Follow TV Tropes


Headscratchers / Monty Python's Flying Circus

Go To

  • How come, when the Society for Putting Things On Top of Other Things finally escape from the cartoon, they don't notice they're still on film?
    • Once you get trapped in a Terry Gilliam animation, you realise there are worse things than being on film?

  • If Mr. Smoke-too-much has trouble saying the letter 'C', then how come he successfully pronounces it twice (not counting instances when it's next to a K) before Bounder of Adventure finds a suitable solution?
    Smoke-too-much: My name's Smoke-too-much, Mr. Smoke-too-much.
    Bounder: Well, you'd better cut down a little, then!
    Smoke-too-much: ...pardon?
    Bounder: You'd better cut down a little, then.
    Smoke-too-much: Oh, I see; Smoke-too-much, so I better cut down a little, then.
    • Then, later, and perhaps the most face-palming of all...
    Smoke-too-much: I'm afraid I can't pronounce the letter 'B'.
    • All of this falls under Rule of Funny. The Pythons were likely aware of the irony.
      • Duh.
    • He was spelling them with a K.
    • He also says he has trouble pronouncing it, not that it's a physical impossibility for him; presumably he can overcome it when he needs to.
    • It's a psychological trauma from when he was a schoolboy and was attacked by a bat. Therefore the problem is mental, not physical.
    • See The Mattress Sketch, and also The Knights who Say "Ni" from Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
      • With the Mattress Sketch, the person that mentions what the first salesman's numbers are multiplied by ten would have said "multiplied by thirty" if we knew about the quirk initially.
      • With The Knights Who Say "Ni" in the first half of the sketch, pay attention to Arthur. He says the taboo word without the ill effects affecting The Knights Who Say "Ni"
    Arthur: What is IT that you want?
    • Rule of Funny seems to dictate that when a quirk is brought up, it is only applied when brought up and ended when inconvenient for the writing. Even nonsense has to make have some structural sense.

  • Who filled his hovercraft with eels?
    • Same person who infected him. Maybe Sir William?
    • Considering that the problem was resolved by giving him a matchbook, it's possible that they accumulated over time as his match supply ran low.
    • Obviously, the eels snuck into his hovercraft under the cover of darkness. He had no matches to light a lamp or anything, so he couldn't seem sneaking in.
    • At risk of over-explaining the original joke and missing the one playing out here, the translation book had been written to mismatch the Hungarian words and their English translations. There were never any hovercrafts full of eels outside of our wonderful suggestions here; the Hungarian gentleman was simply asking to buy a box of matches all along, but when he looked up the appropriate words in Hungarian, the words they were matched with involved hovercrafts and eels.

  • What do they mean by the "battle of Pearl Harbor"? Do they mean the attack on Pearl Harbor? 'Cause it wasn't really much of a battle as, well, a surprise attack. Do British people call all attacks battles? Or were the Pythons just woefully ignorant of American military terminology?
    • The attack lasted two hours, came in two waves, and resulted in several dozen Japanese people being shot down. It wasn't a particularly long or two-sided battle, but it was a battle. Nothing like a bunch of old ladies having a hand-to-hand skirmish in a mud puddle, but that was exactly the joke.
    • It's fairly clear from the series - by "the battle of Pearl Harbor", they meant "the first heart transplant".
  • Were the cartoons supposed to be creepy? To this day I cannot watch them. The'y're not funny in the slightest to me.
    • Some of them were extremely funny, but yes, there was a certain amount of Nightmare Fuel, such as the red-eyed woman who keeps saying, "Harold? Harold?" (Though even that cartoon was pretty funny nonetheless)
      • Well, it's Terry Gilliam's work, so it's a safe bet that they were just supposed to be surreal. Tip: if cartoons scare you, don't watch any of his films. Never ever.
      • Pre-python, it was always assumed that audiences couldn't handle thirty minutes of wall to wall comedy and so there'd be breaks for 'variety' entertainment - generally a middle of the road singer. It's possible to look at Gilliam's cartoons as fulfilling exactly the same purpose - only more surreally.
      • FWIW I used to find almost all the animations an unwelcome and boring interruption of the main business of the programme.
      • While on the other side, they've always been my favorite part of the show. YMMV and all that.

  • The first two items on the menu at the Viking-infested diner were "egg and bacon" and "egg, sausage and bacon". Why didn't our spamophobe just order one of those?
    • They were off.
    • Baked beans were off. Besides, why wouldn't you order Spam? That's just plain wrong.
    • I assume the bacon and sausage were made of Spam.

