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Keeping Up Appearances: Everything's Coming Up Hyacinth (DVD)
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Satirical British sitcom Keeping Up Appearances centers around the imposing person of Hyacinth Bucket (Patricia Routledge), a snobbish, self-deluded, and tyrannical English matron who pronounces her last name "bouquet." In the third series, Hyacinth's long-suffering husband Richard (Clive Swift) submits unwillingly to early retirement, earning the sympathy of their terrorized neighbors Elizabeth (Josephine Tewson) and Emmett (David Griffin). The show ping-pongs back and forth between Hyacinth's irrepressible social-climbing efforts (she connives to get an invitation to the Royal Garden Party, among other things) and the floundering lives of her lower-class sisters Rose (Mary Millar) and Daisy (Judy Cornwell) and Daisy's slovenly husband Onslow (Geoffrey Hughes), who wallow in laziness and sexual frustration. The show's strength comes from the balance between Routledge--a comic powerhouse, able to blithely steamroll over everyone else in the excellent cast--and the subtle underplaying of Swift. --Bret Fetzer
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