Lowpoint in Television

Thanks to Yule (who says it’s all Maria’s fault) I discovered that I’m Percy Bysshe Shelley in the “What famous Romantic Poet are you” quiz–not my favorite poet, but somewhat appropriate considering the name. In response, Yule wrote in comments:

No kidding! On the other hand, the poet Shelley’s full name never ceases to remind me of a cross-dressing Graham Chapman in Monty Python, leading a ‘salon’ while totally inebriated, waxing enthused at the name of Shelley, which he (she) confuses with sherry (“Another sherry? Yes, yes, alright!”).

Ah, the baleful influence of television… ;-)

The scene that Yule references is from the following (taken from script):

Chris in order to avoid this embarrassment, dives into the nearest department. A sign over the door reads ‘Victorian poetry reading hall’.

Cut to a poetry reading. Wordsworth, Shelley, Keats and Tennyson are present. Chris stands quietly in the comer hoping not to be noticed.

Old Lady: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen, it’s so nice to see such a large turnout this afternoon. And I’d like to start off by welcoming our guest speakers for this afternoon, Mr Wadsworth…

Wordsworth: Wordsworth!

Old Lady: Sorry, Wordsworth… Mr John Koots, and Percy Bysshe.

Shelley: Shelley!

Old Lady: Just a little one, medium dry, (a dwarf assistant pours her a sherry) and Alfred Lorde.

Tennyson: Tennyson.

Old Lady: Tennis ball.

Tennyson: Son, son.

Old Lady: Sorry – Alfred Lord, who is evidently Lord Tennisball’s son. And to start off I’m going to ask Mr Wadsworth to recite his latest offering, a little pram entitled ‘I wandered lonely as a crab’ and it’s all about ants.

Murmur of exalted anticipation. Wordsworth rises rather gloomily.

Wordsworth: I wandered lonely as a cloud

That floats on high over vales and hills
When all at once I saw a crowd
A host of golden worker ants.

Ripples of applause.

Old Lady: Thank you, thank you, Mr Bradlaugh. Now, Mr Bysshe.

Shelley: Shelley.

Old Lady: Oh… (the dwarf refills her glass)… is going to read one of his latest psalms, entitled ‘Ode to a crab’.

Shelley: (rising: and taking his place quietly) Well, it’s not about crabs actually, it’s called ‘Ozymandias’. It’s not an ode.

I met a traveller in an antique land
Who said ‘Six vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert
And on the pedestal these words appear
My name is Ozymandias, King of Ants

(oohs from his audience)

Look on my feelers, termites, and despair
I am the biggest ant you’ll ever see
The ants of old weren’t half as bold and big
And fierce as me’.

Enormous applause.

Old Lady: Thank you Mr Amontillado. I’d like to ask one or two of you at the back not to soil the carpet, there is a restroom upstairs if you find the poems too exciting (she falls over) Good afternoon, next, Mr Dennis Keat will recite his latest problem ‘Ode to a glass of sherry’. (she falls off the podium)

Keats: My heart aches and a drowsy numbness pains
My senses, as though an anteater I’d seen

(panic spreads and the audience half rise)

A nasty long-nosed brute

(screams from the audience)

With furry legs and sticky darting tongue
I seem to feel its cruel jaws
Crunch crunch there go my legs
Snap snap my thorax too

(various screaming women faint)

My head’s in a twain, there goes my brain
Swallow, swallow, swallow, slurp (he loses control)

Silly, strange, defining, and oddly flattering to the audience. One never looks at British people the same way again, after having experienced Monty Python. The show was unique and original and TV at it’s best.

Compare this to the television show that Diane Reese pointed to today from Warner Brothers: Beauty and the Geek — receiving my vote for the most idiotic, phony, and offensive television show of all time.

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9 Responses to Lowpoint in Television

  1. Ken Camp says:

    Beauty and the Geek — receiving my vote for the most idiotic, phony, and offensive television show of all time.

    That’s cause regardless of all your geekly sex appeal, you’d still be beauty rather than the geek.

  2. It’s been a delightful 18 months since I shut off my TV for good. But, /Shows/GenericShow/? When did they become self-parodying?

    I’m off to NetFlix, to tell them to send me more Monty Python. Oh, and Shelley? Make it a tall one, very dry, thanks.

  3. loren says:

    Can you guess who I tested out as, Shelley?

  4. Arthur says:

    …Beauty and the Geek…

    I’d like to say something smart and witty, but I’m… I have to go back to coding now.

  5. maria says:

    Oh that scene brought back so many memories … I, too, might have to get my fill over at Netflix. I kept my TV, but tuned mostly to the Sundance channel, RAI (Italian TV), and yes, I do, sometimes, watch “reality TV,” such as The Amazing Race. Okay, confession is over now… “My head’s in a twain, there goes my brain” — what can say?

  6. Shelley says:

    After Beauty and the Geek, we all need some Python to wash our minds clean. That and a tall, dry Shelley.

    Loren, I’m betting on Wadsworth and the golden ants.

  7. Gary says:

    Funny, I tested as Shelley too — I think it’s either the sherry or the sex…excellent TV pick.

  8. loren says:

    No, Shelley, you should have bet on Shelley, and I don’t know why, either.

    I would have preferred to be Wordsworth, though.

  9. Phil says:

    Another Shelley heard from. I’ve never even read the blighter, and I was rather hoping for Coleridge. Still, Quizilla loves me, which is nice.