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With hindsight, it seems possible that we can praise the Pythons
much. But you have to look at what they did in the context of its
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...
"Monty Python's Flying Circus" is a blast. Plain and simple. Seeing an
episode will cause the following symptoms: Laughter, tears, jaw aches,
voice-loss(all of above caused by laughter). Most will laugh, some will
sit there at its silliness. Well whoever you are, give it a try. You
love it or hate it. Me? I love it.
Any episode of Monty Python will reduce one to fits of laughing that will produce bouts of tears that will render the viewer on the ground. Great physical comedy on all parts, but especially John Cleese in the Ministry of Silly Walks sketch, which is his least favorite sketch. Great writing that walks that fine line between genius and silly, and meshes the two. These guys also knew when and how to start end a sketch. Still funny thirty years later, wish the same could be said about Saturday Night Live. Too bad there wasn't some knight who could hit Lorne Michaels with a chicken.
Monty Python's Flying Circus is superb British humor at it's best! All
the Monty Python movies were excellent, too! My favorite actors in this are
John Cleese and Eric Idle. I have my older brother to thank for getting me
into this show! I got into Monty Python at the ripe old age of 11. My
brother was watching it one day, and I asked him if I can watch too. He
gave me his okay, and after I saw the delirious humor of this, I quickly
became a fan! And watched it everytime it came on.
I also own some Monty Python cassette tapes and my brother has some on vinyl! I have far too many favorite Monty Python bits to name,some of my faves are "The Lumberjack Song", "It's the Mind", and "The Bishop"! And who can forget that caveman who can only say, 'its'? Also, anyone remember that one about the self-defense class involving a 'Poi-ted stick'? Pure timeless classic! Monty Python cracks me up all the time! Even if you're not in a good mood, watching this will put you in one!
I highly suggest this to anyone who is a stickler for British humor. Also, watch their movies: The Holy Grail, And Now for Something Completely Different, and The Life of Brian. I give Monty Python's Flying Circus 5 out of 5 stars! Watch it if you can!
A gentleman (John Cleese) enters a pet shop and wants to register a
complaint that the parrot that he had bought from that very boutique
just half an hour ago was in fact a 'dead parrot'. The owner (Michael
Palin) tries to convince him that the Parrot, a Norwegian Blue, was not
really dead and was just resting. The argument continues and gets
sillier and sillier until an army colonel (Graham Chapman) pops out of
nowhere and stops the sketch abruptly because it was getting very
silly. If this kind of humor doesn't interest you, read no further and
plan on watching something else. But if it does and if you have not
seen Monty Pythons Flying Circus you haven't seen nothing yet.
Monty pythons pretty much invented and perfected their unique brand of humor which can be categorized as 'surreal'. One can argue that 'the Goon Show' was the archetype for Monty pythons, which is true, but then Monty Pythons took it to territories that had never been explored before. They created a world where you can get a government grant for silly walks or buy an argument in an argument clinic. A world in which a father and son could have the age old "romantic vs. a simple coal miner" argument, just that in this world the son is a regular coal miner whereas it's the father whose head is full of useless novels and poems. Just like the Beatles they took something and created something completely new out of it. The comparison is valid because Monty Pythons at their peak enjoyed the status of any of the rock stars in those days (including groupies) and the Beatles, George Harrison in particular, were their biggest promoters.
Terri Gillian's stream of consciousness art work is pretty bizarre and holds all the sketches together. John Cleese, Graham Chapman, Michael Palin, Eric Idle and Terry Jones play all the characters (including women's) themselves with dead seriousness. This is insane humor at it's brilliant best.
Monty Python's Flying Circus is a show with great comedy. It's so weird anything could be done in it. Like selling an albatross, or having a knight hit you with a chicken... It's so hilarious, you'll drop right off. It's a very classic show for people with British taste. The movies were good... but it never made a benchmark like the TV series did. People... get off trashy Saturday Night Live and try "Something Completely Different"!
I first started Watching this television show about a month ago and I
completely love this show.The entire is cast is wonderful especially Eric
Idle.The movies are also hilarious.Every week I look forward to this
show.The funniest joke I seen yet is the man with a tape recorder up his
A true gem.
I still need to see more of Monty Python's Flying Circus to make my
un-official official declamatory mandated professional amateurish
stated opinion on this, but this is quite the nifty little show they
put on back in merry old England. A lame joke I tried for at Python
humor, but really, once you see the show, and see at least a few
episodes, you'll know whether it's the right kind of intelligently
un-hinged absurdity for you. I didn't warm up to it at first, I thought
it was maybe too smart, in a way, through its silliness to be taken
much seriously, as the jokes are not of the common kind. But after
getting in through the films, and seeing many a varied skit with the
guys, I'm looking forward to seeing (and being able to quote to other
people) the best they got.
