Monty Python’s fourth season: The terrible end of the greatest sketch show of all time

When Monty Python is remembered these days, it’s generally for its two seminal films, Holy Grail and Life of Brian, or Spamalot, the musical inspired by the former. When aficionados of the British act’s inimitable brand of surreal sketch comedy are reminded about the television series that launched the troupe into fame, however, they usually light up and start rhapsodizing about their favorite sketches, whether it’s the obvious (dead parrots, silly walks, and cross-dressing lumberjacks) or the slyer, more literate ones subverting well-worn tropes. I especially adore the first series’s “Working Class Playwright,” in which Eric Idle’s cheery aspirant coal miner upsets his parents by refusing to take on the family business of playwriting. The sketch climaxes with his outraged Northern writer father announcing, “There’s nowt wrong wi’ gala luncheons, lad! I’ve had more gala luncheons
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