His head bulges out slightly at the back.
- Nerves of Steel: "You can't rattle Jeeves."
- The one time in the original canon when Jeeves comes close to visibly cracking in Bertie's presence occurs in the story "Comrade Bingo", when the eponymous Upper-Class Twit turns up at Bertie's flat wearing a truly hideous fake beard. In the TV series, he has a couple of moments of weakness when confronted with similar fashion disasters: Bingo's horseshoe-pattern tie and Rocky's whole "sweater and pajamas" ensemble.
- The Not-Love Interest
- Not So Above It All: Let's face it, he's never really above it all. He just gives everyone that impression.
- Odd Couple: With Bertie.
- Officer and a Gentleman: After most of the other books, but before Ring for Jeeves, the only book in which Jeeves appears without Bertie.Lord Rowcester: Were you in the War, Jeeves?Jeeves: I dabbled in it to a certain extent, my lord.
- Parental Substitute: Bertie seems to see him as such—and indeed, he often looks upon the young master in a manner described as "paternal".
- Real Men Wear Pink: Seems to have a soft spot for romance novels.Bertie: Mr. Little tells me that when he came to the big scene in 'Only a Factory Girl,' his uncle gulped like a stricken bull-pup.Jeeves: Indeed, sir?Bertie: Where Lord Claude takes the girl in his arms, you know, and says——Jeeves: I am familiar with the passage, sir. It is distinctly moving.
- Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Sometimes slips into this, confusing everyone in the vicinity. Bertie has been known to translate.
- Servile Snarker: one of the epitomes of the trope
- Smart People Know Latin
- Spock Speak: He almost never uses contractions.
- Stealth Hi/Bye: Moving about silently was actually the very first quality of his that Bertie noticed, and it seems to be a regular habit.I had had no inkling of his approach, but then one very often hasn't. He has a way of suddenly materializing at one's side like one of those Indian blokes who shoot their astral bodies to and fro, going into thin air in Rangoon and re-assembling the parts in Calcutta. I think it's done with mirrors.
- The Stoic: In true valet style, we never see him lose his cool.
- Tall, Dark, and Snarky
- Undying Loyalty: Jeeves will do anything to stay with his master, generally to Bertie's inconvenience. His schemes are always ultimately to Bertie's benefit, even if it's hard to see at the time. Bertie calls it Jeeves' "feudal spirit".
- Verbal Judo: The undeniable master. Can soften the most furious person or the angriest of Powder Keg Crowds with a few smooth words. It even works on dogs.[The rambunctious dog] bounded at Jeeves as if contemplating licking his face, but was checked by the latter's quiet dignity. Jeeves views the animal kingdom with a benevolent eye and is the first to pat its head and offer it a slice of whatever is going, but he does not permit it to lick his face.
- Verbal Tic: Perhaps not so much a verbal tic as a respectful habit, but still, he says "sir" in almost every sentence he speaks to Bertie. This made for a bit of comedy in the TV series when he and Bertie tried to sing a Call-and-Response Song.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: He snarks at Bertie, manipulates him, gives him the cold shoulder when he most wants sympathy, gets him into trouble, and destroys his stuff. Why? Because he cares.
- Wardrobe Flaw of Characterization: His personal Berserk Button. Any clothing or acouterment that doesn't meet his exacting standards will cause him to physically recoil, or even break down weeping, and he'll set events in motion so he can "correct" the perceived flaw.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Some of his schemes can be downright cruel. Through the years, he has knocked Bertie unconscious, convinced a leading psychiatric specialist of Bertie's insanity, interfered with a policeman in the course of his duties, and caused not one but two of Bertie's friends to suffer public humiliation of the hurled-fruit-and-eggs kind. His motives were sound.
...my Aunt Agatha, who eats broken bottles and is widely rumored to turn into a werewolf on nights of the full moon.
The indomitable and haughty Mrs. Spenser-Gregson (later Lady Worplesdon). Her lightest word is to Bertie as the Trump of Doom.
- Deadpan Snarker: When confronted with her nephew.
- Grande Dame
- Evil Matriarch: Although proud, domineering and impatient with fools, Agatha spends an unusually large amount of time trying to ensure that the honor of her original family name is not dragged through the mud by the dunderheaded antics of her nephew. On the other hand she's often shown to care more about the family name and its reputation than she does about her actual family.