It's partly a stream-of-consciousness style show thanks to Terry Gilliam's spectacularly crude animations (through cut-outs mostly, and spoofing either classical paintings, architecture, movies, and of course dancing teeth), part social satire through various skits of people going into shops (Parrot), jobs, arguments (want to argue about an argument), the police, criminals, movies, sports, old ladies, politics, and other sorts of good diddies on all things in life. There's also the most random bits of comedy ever to come out of the 20th century, and I can only think of the basic things that might have you wanting to check it out. I love short skits, like the classic fish-slapping bit (there comes the BIG fish, heh), and over-the-top voices (Michael Palin, I think, does some of the best ones, like an introduction he does to a skit that reminded me of one of the voices in the Holy Grail trailer), and deranged costumes, and the richness of the silly dialog. Sure a skit might not hit the mark, but then I could them come back to it days later and be laughing about things not laughed at the first time around.
There aren't too many, if much at all, conventional punchlines- the brilliant stuff comes in the random barbs that shoot up in the lines and the deliver, in a look that Cleese or Chapman might give at one point or another, or the lack of something that ends up coming around later in the bit, or maybe not. There's absolutely no shame in how tasteless some of this can get, be it with topical issues or just the little things everyday we tend to take for granted, but a tasteless sensibility without any net to fall on that's appealing. And, of course, the Lumberjack song and ministry of silly walks and . Bottom line, if there could ever be one with Flying Circus, if you think it's just stupid little goofy gags and skits going on, watch out for how rich the words fly out (err, in Circus-like fashion) the mouths of the Pythons. It's the mightiest heap of the inspiration-turned-ludicrous comedy to be found on any TV show. Other favorite skits: 'Most Awful Family in Britain', 'Self-Defence Class', 'Word Problem', and 'Kilimanjaro Expedition' among others.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I loved 'Monty Python's Flying Circus' as a youngster, even though,
strange as it may seem now, I used to be frightened by it. Unlike say
'The Frost Report', the show was not actually about anything. Each
episode had the look and feel of a nightmare; we saw terrible sights
such as heads lopped off with razors, people puking their guts out,
ten-ton weights falling on people, and human brains consumed with
spoons. It was a brave person who stayed up late to watch this show.
Characters would often cross over into different sketches, such a
knight who kept hitting people with a rubber chicken, and 'The Colonel'
who demanded items be terminated if they were too silly.
The Pythons, as if you did not know, were John Cleese, Graham Chapman, Michael Palin, Terry Jones, Terry Gilliam, and Eric Idle. It was an inspired collection for a comedy team; Cleese and Chapman were good at sketches in which there was lots of verbal abuse, Palin and Jones excelled at items which sent up film genres, Gilliam provided some disturbing animations, while Idle contributed well-written skits involving word play.
In the first season, each episode opened with a bedraggled Palin emerging either from the sea or jungle to issue the following warning: "Its...". Flowers would then climb the screen, their petals opening to reveal the name of the show, to the strains of 'Liberty Bell' by Souza. The very first show kicked off with a sketch in which a city gent ( Jones ) asks a Yokel farmer ( Chapman ) just what his sheep are doing up in the trees. The farmer says that they have realised that their lives consist of standing around and waiting to be eaten, so they have decided to do something about it. We then cut to two Frenchmen ( Palin and Cleese ) in berets who demonstrate the commercial possibilities of flying sheep. From the reaction of the audience, its clear they are baffled rather than amused. 'Python' took time to catch on, but when it did, the public could not get enough of it.
Season 2 is generally thought of as the best. 'The Ministry Of Silly Walks', 'The Spanish Inquisition', 'The Piranha Brothers', and 'The Semaphore Version Of 'Wuthering Heights' originated here. Clips of the show were regularly requested on 'Ask Aspel', a children's show hosted by Michael Aspel.
After two excellent seasons and a movie, plus a couple of fun German specials, 'Python' went into decline, and John Cleese's departure was the final nail in the coffin. Season 4 was the last. Fortunately, the team reunited to make movies which, if anything, were funnier than the show, particularly 'Life Of Brian' ( 1979 ). The last one - 'The Meaning Of Life' ( 1983 ) ended with a clip of the title sequence of the very first television show, taking 'Python' full circle. Chapman's death in 1989 closed the door on Python for good. A brief reunion in 1999 - 'Python Night' - was a disaster, with Eddie Izzard unwisely trying to stand-in for the deceased star.
