This week’s Friday feeling comes courtesy of Monty Python & James Bond for, on this day in 1969 & 1962, they each made their debut.
Showcasing the talents of Eric Idle, Graham Chapman John Cleese, Michael Palin, Terry Gilliam, and Terry Jones, I was surprised to read that the series had lasted for only one year, as the impact it had on comedy was immense.
So immense I feel the need to whisper the sad truth – I never actually “got it” myself …
Based on Ian Fleming’s novel of the same name, the first James Bond film starred Sean Connery as James Bond and is famed for “that ” scene of Ursula Andress coming out of the sea in a white bikini (a scene which was given a gender flip in a later Bond where Daniel Craig does the same walk but in blue trunks).
The line up of Bonds to date is Sean Connery (1962–1967, 1971 and 1983), David Niven (1967), George Lazenby (1969), Roger Moore (1972–1985), Timothy Dalton (1986–1994), Pierce Brosnan (1994–2004), Daniel Craig (since 2005) and despite running out of Fleming novels, the brand is still going surprisingly strong.
I’ll have to whisper once more because I’ve never been a great fan of Bond either. Although a thought does cross my mind – I do believe I’d rather enjoy a Pythonesque version of Bond … or maybe not. Maybe I just like the sound of it.
My taste in humour and cinema was formed by early years spent among Americas rather than my fellow Brits. I’ve assumed that’s why such British standards don’t chime for me. I’ve oft wondered if there are others who – like me – find popular trends passing them by.
Happy Friday all!
© Debra Carey, 2018
Now that you say it here I remember seeing Monty Python on TV when I was a girl. I got some of it, but most of it [pun intended] flew over my head. I’m completely indifferent to Bond. Those movies have been around forever at this point, but don’t resonate with me, thus I say, whatever dude.
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Thanks Ally, your response makes me feel more normal. Despite being British, my overseas upbringing has oft made me feel an alien, and these are two subjects – and their passing me by – do contribute to that feeling. Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is another sacred cow that goes whoosh past my ears …
They’re not the messiah – they’re very naughty boys!
One of the things that I find sad is that a BBC bod recently said that if the Python team turned up today with their pitch, they wouldn’t have a chance – lack of diversity: who wants to watch six white upper-middle class oxbridge types being silly. Python paves the way for a lot of modern comedy, but I think that in a lot of cases, not just here, it goes wrong when we put the people up on a pedestal and don’t critique what is going on. For example, Holy Grail just ends – people ran out of steam in the writing of the script. That’s just one dimension of the comedy, but for me it is a major failing of their work.
Python version of Bond is pretty much the Niven Casino Royale, although that suffered from four different directors.
Alan More presents Bond as a bit of a thug in one of the later volumes of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, which is a bit unfair – there is clearly an intellect at work, it’s just that the moral compass doesn’t point to the same North as everyone else. The thing is though, that as an agent, Bond is hopelessly compromised – he couldn’t really do his job.
Perhaps the link between Python and Bond is that they’re both totally unrealistic.
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*la la la* I am not an alien 😀 😀 😀
In all seriousness, your analysis is absolutely spot on. I read about David Niven’s Bond in his fabulous book “The Moon is a Balloon” but it was only recently that I watched it (Himself was to blame, of course). Even with my tongue firmly in cheek, I still only managed to raise the odd weak smile, so clearly the Python Bond combo I’d hoped would be a magic formula was only a pipe dream.
I’d agree with your final comment about them sharing a lack of realism. I guess this means I need to be rooted firmly in reality.
You may have come across the saying that “if you remember the 60’s you weren’t really there”: but I was and I do! It was a time when things were changing at a rapid rate after the stultification of the post-war recovery. Suddenly, for most people, there was more money left over at the end of the week than vice versa and it was an opportunity to experiment. Some did with clothes (Carnaby Street); some music (Beatles – 1960) the whole Liverpool Sound and some with comedy breaking out of the previous somewhat deferential mode (That Was The Week That Was – 1962). (How on earth did a catch-phrase like ‘Can I do you now Sir? – ITMA 1939-49 – even produce such gales of laughter to *become* a catch-phrase??).
So with such a wide, almost scatter-gun, approach it is no wonder that some of the comedy of the period did not/doesnot resonate with everybody. Personally I enjoyed some of the early Bond films but when Roger Moore took over the plots became so silly (not his fault – he acted with aplomb) that I couldn’t be bothered anymore. Some of Python was imaginative and good: some not. It is perfectly normal not to find certain programmes/films/music/clothes interesting, enjoyable and worth spending time on. Just concentrate on what you do like, but try the breakout occasionally for the sheer surprise of it! 🙂
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I discovered Python later, and love it. Sorry you didn’t get it, Debs! Bond – I agree with Alan. I enjoyed Connery, not so much Roger Moore, saw about one film of each of the others, came to the conclusion that he’s a Time Lord. 😁 You might like to try Charlie Higson’s YA Young James Bond novels. They present a boy still at Eton, but leaving for adventures. Oddly, he’s a rather nice boy, nicer than Horowitz’s Alex Rider, and certainly nicer than the adult Bond.
I discovered Hitchiker’s Guide To The Galaxy when I was studying librarianship and have fond memories of us throwing quotes at each other over coffee during our few spare moments at uni. It’s a classic. I admit, though, that the later volumes went downhill.
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Now that I live here permanently, if I don’t get something in popular culture, I know it’s as a result of it not chiming with me and it gives me no pause for thought at all. But my first experiences of stuff like Python & early Bond was shared with crowds of enthusiastic fans whilst I sat in silence wondering what on earth was going on. When you combine vast gaps in the shared experience (resulting from an early life lived overseas) with not getting the popular stuff, it just added to the feeling of being an alien in my own country. I used to wonder what I’d missed, but finally realised that when something is hugely popular, it can seem hyped to death to anyone who gets their first glimpse of it after all the heapings of praise and enthusiasm – very few have a chance of meeting that high a level of expectation.
I still have a lurking sense of having missed out Sue, but I’ve learned to shrug and live with it. The early Bond sounds like it might be fun. I’ll take a look.