- Family Honor: Her obsession. She's willing to go even as far as bribery to keep family members from marrying into common blood.
- Pet the Dog: In the most literal sense. She has a friendly little terrier, Macintosh, to whom she is very attached.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Poor Bertie receives one almost every time he comes face to face with her.Agatha: It is young men like you, Bertie, who make the person with the future of the race at heart despair.
- Rich Bitch
- Running Gag: Whenever Bertie brings her up, he always makes a joke about her monstrous nature.
My good and deserving aunt[...] If she were ever to turn into a werewolf, it would be one of those jolly breezy werewolves whom it is a pleasure to know.
The tolerant and kind-hearted Mrs. Travers.
- Apron Matron
- Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: Not in a romantic sense, of course, but when the chips are down, she and Bertie always rally round to provide each other with assistance. Notably, while she does involve him in her wacky schemes, unlike everyone else who does so Dahlia is completely averse to Bertie actually getting hurt or into trouble.
- Cool Old Lady
- Deadpan Snarker
- Happily Married: To Tom Travers. She attributes its success to the fact that she makes absolutely no effort to mold his behavior.
- Impoverished Patrician: Sort of. Her husband Tom is in fact immensely wealthy, but getting him to cough up even trivial amounts of money for her latest pet project is much like squeezing blood from a stone.
- Intergenerational Friendship: She and Bertie act more like a couple of drinking buddies than an aunt and a nephew.Dahlia (over the phone): Good morning to you, you young blot. Are you sober?
- No Indoor Voice: A lifetime of fox-hunting has left her with this trait.
- Tough Love
- Upper-Class Twit: Despite being snarky and assertive, she's not the brightest bulb.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: With Bertie. She generally greets him with a friendly barrage of insults.Too often it is her practice to address me as 'fathead', and if I put forward any little thought or idea or fancy in her hearing it is apt to be greeted with the affectionate but jarring guffaw.
- Zany Scheme: She just loves hatching these, usually dragging in Bertie by threatening to ban him from sampling the wares of her Supreme Chef Anatole.
Charles Edward "Biffy" Biffen
There stands Charles Biffen. A fine figure of a man from the neck down, but above that - solid concrete.
Augustus "Gussie" Fink-Nottle
Aunt Dahlia: 'A bit of a pop-eyed bleater, but clean, civil, and certainly most informative about newts.'
- Big Eater: Curiously, despite having the traditional geek physique, Gussie is very attached to his food, especially if it's meat. Complications ensue in his relationship with Madeline when she forces him to go veg.
- Cannot Spit It Out: When it comes to declarations of love, he gets flustered and talks about newts.
- Can't Hold His Liquor: With disastrous consequences when he is responsible for handing out the prizes at Market Snodsbury Grammar School in Right Ho, Jeeves. The resulting trainwreck, as witnessed and recounted by Bertie, is regarded as one of the classic episodes in all of Wodehouse.
- Dirty Coward: His first instinct in any crisis is to flee.
- Hidden Disdain Reveal: Admits in "Ring For Jeaves" that he actually despises most of the Drones Club for being twits. Which they are.
- In Touch with His Feminine Side
- It's All About Me: He can be a bit self-obsessed and tends to think only of himself when faced with the various crises he faces. Despite frequently calling on Bertie to help him out of a jam, he can be very quick to dump Bertie when convenient.
- Kavorka Man: He's described as looking like a fish, and he's a total nerd, but he attracts the attentions of both Madeline Bassett and Emerald Stoker; in the TV series, he also hits it off pretty well with Gertie Winkworth.
- Last Girl Wins
- The Teetotaler: His drink of choice is orange juice. In one episode, after getting chased by Constable Oates, he asks for some brandy (as that is what people do when stressed, he says), and finds it to be disgusting.
Cyril "Barmy" Fotheringay-Phipps
- Breakout Character: The star of the novel Barmy in Wonderland.
- The Ditz
- Dumb Blonde
- Upper-Class Twit
Hildebrand "Tuppy" Glossop
Tuppy, too, is one of my immediate circle of buddies, in spite of the fact that he once betted me I couldn't swing myself from end to end of the swimming bath at the Drones [Club], and when I came to the last ring I found he had looped it back, giving me no option but to drop into the water in faultless evening dress.
