Yes Minister!

What a marvellous creation. Stupendous satire. High quality entertainment and most superior wit. Perhaps one of the best television programmes ever made. What makes it more praiseworthy is the topic which this series has chosen to deal with – government and the bureaucracy.

Having seen some of that bureaucratic mumbo jumbo from close quarters, I can appreciate the humour tremendously. As it has been reported, even Margaret Thatcher saw it and found it highly amusing.

As witty as the writing is, equally superior is the acting. Paul Eddington as Jim Hacker portrays the minister who is confused and essentially led by the civil servants in an  immaculate manner. Nigel Hawthorne as the machiavellian bureaucrat, Sir Humphrey Appleby, and the true incharge of the government business, is terrific. Nothing to say of his long winding, ever confusing, never clear terribly long speeches given to the clueless minister. Then, there is Bernard Wolley played by Derek Fowlds as the smiling middle man,  generally quiet , who jokes at the most imopportune moments and quibbles about things like actual physical impossibility of a said act, does his part with perfection.

This series has been a pure joy to watch. It is high quality entertainment. It is the genius satire, sarcasm and wit which is often attributed to the British. It is a must watch!!


Harold and Kumar series

I had seen Harold Kumar go to Whitecastle a year ago and I was laughing so much that my stomach hurt.  Then yesterday I saw the second one -Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay. It was so funny and gross and a satire on American politics. It was bigger than the previous one but better? I have to say there is a tie.

Everything that can go wrong does and then unthinkable happens and they are on the run while we enjoy their situations. The unique thing is the casting. There is no major white actor and the lead actors are Indian and Korean. Every stereotype is demolished there and I just love it not only for the mindless comedy that it is but for the understated voice that lies beneath all the weed, nudity and weirdness.

People who are young at heart would do better to watch it.

Equal Rites – Terry Pratchett

This is the first book by Terry Pratchett that I have read. His reputation had preceded this as a funny writer and I say that in my eyes his level has reached only higher. He is so witty in his writing. The scenes, the satire, the occasional weirdness..all just work out amazingly.

Equal Rites is about an accidental female wizard and her godmother who is a witch. This is a major anomaly in the DiscWorld ( which is a world in the shape of a disc supported by four elephants standing on the back of a giant turtle !) . Women are supposed to be witches who should do household magic and headology than high magic like wizardry which has angles, numbers and “jommettry” which women cannot fathom since there is no clarity of thought. But here we have a girl who is a wizard and a witch and she is bent upon getting into the Unseen University. The turn of events which take place thus are hilarious.

A mocking take on fantasy as a genre, on gender issues, on stereotypes, on governments ( the wizards reached a consensus that the broken roof patching was not their job after all, the council of Liars in the Zoon tribe etc ) , equal rites is entertaining and thought provoking. However, it is lighter than the issues it deals with.

No doubt that Pratchett is a comic genius. I am expecting that I will be reading more of him hereafter.