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 Posted:   Nov 22, 2019 - 6:56 AM   
 By:   Montana Dave   (Member)

I see that Netflix has 4 seasons of this show. I've never heard of it before, I'm assuming it's 'skits' like Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In, (for lack of any better description). It states the series are from 1974-1978, which would put it immediately before the films of 'Monty Python and the Holy Grail', and just up to, 'Monty Pythons, The Life of Brian'. I've put the whole set onto my list. Would any of you, (probably only members from The U.K.), care to describe the whole thing to my virgin ears? Worthwile, hit & miss, or forgettable? THANKS!

 
 Posted:   Nov 22, 2019 - 7:05 AM   
 By:   Jim Phelps   (Member)

Like 1975-79 SNL, Flying Circus is best seen via a "greatest hits" collection, and even then, this stuff is so well known that it may fall flat for you upon seeing it. IIRC, John Cleese himself even said that there were far more misses than hits.

 
 
 Posted:   Nov 22, 2019 - 7:15 AM   
 By:   Paul MacLean   (Member)

I suppose it is comparable to Laugh-In, being a sketch comedy show. However it is generally regarded as one of the best comedy series of its kind of all time (and is sixty-billion times cleverer than Laugh-In).

In general it stayed away from topical humor (unlike Saturday Night Live), but lampooned politics in a more general sense, as well as historic figures, the military, every day situations, etc. Being the work of six different writers / performers, there is a fair amount of eclecticism. Some sketches are satire, some are just zany and nonsensical. Kooky, surreal "Yellow Submarine"-type animated sequences are occasionally interspersed with the live action sketches. There's nothing quite like it, though its closest cousin would probably be Canada's SCTV.

I was a huge fan of Monty Python before every setting foot in the UK, so I'd say Americans can relate to its humor. However, after later spending a fair amount of time in Britain, some of the jokes became more clear to me.

 
 Posted:   Nov 22, 2019 - 7:27 AM   
 By:   Jehannum   (Member)

DP

 
 Posted:   Nov 22, 2019 - 7:33 AM   
 By:   Jehannum   (Member)

I don't think the years are correct. Surely MPFC was about 1969-1972 or something like that. Unless we're talking about something completely different.

One of my favourites is episode 3 of series 1 (I think). The Election Night Special candidates names are read out in full, as per British tradition. Appearing for the Very Silly Party is Malcolm Peter Brian Telescope Adrian Umbrella Stand Jasper Wednesday (pops mouth twice) Stoatgobbler John Raw Vegetable (sound effect of horse whinnying) Arthur Norman Michael (blows squeaker) Featherstone Smith (blows whistle) Northgot Edwards Harris (fires pistol, then 'whoop') Mason (chuff-chuff-chuff) Frampton Jones Fruitbat Gilbert 'Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head' Darcy Carter (horn) Pussycat 'Don't Sleep In The Subway' Barton Mainwaring (hoot, 'whoop') Smith.

I literally couldn't stop laughing for a long time when I saw this as a kid.

 
 Posted:   Nov 22, 2019 - 7:41 AM   
 By:   BillCarson   (Member)

Yes 69 to 74 was python.
Some episodes were tedious and a bit weak but when they nailed it, it was superb. Some of their classic sketches have never been surpassed.
I think after cleese left MP crew and did fawlty there werent any more episodes., and eric idle did Rutland weekend television, palin did ripping yarns etc. They just got the band together for the films.

 
 
 Posted:   Nov 22, 2019 - 7:42 AM   
 By:   Xebec   (Member)

Yah Python was from 1969-1973. 45 episodes.

One thing i did like, as a kid, is the way they would mention towns in their sketches a lot. Whenever else would you hear people on TV mention Bolton or Preston, and places like that outside of the local news?

There are too many great sketches and moments to pick from. I love it. I also really like seeing the filmed street scenes, just for how England looked at the time.

Just don't watch too many episodes in one go. I did this when i bought the box set years ago and got fatigued quite quickly.

 
 
 Posted:   Nov 22, 2019 - 8:09 AM   
 By:   Paul MacLean   (Member)

Some samples...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JTLeBybJhSo

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eZtNsflPBSg

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F3UGk9QhoIw

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9_OIs49m56E

 
 Posted:   Nov 22, 2019 - 8:31 AM   
 By:   jackfu   (Member)

Like 1975-79 SNL, Flying Circus is best seen via a "greatest hits" collection, and even then, this stuff is so well known that it may fall flat for you upon seeing it. IIRC, John Cleese himself even said that there were far more misses than hits.

Excellent point! I remember watching it in my teens and it was the funniest TV show ever (next to When Things were Rotten).

Some channel on DirecTV has been showing MPFC recently and after many hours of watching...well, maybe it was a show of its times? I laughed a lot less than I did 50 years ago. frown

Still some hilarity, but not as much as I thought I remembered.

 
 Posted:   Nov 22, 2019 - 8:53 AM   
 By:   Michael Scorefan   (Member)

Like 1975-79 SNL, Flying Circus is best seen via a "greatest hits" collection, and even then, this stuff is so well known that it may fall flat for you upon seeing it. IIRC, John Cleese himself even said that there were far more misses than hits.

I would say that is true of pretty much any sketch comedy show. They all have more misses than hits. Of course which sketch falls into which category is up for debate. With respect to Monty Python, when they hit, they usually knocked it out of the park, and their misses were rarely that painful to watch. The same can't be said of most other sketch comedy shows. Of course the best part of sketch comedy is that if you don't like what you see, wait a few minutes.

