New for 2005, The Complete Monty Python's Flying Circus 16-Ton Megaset
packs together the original 14-DVD megaset with the two-disc Monty Python Live
in space-saving Thinpaks. While more cautious fans may want to pick and choose among the previously released individual volumes of Monty Python
for their collection, true Pythonites will want to own this definitive megaset that contains all 45 episodes (in chronological order) of Monty Python's Flying Circus
. This "persistently silly" collection encompasses three-and-a-half seasons of dead parrots, cross-dressing lumberjacks, loonies, upper class twits, and spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, baked beans, spam, spam, and spam. Click past the occasional clunker and go directly to such signature sketches as the Ministry of Silly Walks, the Spanish Inquisition, the Fish-Slapping Dance, the Dead Parrot Sketch, the Lumberjack Song, the Cheese Shop, the Argument Clinic, and Nudge, Nudge. Taken as a whole, one marvels at how Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, Michael Palin, and Terry Gilliam thoroughly subverted television convention with "something completely different," like sketches with no punch lines ("Your average TV viewer isn't going to understand this"). A warning to the uninitiated: there is much "material that some may find offensive, but which is really smashing." Violations of something called the "Strange Sketch Act" are the least of the troupe's offenses, as witness the Oscar Wilde Sketch, the Dirty Vicar Sketch, and the Most Awful Family in Britain Sketch, all of which achieve "the really gross awfulness" all Python fans are looking for. Say no more.
Monty Python TV shows, movies, records, and books are a time capsule of their anarchic lunacy. But more precious is an audience with Python, and as close as we can get is Live at the Hollywood Bowl, the long-sought-after 1982 concert film in which the Fab Six perform their greatest hits before a wildly enthusiastic crowd. Robert Klein moderates Live at Aspen, the irreverent 1998 U.S. Comedy Arts Festival tribute that reunited John Cleese, Eric Idle, Michael Palin, Terry Gilliam, and Terry Jones onstage for the first time in 18 years on the occasion of the troupe's 30th anniversary. Highlights include a shockingly funny moment involving Graham Chapman's ashes, and a joyous "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life" sing-along. Less essential is 1989's clip show Parrot Sketch Not Included: 20 Years of Python, which also does not include "The Oscar Wilde Sketch," "Cheese Shop," "Nudge-Nudge," and many other signature sketches. --Donald Liebenson
This unassuming case is packed with 16 tons of funny: 14 discs of MONTY PYTHONS FLYING CIRCUS, packed with every episode from the programmes four year run, plus 2 MONTY PYTHON LIVE! discs featuring--well, you figure it out. While to the uninitiated they may look like ordinary .65 oz. digital video discs, due to the unique physics of comedy (its like quantum but with fewer dead cats), each disc actually weighs a full metaphoric ton! Please remember to lift with your knees. Jump right to your favorite sketches in The Flying Circus with this index! Disc 1: The Funniest Joke in the World, The Wrestling Episode, and Nudge Nudge, Disc 2: Art Critic, Silly Job Interview, and Crunchy Frog, Disc 3: Dead Parrot, Lumberjack Song, and Vocational Guidance Counselor, Disc 4: Undertakers Film, Upperclass Twit of the Year, and Albatross, Disc 5: The Ministry of Silly Walks, The Spanish Inquisition, and Complaints, Disc 6: The Bishop, Blackmail, and Dung, Disc 7: Attila the Nun, Silly Vicar, and Exploding Penquin on the TV Set, Disc 8: Scott of the Antarctic, Dirty Hungarian Phrase-book, and Exploding Blue Danube, Disc 9: Icelandic Saga, Fish-Slapping Dance, and Argument Clinic Disc 10: Blood, Devastation, War, and Horror, Mount Everest Climbed by Hairdressers, and Gumby Brain Specialists, Disc 11: Cheese Shop, A Naked Man, and The Olympic Hide and Seek Final, Disc 12: Elizabethan Pornography Smugglers, Kamikaze Scotsman, and Penguins, Disc 13: Montgolfier Brothers, Department Store, and RAF Banter, Disc 14: Hamlet and Ophelia, Mr. Neutron, and Most Awful Family in Britain, Disc 15: Live at the Hollywood Bowl, Monty Python Live at Aspen, Disc 16: Parrot Sketch Not Included, Monty Pythons Fliegender Zirkus: German Episode #1