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on August 11, 2001
The chaps must have been particularly inspired by the muses during the latter half of the first season of the Flying Circus, which makes up the material for these two DVD's. (Episodes 7-13) Almost all of my favourite sketches are on these discs, including Blancmanges Playing Tennis, North Minehead Byelection (with "Mr. Hilter"), Buying a Bed, and, of course, the definitive Dead Parrot Sketch. There is really very little else to say about the material except that if you've never seen Monty Python in its original form, this is the disc to buy, and if you're a fan and can only afford to buy this collection one at a time (like me), this is the one to start off with.
The quality is very good - the sound is much clearer than I ever heard on those PBS marathons. Although the discs were produced by A&E, they are the full episodes as they were meant to be seen ("full frontal nudity" and all), not the hatchet jobs they broadcast on their network. Of great use is the subtitle feature - the laugh track is so overbearing it's next to impossible to hear some lines, which the subtitles can rescue for you. Also, if you're not used to British slang, this should help you out as well.
The extra features are not great. Mostly they are clips from other episodes - basically little teasers to get you to buy more episodes, I think (and also "Live at the Hollywood Bowl" versions). There are little production tidbits (in the form of text) about each episode, usually explaining the origin of one of the sketches. All-in-all, don't buy the DVD for the extras, buy it for the quality of the video and audio, and the subtitles, if you think they would be useful.
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on November 21, 1999
This is an excellent addition to any true blue Python fan's collection. The DVD enhancements are up to the same level as the humor of the series, with the same tongue-in-albatross wit that launched the troupe into history. The classic sketches often are reprised in the Loony Bin to great effect, especially for those who can't get enough Crunchy Frog or Terry Gilliam animation humor. There are many classic sketches in this series that still can ellicit a chuckle, at the very least. The digital clarity only ehances the Python experience.
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The scene where Eric Idle whines "Oh, you're no fun anymore!" is a deceptive one.

If anything, these guys are even more fun than before. The second half of Monty Python's Flying Circus's first season is even more polished and mad than the first, continuing the tradition of short skits focused on complete insanity.

In these episodes, we have: a serial-killer barber; lecherous art critics; an unfortunate man who tries to eat a cathedral, tunnel to Java and jump the English channel; Ken Shabby, every girl's dad's nightmare; thuggish old ladies; bloodthirsty librarians who want to hire a gorilla; camel-spotting; and prime ministers falling through the earth's crust.

The longest and most bizarre skit is one where people mysteriously start turning into Scotsmen and streaming north of the border. Soon "Scotland will be choked with SCOTSMEN," and England is pretty much abandoned. The culprits: tennis-playing, human-devouring blancmanges from the galaxy of Andromeda.

And, of course, the stuff that has become comedy legend: the scene where John Cleese tries to return a dead parrot to a pet store ("It's a stiff! Bereft of

life, it rests in peace!"), and the Lumberjack Song ("I cut down trees. I skip and jump/I like to press wild flowers/I put on women's clothing/And hang around

in bars...").

Of course, no mere description can do justice to the comic brilliance of these dozens of skits. These five Brits (and one American, who did the little cartoons) created some of the most unabashed, naughty, nasty, and just plain weird comedy ever, which still influences everything from Saturday Night Live to author Jasper Fforde.

And all of this by men who often dress up as the world's most unattractive girls, with only a tiny budget and minimal cast. The 70s production values are omnipresent, and they are decidedly unpolitically correct. But in a weird way, these only make it even funnier than it would have been otherwise -- the writing and acting are pure, raw, unrefined comedy.

Probably the most memorable actors here are Cleese and Idle. Cleese does his psychotic shrieks better than anyone, as well as having that rubbery lanky body and howling monkey voice. And Eric Idle does a good job as everyone from a housewife to a wannabe mountain climber, while Michael Palin does a brilliant job as people who are timid or insane.

