(In which we now have something completely different.)

Posted by Job O Brother, July 4, 2007 04:29pm | Post a Comment
There’s few things more annoying than a  Monty Python fan. I should know, I am one.

The first thing I ever saw from this most-famous, British comedy troupe was “The Meaning of Life”, their fourth and final film, released in 1983. I was eight. It was completely inappropriate for a child and I still taunt my older sister for taking me to see it.

Being the baby of the family, I was inevitably stuck with my older sister on dates, so all the films I saw as a child were wrong for my age.

My first film was the whimsical and high-spirited “Reds”, based on real-life American Communist, John Reed, and his affair with a married woman. Tee hee! Next, I remember seeing “Gandhi”, that laugh-a-minute movie that’s warmed the cockles of so many tots. Pink Floyd’s “The Wall” was a memorable evening for me (I was still small enough to hide under my seat); “Mommie Dearest” caused a temporary phobia of wire coat hangers; watching “Sybil” resulted, ironically, in me developing a split personality to handle the memory of seeing it, and imagine my delight at being the only kid in class to say he’d seen “Chariots of Fire”… twice.

Just another childhood cartoon for Job: Pink Floyd's "The Wall"

In my sister’s defense, she did once take me to see a showing of “Bambi” at her college theatre, but the reel broke just after the forest fire that claims Bambi’s Mommy’s life. Whereas the other kids were crying and traumatized by this, I wasn’t phased. After all, what’s one dead deer when I had already witnessed the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre?

But this isn’t therapy and you’re not a psychologist*, so I won’t pursue this tangent.

Seeing Monty Python’s “The Meaning of Life” was an influential experience, and, I know, had a tremendous impact on me and my sense of humor. Ask any teacher I had in school. Or, better yet, ask any principal I was sent to.

Eric Idle & Michael Palin

Most fans of Monty Python have seen all there is to see by the group. Besides their TV show, “Flying Circus”, there’s only the four films and the concert footage of their performance at the Hollywood Bowl. So, we must turn to the myriad side-projects from the various cast members.

Most human beings are familiar with John Cleese’s post-Python production “Fawlty Towers”, but have you seen Michael Palin and Terry Jones’ brief TV series “Ripping Yarns”? Ah, ha! I thought not.

Michael Palin & Terry Jones (Can you find the fish?)
“Ripping Yarns” played on the BBC in 1976. It consists of nine episodes that run half an hour, each. They star Michael Palin as the lead, but as every episode is a separate story, so his character changes (Terry Jones only appears in the debut episode and thereafter serves as a writer and director).

The episodes are chock full of the ridiculous type of humor found in “Flying Circus”, though they maintain plot-lines, rather than a constant flux of non-sequiturs and grotesque animation. (Remember that one episode of “Flying Circus” – “The Cycling Tour with Mr. Pither”? That’s a good idea of what “Ripping Yarns” is like.)

Nailing students as a means of hazing. Actually straight out of my freshman year in high school.

Anyway, you fans of Monty Python should check it out. The complete series is available at Amoeba Music’s DVD department. Watch it, memorize it, and then we can all recite the lines at parties and annoy the others, just as we do with our constant exclamations of “Ni! Ni!”

*My apologies to any psychologist who reads this blog and feels discounted by the assumption that no psychologist would read it. It’s not my intent to alienate you and, should you feel hurt by this, I would be happy to prescribe some lithium to ease your suffering.

Relevant Tags

Monty Python (11), Michael Palin (2), Terry Jones (3), Gandhi (1), Sybil (1), Reds (1), American Cinema (7), Chariots Of Fire (1), Pink Floyd (30), Bambi (1), Mommie Dearest (6)