- Big Eater
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: In one story, he ends up on a rugby field full of local toughs who resent his participation and repeatedly tromp him into the mire —until he decides enough is enough and proceeds to pummel them. Bertie is naturally shocked.
- Embarrassing First Name: Hildebrand. Which is probably why he prefers going by "Tuppy."
- Get-Rich-Quick Scheme: Plumbo Jumbo, his idea about importing American cars and trying to sell his cockaleeky soup just to name a few.
- Exclusive to the TV series: in the books, his methods of income are more obscure.
- It's All About Me
- Jerkass: Of all Bertie's friends, he's the most tactless and vengeful. He can cross into With Friends Like These... territory on occasion.
- Sit Com Arch Nemesis: A variant, in that Bertie holds onto a grudge in classic sitcom fashion, Tuppy regards Bertie as just one of his Drones Club buddies and barely even remembers the fateful night when he caused Bertie to fall into the Drones pool in full evening wear.
Richard "Bingo" Little
Bingo (at about twenty different times): I say, Bertie, I am in love at last...
- Breakout Character: Wodehouse gave him his own series of short stories, most of which can be found in the collection Eggs, Beans and Crumpets.
- Catchphrase: "We were at school together!"
- The Gambling Addict: Frequently has to take tutoring jobs to make up for the money he loses on horse racing.
- Happily Married: As of The Inimitable Jeeves, although he still gets himself in plenty of trouble with the "little woman".
- Idle Rich
- In Love with Love: Bingo tends to fall head over heels for the first pretty girl he sees; he'll swoon over her and use extremely flowery language wherein he describes (usually to Bertie) how every other woman he thought he loved before are nothing compared to her... and then, the next time he appears he has a new flame whom he'll be even more flowery about. He stays very faithful once he's actually married, though, and stories involving him begin having different plots.
- It's All About Me
- Jerkass: He spends a lot of his time coaxing Bertie into bad situations and then blaming him for everything, not to mention the way he treats his uncle.
- Serial Romeo
- Sickeningly Sweethearts: With his wife, Rosie M. Banks, although most of it is on her end.
- Taking Advantage of Generosity: He knows Bertie can't refuse him a thing.
- Upper-Class Twit: Arguably even twittier than Bertie himself.You know, with the most charitable feelings towards him, there are moments when you can't help thinking that young Bingo ought to be in some sort of a home.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: With Bertie.
Rev. Harold "Stinker" Pinker
...A large, lumbering, Newfoundland puppy kind of chap...
- Beware the Nice Ones: He's one of the most genuinely amiable and friendly characters in the series, and normally wouldn't hurt a fly — but he's an unstoppable rugby player, and if you threaten his loved ones he'll lay you flat with one punch — as Spode found out when he ranted about killing Bertie.
- Gentle Giant: Very tall, exceptionally strong, and extremely good-natured. Any havoc he wreaks is purely by accident.
- Graceful in Their Element: A walking disaster literally incapable of going without destroying stuff just in the act of sitting down or standing up. Put him on the rugby field and it's like looking at a different person. He's a juggernaut.
- Henpecked Fiancée: Since his fiancée is Stiffy Byng, that's pretty much a given... though surprisingly she seems far less bossy with him than she is with Bertie.
- The Klutz: Bertie writes that Stinker is "constitutionally incapable of walking through the great Gobi desert without knocking something over."
- Nice Guy: Almost all of Bertie's other friends exploit his Extreme Doormat tendencies, but Stinker is always sincerely appreciative.
- The Vicar: Subverted - he fails to meet most of the characteristics of that trope, preferring what Bertie describes as 'muscular Christianity'.
Roberta "Bobbie" Wickham
Jeeves: Miss Wickham lacks seriousness. She is volatile and frivolous.
- Breakout Character: Starred in a few short stories of her own and appeared in the novel Barmy in Wonderland.
- Evil Redhead: According to Jeeves."I would always hesitate to recommend as a life's companion a young lady with quite such a vivid shade of red hair. Red hair, sir, in my opinion, is dangerous."
- Fiery Redhead
- Girl of the Week: Bobbie broke the pattern slightly - Bertie had to undergo several humiliating experiences before her spell was fully broken.
- The Prankster: Bertie admires her "espièglerie"—French for "impish or playful behavior". He's a bit less amused when she gives him an idea for a prank against Tuppy and then turns out to have fed Tuppy the same idea.
