Benchley, in his own unique way, starts to drive his wife crazy. First he waits until just as she is serving dinner before he goes to wash his hands and shave. Then she sends him to the store for some butter, and he comes back with everything - except butter. Finally, he decides to install a small shelf on the wall - and makes a major production out of it. Written by
We found in our survey at this point a great many women are tempted to put poison into the next plate of soup - which may account for the prevalence of indigestion among married men.
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This is the first of a pair of Robert Benchley features that use Benchley's dry humor to take a look at domestic relations between men and women. Both work rather well, because Benchley's satire is good-natured rather than belittling. The 'lecturer' format also suits his talents well.
This one depicts the domestic foibles of males, by illustrating some of the common things that a 'typical' husband does that frustrate his wife, from reading the news at an inappropriate time to inept home repair projects. Benchley is the lecturer, and he also plays the husband in the illustrative sketches. His sense of timing and his enjoyable low-key lecturing style work well as usual, and the lecture style forms a contrast with the somewhat broader actions and dialogue in the sketches.
All of the sketches are amusing ways of looking at familiar situations. The kitchen shelf sketch is probably the best, since it is particularly on-target. Some of the details of daily life would of course be different now, but usually not to the extent that they detract from the ideas.
Like many of Benchley's short comedies, this one is based entirely on well-known themes, yet it works because of his tone and because of the careful writing. It's not meant to have any big laughs, just a well-paced run of ironic humor, and in that it delivers pretty well.
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