Movie Review, Keeping Up Appearances: Disc 1: My Way or the Hyacinth Way

By MILT GROSS | Feb 02, 2013

Hyacinth Bucket, pronounced “Bouquet,” leads one of the most hilarious comedies of all times, of course it’s British and an oldie from 1990.

It turned out that we had already seen these episodes on public TV, but we laughed just as hard as the first time we viewed them.

Every character cast in this series was perfect for the role, beginning with Patricia Routledge, who leads as the arrogant social climber, followed somewhat cynically around by husband Richard, played by Clive Swift, and entangling a host of others.

What I find the most intriguing in this series is the play between the snobbish social climber and the poor relatives, who exhibit traits exactly opposite of the impression Hyacinth wishes people to view those of her and Richard as demonstrating to those who care -- basically nobody. While Hyacinth keeps her nose in the air and won’t allow Richard to even wear a garden-dirtied sweater in the front yard, poor-brother-in-law Onslow slouches in a worn chair while wearing a sleeveless T-shirt and bangs on the top of an old TV to turn it on. The episodes switch between the two families.

Demented Hyacinth and sisters’ father roaming naked through the city and undertaking other totally nutty stunts only adds to the comic effect and stress for Hyacinth. Not to be outdone in the comic department is Hyacinth’s next-door neighbor who repeatedly drops old, expensive cups and other dishware on Hyacinth’s expensive carpet, breaking them, of course, and the electric meter reader who Hyacinth insists take off his shoes before entering her house. And lots of others, including the vicar and his wife.

Everyone Hyacinth encounters mispronounces her last name to be Bucket and is painstakingly corrected by Hyacinth.

Much of the action episode by episode includes the same incidents, hilarious for their inappropriate silliness and embarrassment for the would-be high-society Hyacinth. No matter how many times you view the same incidents, they are hilarious.

Disc 1 includes “The Name is Bouquet (B-U-C-K-E-T,)” “Welcoming the Dishy Vicar,” “Visiting an Acquaintance’s Stately Home,” “A Fate Worse than Senility,” “Our Daisy and Her Toy Boy,” and “How to Manage a Family Christening.” Other discs include many different titles.

I may be getting old -- yesterday’s cutting and removing a fallen tree from our driveway’s making me wonder if I haven’t gone from 29.5 to 30.5, but I find the newer sit-coms silly and constantly hinting at sex, but not funny or including substance in the story line. In contrast, I find these old ones, especially those from the British Broadcasting Company, totally hilarious, dealing openly with sex in a humorous way, and containing real story lines.

We get ours from Netflix, but they are available at various sites online for a price.

I highly recommend this three-hour Keeping Up Appearances: Disc 1: My Way or the Hyacinth Way for some solid hilarity. If you haven’t seen these old ones, grab them and start laughing. If you have viewed them, watch them again and laugh once more at those zany episodes.

Milt Gross can be reached for corrections, harassment, or other purposes at

Milton M. Gross Copyright 2013

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