reprise: September 2004 Archives

If you liked "Yes, Minister," the brilliant BBC series about a newly elected Member of Parliament wandering Alice-like in the Wonderland of a government run by Her Majesty's civil service, then Virgil says rush out and rent the sequel: "Yes, Prime Minister."  It is even funnier.

The first series depicts the antagonistic relationship between Jim Hacker, M.P. (Paul Eddington) and his slithery civil service handler, Sir Humphrey Appleby (Nigel Hawthorne in his prime). Also present is Sir Humphrey's apprentice, the overeducated Bernard Woolley (Derek Fowlds, master of the slow burn).

By the end of the first series, Hacker still doesn't know how to get the better of Sir Humphrey, although he's learning.  You get the feeling that no politician in this system is any match for the careerists whose whole purpose in life is to keep the pols from doing anything that would upset their bureaucratic apple-cart.

In the second series, Hacker is chosen as Prime Minister because the Party cannot decide between two powerful men and sees Hacker as ineffectual and therefore safe.  But such is the satisfying comedy of the thing: Hacker rises to the occasion, and relishing his new power starts giving it back to Sir Humphrey in ways that will make you laugh out loud.

Again, who would have thought so much comedy could be wrested from the spectacle of close associates vying for power?  My political friends tell me that this is what Tip O'Neill really meant by his famous remark, "All politics is local."  The question is, why are we Americans so incapable of seeing the humor of it?

September 8, 2004 8:45 AM |

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This page is a archive of entries in the reprise category from September 2004.

reprise: March 2005 is the next archive.

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About Last Night
Terry Teachout on the arts in New York City
Artful Manager
Andrew Taylor on the business of arts & culture
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rock culture approximately
critical difference
Laura Collins-Hughes on arts, culture and coverage
Dewey21C
Richard Kessler on arts education
diacritical
Douglas McLennan's blog
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Dalouge Smith advocates for the Arts
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Art from the American Outback
Life's a Pitch
For immediate release: the arts are marketable
Mind the Gap
No genre is the new genre
Performance Monkey
David Jays on theatre and dance
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Paul Levy measures the Angles
Real Clear Arts
Judith H. Dobrzynski on Culture
Rockwell Matters
John Rockwell on the arts
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Jan Herman - arts, media & culture with 'tude

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Apollinaire Scherr talks about dance
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Tobi Tobias on dance et al...

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Doug Ramsey on Jazz and other matters...

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Martha Bayles on Film...

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Fresh ideas on building arts communities
The Future of Classical Music?
Greg Sandow performs a book-in-progress
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Exploring Orchestras w/ Henry Fogel
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Harvey Sachs on music, and various digressions
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Kyle Gann on music after the fact
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Greg Sandow on the future of Classical Music
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Norman Lebrecht on Shifting Sound Worlds

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Jerome Weeks on Books
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Drama Queen
Wendy Rosenfield: covering drama, onstage and off
lies like truth
Chloe Veltman on how culture will save the world

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Regina Hackett takes her Art To Go
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