I was not raised on Monty Python as some people were raised on it, but since I was about 13 I’ve been a rabid fan. It started with The Holy Grail, as many fans my age started, and it just evolved. I’ve heard tell that when Monty Python and Doctor Who were on PBS in the 1970s/80s time frame that kids took sides. If you liked Doctor Who, you sure as hell didn’t like the Pythons. To me, this is utterly baffling. Anyone who likes the absurd should like both of them. They are both really British and appeal to one’s sense of whimsy. I could see a modern Who fan not caring for Monty Python because of all the action and drama involved with the new series. Though, Matt Smith and David Tennant seem to appreciate the absurd and probably like the Pythons. Older fans really should have latched on to it though, especially if they liked the Palin/Jones type of sketch.
Regardless of these confusing people, I certainly have a love for both nerd properties. My thought process draws a strange parallel to the skits. That’s not to say I match up to the brilliance that made up Monty Python, but I synthesize it better than I do historical facts or anything considered straight-forward. Absurd things speak in ways I understand.
I’ve seen every possible Python thing I could get my hands on. I’ve seen every episode of MP’s Flying Circus at least a dozen times apiece. The Do Not Adjust Your Set and At Last the 1948 Show were a part of my collection as soon as I saw them and I have so many of their records that I have a section dedicated to them. I have a number of books and videos of theirs on top of it all. They are truly one of my great loves. My three great loves are all intertwined in such a way that it seems almost serendipitous. The Beatles had their name on everything, but they had a pre-recorded bit on Doctor Who in 1964, I believe, and have been referenced quite a few times after that. The Beatles, especially George Harrison, were huge Monty Python fans. George and Eric Idle were very good friends and The Life of Brian wouldn’t have existed if it weren’t for George funding it when others backed away. John Cleese briefly appeared on Doctor Who as an art critic when Tom Baker was The Doctor. There have been a number of little ties that bind these big properties. I’m sure I’m forgetting a few examples, but the fact still stands. Maybe it’s not so serendipitous as I think because they were all very popular British things that got a lot of attention. Maybe it’s strange because I found them all on my own, in my own time, so it seems strange, but I really can’t tell. It wasn’t like they were all running around together playing cultural tag to see who could make the most connections.
Anyroad, the Pythons trusted their audience to understand what they were doing. They took leaps of logic and got people to tag along. They were very self-aware about what was going on and the army man that insists that the show has gotten too silly and must move on is directly from that awareness. They never seemed to belittle their audience. They just wanted to make a few laughs and bring along those that wanted to come.
The Pythons are really a great way to experience geekery. They allow a sort of freedom and give people a chance to open up to the more bizarre things in life. My very traditional father became positively silly after seeing Spamalot when it came around. The Pythons give him an outlet to be a bit loose. If everyone had the same reaction to at least one skit, and kept that spirit, the world would be a far more interesting place to live. So now, we must show Great Aunt Bessie the Lumberjack Sketch and blow her mind wide open!