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Recap / Blackadder S 3 E 1 Dish And Dishonesty

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Edmund Blackadder, now a butler to the Prince Regent is not happy. Despite the usual problems of dealing with all the idiots around him, Prince George's extravagant sock habit is bankrupting the country, and Parliament is trying to cut him off. The only way to stop Prince George being utterly bankrupted is to tip the vote in their favour, which means getting one of their own elected to Parliament, but who? A man without a will of his own, a puppet, purely under their control. One might almost say, a man without a brain.

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Baldrick gets elected to Parliament after an outrageously rigged election. However, Baldrick is so stupid he votes for the wrong side and the bill passes, moving on to the House of Lords. Blackadder uses this as an opportunity to swindle a fortune and a peerage out of the Prince Regent, but he's a bit too subtle about it and the Prince gives the rewards to Baldrick instead. Baldrick promptly spends the money on his lifelong dream, a priceless turnip - which Blackadder immediately smashes over his head.


  • Aluminium Christmas Trees: Rotten boroughs where there is only one voter or they are all controlled by one person? Actually existed in Britain up until 1832. And sending some useful idiot to parliament as a representative of the owner of said borough? If anything, Baldrick was probably an intellectual next to some of these people.
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  • Anachronism Stew: Done blatantly for laughs with Vincent Hanna reading out the by-election results a la an actual election news special.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking:
    • The prince regent's chief expenses are banqueting, perfume and socks.
    • The Standing At the Back Dressed Stupidly and Looking Stupid Party's main policies are the compulsory serving of asparagus at breakfast, free corsets for children under 5 and the abolition of slavery (though they do note they only wrote the last one in for a joke).
  • Artistic License – History:
    • In real life, Pitt the Younger was a close ally of King George. Actually, he was thrown in just to make fun of his name. The episode's credits also imply that he was a member of the Whig Party, when in fact the real Pitt the Younger was a member of the Conservative Party (albeit his father had been a Whig).
    • The episode also implies that he directly succeeded his father, Pitt the Elder, who died five years before his son came to power, and ten years after he himself left the position.
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    • Pitt the Younger's real-life younger brother, James Pitt, also died before he came to power, meaning that there wouldn't have been a "Pitt the Even Younger" to run in the by-election. He did have an older brother, John Pitt, who was alive during the events of this episode, but he was a member of the House of Lords at the time.note 
  • Brick Joke: The greatest of all Pitt the Younger's complaints against Prince George is how much he spends on socks. Unsurprisingly, in Blackadder and the Prince's first scene together, it turns out Blackadder is stealing them and selling them. At the very end of the episode, a naked Tunisian sock merchant comes to the servant's entrance looking for Blackadder.
  • Brutal Honesty: Sir Talbot Buxomley is pretty blunt in telling Prince George he thinks he's a terrible prince regent.
  • Cheating with the Milkman: Blackadder makes a reference to this when Pitt mentions his brother: "And which Pitt would this be? Pitt the Toddler? Pitt the Embryo? Pitt the Glint in the Milkman's Eye?"
  • Comically Small Bribe: Baldric would be perfectly content with a turnip, provided he didn't feel he was pricing himself out of the market.
  • The Coroner Doth Protest Too Much: The returning officer and lone voter in Dunny-on-the-Wold apparently died, respectively, from accidentally brutally cutting his head off while combing his hair, and accidentally brutally stabbing himself in the stomach while shaving.
  • Credits Gag: Vincent Hanna plays "His Own Great-great-great grandfather"
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance:
    Vincent Hanna: Well, many people may find your stance on asparagus perfectly reasonable, but what's this extremist nonsense about abolishing slavery?
    Ivor "Jest Ye Not, Madam" Biggunnote : Oh, we just put that in for a joke. See you next year!
