Ok last year was very depressing, especially in how I had planned to end my overview with optimism but real world… shall we say… complications made me change that final part. So instead, this year let us look to something that’s more seasonal. Christmas Specials. Or Holiday Specials… In fact, watching them little to none have any religious imagery. Most are about the season thus being more a cultural thing.
Yes Minister is one of my favourite comedies (it was also apparently Margaret Thatcher’s favourite but we won’t hold that against the show). It’s a show about politics, namely how government is run and the insanity of it all. Starring Jim Hacker who in the wake of his party’s (which is never identified, one of the strengths of the show) victory in the General Election is given the position Minister of Administrative Affairs and so is working with/against the civil service, most notably his Permanent Secretary, Sir Humphrey Appleby.
Party Games comes after the 3rd season and initially takes place at December but as the Special goes on a fair amount of time passes. It starts with Humphrey getting promoted to Cabinet Secretary. What then leads are the events that would ultimately lead to the next season of the show, where Jim Hacker has become Prime Minister. So yes, it’s the story of how he goes from Minister to Prime Minister.
What we thus see is all the main characters playing to their full abilities. While much of the seasons have Jim and Humphrey at odds with one another, each trying to win out for their various stances. But in Party Games they both are working to the same goal so at no point do they hinder each other and we see just what each are capable of. Neither shown as any sort of incompetent but just how they got their jobs.
The Special is thus filled with the clever word play, tonal jokes as well as pushing the joke of just how insane politics actually is to whole new levels ready for the series natural evolution with its 4th and 5th season. All with Humphrey’s last words in the Special ushering it forth.
While Christmas or New Years really doesn’t play that much of a role in it barring one of the catalysts to the events its definitely one of my favourites for the clever comedy.