October 24, 2009

Monty Python: In Search of the Flying Circus

It all started last Saturday night when we were watching a DVRed episode of Late Night with Jimmy Fallon featuring 4 of the original cast members of the classic British comedy group Monty Python. (You can see some of their silliness here):

While we're fairly familiar with Monty Python (we've seen Holy Grail and Meaning of Life and we loved their Broadway musical Spamalot) we've never really seen the TV show where Monty Python first started, Monty Python's Flying Circus. But after watching the silly antics of these (now older) men on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, we decided that we had to go out and buy the complete series of Flying Circus on DVD. When we finished watching Monty Python on Late Night, it was already 10 pm, and most stores were closed, with the exception of Barnes & Noble, which closes at 11:00.

We went online to see the availability of the set, and we were faced with a dilemma. There are two different complete series sets of Monty Python's Flying Circus! The first one is called "The 16 Ton Megaset", which features all 45 episodes of the series, as well as 2 bonus disks of "Monty Python Live" which features some live shows that Monty Python did.

The other set was called the "Deluxe Mega Set", and in addition to all 45 episodes and the Monty Python Live disks, it also had all of the "Personal Best" DVDs (kind of like the SNL Best of DVDs, it has the best of each cast member's sketches) and also 2 new documentaries. The Deluxe Mega Set is obviously newer and better, but it is also of course much more expensive. On Amazon, the 16 Ton Set sold for $56.99 and the Deluxe Mega Set sold for $84.99. I always do like to get the best set available, but was it worth an extra $20 for the Personal Best DVDs (which is just a compilation of sketches on the other disks) and some documentaries?

After much deliberation, we decided that no, it was not worth it. We just wanted to see the show. We didn’t really need the documentaries (I later found out that the documentaries are available separately). So, we were set, we were going to get the 16 Ton Mega Set! Furthermore, at Barnes & Noble, it was on sale for 50% off! Of course Barnes & Noble is always more expensive then Amazon, but since it was 50% off, instead of it selling for $100, it was no on sale for $50! Plus, I could use my Barnes & Noble membership discount to get 10% off, so now it was only $45! Over $10 cheaper than Amazon (how rare!), and we could watch it TONIGHT! We were very excited, but after checking the "Pick it up now" feature on Barnes & Noble's website, we realized that it wasn't available at the B&N near us, but it was available at the one about 20 minutes away. Unfortunately, it wasn’t there, and it only appeared to be in stock because the website takes a while to update. They did, however, have the Deluxe Megaset, available for $130. We declined this overpriced offer, and went home, defeated.

We checked online again to see where the 50% off Megaset was available, and we saw that it was for sale 30 minutes away at a mall in New York, so we reserved the copy online. We went to Barnes & Noble, and there it was, behind the counter, waiting for us to take it home (this is a great feature!). By the way, for readers who are thinking of expanding their DVD collections, the Barnes & Noble sale is still going on, and as of right now, the Monty Python Megaset is the #1 bestselling DVD! If it’s not available near you, and you aren’t incredibly impatient like us, you can order it.

After going the wrong way on the highway and driving through the Bronx to get to J’s house, we watched the first 3 episodes that night. The show is very unique. It's a sketch comedy show, but unlike SNL, the sketches in each episode usually have recurring themes or references. At the same time, each sketch is completely random and unexpected. They also have these very creative and often hilarious animated segments which act as transitions from one random sketch to the next. Some sketches were funnier than others, but here's a few of my favorites. What do you think?

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