20 March 2014 | q_leo_rahman
A short but well-done farce
This show is pretty much a farce set in an upper-class New England estate, where the owners and servants go about their daily lives and deal with various predicaments. It's nothing too serious or heavy- handed; the theme song itself spells out that "it's a grand, fairytale land life" at Marblehead Manor, where most of the occurrences that happen are fairly comical and fluffy for the most part quickly resolved, though not without comical developments.
This show is more or less a light-hearted comedy, but one that combines the best of UK and US humour. British and American comedies have a fundamental difference: with the British it's about subtlety and farce and more or less fumbling through embarrassing situations; meanwhile American comedies are in-your-face slapstick gags and vulgarity. Fusing the two would be a difficult and delicately balanced task, but this series pulls it off with flair and style.
What really counts are the performances: Paxton Whitehead and Bob Fraser do a masterful job as the butler and socialite who try to keep on top of situations even as they fall apart. Whitehead slides immaculately from competent servant to comically cracking up as he tries to keep stock of situations, while Fraser simply rides each situation with wonderful disregard and egotism (he wrote and produced the show, but his acting is also quite wonderful). The rest of the cast do quite well in their roles (keep an eye out for Phil Morris and Michael Richards), but the show belongs to Whitehead and Fraser. As I said, a great mix of British and American talent and comedy.
This show sadly didn't last too long, as around the time it came out America was switching away from shows like BENSON and towards blue- collar working-class comedies. If given another chance, this very entertaining sitcom could be enjoyed quite a lot.