Keeping Up Appearances is one of my favorite British sitcoms about one Hyacinth Bucket (pronounced “Bouquet” to her), a pretentious social climber who never fails to get herself into one sticky situation after another. There is much for her to worry about (and for us to enjoy) as she tries to climb that ever elusive ladder of social status.
First, there is her family. She has her two low-life sisters, Daisy & Rose, as well as Daisy’s husband, Onslow, who always show up at the “Bouquet” residence at the most inopportune times. Then she has her sister Violet, whose residence she is quick to note to anyone standing nearby has a Mercedes, sauna and room for a pony. There is her Daddy, who is always running away, sometimes in his old war uniform and sometimes with nothing at all. There is her husband Richard, who is most patient and rarely ever crosses her. There is her son Sheridan, who is forever phoning home and asking for money.
Second, there are all the people who are most unfortunate to cross her path. There’s Elizabeth and Emmett, her neighbors, who avoid going out during the day so as not to be noticed by Hyacinth. Hyacinth’s tea times with Elizabeth are hysterical, as are her attempts to get an invitation to sing in one of Emmett’s musical events. Then there is the young vicar and his wife who have learned to dread the site of the “Bucket woman” as well as her sister Rose, who has a not-so-secret crush on the vicar.
Third, there is a long list of characters who pop up in her life and pose all kinds of challenges to her social ambitions. There is the Major, one of my favorite characters, who is forever trying to seduce Hyacinth and never fails to get her into one awkward situation after another. There is the mailman, who can never slip by without being noticed. There are the people who call her, thinking they have reached the Chinese take-away, and rather than getting won tons they get a lecture they won’t forget anytime soon.
The acting here is top-notch. Patricia Routledge is a very talented actress who has won many prestigious awards. The show itself was nominated for 2 BAFTA awards (BAFTA = British Academy of Film & Television). Three of my favorite episodes that you won’t want to miss are “Driving Mrs. Fortescue,” “Riparian Entertainments” and “Country Estate Sale.”