The GLG Reports
Page 23 of 67

What the Butler Saw
By Grant L. Goggans

"Kindly confine your activities to the garden, and don't blow up the roses again!" Nailing down the plot of this installment is a little difficult, and somewhat beyond the point. "What the Butler Saw" is probably the first Avengers installment to just drop the pretense of coming up with a gripping story and play the comedy angle instead, keeping our attention with increasing amounts of silliness and gags until we finally reach some plot developments in the second half. For the most part, it works as well as any comedy can hope to. Some of the gags bomb, many work outrageously well. Even the death of the barber at the beginning is played for laughs, as his killer corks a small bottle of gel in the barber's mouth to keep him from screaming. Steed's undercover guises are really funny, particularly as each wears facial hair groomed to the standards of the branch of service. Best of all is the RAF "alphabet soup" banter, which doesn't make a lick of sense and should have you laughing loudly. Diana Rigg is in great form as well, raising eyebrows in disbelief as Steed begins telling her his plan to get at Group Captain Miles, then smirking ever so softly as she begins to realize how much fun she'll have playing out "Operation Fascination." She didn't get to play the femme fatale nearly as often as she should have! Still, despite the huge charm of the first third, "What the Butler Saw" must lose a few points in a critical analysis because that fun first third could have been pruned considerably and the plot spiced up. Happily, while the action and comedy may be superfluous, it remains watchable and entertaining.

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