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YMMV / Jeeves and Wooster

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  • Accidental Innuendo: Bertie uses the now-obsolete slang term "to touch [someone]", meaning to con them out of money. Nowadays viewers automatically think he means literally touching someone.
    • In "Chuffy" Bertie complains Seabury was "trying to touch me for five bob", which sounds... much less innocent than what actually happened. This goes beyond accidental innuendo and becomes accidentally disturbing because Seabury is a teenager.
    • In "The Full House" Bertie says Rocky's aunt thinks he's "touching [Rocky] for free meals". He means she thinks he's sponging off Rocky, but it sounds like she thinks he's doing something else entirely.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • Jeeves can become quite sinister when you look at him a certain way. He manipulates Bertie to be dependent on him and passive-aggressively forces him to live in a way that keeps Jeeves employed — although in the end, he always reveals to Bertie what he's done, and not only does Bertie not mind, he's happier hanging out with Jeeves than with any other character.
      • Jeeves gets the "Friends of..." treatment on That Mitchell and Webb Sound; while they think Bertie's OK, they don't like his "creepy PA" whose "Byzantine" schemes invariably involve throwing dogs in lakes and making Bertie look like an idiot.
    • By a similar token, Bertie's Upper-Class Twit tendencies often seem to be little more than a front or self-deprecation. He's not nearly as stupid as he likes to pretend, just too lazy or afraid of confrontation to think things through, and quite a lot of the scrapes he gets into are because he's perpetually in the company of those who are far more eccentric (and sometimes downright stupid) than he is. He's certainly quick to recognise when various of his friends are being fools and point out the flaws in their daft plans, and he's by far the least idiotic of his social circle. If he were really stupid, he'd fire Jeeves for constantly defying his every last whim, whereas the overall dramatic arc of every Jeeves & Wooster story consists of Bertie at first forgetting and then remembering that Jeeves is better at defending Bertie's best interests than Bertie himself is.
  • Aluminum Christmas Trees: Many of the goofy musical-hall songs of which Bertie is an aficionado are real-life examples of the genre.
  • Cant Unhear It: After once seeing the series, it is quite impossible to read the stories without hearing Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie as the title characters.
  • Fandom-Enraging Misconception: Jeeves is not a butler. He is a valet (or a gentleman's gentleman). There is a difference. Woe betide you if a fan hears you refer to him as such...or, worse, as a chauffeur. And in British English, the t in valet is not silent - so VA-llut, not valéy. However, as Bertie Wooster remarks in the novels, if the need for a butler does arise, Jeeves can "buttle with the best of them."
  • Harsher in Hindsight: One of the characters, Roderick Spode, was a satirical No Celebrities Were Harmed take on the pre-World War II British fascist leader Oswald Mosley who first appeared in The Code of the Woosters (1938). Wodehouse could not have imagined the way another fascist government would affect his life a couple of years later — caught up in the German invasion of France (where he'd moved), Wodehouse was captured and coerced into participating in several German propaganda broadcasts. As a result of the scandal that followed, Wodehouse would never again set foot in the country of his birth to the day he died.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • It's now even funnier to see so much slapstick nonsense happening at Downton Abbey.
    • In series four Elizabeth Spriggs plays Aunt Agatha. Two years later in Sense and Sensibility, she played Hugh Laurie's mother-in-law.
  • Ho Yay:
    • Bertie describes himself as a 'Nature's bachelor', and seems to get very upset when he has a tiff with Jeeves. There are also the 'tender glances' and comparisions between Jeeves and the wives and sweethearts of Bertie's friends. Jeeves, on the other hand, practically goes ballistic (by his own inhibited standards) if Bertie ever gets engaged and goes to great lengths to keep his master unmarried. Of course, he is stated to have a strict policy of never working for married men. It's up to the reader which way to take this, as it's probably unintentional. (To some people, Bertie gets entirely too upset for an employer when Jeeves gives him the cold-shoulder.)
