12 January 2007

stick that in your Liberty Bell and ring it

Jack of All Trades - President Thomas Jefferson dispatches spy Jack Stiles (Bruce Campbell) to the tiny isle of Palau-Palau to block the advance of Napoleon Bonaparte (aptly played by Verne Troyer) in this offbeat adventure series. Masquerading as a manservant, Jack and his partner -- winsome British agent Emilia Rothschild (Angela Dotchin) -- aim to thwart Napoleon while also combating the corrupt colonial governor (Stuart Devenie).

I'd forgotten about the introduction to Jack of All Trades. It's ... special. But then, so is the show. On one hand, I don't think the half-hour time frame was right for it--didn't give the opportunity for much character development from episode to episode. On the other hand, how many punny would-be patriotic quips and back-biting between American Jack Styles and English Emilia Rothschild can you take in one sitting? Actually, it's not even "would-be" patriotism; it's tongue-in-cheek patriotism.

I think my favourite episodes are the four including Napoleon (Verne Troyer). Yes. Mini-me as Napoleon. But that's the level of silliness, and why even what might be an annoying display of patriotism can be taken in stride.

Also, there seems to be some online contention about whether Palau-Palau (the island on which the series is meant to occur) is supposed to be in the South Pacific or the Caribbean. I'll just say that they would be better off on deeming it the South Pacific (though, historically, the West Indies would probably make more sense). The "natives" are all either Maori (because it was filmed in New Zealand) or South East Asians--no Africans or Central- or South Americans among them, a fact that just doesn't jive with the Caribbean idea.

Typical to Bruce, it's fun and cheesy and probably only to be appreciated by his crazy fans (of which I am one).

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