If there’s one thing that could be relied on about Monty Python and its ilk, it was good, clean, honest-to-goodness, humor.
Where’s it all gone?
Television today provides the most appalling service of any industry in the history of mankind. It’s not just American television, though this nation leads the field in cheap, nasty, unrelentingly boring tat, peddled under the misnomer of “entertainment”.
If the British public are to be believed, their service has similarly descended into a pernicious pit of pigswill, spewing forth noxious odors from a veritable volcano of vomit labeled, “Reality TV”.
Where once the BBC could be relied on for meticulous period dramas and high quality variety entertainment, by comparison, tonight’s peak-hour line-up now consists of ‘on-couch’ chats with unknown ‘celebrities’; the inevitable soap opera; a grindingly boring sports quiz, and an overly long-running series called “Spooks”, in which “a teenage boy stumbles upon a government conspiracy and is absorbed into the world of MI5”.
Needless to say, there are other British channels. They serve up cold left overs from ABC, FOX, Hallmark, or any one of a thousand other US cable outlets.
Where have all the “Monty Pythons” gone?
No, I don’t mean the plethora of perpetual repeats of that iconic, but grossly overexposed series from the early 1970’s. Where are all the similarly titillating, charming, side-busting, modern day equivalents?
The simple answer is: there aren’t any. Comedy is dead. It’s been replaced.
What’s it been replaced by? I’ll tell you – in one word:
That’s what makes people laugh these days. Just one little word, but it’ll set the theater on fire when uttered by Lewis Black, Jon Stewart, or any number of other would be Pythonesque students. Who needs jokes when one four letter word, uttered in the right way, will get you all the laughs you could wish for?
The ‘piece de resistance’ of TV channels dedicated to providing an audience with enough tat to decorate the walls of the local Wal-Mart, has to be that great ‘hands-across-the-ocean’, trans-Atlantic bastion of all things British, BBC America.
Designed to bamboozle the American viewer into believing the average Brit lives solely to raid attics in search of valuable antiques; is ready and willing to switch from a diet of burger and chips to three lettuce leaves a week if only he can go on television to do it, or is happiest when divulging the disgustingly filthy state of his post-war semi-detached to an international audience, this television station has survived for years by repeatedly repeating repeats of repeats of repeats of repeats until eventually the video becomes too grainy to be viewed ever again.
For an occasional break from the domestic grunge of the average English family, BBC America will allow us a glimpse into the artistic talents of top chef, Gordon Ramsey, as he goes about his business of serving unsuspecting viewers with generous helpings – of the word, “FUCK”, while castigating his unfortunate kitchen staff in a manner scarcely tolerated by lowly Victorian scullery maids, who definitely weren’t exposing themselves to ridicule on international television.
Sadly, those glorious days when the television medium was a crucible of talent, birthing young starlets into a genteel world of Bronte, Austen, and the Oxford Footlights Revue, have long since vanished into obscurity.
No more will new Monty Pythons grace our LCD or LED screens – their demise as assured as the very cathode ray tubes that once glowed with the cutting edge humor of Palin, Jones, Chapman, Idle, Cleese, and Gilliam. A humor certainly not reliant on four letter expletives for effect.
In fact, it can be reliably stated that the word, “FUCK”, was never once used by the Monty Python team on British television.
What?……….. okay…….are you sure? Damn!
Well…… almost hardly ever……
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