    • Jeeves certainly seems pretty upset when Bertie wears clothing he dislikes. There's an instance in one of the stories where Bertie makes up with Jeeves after some disagreement over clothing, and then he says that he feels like a hero in a story who made up with his wife after a quarrel.
    • There are those that have considered "Thank You, Jeeves" a break-up, make-up story when Jeeves leaves Bertie's employ due to Bertie's new habit of playing a banjolele. After much chaos involving black-face, Bertie's new valet going on an erratic drunken rampage and setting fire to Bertie's cottage (which destroys the banjolele), and engagement confusion, they get back together.
    • The two greatest Ho Yay Jeeves stories are considered to be in "The Aunt and the Sluggard" and "Bertie Changes His Mind" (both from the book "Carry On, Jeeves"). In the former, Bertie is forced out of his own apartment and has to stay alone at a hotel, prompting several pages of him angsting about how miserable his life is without Jeeves. The latter is the only story in the canon narrated by Jeeves. Many a troper's suspicions were confirmed when Jeeves refers to his and Bertie's situation as "our cozy bachelor establishment."
    • Personally, this troper finds the most Ho Yay instance in the Jeeves & Wooster stories to be the end of 'Jeeves and the Tie That Binds', where Jeeves destroys all the pages in the Junior Ganymede's book he's written about Bertie because he intends to stay with Bertie 'indefinitely', and when Bertie asks what keeps Jeeves with him despite all their arguments, Jeeves tells him there is a 'Tie That Binds' that keeps them together. Also, there is a scene at the end of 'The Inimitable Jeeves' where Bertie is fully prepared to fire Jeeves for what he's done, but he comes in and sees his perfect apartment and perfect valet and is utterly pacified.
    • Note closely above the name of Jeeves's club in London, for valets ... the Junior ... (ahem) ... Ganymede Club. Ganymede is the cupbearer and male lover of Zeus in Greek mythology.
    • In the show, despite their official Heterosexual Life-Partners status, Bertie and Jeeves both seem almost suspiciously determined to make sure Bertie never ends up with whatever woman he's gotten himself engaged to. Early in the show's run Jeeves will explain that he thinks the fiancée is a "bad match" but as the plot kept coming up it was taken for granted that Bertie was simply never to marry if he and Jeeves can find him a way out of it.
    • In the very first episode, Aunt Agatha describes Bertie's perfect wife - a description that fits Jeeves like the most fashionable of gloves.
  • Seasonal Rot: The episodes set in New York are not as fondly remembered.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: "Joy in the Morning" has Bertie's Aunt Agatha suddenly married to Florence Craye's father with no foreshadowing or context in the preceding stories. The circumstances behind their courtship, and its effect on Bertie, could have supplied a whole book's worth of Cringe Comedy.
  • Values Dissonance: A few instances of casual racism in the books, very typical of the period. In particular, minstrels in blackface are presented as harmless jolly fun. There's also a problematic scene wherein it turns out Jeeves has rid himself of Bertie's latest fashion faux pas — bright purple socks — by giving them to a New York elevator operator, who then thanks Bertie using 'Negro' dialect more suited to one of those minstrel shows. (It should be noted, though, that Bertie's reaction is characteristically gracious; clearly the Code of the Woosters is fairly broad-minded.)
    • In the TV series the Values Dissonance of the minstrel show is Lampshaded: Jeeves comments on the supposed origins of blackface minstrels, saying that its being based on plantation slaves singing songs about their happy lives to be "an unlikely contingency, one surmises, bearing in mind their situation." Jeeves also has a very subtle expression of disgust on his face in this scene.
    • No one raises an eyebrow at Roderick Spode proposing to Madeline Basset, even though he's not only several years older then her (Wodehouse never mentions Spode's age, but he's a close friend of her father so he might well be a generation older) but has known and loved her since she was a child, or at least a teenager. It gets even worse in the TV series, as John Turner was 58 when he started playing Spode and Stiffy Byng, Madeline's cousin, calls him 'Uncle Roderick' a lot of the time.
  • The Woobie: We dare you to not want to give Bertie a hug after all the crap he goes through in some episodes. True for the books as well.