The Secret Diary of Desmond Pfeiffer (1998– )

TV Series  -   -  Comedy
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The misadventures of Abraham Lincoln, his loony associates, and the only sane man amongst them, the President's black butler Desmond.

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Title: The Secret Diary of Desmond Pfeiffer (1998– )

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1998 | unknown


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Series cast summary:
 Desmond Pfeiffer (4 episodes, 1998)
 Nibblet (4 episodes, 1998)
 Abraham Lincoln (4 episodes, 1998)
 Mary Todd Lincoln (4 episodes, 1998)
Kelly Connell ...
 Ulysses S. Grant (4 episodes, 1998)


Desmond Pfeiffer (the P is pronounced) was a black British gentleman who was run out of England after being accused of cheating at cards. He takes a job as butler to a perpetually horny Abraham Lincoln in the White House during the Civil War. Written by Jeff Cross <>

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Critics hate it. See more »







Release Date:

5 October 1998 (USA)  »

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Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The series not-so-subtly lampooned the Bill Clinton administration. See more »

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User Reviews

Reputation completely unrelated to reality
11 March 2014 | by (Luton) – See all my reviews

Generally I don't write many reviews because usually everything's already been said at least once. But that is not the case with "The Secret Diary of Desmond Pfeiffer". (Premise: Abraham Lincoln had a black butler who was the only brains of the White House during the Civil War. Call it a US version of Blackadder the 3rd.)

This series has gained a reputation for being a turkey, but in reality, there wasn't really that much wrong with it. But we never found out because after 4 episodes it was canceled under false accusations of racism (5 episodes remain unaired).

And, I have some proof for this: One year later there was a historical comedy about the first American colonists, called "Thanks". It has six episodes and if you watch it, you'll see that it's very comparable, basically following the same pattern, with the same level of humor as "Pfeiffer", perhaps it's even less funny. But look it up, and you'll find it has a rating of 8.5, more than double the 4.2 that "Pfeiffer" has now. If you watch an episode of both shows, I think no-one can deny that "Thanks" is in no way superior, the only difference is that Pfeiffer's reputation has become a self fulfilling prophecy: We've been told that it's rotten, so we find it easier to spot bad points (cognitive bias, as it's known scientifically).

Of course, this doesn't mean everyone has to suddenly like this show. The British do this sort of thing better, I know. Perhaps Pfeiffer was too much like Blackadder and American audiences couldn't deal with it when it was their own history that was being turned upside down.

Hopefully there will one day be a chance to see all 9 episodes. Actually it's unlikely (I've only seen 3 myself). But IF that ever happens, judge it for what it really is, not for what others have been repeating about it.

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