  • Why are people asking questions about this series? I thought almost exclusively, the whole idea of the series was that it made very little sense at all (but was hilarious nonetheless)?
    • Because they believe this is the right place for an argument?
      • No it isn't.
      • Oh, yes it is!
      • Look, this isn't even an argument!
      • Yes, it is!
    • Because people by nature seek for explanations of the unexplained?
    • Surely most of the series makes sense on its own term (other than maybe Gilliam's animations). It makes perfect sense that a man who has been sold a dead parrot would be less than happy; just as it makes perfect sense that that a man who, by the nature of his job, is argumentative would deny that he is argumentative.
      • No, he wouldn't.
      • Yes, he would.

  • In the 'Blackmail' sketch, during the "Stop the Film" segment when the film goes on, the host says "The longer you leave it going, the more you have to pay!" If that's the case, why would anyone being blackmailed NOT phone in right away to keep the value as low as possible? Thus, none of the film would be played, the person being blackmailed isn't really threatened, and the Blackmail show itself does not make as much money as it could. Logically, it should have been the other way around: that the monetary value decreases as the film goes on as an incentive to the person being blackmailed to minimize the cost to him.
    • Because at the beginning the person being blackmailed, will have no idea it is him. Some people who might suspect it is them, will call in quickly and pay; but the film won't stop because it is not about them.
    • The presenter does comment that that the subject of the film is obviously 'a brave one'. However, it's also a bluff calling exercise. At first, the victim might just wave it off with the reasoning that the show hasn't got anything on them, or what they have got is very unclear and indistinct. However, the longer the film's on, the clearer it becomes, the more is revealed, the more the victim has to sweat as it becomes increasingly apparent that it is legit and they're potentially in very deep trouble. It's testing where the victim's breaking point is — and the stronger you are, the more you have to pay when you eventually do crack.

  • So if Mr Pewtey's walk isn't particularly silly; why is he immediately offered a chance to work on the Anglo-French silly walk? Surely there are people with even sillier walks who would be better suited?
    • You're assuming the British want to send their best people to work with the French.
    • He was offered a research fellowship on Le Marche Futile. Perhaps the British don't have enough natural silly walkers that they need to recruit anybody with even a slightly silly walk. Remember how the Japanese had a man who could put his leg back over his head and back again with every single step? That's pretty stiff competition, and you need to offer something so that your silliest walkers don't go to over the private sector.
    • It's a research mission. The British participants go to France and, in cooperating with the French on a united silly walk, learn techniques that will improve British silly walks. They're sending him over to France because, although his own walk is suboptimal in terms of silliness, he's eager to contribute and will benefit from learning from the French. If benefit is the right word.

  • In the "dog kennel" sketch, the numbers said by the salesmen always need to be adjusted for. However, the numbers they give when explaining that fact are PERFECTLY normal. This is, obviously, so that the audience would be able to get the joke (if the numbers explaining that the numbers are wrong were wrong too, that part of the sketch would be fairly incomprehensible), but is there any reasonable in-sketch explanation? Also, it would be easy to introduce another person, who can say numbers right, to explain the silliness of the twenty... I mean, two salesmen.
    • See the C/K headscratcher.

  • In the "How Not To Be Seen" sketch, how come the News Reporter after the film is allowed to not be hiding when not even Jackie Charlton and the Tonettes can be out of their 'hiding spots'?

  • Why were the rules of the Communist Quiz so inconsistent? The first question was asked exclusively to Marx, he didn't get it, and nobody else was allowed a chance to answer. The next two questions weren't answered either, but the host allowed the others a chance. Mao was the only one who actually answered a question, yet it was Marx who ended up playing for the top prize. I guess it could be because the World Forum just decided on the spur of the moment to turn itself into a quiz show and they were making up the rules as they went along...
    • The rules only seem inconsistent because you haven't heard the full list of them. And the reason you haven't is because after 'It's a Living' the producers realised reading out the complete list of rules took all the time they needed for the actual programme

  • In "Buying a Bed", why don't they just spell the word "mattress"?
    • If they did that, it wouldn't be as funny as it is now, would it?

  • Does anybody know what/where exactly/specifically the beach is where they filmed the Seashore Interlude Film, part of The Olympic Hide-and-Seek Final, and part of the Pornographic Bookshop/Elizabethan Pornography Smugglers sketches?