In WW2 France, Rene Artois runs a small café where Resistance fighters, Gestapo men, German Army officers and escaped Allied POWs interact daily, ignorant of one another's true identity or presence, exasperating Rene.
The Pythons wrote all of their sketches in teams. Cambridge graduates John Cleese and Graham Chapman wrote together, as did Oxford men Terry Jones and Michael Palin. Eric Idle, another Cambridge alumnus, wrote alone. "Links" between sketches were the only pieces written by the entire group collectively. Animator Terry Gilliam worked independently of the five core members, but joined them for writers' meetings to help them piece it all together and act as a sort of test audience. See more »
And I thought to myself, "A little fermented curd will do the trick," so, I curtailed my Walpoling activities, sallied forth, and infiltrated your place of purveyance to negotiate the vending of some cheesy comestibles.
I want to buy some cheese.
Oh, I thought you were complaining about the bouzouki player.
Certainly not. I am one who delights in all manifestations of the Terpsichorean muse.
[in a silly Northern accent]
Ooh, I like a nice dance - you're forced to.
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Depending on the content of the individual shows, the credits were changed accordingly, often appearing in anagrams (Tony M. Nyphot's Flying Risccu), with a different title completely (The Buzz Aldrin Show) or with strange additions to the names of the cast and crew, such as various foodstuffs, sex toys and political gambits. See more »
Six blokes getting paid for being silly (oh yes, and changing comedy forever)
With hindsight, it seems possible that we can praise the Pythons too much. But you have to look at what they did in the context of its time.
They blew a massive hole in the conventions of not only television comedy, but television itself. They used (and abused) the medium to what was then the limit of its potential: no thirty-second "blackout" skits, no contrived punchlines (except in the name of self-mocking irony), performers falling out of character and addressing the audience, skits being intruded by characters from a previous sketch, or even an entirely different episode (so you had to pay attention!), stream-of-consciousness animated links, absurd props (the 16 ton weight)... and they claim they merely threw it all together when the BBC approached them to make a "satirical sketch show" in the vein of "The Frost Report" or "TW3".
Not only that, but they have influenced probably every comedy writer and performer of note ever since.
The Pythons are either authentic, top-drawer geniuses, or the six luckiest opportunists who ever lived - probably a bit of both! They caught the BBC with its knickers down and took advantage.
OK, so the shows look their age, and much of the material is rambling, patchy, hit-and-miss stuff. But we only remember the good bits, and it is those good bits which will ensure the place in television history of Messrs Chapman, Cleese, Gilliam, Idle, Palin and Jones for many years to come.
Lavishing praise on a thirty-two-year-old television series? It all seems a bit silly to me...
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