Friday, October 25, 2013
My excruciatingly slow recaps and analyses of Monty Python's Flying Circus now continue where I left off, at approximately the one-third-of-the-way mark of the first(-recorded) episode, "Sex and Violence." We had just gotten a pretty decent example of the latter, with a bunch of small, harmless rodents being musically bashed by large wooden mallets; it only seems right to follow that with an exploration of the subject to the left of the titular ampersand...
(Note: to increase confusion, I am retaining the time-code reference points referring to the YouTube embed of the full episode included in the last post; however, for the purposes of more immediate reference, I am embedding the second ten-minute chunk of the show also available on YouTube in this post. The time codes in parentheses refer to the shorter videos. Got that? Good. Now, please explain it to me...)
10:30 (0:00) - By Python standards, "Marriage Guidance Counsellor" is a rather conventional piece of sketch comedy: a pretty basic premise (couple goes to counsellor out of concern for wife's possible infidelity; counsellor cuckolds husband right in front of him), delivered straightforwardly (at least to a point). With very few changes, the main body of the sketch could have come straight from an old vaudeville show, right down to the trope of a woman getting undressed behind a screen and tossing her clothes over the top of it. (Why a marriage counsellor would have such a screen in his office is never explained; perhaps it's a subtle indication that this isn't the first time he's pulled such shenanigans. Maybe this counsellor's always "on the job" in more ways than one.) Nonetheless, it's still a funny sketch, and noteworthy for the first appearances of two important, erm, figures in the Python universe.
Saturday, October 19, 2013
From: Jeroboam Glasier, Head of Publicity Department
Re: The Campaign
I've got to hand it to you guys - I thought the telekinesis-in-the-coffee-shop gag you came up with for Carrie was clever, but you've really outdone yourselves this time. The movie's not coming out for months, and already the work you've done for Dumb and Dumber To has to qualify as the most inventive and audacious in the history of viral marketing. The way you've used social media, what seems like every comment thread on the Internet, and that fake cable "news" channel you started is nothing short of brilliant. I can't begin to imagine how much planning, coordination, and sleight-of-hand it's taken to make it look like a mass outbreak of sheer, shameless stupidity has overtaken the country, but we couldn't be more impressed with the results.
My only concern is that you might be going a little too broad - the "ranting stenographer" gag the other day was a hoot, but too many more bits like the guy who wants to take a class-action lawsuit against homosexuality and you'll sacrifice the believability at the heart of all good pranks. Save the really silly stuff for opening weekend. But, really, amazing work - IFC's interested in signing that troupe you've been working with (The Tea Party, right?) to a development deal, though they might want to wait until that whole "SNL Diversity" issue dies down first; a troupe that big could use a LITTLE ethnicity, at least. And as for that smaller troupe you hired, they recommended you sign them up for some classes at the UCB, or get an Odenkirk or an Apatow to help them whip their material into shape; you can't fault their commitment, but a little nuance will keep their schtick from seeming too one-note. "The Westboro Baptist Church" is a great name, though - make sure they keep that.
Oh, and one more thing. You might think I'm jumping the gun, but if this one hits, Peter & Bobby are talking about making the threequel all-female. Amy & Tina don't seem interested and they're already dead set on Melissa McCarthy/Rebel Wilson for Shallow Hal II (I know, I know, but let's not break it to the boys until after we open - it's like they say about waking up a sleepwalker). No promises, now, but they've been pretty impressed with that ditzy-cougar duo of yours - Bachmann/Palin Overdrive or whatever they're calling themselves this week. Could be perfect; they're reasonably easy on the eyes, obviously have no fear of looking ridiculous, and if they can spew out that nonsense patter for hours at a time like you say, it'll practically write itself. But let's keep that on the q.t. for the time being - we wouldn't want it to go to their heads and wear out their welcome on Day One like that Cruz kid you hired. (The Seuss estate was not happy, by the way, but we'll talk about that when you're in town. Bet you've never seen a rhyming cease-and-desist letter before.)
But, really, guys, outstanding work so far, and I've no doubt there's more to come. I'll be honest; some of the studio guys had grave doubts about putting so much time and so many resources into this campaign, and even I had my doubts that you could sustain such idiocy, such ludicrous, counter-intuitive notions for so long without the American public catching on to the gag or even questioning how anyone could be so dumb and not choke to death on their own drool. But you did it. And let me tell you, that's going to help us out a lot when we start developing next year's pictures.
P.S. - Jeff D. just called from the set - wants to know when he can finally 'fess up to our gag and give the Emmy to its "rightful owner." Having a real hard time keeping a straight face.