Monty Python's Flying Circus
From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
Monty Python’s Flying Circus (also known as Flying Circus, MPFC or, during the final series, just Monty Python) is a BBC sketch comedy program from the Monty Python comedy team, and the group's initial claim to fame. The show was noted for its surreal plots, risqué or innuendo-laden humour, sight gags, and sketches without punchlines. It also featured the animations of Terry Gilliam which were often sequenced or merged with live action.
The show often targeted the idiosyncrasies of British life (especially professionals) and was at times politically charged. The members of Monty Python were highly educated (Terry Jones and Michael Palin are Oxford graduates; while Eric Idle, John Cleese and Graham Chapman are Cambridge graduates; and American-born member Terry Gilliam is an Occidental College graduate), with their comedy often pointedly intellectual by way of numerous references to philosophers and literary figures. It followed and elaborated upon the style used by Spike Milligan in his series Q5, rather than the traditional sketch show format. The team intended their humour to be impossible to categorise, and succeeded so completely that the adjective "Pythonesque" had to be invented to define it, and later, similar material. Despite this, Jones once commented that the fact that they had created a new word in the dictionary shows how miserably they had failed.