I must squeeze in a quick mention of lovely Carol Cleveland, with whom I was madly in love in the early '70's. Her bra coming off at the end of 'Scott Of The Sahara' had a profound impact on me!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
[MAY BE SPOILERS!!]
After John Cleese utters those immortal words, we saw Michael Palin as a hermit saying, "It's...", then the title appears, MONTY PYTHON'S FLYING CIRCUS. And they're right. It IS completely different. Different from anything else on TV at that time. The year was 1969 and six brash, young British actors came together and created this sketch comedy TV series. They were: Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones and Michael Palin. Now I wish to inform you that this show is not about a python named Monty or even a person named Monty Python. It also does not feature any flying circuses. See, when they created this show, they wanted to give it the silliest name imaginable. They came to a tie between Owl-Stretching Time and Monty Python's Flying Circus. They selected the latter. It featured some of the most outrageous and cultishly classical sketches in history! My favorites are 'Travel Agent' and "Argument Clinic". The six actors played all the male characters on the show. They were sometimes seen playing more than one character in the same sketch. Terry Gilliam was not seen on screen very much. He produced and directed the surreal and bizzarre animated sequences that were the wrap-arounds of each sketch. They were mostly of people losing their heads or popping up from great distances with bewildered looks on their faces, or princes with gangrene, which was controversial in the coming years. Some things you couldn't even imagine would show up here, so it's best not to try and imagine it, right?
In 'Travel Agent', Eric Idle visits Mr. Bounder of Adventure (Michael Palin). Idle goes into a long rant about the bores and humdrums of traveling, including lines like, "Where they serve fish and chips and Watney's Red Barrel", and "...How many languages Enoch Powell can speak". I guess you'd have to live in England to know what those mean. And, "Argument Clinic". Michael Palin plays the man going in to have an argument. Graham Chapman is the 'abuse' clerk. John Cleese is the sly argument man who manages to con Palin out £1. Terry Jones manages the hit on the head lessons. Another classic is 'The Ministry of Silly Walks' where John Cleese shows off his great goose-stepping abilities. He also showed them off in the Fawlty Towers episode, "The Germans";
"Dead Parrot, now that was a sketch that needs no introduction. But here it is anyway: John Cleese is duped into buying a dead parrot. The salesman, Michael Palin, informs him that he's resting, or he's 'pining'. Cleese informs him that, "This parrot is no more. It has ceased to be!" "It's passed on. It's gone to meet its maker. It's a stiff! This is an ex-parrot! He f--ing snuffed it!" Then he taps the parrot on the counter to try and wake it up and yells, "HELLO, POLLY!!!! Now that's what I call a dead parrot". And then there was a group you never expected, The Spanish Inquisition! Michael Palin as Cardinal Ximinez and his accomplices were played by Terrys Gilliam and Jones. One of the rare opportunities to see Gilliam on camera. Their idea of torture involved poking with soft cushions and a comfy chair. Yeah, Monty Python's Flying Circus had all sorts of craziness about it. Usually something from one sketch would carry over into the next. It's not like Saturday Night Live where one sketch carries on over two minutes. Some Python sketches ran as short as a minute or two. I don't recall any at the moment.
In 1973 John Cleese left the show and finally, in 1974, BBC canceled Monty Python, but they came back for another romp in the 1975 movie, "Monty Python and the Holy Grail'. Also in '75, John Cleese wrote and starred in his own series, "Fawlty Towers" which ran from 1975 to 1979 and had a whopping 12 episodes. In 1979, the Python troupe got together again for another feature film, "The Life of Brian". Brian, played by Graham Chapman, was born on the same night as Jesus Christ in the stable next door to his. Now when I saw Life of Brian, I didn't think much of it. (In one scene you can see Graham Chapman's willy!) Sadly, Graham Chapman passed away in 1989 from spinal and throat cancer. But John Cleese, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, Terry Gilliam and Michael Palin are still around, active as ever, especially Cleese and Idle. You can recognize them and their voices anywhere. Cleese just recently voiced the king in Shrek 2. Terry Gilliam directs films. In 1981 he got together with John Cleese and Michael Palin and made Time Bandits, which I found to be a really cool movie! It's great! See it today! Gilliam was set to direct the Harry Potter movies, but that job went to Chris Columbus instead. But anyway, in conclusion, I recommend you catch Monty Python's Flying Circus! You may have a good laugh, a good cry, or a good poke right in the eye!
"And now for something completely different..."
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