Sunday, 9 February 2020
Monty Python: The War Against Pornography
I have commented recently on the energy and youthfulness of TV comedy before everyone became very cynical in Thatcher's Britain, and of course Monty Python is no exception. The Pythons seemingly took whatever came to mind and made it hilarious. Their humour was not without relevance to the events of the day and the war against pornography referenced here was of course a real war being waged at the time: regular readers will have noticed how often Mary Whitehouse is referenced on this blog. If you want the other side of that story I would recommend the film about Mary Millington which I have recently watched with much enjoyment.
The other thing the Pythons bring home is how the world has changed in the intervening decades. Part of this episode mentions Britain and trade with other nations, and of course the seventies were a hopeful time of European common living. We have of course left Europe and the government is putting out ads about how we will now build relationships with Europe. This must make sense in someone's head but it certainly doesn't in mine, when we had agreement with Europe! If push comes to shove members of my profession can immigrate to Ireland, so all is not lost.
I have a feeling that Gumbys were among the Leave voters. The reason I picked this episode was because I love the Gumby brain surgery! Of course the point is that nobody would think they were a Gumby themselves... Although we've all met a few!
It is more evident to classic TV viewers like us than most people but the Pythons are of course making heavy references to the TV of the time, which makes Monty Python very reflexive and really quite postmodern before its time. IMDB tells me that it directly references Dr Kildare and Match of the Day, but I feel there are also references to documentary and nature shows which I'm not in a position to name.
Sit back and enjoy this show - to criticise Monty Python would be churlish. Oh - I like shows referencing the war against porn - as a prolific consumer of porn myself I like to think Mrs Whitehouse would disapprove.