Sunday, March 8, 2015


Mulberry was a British sitcom that aired thirteen episodes between February of 1992 and May of 1993. And it's probably one of the funniest shows I've ever seen in my entire life.
The title character, Mulberry, comes to the home of an elderly woman known for being difficult with her servants. The woman, Miss Farnaby, has recently dismissed one of her servants, and Mulberry appears to apply for the job.
Except that her manservant, Bert, hasn't put the ad up yet. So this Mulberry character seems somewhat psychic, or perhaps supernatural.
This show used to air in reruns weekly on PBS, and I caught a few episodes back in the day.
A while ago I saw the complete series in one of the local libraries, and decided it might be nice to pick up and watch. And I was surprised by how funny it all was.
And by how melancholy some of the series was. Honestly, I don't think I've ever seen any show that's made me both this happy and this sad all in one episode. Aside from Doctor Who, maybe.
Funnily enough, the plot is actually one of the strongest aspects of this show. And comedy with an interesting serial plot isn't something I've seen very often.
Throughout the series, we see glimpses of a mysterious figure in a black trenchcoat, continually shadowing Mulberry. And Mulberry hints at some sort of purpose of being where he is.
Miss Farnaby is a hermit, holed up inside her mansion, hardly leaving, and treating pretty much everyone poorly. Mulberry has set out to make her life better, to bring her some kind of happiness.
And eventually we find out why, but I won't give that away just yet.
Along the way, we are taken on a hilarious and sad journey with the characters of Mulberry, Miss Farnaby, and Bert and Alice Finch.
Gradually, Mulberry brings Miss Farnaby out of her shell, and she softens to the world.
But time is not on Mulberry's side. He winds up being abducted by the mysterious figure, and we find out exactly what his purpose is.
The Stranger is in fact, Death. Mulberry is his son, and has been sent here to escort his first soul out of the realm of the living, but he doesn't want to, because he's become attached to Miss Farnaby, Bert, and Alice. He doesn't want to leave, and he doesn't want to take Miss Farnaby away from the world before he brings her some true happiness. His father gives him a rather short time limit of I think three or so months to ease Miss Farnaby out of her shell and to the point where Mulberry is comfortable with ending her life.
Unfortunately, the series never came to a conclusion, having ended after the second season, and never being continued. Rather unfortunate, considering how funny it was and how well-written the characters and story were.
As prime candidates for a reboot go, I'd say it would be great if  they could somehow capture the same kind of spark Mulberry did before.
Unfortunately, this concept is something I wouldn't want to trust anyone to pull off, because the original was so well-made, I'd be afraid of them ruining the entire concept.
As far as television shows go, I'd say Mulberry is worth your time. It lasted thirteen episodes, it's hilarious, and despite the fact that it never got an ending, I actually think that it's better like that.
The show was heart-wrenchingly sad enough as it was, and seeing Mulberry having to take the life of his friend would have been devastating to watch.
After that, the show probably would have ended for good, Mulberry leaving Bert and Alice alone, going off to bring others a hint of joy before their time came. Doing his best to make the world a happier place, while also performing his duties as Death.
So, all in all, I say that the show was excellent. If you can find it, pick it up, it's well worth your time.
I give it a 10.1* rating. I'll see you next week with Guardians of the Galaxy.

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