By this point, the Monty Python guys had polished up their skits and reached a steady plateau of comic brilliance. In other words, it's funny and should be watched.
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on August 4, 2001
You might have noticed my first extensive and overly detailed review for DVD set 1 (episodes 1-6) where I listed all of the individual sketches you will get on that set. Well, if you haven't, then go bloody well check it out then, you twit! (nothing personal) Anyway, this is a review just like the previous one - overlong and tediously informative. Again, I won't waste time on reviews of the material - You know it's extremely silly!
DVD SET 2(episodes 7-13)
Disc 1(or 3) consists of: Camel spotting/You're no fun anymore/The Audit/Science Fiction Sketch/Man turns into Scotsman/Police Station/Blancmanges playing tennis/Army protection racket/Art critic-the place of the nude/Buying a bed/Hermits/DEAD PARROT/The Flasher/HELL'S GRANNIES/Llamas/A man with a tape recorder up his nose/Kilimanjaro expedition/A man with a tape recorder up his brother's nose/Homicidal barber/LUMBERJACK SONG/Gumby crooner/The refreshment room at Bletchley/Hunting film/The Visitors
Disc 2 (or 4) is sillified with: Walk-on part in sketch/Bank robber in Lingerie shop/It's a tree/Vocational guidance counselor/Ron Obvious/Tunneling from Godalming to Java/Pet Conversions/ Gorilla librarian/Letters to "Daily Mirror"/Strangers in the night/Lavatorial humour/Interruptions/Agatha Christie/Undertakers film/Jimmy Buzzard interview/Interesting people/Eighteenth Century social legislation/Battle of Trafalgar/Battle of Pearl Harbour/Falling from building/"Spectrum" - talking about things/Visitors from coventry/Mr. Hitler/Silly voices at the police station/Upperclass twit of the year/Ken Shabby/How far can a minister fall?/Restaurant abuse/Advertisements/Albatross/Come back to my place?/Me Doctor/Historical Impersonations/Quiz programme on "Wishes"/"Probe Around" on crime/Mr. Atilla the Hun/Psychiatry/Operating Theatre
These are the sketches accessible through the menus on the DVDs themselves, so if you notice a sketch not listed...well, then your a complete geek.
This set also contains extras like: Meet the chaps, Pythonisms, Gillianimations, Lumberjack and Albatross Live!, Trivial Quest, and Talent show!
0Comment11 of 12 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on April 3, 2002
You might have noticed my first extensive and overly detailed review for DVD set 1 (episodes 1-6) where I listed all of the individual sketches you will get on that set. Well, if you haven't, then go bloody well check it out then, you twit! (nothing personal) Anyway, this is a review just like the previous one - overlong and tediously informative. Again, I won't waste time on reviews of the material - You know it's extremely silly!
DVD SET 2(episodes 7-13)
Disc 1(or 3) consists of: Camel spotting/You're no fun anymore/The Audit/Science Fiction Sketch/Man turns into Scotsman/Police Station/Blancmanges playing tennis/Army protection racket/Art critic-the place of the nude/Buying a bed/Hermits/DEAD PARROT/The Flasher/HELL'S GRANNIES/Llamas/A man with a tape recorder up his nose/Kilimanjaro expedition/A man with a tape recorder up his brother's nose/Homicidal barber/LUMBERJACK SONG/Gumby crooner/The refreshment room at Bletchley/Hunting film/The Visitors
Disc 2 (or 4) is sillified with: Walk-on part in sketch/Bank robber in Lingerie shop/It's a tree/Vocational guidance counselor/Ron Obvious/Tunneling from Godalming to Java/Pet Conversions/ Gorilla librarian/Letters to "Daily Mirror"/Strangers in the night/Lavatorial humour/Interruptions/Agatha Christie/Undertakers film/Jimmy Buzzard interview/Interesting people/Eighteenth Century social legislation/Battle of Trafalgar/Battle of Pearl Harbour/Falling from building/"Spectrum" - talking about things/Visitors from coventry/Mr. Hitler/Silly voices at the police station/Upperclass twit of the year/Ken Shabby/How far can a minister fall?/Restaurant abuse/Advertisements/Albatross/Come back to my place?/Me Doctor/Historical Impersonations/Quiz programme on "Wishes"/"Probe Around" on crime/Mr. Atilla the Hun/Psychiatry/Operating Theatre
These are the sketches accessible through the menus on the DVDs themselves, so if you notice a sketch not listed...well, then your a complete geek.
This set also contains extras like: Meet the chaps, Pythonisms, Gillianimations, Lumberjack and Albatross Live!, Trivial Quest, and Talent show!
0Comment25 of 31 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on March 26, 2004
"I'm a lumberjack, and I'm okay." Who doesn't remember Michael Palin uttering this line in the famous butcher barber/lumberjack skit? How about Upper Class Twit of the Year? And, the Dead Parrot? All of these skits and more can be found on this 2 cd set. If you like the obscurity that is Python, then this is the set to purchase.
The one segment I did not like was aliens turning into Scotsmen. That went on far too long.
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on February 28, 2003
This, the second half of the first season, is I think the best period of "Monty Python's Flying Circus." A vast majority of the best sketches are here ("Lumberjack Song," "Dead Parrot," "Upperclass Twit of the Year," "Albatross," "Pet Conversions," and "Hell's Grannies), along with what I think are the two single best episodes. Episode 8 ("Full Frontal Nudity") and Episode 9 ("The Ant, an Introduction").
The DVD set looks slightly better than the videos released in 1989 by Paramount. The filmed, location sequences look pretty grainy, but that's how they've always looked. With every episode, there is an opprotunity to jump straight to the sketches, or to read a tidbit.
On the extras front, there's a clip from "Monty Python Live at the Hollywood Bowl," scenes from other TV episodes, biographies, Pythonisms, a weblink, trivia games, and the always excellent Gilliamnations art gallery.
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on August 18, 2000
i object to the characterization of monty python as funny. it is well known that this whole "comedy troupe" act is just a front for the international smuggling of little pink pussycats, one called chris and the other one not. and the so called "rumors" of cannabilism by myself and the other reviewers of this dvd are just that, rumors.
Yours truly,
COL B.J. Smithy,
in a white wine sauce,
with shallots and carrots.
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VINE VOICEon January 31, 2000
While Monty Python's Flying Circus is defiently one of the funniest comedy troupes to come out of the 20th Century, and this set is well worth buying, I would warn those of you who aren't die-hard fans that, of the four DVD sets out right now, this one is probably the least funny. The Pythoners were apparently rushed as they wrapped up their first season of shows (some of these episodes were recorded only a week before airing!), and the humor in these DVDs, particularly the last three episodes, on DVD 4--are far from prime Python.
Still, there's "Upperclass Twit of the Year" and "Albatross" and enough others to make it worthwhile!
0Comment6 of 7 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on September 30, 2002
Monty Python are very funny. I highly reccommend this set. If you're not sure, just purchase the first set to try it out, and see if you like it. I promise that you'll be laughing so hard you'll rush out to get the other sets as well. I purchased the full set and I dont regret any of it.
I wouldnt recommend this for young children. I'd say early teens and up would enjoy this the most. Some of the british slang can be too difficult for the really young ones to follow.
Monty Python is a combination of sketch comedy and stereotypical british humor. One way or another, you're bound to laugh. THe episodes are short so you can watch just a piece at a time at your convenience, but there's enough on each tape to last a full evening.
I give it two thumbs up.
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