Tuesday, October 5, 2010

In Appalling Taste

It is a most auspicious day. Forty-one years ago, Monty Python's Flying Circus made its debut on the BBC. Memorable moments included the death of numerous pigs as well as the funniest joke in the world. The program was not received with open arms, the ratings were terrible and it barely survived its first season. It went on to air for four seasons, forty-five episodes in all. My younger siblings and I were glued to the tv when the Pythons arrived here via PBS around 1973. We were enthralled. Our mother was puzzled. Why would anyone play tennis with a blancmange? Why would grown men dress up as old women and terrorize the town on motorcycles? How did that exploding penguin appear on top of the telly? Why would anyone go to a clinic to learn about arguing? What is funny about a dead parrot or a cheese shop that has not a scrap of cheese? Vikings singing about Spam? We didn't really know, but we laughed anyway. Thank you, Terry Jones, John Cleese, Michael Palin, Graham Chapman, Eric Idle, and Terry Gilliam. For the novelty. The accents. The appalling bad taste. And for the sheer mindless, disjointed glee of it all. Indeed, no one expects a Spanish Inquisition.