Blightyvision: “Fry and Laurie Reunited”

Produced by Tiger Aspect Productions
Also featuring Tony Slattery, Emma Thompson, Ben Miller, Jo Brand, and a bunch of others

If you’re reading this column on any sort of a regular basis, you likely know enough about British comedy to know that Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie had an extensive career together before they went their separate ways career-wise.  But unless you’ve gone out of your way to read up on the pair, you might not actually know the length of their association and just how close they’ve been in all respects since meeting at Cambridge.

While “Fry and Laurie Reunited” does reflect a lot upon their time together onscreen, it starts as a sort of dual biographical documentary, tracing the childhoods and school years of both actors.  Once the narrative approaches their actual meeting, the two turn to interviewing each other — marking their first time together on television in fifteen years.

Fry is on his second autobiography now, meaning a lot of his childhood and youth is not exactly a secret to his fans.  Even so, those who have read up on his life will still be surprised at some of his anecdotes.  Meanwhile, Laurie has a great deal more to divulge, including some interesting alternate career choices.  These sections are visualized alternately via Victorian-esque caricatures (highly entertaining) and only tenuously related stock footage (entertaining but not always well executed).

Besides the “OMG SQUEE” factor that fans got as soon as they heard this even existed, there are two major reasons to try and get hold of this in whatever way possible:

First and foremost is the presence of older, harder-to-get footage.  Interspersed early on are clips from the very obscure “Alfresco” and “Crystal Cube,” two of the pair’s early attempts at television comedy.  Given the commentary from the pair and the other interviewees, it’s a bit difficult to tell how to feel about the relative loss of the shows — from a “historical” standpoint, though, it makes for entertaining viewing.

Secondly, and even more interesting, is the very personal look into the lives of Fry and Laurie as a pair.  Their personal stories go from hilarious to nearly heartbreaking as they discuss their lives living and working together before they both went solo.

There’s really only one thing properly disappointing about the show, and it was probably too much to ask anyway: a lot of fans, including myself, have been hoping for a proper TV show reunion where they could perform together “just like old times.”  And while they have noted that they are not averse to this, it should be said in advance that this is a retrospective, practically a documentary.  Nonetheless, watching the two together and seeing their distinctive style of humor resurfacing as soon as they sit down together is more than enough in and of itself.

This isn’t just a show for existing fans, though.  For people who only know Hugh Laurie as House, this is a fantastic opportunity for viewers to learn more about him and his comedy partner of old.  Well, “old” if you listen to them talk.  Once they get back together, it’s like no time has passed at all.

“Fry and Laurie Reunited” was a special feature for the UKTV-owned GOLD channel.  Good luck finding it through any sort of legal routes.

One Response

Subscribe to comments via RSS

  1. Written by arkonbey
    on 2010-12-30 at 21:46

    Because so much time has passed (and Fry not getting a House cameo), I always wondered if they were still friends. I hope they are truly, just because the world would truly suck if the actors who brought such chemistry to Jeeves and Wooster were no longer friends.

Subscribe to comments via RSS