- The Vamp
Jeeves: An ingenious young gentleman...
Wooster: A bally swindler!
Jeeves: That would perhaps be a more precise description, sir.
- Four Eyes, Zero Soul: This trope is invoked in the show. No glasses are mentioned in the books.
- Karma Houdini: In the books, not the show. He deprives Bertie and a number of his friends of considerable sums and then departs, suffering no more than a shortage of future invitations.
- Manipulative Bastard
Bertie: "I agree that any red-blooded Sultan offered the chance to add Madeline Bassett to his harem would leap at the chance, but he would be regretting the gesture before the week was out. What he would be overlooking in undertaking this rash act is her squashy soupiness. She's the sort of girl who believes that the stars are God's daisy chain and every time a fairy blows its wee nose a baby is born, which as we know is not the case."
- Abhorrent Admirer: To Bertie. Unlike most examples of the trope, she's not ugly - she's actually very attractive, but unbearably sentimental.
- Cloudcuckoolander: Often comes out with bizarre, pseudo-poetic pronouncements.
- Drama Queen: Well, when you're convinced the stars are god's daisy chain... her reaction to Gussie breaking up with her has her scream "This is the end!" at the top of her voice.
- Dumb Blonde: Madeline... isn't too bright, though she's generally more spacey and overly-romantic than outright dense; when she seldom has a clue as to what's going on it's usually because she's too caught up in her own little sugary-sweet world to realize what everyone else is going through.
- Girl of the Week
- Glurge Addict: She's unbearably sentimental and approaches life as if she was the star of one of the glurgy romance novels she's so fond of.
- Horrible Judge of Character: Of a sort, at least; she's convinced that Bertie Wooster is burning with barely-suppressed passion and love for her, when in fact he would like nothing more than for her to marry someone else and not bother him about it. Although in fairness, this is in part because Bertie is a bit too polite to actually correct her on the matter.
- Love Freak
- Progressively Prettier: In her first appearance, she's decribed as "pretty enough" but not "the sort of breath-taker that takes the breath". In later novels, she's invariably described as a bombshell.
- Ship Sinking: A one-sided ship, given Bertie never had any interest in her to begin with, but Jeeves eventually manages to ward her off for good by telling her Bertie is a serial kleptomaniac.
- Thinks Like a Romance Novel: In Jeeves and the Mating Season, she does this quite literally when she compares Bertie to the main character of Rosie M. Banks' latest romance novel, Mervyn Keene, Clubman.
Stephanie "Stiffy" Byng
Bertie: A lovely girl when she isn't starting something, but then she always does.
- Blackmail: Her preferred instrument of persuasion.
- Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: With Stinker. Bertie thinks that "when she and Stinker walk up the aisle together, if they ever do, their disparity in height should be good for a laugh or two from the ringside pews."
- It's All About Me: She'll put people through hell to get what she wants.
- Like Brother and Sister: Bertie is very fond of Stiffy, despite her tendency to involve him in a Zany Scheme, and she is one of the few young women in the stories who he is never romantically involved with on any level, making them this trope.
- The Kid with the Leash: Bartholomew answers to her.
- Spoiled Brat: Stiffy isn't actually malicious, but she's rather spoiled and used to having everything her way. If she doesn't get it, then comes the crying fits and the threats of blackmail.
...to do this revolting duo [Madeline Bassett and Honoria Glossop] justice, neither had tried to mold me, and this was what Florence Craye had attempted to do from day one, seeming to regard Bertram as little more than a blank lump of plasticine in the hands of the sculptor.
- Abhorrent Admirer: To Bertie again. She's very attractive - that's why he became engaged to her - but she's too intellectual for him and also has a horrifyingly caustic personality.
- Adaptational Jerkass: Florence's unpleasant behavior toward her servants is mainly original to the show.
- Girl of the Week
- I Can Change My Beloved: She believes that she can turn Bertie into an intellectual. He's horrified by the prospect.
- Minor Flaw, Major Breakup: Inverted. Despite the fact that she's mean, manipulative and utterly unsuited to Bertie in every way, besides being the kind of girl he typically avoids, he stays with her because she has a nice profile.
- She, on the other hand, is wont to ditch fiancés who let her down in any way (if only by failing to be moulded fast enough.)
- Rich Bitch: Her servants' nickname for her is "Lady Caligula."
