There’s a bit in Monty Python set in a courtroom. The judge passes sentence and says “Take him down,” and the policeman puts his hand on the convicted man’s shoulder.
We don’t just see it. We hear the sharp sound of the policeman’s hand dropping onto the convicted man’s shoulder.
It’s the sign, the signal, that his prison sentence starts now.
Then from outside the door, a hand and arm appears and drops onto the policeman’s shoulder.
The policeman looks surprised.
Where did that come from? What’s going on?
Then we hear the sound repeated again and again. We imagine a long corridor with a line of men, each one dropping his hand onto the shoulder of the man in front.
And we imagine each man surprised to have been ‘taken’ – to have become the person onto whose shoulder a hand has dropped.
It’s classic existential Python.
But somehow in The Young Ones, when Vyvyan knocks Rick’s head off to show who’s boss, it’s funnier. It grabs me by the bits inside and makes me laugh.
It’s existential too, but somehow I am with them. With Python, I admire them but I am not with them.
Warm and cold. I wonder why?