  • Election Day Episode: Parodies this for all its worth.
  • Fictional Political Party: "Keep Royalty White, Rat Catching and Safe Sewage Residents" and the "Standing at the Back, Dressed Stupidly and Looking Stupid Party".
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: Blackadder's remark about "Lady Hamilton's pussy" - he's wearing her dead cat as a cape.
  • Inside Job: The only reason Prince George is bankrupt is because he has to keep replacing the socks Blackadder is implied to be stealing from him.
    Prince George: It was as if someone was coming in here, stealing the damn things and selling them off!
    Blackadder: That is ridiculous, sir. Only you and I have access to your socks.
  • Insistent Terminology: Even as Blackadder's bludgeoning him senseless to get his bribe money back, Baldrick still corrects him that he should be properly addressed as "my lord".
  • Jerkass: Sir Talbot Buxomley apparently eats dinner off his servant's backs, because why spend money on tables when he's got men standing around?
  • Landslide Election: Baldrick note  wins the election, 16,472 to 0. In a constituency with one voter. Vincent Hanna's ancestor questions this anomaly, to which the voter in question, Blackadder himself, explains that he cast so many votes because he believed in Baldrick so much.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Ultimately, Blackadder's dire situation at the end of the episode is partly his own fault, for stealing George's socks and driving his living costs even higher than their already-extravagant levels.
  • Last-Name Basis: Baldrick has not had a first name until this episode. Now it seems to be Sod Off, but even he's not sure.
    Blackadder (filling out an MP application form): First name?
    Baldrick: I'm not sure.
    Blackadder: Well, surely you must have some idea?
    Baldrick: Well, I think it might be Sod Off.
    Blackadder: ... What?
    Baldrick: Well, when I was little and I used to go and play in the gutter with all the other snipes, I'd say, "Hello, my name's Baldrick," and they replied, "Yes, we know, Sod off, Baldrick."
    Blackadder: Oh, alright. Mr. S. Baldrick.
  • The Linus: Pitt The Younger. He seems to be a prodigy in politics and business, but he also writes angsty poetry and says things like 'poo to you with knobs on.'
  • Malaproper: This episode introduces this aspect of Baldrick's character.
  • Newscaster Cameo: At the time the episode aired, Vincent Hanna was an actual newsreader, hence his credit in this episode as his own great, great, great grandfather.
  • Only One Name: When Blackadder asks Baldrick what is his first name, he replies that he isn't sure, but it might be "Sodoff" (because when he was little, he'd say to the other kids "Hello, my name's Baldrick," and they'd say, "Yes, we know. Sod off, Baldrick.")
  • Servile Snarker: The first episode with this sort of Blackadder.
  • Shout-Out: The "Standing at the back dressed stupidly and looking stupid party" reminds one a lot of the "Very Silly" candidates in Monty Python's election night special sketch.
    • They're actually based on the Monster Raving Loony Party, a genuine political party who, in general, stand at the back dressed stupidly and look stupid. And, as in real British elections, the returning officer is put in the ridiculous situation of being forced to take them seriously. Similarly, Brigadier General Horace Bolsom is a reference to perpetual independent candidate Lieutenant Commander William Boaks.
  • Strange Minds Think Alike: When the idea of the House of Lords comes up, Blackadder eagerly declares that "every man-jack" of them would be behind Prince George. Soon after, as the notion is brought to the Prince himself, he says much the same thing, a rare time Blackadder and George are thinking on the same wavelength.
  • Take That!: While Blackadder is filling out Baldrick's MP application form:
    Blackadder: Criminal record?
    Baldrick: Absolutely not.
    Blackadder: Oh, come on, Baldrick, you're going to be an MP for God's sake. I'll just put down fraud and sexual deviancy.
  • Tempting Fate: A double-whammy, when Sir Talbot declares he shall stand by George forever, even as he's wracked by ill-health. As George tries to say he's clearly in perfect health, Blackadder notices Sir Talbot has suffered a sudden case of dead.
  • Who's on First?: When Vincent Hanna tries to interview Baldrick:
    Hanna: Perhaps he could answer one question. What does the "S" in his name stand for?
    Blackadder: "Sod off".
    Hanna: Fair enough, none of my business, really.
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