- Thinks Like a Romance Novel: Not as a general rule, but she does fall into this line of thought when Bertie crawls through her bedroom window in the middle of the night.
Honoria, you see, is one of those robust, dynamic girls with the muscles of a welterweight and a laugh like a squadron of cavalry charging over a tin bridge. Brainy, moreover. The sort of girl who reduces you to pulp with sixteen sets of tennis and a few rounds of golf and then comes down to dinner fresh as a daisy, expecting you to take an intelligent interest in Freud.
- Abhorrent Admirer
- Brawn Hilda
- Does Not Know Her Own Strength: Most female characters in the series can make the same kind of excitable affectionate gestures that she does without anyone having to struggle to stay on their feet.
- Genius Bruiser
- I Can Change My Beloved
- Noblewoman's Laugh: Bertie's descriptions of her laughter are extremely...creative. He has likened it to, among other things, "the Scotch express going under a bridge".
- Uncanny Family Resemblance: To her cousin Heloise Pringle.
Sir Roderick Glossop
Everybody calls him a 'nerve specialist', but he's nothing more or less than a looney-doctor.
- Big Ol' Eyebrows: Bertie comments at one point that all of his hair appears to have migrated off his skull and taken up residence above his eyes.
- Breakout Character: Shows up in the Blandings Castle novels.
- Commonality Connection Though at first he and Bertie couldn't appear more different it turns out that they both stole biscuts from their headmasters when they were kids and that Sir Roderick used to help his buddies with their hare-brained schemes. Not to mention they both spend a large portion of Thank You, Jeeves stuck in Black Face.
- Heel–Face Turn: Though he starts out as an antagonist he mellows out considerably by the end of the series.
- Hypocritical Humor: He hates any hint of mental illness in others, but (on TV at least) is clearly incredibly neurotic himself. (In the books, he's just stern and humorless.)
- One-Steve Limit: Averted in two ways - Tuppy Glossop shares his last name (since he's a nephew), and Roderick Spode shares his first.
- Overprotective Dad
- Psycho Psychologist: Though a mild example of this trope, on TV, a lot of his ideas are extremely misguided not the mention the fact that he seems more neurotic than some of the people he believes to be mentally ill (i.e. Bertie). In
- The Shrink
Sir Watkyn Bassett
Emerald Stoker: What's he like?
Bertie: One of those horrors from outer space.
- Drunk with Power: He's a pompous little tinpot tyrant who is clearly more than a little in love with the rush of authority (and consequent ability to impose disproportionate sentences for minor misdemeanours) that being a minor courts magistrate / Justice of the Peace gives him.
- Corrupt Bureaucrat: Bertie's theory at least, in Code of the Woosters, as to the source of his wealth: "My own view was that he had got the stuff by sticking like glue to the fines. Five quic here, five quid there — you can see how it would mount up over a period of years."
- Grumpy Old Man: According to Bertie, his usual facial expression looks like "the 'before' picture in an ad for indigestion pills".
- Hanging Judge: Well, he would be if he were in the sort of court where that option is offered as a punishment. He's really more of a... 'Five Pounds And Time Served' Judge.
- Jerkass: Certainly to Bertie.
- Overprotective Dad
- Serious Business: He seems to view the purloining of policeman's helmets as a criminal offence to rival murder and treason.
Our views on each other were definite. His was that what England needed if it was to become a land fit for heroes to live in was fewer and better Woosters, while I had always felt that there was nothing wrong with England that a ton of bricks falling from a height on Spode's head wouldn't cure.
- The Brute: In the books, Spode is described as cutting an intimidating figure, being nearly seven feet tall and almost as broad. Bertie narrates at one point that it was "as if Nature had intended to make a gorilla, and had changed its mind at the last moment".
- The Comically Serious: Part of what makes his so funny is how deadly serious he is while making the hammiest, most pompous pronouncements ever.
- Cut His Heart Out with a Spoon: In the TV series, on more than one occasion he threatens Bertie with the phrase, "I will beat you to a jelly", among other hamtastic threats of bodily harm.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Roderick Spode is a loudmouthed prick with delusions of grandeur, but he's utterly devoted to Madeline Bassett.
- Hidden Depths: He runs a very successful women's underwear boutique, and is also an jewellery expert who can easily spot a fake pearl necklace.
- Insane Troll Logic: On the TV series, the thinking behind all of his "reforms".