It is interesting how the sketches evolved from Flying Circus to the record versions to Live from the Hollywood Bowl. Each version has its own merits, and it is fun to see how they vary.

 
 Posted:   Nov 22, 2019 - 9:12 AM   
 By:   'Lenny Bruce' Marshall   (Member)

The thread starter won't find PYTHON.funny.

 
 Posted:   Nov 22, 2019 - 9:14 AM   
 By:   'Lenny Bruce' Marshall   (Member)

Is it true Scotsman.cant.play tennis?

 
 
 Posted:   Nov 22, 2019 - 9:27 AM   
 By:   Montana Dave   (Member)

Yah Python was from 1969-1973. 45 episodes.

One thing i did like, as a kid, is the way they would mention towns in their sketches a lot. Whenever else would you hear people on TV mention Bolton or Preston, and places like that outside of the local news?

There are too many great sketches and moments to pick from. I love it. I also really like seeing the filmed street scenes, just for how England looked at the time.

Just don't watch too many episodes in one go. I did this when i bought the box set years ago and got fatigued quite quickly.


Hello Xebec, Saskatchewan? Neighbor! Well, I looked again at the listings at Netflix and it states, (perhaps incorrectly), 1974 - 4 Seasons. The first season lists 'Whither Canada' as it's first episode and their are 13 episodes for that season. I only checked the last season, season 4 and it only has 6 episodes, ending with 'Party Political Broadcast'. I'm wondering how the number went from 13 originally down to 6. There's also the possiblility that Netflix is simply not showing the series you mention from 1969?

 
 
 Posted:   Nov 22, 2019 - 9:34 AM   
 By:   Octoberman   (Member)

A few things that are important to remember...

Their sketches were never a race to get to the punchline.
It was not "punchline" humor.
Whereas a show like SNL would lead to a punchline, beat you in the head with it and then keep going on WAY too long, Python would take its time but let the absurdity of the journey be the payoff.

Skits didn't always have a resolution. If they got to the point where the premise was concluded, Gilliam's animations would simply come in and link you to the next bit.

Python was (and still is) frequently avoided by the newcomer for being perceived as a political satire show, but this thumbnail assessment doesn't hold up under scrutiny. Yes, they made fun of politics, but the comedy was in examining the silliness of the people. One could justifiably say that the show was also a tobacconist satire show, or a village-idiot satire show, or a lumberjack satire show, etc. etc.
Knowing who the political people were helps, but it's not essential.

That's it for now.
Oh, one more thing.
Carol Cleveland was a comedy goddess. How someone that gorgeous can be that funny is beyond me. Usually, comedy women are slightly more one or the other--but she's the balanced package.
Carol, if you're out there reading this, I'm single again! big grin

 
 
 Posted:   Nov 22, 2019 - 9:36 AM   
 By:   Octoberman   (Member)

Hello Xebec, Saskatchewan? Neighbor! Well, I looked again at the listings at Netflix and it states, (perhaps incorrectly), 1974 - 4 Seasons. The first season lists 'Whither Canada' as it's first episode and their are 13 episodes for that season. I only checked the last season, season 4 and it only has 6 episodes, ending with 'Party Political Broadcast'. I'm wondering how the number went from 13 originally down to 6. There's also the possiblility that Netflix is simply not showing the series you mention from 1969?


Python's seasons were only 13 episodes long. That was the norm.
The 4th season was short because they called it quits early.
That coincided with Cleese not wanting to be a part of the 4th season.

 
 Posted:   Nov 22, 2019 - 10:42 AM   
 By:   BillCarson   (Member)

Maybe it wasnt shown in canada and some other places until 1974 but believe me we watched it as kids in england in 1969 and got the LPs as they came out. 4 seasons, starting in 1969.

Oct is right about the journey of the sketch. The genius was in the clever, succinct writing and dialogue - the wonderful word-perfect exchanges and sentence tennis the characters played, never a wasted word nor a superfluous one. Thats why i get so fkd off with people like marshall who paraphrase Python and blackadder and fuck it up - its not meant to be paraphrased - its the equivalent of a comedy bible. Another reason why Python afficionados have always recited the sketches word-for-word from the LPs. Each word is vital to the rhythm of the line. To fuck it up is to not "get it".

 
 
 Posted:   Nov 22, 2019 - 10:51 AM   
 By:   Octoberman   (Member)

Jeez Bill, "sentence tennis" is just about the most perfect description for this that I've even heard!
I am going to use that from now on ad absurdum.
Ladies and gentlemen, we are in the presence of greatness.

 
 Posted:   Nov 22, 2019 - 10:53 AM   
 By:   'Lenny Bruce' Marshall   (Member)

I only watched because Cleveland showed.boob!

 
 Posted:   Nov 22, 2019 - 11:08 AM   
 By:   BillCarson   (Member)

Feel free to steal it Oct. Sprinkle liberally on whatever you want.

For me, when people change the words its like listening to a bad Leroy Holmes version of a classic original you know by heart, it grates and stands out.

 
 Posted:   Nov 22, 2019 - 11:34 AM   
 By:   johnjohnson   (Member)

https://networkonair.com/all-products/3077-monty-python-s-flying-circus-norwegian-blu-ray-edition

 
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