Monty Python’s Flying Circus

monty_python27s_flying_circus_title_cardYears: 1969-1974

Synopsis: Increasingly absurd, transcendentally counterculture, sillily British people make historic, unclassifiable comedy.

Pros:
• The surreal humor largely held up to today’s tastes, not only as an influence, but also in how so much of this has never been duplicated.
• A direct comedic attack on Western society, continuing to show us all how silly this all can be. At the same time, unintentionally attacked “politically correct” culture today.
• Often fueled by absurd levels of self-awareness and chaos. Fourth walls are silly.
• The show’s attacks on censorship might have grown even funnier, because more might be censored today on American basic cable.
• Implausibly hid any comedic duds by the stream of consciousness structure of the episodes.
• Terry Gilliam’s comedic artistry is still the most hilariously bizarre thing.

Cons:
• Might be too bizarre, surreal, and dry for some today.
• While most jokes hold their own or even surpass themselves, some might require some research.

Discussion:
Normally this blog avoids sketch comedy and anthology shows. There is such variety in the style that it can be hard to fully describe, while there may invariably be a degree of inconsistency. Maybe one sketch or story succeeded, while some are utter dullards. However, Monty Python’s comedic style was built so that we might not ever notice when we were not laughing. If one sketch was a silly head-scratcher it probably flowed into the next in hilarious ways, making us laugh at our own head-scratching retroactively. It was a brilliant trick cemented by Gilliam’s animated interludes. Most importantly was the distinct glee surrounding it all. The Pythons most certainly loved getting away with their attack of everything that was Britishness and the West as a whole for five years (four seasons) on British TV. No one has fully duplicated what the Pythons have done to comedy, as such an attempt would be so silly that Graham Chapman’s ghost might personally come back to apologize for the offender.


Official Website

Rotten Tomatoes —
S1 – 100%
S2 – N/A
S3 – N/A
S4 – 100%

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