- I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: His feelings towards Madeline. They eventually hitch up, much to Bertie's relief. Also a borderline case of Wife Husbandry as he's much older than her and has known her since she was a child.
- Large Ham: Particularly when he is giving a speech, or when he's preparing to unleash his fury upon any who have harmed Madeline Bassett. As the leader of a fascist movement, it should come as no surprise.
- Nazi Nobleman: Becomes a nobleman when he inherits his deceased uncle's title of the Earl of Sidcup.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: Was created by Wodehouse as a parody/Take That! toward Oswald Mosley.
- Once an Episode: In every one of his appearances (both in the stories and on TV), he gets hit in/over the head with something, a painting, a china basin, a collection of produce, or a small but serviceable rubber bludgeon. When he finally gets a chance to hit Bertie over the head with a vase, he's practically giddy.
- Real Men Wear Pink: He's a would-be dictator who designs ladies underwear.
- Sitcom Arch-Nemesis: To Bertie.
- Unmanly Secret: It would spell disaster for his political career if the public discovered his true profession, which is designing women's undergarments.
- Those Wacky Nazis: The 'Saviors of Britain,' aka 'The Blackshorts', his followers, are based on Mussolini's Fascists, but they're much (much, much) less effective than that other political movement inspired by Italian fascism.
- Worthy Opponent: 'Stinker' Pinker, the only member of Bertie's social circle to win Spode's respect, did it by knocking him unconscious.Spode: I didn't know curates had left hooks like that. He's got a knack of feinting you off balance and then coming in with a sort of corkscrew punch which it's impossible not to admire[...] A very pleasant little scrap with no ill feeling on either side.
Claude and Eustace Wooster
"You do think those poor, dear boys are safe, Bertie? They have not met with some horrible accident?"
It made my mouth water to think of it, but I said no, I didn't think they had met with any horrible accident. I thought Eustace was a horrible accident, and Claude about the same, but I didn't say so.
- Alcohol-Induced Idiocy: In their very first appearance, they're arrested for trying to pinch a motor-lorry while drunk.
- Put on a Bus: In "The Delayed Exit of Claude and Eustace", they're sent to South Africa after being expelled from Oxford, and, although they resist at first, they end up going willingly thanks to Jeeves.
- Single-Minded Twins
- The Thing That Would Not Leave: In "The Delayed Exit of Claude and Eustace".
- Trickster Twins
- Wacky Fratboy Hijinx: The reason that Bertie wound up with Sir Roderick Glossop's hat and cats and fish in his bedroom, also why they got kicked out of Oxford.
Rosie M. Banks
- I had always known in a sort of vague, general way that Mrs. Bingo wrote the world's worst tripe - Bingo generally changes the subject nervously if anyone mentions the little woman's output...
- Glurge Addict
- Happily Married: To Bingo Little.
- Last Girl Wins
- Sickeningly Sweethearts: With Bingo Little, whom she regularly refers to by such endearing epithets as "sweetie-lambkin". He's fine with this, but sometimes she goes too far even for him.
- Stylistic Suck: Her novels.
- Thinks Like a Romance Novel
- Uptown Girl: The premise of all her novels. In fact, part of the reason she falls for Bingo is that he goes after her while she's pretending to be a waitress, thereby proving that class differences don't matter to him.
Marmaduke "Chuffy" Chuffnell
- Bertie: Like most fellows with big homes these days, he's dashed hard up, poor bloke.
- Berserk Button: Being compared to Lord Wotwotleigh (a Gold Digger from a musical comedy).
- Embarrassing First Name: Goes to great lengths to conceal it; Bertie has been his friend since childhood, and only knows him by his nickname.
- Impoverished Patrician
- I Want My Beloved to Be Happy
- Manly Men Can Hunt: "He rides, swims, shoots, chivvies foxes with loud cries, and generally bustles about."
- Not with Them for the Money
- ...such beauty that she can rarely take her walks abroad without being whistled at by passing Americans.
- Amicable Exes: Bertie and Pauline were briefly engaged, and remain on good terms after breaking up.
- Brainless Beauty: More a case of being hot-blooded and impulsive than actually lacking in intelligence; in one example, it doesn't seem to have occurred to her that being found hanging out in Bertie's bed and wearing his pyjamas might give people the wrong idea.
