Although it would later become John Cleese's famous line, 'Eric idle' was in fact the first Python ever to say "and now for something completely different." See more »
Father Pierre, why did you stay on in this colonial Campari-land, where the clink of glasses mingles with the murmur of a million mosquitoes, where waterfalls and whiskey wash away the worries of a world-weary whicker, where gin and tonics jingle in a gyroscopic jubilee of something beginning with J?
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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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