Graham Reid | | 1 min read
Yes, here at seven and a half hours with all the living Pythons interviewed and reflective -- plus relevant clips, period footage (the Goons) and commentary from fans such as Eddie Izzard, Steve Coogan, Russell Brand and many many others -- is their tele-series version of the Beatles' video/DVD Anthology.
And yes, here too the dead Bea . . . sorry Python . . . is interviewed courtesy of archival footage.
It is a lot of Python, some of it over-analysed, much of it still very funny, and other segments reminding you that humour is often historically contextual. (You doubt it? Try getting a teenager to watch an old Man About the House or I Love Lucy episode.)
Divided into chapters for television screening on the BBC, it covers often very familiar ground but with some interesting new perspectives and large dollops of self-deprecating humour -- and also includes them talking about those albums they made (often, as with the tv show, playing with the expectations and medium they were using, like having parallel grooves on a record as well as stupid covers and titles).
The increasingly funny and angry theme song to each episode by Shirley Bassey (or a soundalike, I'm not sure) is hilarious.
The films are covered, but you have those already if you are a fan.
To see John Cleese and Michael Palin in a debate with the pompous Bishop of Southwark (an alcoholic homosexual, "the hypocrite" laughs Cleese now) and an irritated Malcolm Muggeridge (about Life of Brian, of course) is still a delight. As are the various famous -- and sometimes overlooked -- skits. (Hitler in a hotel that looks like Fawlty Towers).
You get to see hints of Fawlty Towers and the origins of the stage show Spamalot too -- but as far as I can see there isn't that hilarious mockumentary short about Venice and the "fucking gondolas".
But then again, at seven and a half hours, and with special features it may be in here somewhere.
All getting a bit silly really, isn't it?
A marathon set that fans won't shy from, but if your idea of real humour is Man About the House or I Love Lucy we can only repeat what Brian says, "fuck off".