The irreverent Monty Python comedy troupe present a series of skits which are often surreal, bawdy, uncompromising and/or tasteless, but nearly always hilarious. Written by
Murray Chapman <email@example.com>
Despite its ground breaking reputation and huge influence on a generation of comedians and writers, John Cleese believes that much of the show has not aged very well. He feels that only about one or maybe two sketches in each episode still retain their quality and impact and the rest of the writing and production is weak, rather amateurish and under rehearsed. See more »
Episode 41 "Michael Ellis" begins with the opening theme song, followed by a screen that says "THE END," followed by the end credits, and then the show begins. This was to allow the unusual ending of that particular episode which would have been ruined by the closing credits. 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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