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Recap / Monty Pythons Flying Circus S 1 E 5

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Title: Man's Crisis of Identity in the Latter Half of the 20th Century

Original Airdate: 16/11/1969

Guest starring: Carol Cleveland

It's: Confuse-a-Cat, an unsuccessful Swiss clock smuggler, a panel discussion, a police raid and reactions on the street, a newsreader wanted for questioning in a series of thefts, clips of things going up and down, an ad for dynamo-tension muscle building exercises, a confusing job interview, and a burglar who is most assuredly not an encyclopedia salesman.

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The Romantic Interlude (featuring Bevis and his films, described below under Something Else Also Rises) was used as a transition gag in And Now For Something Completely Different.


Tropes:

  • Aren't You Going to Arrest Me?: The incompetent smuggler gets frustrated when the customs official isn't going to arrest him, and he eventually gets taken away for causing a disturbance rather than smuggling.
  • Bad Liar: In the Customs sketch, a smuggler has a suitcase full of Swiss watches.
  • Bait-and-Switch:
    • The Encyclopedia Salesman sketch. A man tries to convince a housewife to let him into her apartment... by impersonating a burglar.
      That man was a successful encyclopedia salesman.
    • The actual smuggler is terrible at hiding it and the customs agent has him taken away for causing a disturbance despite having a whole suitcase full of watches. The agent then arrests the vicar next in line without waiting for an argument.
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  • Blatant Lies: The smuggler who is trying to sneak Swiss watches and clocks in his luggage can't tell a convincing lie to save his life, his lies get more and more outrageous as the customs officer toys with him; then his "vest" goes off.
  • Captain Obvious: "My husband, in combination with a lot of people his age, is fifty."
  • Charles Atlas Superpower: One cartoon parodied the original Charles Atlas, showing that in a fight, big muscles are no match against big muzzles.
  • Destination Defenestration: What happens to unsuccessful encyclopedia salesmen.
  • Exact Words: The vox pops filmed segments, asking what "the man in the street thinks".
    Carol Cleveland: I'm not a man, you silly billy!
    Terry Jones: (on rooftop) I'm not in the street, ya fairy!
    John Cleese: Well, speaking as a man in the stree—waahh! (is run over by car)
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  • Hold Up Your Score: The Job Interview sketch.
  • Inflating Body Gag: In the Charles Atlas cartoon the wimpy guy inflates his chest until it explodes.
  • Kill the Poor: This John Cleese vox pop:
    Conservative MP: Well, I think they should attack the lower classes, first with bombs and rockets destroying their homes and then when they run helpless into the streets, mowing them down with machine guns. And then, of course, releasing the vultures. (beat) I know these views aren't popular, but I have never courted popularity.
  • Muscle Beach Bum: One of the animations was a parody of the Charles Atlas ads. A weakling has sand kicked in his face by a beach bully, who then steals his girlfriend. He exercises and develops a massive physique. When he returns to the beach, the bully shoots him in the head with a cannon and steals the girlfriend again.
  • Something Else Also Rises: Parodied. We see a couple go to bed and then clips of Stock Footage consisting only of this, such as the train entering into a tunnel, a chimney being blown up playing in reverse (as if it were rising), champagne bottles blowing open and so on (even a clip featuring Richard Nixon). After the clips they are over, the man and the woman are shown sitting in the bed, the man with a projector and the girl asking "Oh Bevis, are you going to do anything or are you just going to show me films all evening?"
  • Stop Trick: Used a lot in the "Confuse-a-Cat" sketch.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: The smuggler, as well as being a Bad Liar: "Nothing to declare, no, nothing in my suitcase..." and "No, no watches at all. No precision watches, no."
  • This Just In!: Eric Idle plays a news anchor reporting on a jewel robbery and shows film of a possible witness, it's of him sitting at a news desk; the film then shows a cop appearing to arrest Film!Eric, while Real!Eric gets a news flash handed to him, saying that the person of interest has been taken in for questioning. Film!Eric comes back as Real!Eric gets another bulletin saying the first person was not the one they were looking for, but has given them another lead, the cop appears in studio and takes Real!Eric into custody. Film!Eric then says that they've received word that the man is now helping the police with their inquiries.
  • Unfortunate Item Swap: In the "Police Raid" sketch, Graham Chapman plays the role of a policeman who intrudes on two guys playing chess, claiming he's got a warrant to search the premises. After a brief awkward silence, Graham produces a paper bag from his pocket, drops it on the table, and begins loudly declaring that he has discovered a bag which may indeed contain illicit substances. Eric Idle searches the bag to find... a sandwich. Dismayed, Graham looks at the camera and inquires, "Blimey! Whatever did I give the wife?"
  • Vox Pops: Ask the man on the street what he thinks?
    Woman (Carol Cleveland): (seductively) I am not a man you silly billy!
    Man on rooftop (Terry Jones): (pours himself some tea from a thermos, then notices the camera) I'm not on the street you fairy!
    Man in street (John Cleese): Well, speaking as a man on the street... (gets knocked flying by speeding car) WAAGH!
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