- Genki Girl: Bertie lists this as one of the major reasons why any romantic ideas he may have had about her have died; she's "so dashedly dynamic".
- Head-Turning Beauty: As indicated by the above quote, Bertie describes her in this fashion.
- Like Brother and Sister: With Bertie, although considerable awkwardness is added by the fact that they used to be engaged and everybody (especially her disapproving father) assumes they're still infatuated with each other.
- Missing Mom: No mention is made of what happened to Ma Stoker, but she's no longer present.
- Upper-Class Twit: Of the female variety, though her family only came into the major portion of its wealth with the recent death of a distant relative.
- Weakness Turns Her On: The reason she accepted Bertie's proposal. Subverted when she goes for Chuffy instead.
- Girl Next Door: In contradiction to her glamorous sister Pauline.
- Last Girl Wins: She manages to end up with Gussie.
- Supreme Chef: She's incredibly good. Bertie, Gussie and Sir Watkyn all find themselves wandering the halls looking for late night leftovers of hers. In the end, it even wins over Aunt Dahlia to her.
- Violently Protective Girlfriend: When Sir Roderick comes looking for Gussie, once again plotting to harm or just outright kill him (after having already been knocked out by Stinker), she brains him into unconciousness.
- ...Aunt Dahlia's unbeatable French chef. Many's the time that I have regretted I have but one stomach to place at his disposal.
- Angry Chef: He is a very good chef who is nonetheless temperamental and easily upset.
- French Cuisine Is Haughty: He tends to be very temperamental and prone to threatening to quit whenever he feels like his work is not being appreciated.
- Living MacGuffin: Attempts by would-be employers to lure or trade for Anatole make the plots of several stories.
- Supreme Chef: The threat of being banned from sampling his gastronomic delights is often the club wielded by Aunt Dahlia when Bertie displays reluctance towards the idea of assisting in her latest Zany Scheme.
Oliver "Sippy" Sipperly
- Alcohol-Induced Idiocy: He punches a policeman, kicking off the plot of "Without the Option".
- Cannot Spit It Out
- Dreadful Musician: His singing is apparently quite awful (at any rate, Bertie thinks so).
- Insecure Love Interest: In "The Inferiority Complex of Old Sippy".
Claude Cattermole "Cat's-Meat" Pirbright
...he is the fellow managers pick first when they have a Society comedy to present and want someone for 'Freddie', the lighthearted friend of the hero, carrying the second love interest. If at such a show you see a willowy figure come bounding on with a tennis racket, shouting 'Hallo, girls' shortly after the kick-off, don't bother to look at the programme. That'll be Catsmeat.
- One-Steve Limit: Averted. He shares a first name with Claude Wooster.
- Star-Crossed Lovers
Cora "Corky" Pirbright (Cora Starr)
Catsmeat: "Corky's not like me. She's never been keen on acting, even though she's made such a hit at it. She's always wanted to retire to the country and raise dogs and pigs and things."
- Call to Agriculture: A film actress who'd rather raise mangel-wurzels.
- The Vamp: When it suits her purposes.Bertie: For reasons into which we need not go, you have been making Augustus Fink-Nottle the plaything of an idle hour.
...smallish, plumpish, Gawd-help-us-ish... As to his manner, I couldn't get a better word for it at the moment than 'familiar', but I looked it up later in Jeeves's Dictionary of Synonyms and found that it had been unduly intimate, too free, forward, lacking in proper reserve, deficient in due respect, impudent, bold, and intrusive.
- Accidental Misnaming: Apparently, as Jeeves informs Bertie in Much Obliged, Jeeves, his name isn't Brinkley, but Bingley. Seems Bertie called him by the wrong name for an entire book without discovering he was in error.
- Alcohol-Induced Idiocy: Of a particularly Ax-Crazy kind.Bertie: He went off on his afternoon out, came back in an advanced state of intoxication, set the house on fire and tried to dismember me with a carving knife...
- Hypocritical HumorBrinkley: I always thought you drank too much. Remember when you burned down that cottage? You must have been stewed to the gills...
- The Trickster
Bertie: "Watch out for that Scottie of hers. He biteth like a serpent and stingeth like an adder."
An Aberdeen terrier (Scottie) belonging to Miss Stephanie Byng.
- Badass Adorable
- Fluffy the Terrible: At various points he has treed Bertie and Sir Watkyn Bassett as well as Bertie and Jeeves.