Beer (Blackadder)

Infobox Television episode
Title = Beer
Series = Blackadder


Caption = Lady Whiteadder
Airdate = 13/02/1986
Writer = Ben Elton
Richard Curtis
Director = Mandie Fletcher
Guests = Hugh Laurie
Miriam Margolyes
Daniel Thorndike
Roger Blake
William Hootkins
Episode list = List of Blackadder episodes
Season = 2
Episode = 5
Prev = Money
Next = Chains

"Beer" is the fifth episode of the BBC sitcom "Blackadder II", the second series of "Blackadder", which was set in Elizabethan England from 1558 to 1603. In the episode, an embarrassing incident with a turnip, an ostrich feather and a fanatically Puritan aunt leads to a right royal to-do in the Blackadder household. The episode marks Hugh Laurie's first "Blackadder" appearance, and Miriam Margolyes' second.

Plot

Blackadder is taking breakfast with Lord Percy when he receives a letter informing him that his fanatically Puritan and extremely wealthy aunt and uncle, Lord and Lady Whiteadder, will be visiting him to discuss the terms of his inheritance over dinner that evening. Before Edmund can revel in his fortune, a messenger arrives and informs him that Queen Elizabeth demands his presence at court.

Blackadder rushes to Hampton Court to discover the Queen and Nursie tending to an ailing Lord Melchett, whom the Queen believes to be dying. When the Queen pleads with him to do something, Blackadder suggests "some sort of celebration". However, it is quickly revealed that Melchett is simply suffering from a dire hangover. Blackadder mocks Melchett for his lack of alcoholic tolerance, whilst Melchett reminds Edmund of his own drunkenness during the visit of the King of Austria, during which Blackadder wandered the grounds of Hampton Court singing "I'm Merlin, The Happy Pig". Blackadder challenges his rival to a drinking bout, with ten thousand florins at stake. After Blackadder leaves, Queenie conspires to somehow gain entry to the party.

Upon arriving back home, Blackadder begins to draft a guest list for the drinking party, with Percy's assistance. Baldrick, fully aware that his master does not have ten thousand florins to gamble with, questions the wisdom of his master holding a drinking contest; according to the dogsbody, everyone knows once Blackadder hits the ale, he falls flat on his face and starts singing "that song about the goblin". Things are further complicated when Percy reminds him that the puritan Whiteadders will also be coming around that evening. Blackadder hastily returns to the Queen and asks that the contest be moved to another night - however, she too is also aware about his tendency to sing the goblin song and senses that he's trying to cop out of his promise and refuses to postpone the contest. Blackadder decides to hold both events the same evening but in different rooms. The drinking party, complete with "beer-throwing, broken furniture and wall-to-wall vomiting" is to be held in Baldrick's bedroom, whilst the Whiteadders are to be entertained in Blackadder's dining room, where Percy will dine. Blackadder is further annoyed when he's informed by Percy and Baldrick that whilst rooting through the vegetable patch for suitable food, they came across "a turnip shaped exactly like a "thingie". Baldrick finds this not only humorous but ironic, as he has a "thingie shaped like a turnip". In order to outlast Melchett at the drinking contest while simultaneously not making a fool out of himself in front of his aunt and uncle, Blackadder tells Baldrick to hand him water when he asks for his "incredibly strong ale" at the party.

The evening begins with the arrival of the Whiteadders, who are (by degrees) comically revealed to denounce most everyday comforts as the work of Satan, including chairs (a luxury), "mashed" turnip (for it was originally mashed by Satan), the concept of family (due to the requirement of sex) and central heating (since cold is God's message to burn more Catholics). To make matters worse, Lord Nathaniel Whiteadder has taken a vow of silence, leaving Edmund's abusive and volatile aunt to hold the conversation.

The drinking guests that Edmund invited are no more bearable. The first three, Simon "Farters Parters" Partridge, Sir Geoffrey "Heres-to-the-Health-of-Cardinal-Chunder" Piddle and Freddie Frobisher the flatulent hermit of Lindisfarne, and Melchett arrive. All four are wearing fake comedy breasts and rubber noses on their foreheads. Farters Parters (played by Hugh Laurie) has the tendency to proclaim that whatever Blackadder says is "incredibly rude" and "sounds a bit like...'bum'!". The Queen arrives at the party, disguised as Percy's girlfriend Gwendolyn, and Blackadder makes the mistake of locking her in the closet. He also very nearly blows his chances of securing his inheritance after returning to the dining table still wearing his fake breasts. He has nearly convinced the Whiteadders that they were his earmuffs which had fallen down, when a drunken Frobisher bursts into the room shouting "GREAT BOOZE-UP, EDMUND!"- amazingly, Blackadder is able to explain this away. Fortunately for Edmund the thingie-shaped turnip goes down very well with his aunt who claims that it reminds her of their wedding night (at which she also ate raw turnips).

The other competitors in the drinking contest quickly realise Blackadder is drinking water and force him to down a strong ale. Forty-two seconds later, Blackadder re-enters the dining room blind drunk, bearing an ostrich feather up his bottom and wearing a Cardinal's hat. His aunt recognises he has been both drinking and gambling, and the Whiteadders make to leave. Blackadder realises he has not only lost the ten thousand florin bet with Melchett, but also the chance of (as he puts it) "a whopping-great inheritance".

However, things become rather confused when both parties accidentally meet in the hallway. Melchett's drinking crew assume the Whiteadders to be strippers, and release the Queen from the cupboard. With everyone silenced, she announces she is going to first "have a little drinkie", and then execute everyone.

By dawn the following morning, everyone is hungover and sitting in Blackadder's dining room, singing along to his rendition of the goblin song. The guests are all confused as to what's happened - Melchett has forgotten about the drinking bet, Queenie has forgotten her threats of execution and (luckily for Edmund) Lord Whiteadder seems willing to discuss the inheritance. Blackadder announces that if everyone shuts up, with a little luck he'll be able to finish singing his song. Lady Whiteadder emerges from beneath Queenie's frock, and proclaims that luck sounds rude, due to its sounding "almost exactly like 'fu-..'".

Music

As with all the episodes in this season, there is a distinct song sung describing the story in that particular episode. In this episode (sung in a high pitched drunken haze by the balladeer), it goes:

: Black Adder couldn't hold his beer.: The art of boozing he's not mastered.: And I, your merry balladeer,: Am also well and truly plastered.

: Black Adder, Black Adder, a bit like Robin Hood.: Black Adder, Black Adder, but nothing like as good.

: Black Ad-hic, Black Adder. I thought that he had died.: Black Adder, Black Adder. Our writers must have lied.


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