I first viewed the collected TV works of Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, and Michael Palin when I was a nerdy American teenager in 1975. One day, I came across a weird TV Guide entry listed only as "Monty Python's Flying Circus - Variety." I'd had no idea this show had already made an entire nation hysterical and had come across the ocean, Beatles-like, to inflict the same mentality on unsuspecting Americans. I watched the first series being re-broadcast on my local PBS station, and I remember that my initial reaction was, "This is too weird! When can I see it again?"
Frankly, does the Internet need another website devoted to Monty Python? Of course not. You can read complete transcripts of nearly all of their TV shows, record albums, and movies just by surfing the Web for appropriate Python sites. What do I offer that's different from most of those other sites? Just two things:
(1) I have tried to offer some reasoned reviews of their work. I am a local movie critic and--forgive my horn-tooting--a two-time winner of the Florida Press Association's award for written criticism, so I feel that my opinions at least have a decent pedigree and make for enjoyable reading.
(2) The unfortunate virus that arose from Monty Python's comedy is that everyone thinks he can do it. All across the Web, you'll find yuk-yuks such as "Monty Python Turned Me Into a Newt!" Too many Python fans think that if they quote enough Python punchlines, some of Python's wit will stick to them. From personal experience, I can truly say: Never happens. Therefore, whatever you think of my reviews, you can rest assured that I won't be quoting Python in a vain attempt to show what a comic genius I am.
A couple more things before you check out the site. First, I have rated Python's individual TV episodes, record albums, and movies, on a scale of one to four--not one to four stars, but one to four crunchy frogs. (I know that this negates what I said in the last paragraph, but I promise that this is the only time I'll do it.) Anyway, here's my crunchy-frog rating system.
= 'Tis the Grail you seek!
= Wink-wink, nudge-nudge!
= The kids seem to enjoy it.
= This is an ex-parrot!
As you read my reviews, you'll notice that I have not blithely given four stars, er, frogs to everything Python ever did. I feel the same way about Monty Python as I do about the Marx Brothers: (1) in many cases, individual sketches (scenes, in the Marxes' case) are funnier than the whole; (2) like the Marxes, the Pythons have set their own impossibly high standard of comedy, and they'd be the first to tell you that sometimes they fall flat; and (3) to paraphrase what a critic once wrote about the Marxes, the Pythons have never appeared in a single entity (episode, movie, etc.) as wonderful as they are.
That said, I'm hardly the last word on Python. Please read my reviews, and take them with a grain of, er, Spam. If you have any comments about them, I'd love to read them; E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Now--get on with it! --Steve Bailey, Webmaster
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