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A 90-minute, made-for-TV comedy film focusing around the controversy that surrounded the Monty Python film The Life of Brian.



This film contains examples of:



 Petitioner: [persistently] Do you want to sign my petition?

Michael: No.

Petitioner: Why not?

Michael: Because I'm not convinced the film should be banned.

Petitioner: Why not? [sarcastically] Did you write it?

Michael: Er, yes.

  • An Insert: the signing of the wills.
    • Notably, none of the signatures mimic the original Pythons' and Rufus Jones/Terry Jones' signature is not shown being signed as Rufus is left-handed, which would have made the angle impossible to shoot.
  • Apologetic Attacker: Andrew Thorogood, the leader of the Christian protestors during Michael's extended dream sequence.
  • Apologises a Lot: Michael, The Nicest Man In The World. Also: Self-Deprecation. Both directly referenced on several occasions, including the declaration by Terry Gilliam that Michael is "Even self-deprecating about being self-deprecating."
  • A Riddle Wrapped in a Mystery Inside An Enigma: when discussing the booking of Malcolm Muggeridge to debate the Pythons, Alan Dick refers to his unpredictability using the phrase "he's a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside a shit".
  • Brawn Hilda: Jones the Wife, at once Played for Laughs and yet oddly sympathetically when the acknowledgement of her masculinity (on account of the fact she is played by the Terry Jones character in drag) is made.
  • The Confidant: Jones the Wife, for Michael. Depicted in their bedtime chats.
  • Daydream Surprise: Michael's fantasy during the Friday Night, Saturday Morning sequence.
  • Deranged Animation: inevitably, in homage to the real Terry Gilliam:
    • The Pythons sit around a table in Hell, discussing despicable scenes for potential inclusion in Life of Brian, with Satan.
  • Divided We Fall: the ongoing conflict of opinion between John and Michael as to whether the Pythons should appear on 'Friday Night, Saturday Morning' to defend their film.
  • Everybody Smokes
  • Exact Eavesdropping:

 John, to Michael: Why can't I say things to offend you? Why can't I say, 'I don't like your hair' or 'Your wife looks like a man and makes fucking awful soup?' What is the worst that could happen?

Jones the Wife: [appears at the door to the room; after some small talk, closes the conversation with] Sure I can't get you anything? Glass of cordial? [manly voice] Spot of soup?

  • Friendship Moment: "I do... love you, M-Mike."
  • Gender Bender: Terry Jones as Jones the Wife, Michael Palin's spouse, who is acknowledged as being masculine in appearance and interest, but referred to continuously as female.
  • Happily Married: The Palins.
  • Ho Yay: the ongoing jokes surrounding the portrayal of Michael's wife as Terry Jones in drag; potentially John's declaration of love for Michael. Also Alan Dick kissing Harry Balls in celebration.
  • Insult Backfire: Michael to John:

 Michael: ...and you're the most disrespectful, disagreeable, obnoxious and annoying man in the world.

John: That's right! And I fought very hard for that title... wasn't easy to wrest it away from Michael Winner...

  • Intro Dump: the opening scene at the Distributor's office.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Jones the Wife's masculinity is referenced several times, to the point where it becomes a Running Gag.
  • The Magazine Rule: Jones the Wife reading 'The Cricketer' in bed.
  • Male Frontal Nudity: Terry Gilliam, completely naked except for a baby's head mask and a tie, during Michael's dream sequence.
  • Mr. Imagination: Terry Gilliam and his animated thought processes.
  • Nightmare Sequence: Michael's extended dream sequence.
  • Never Accepted in His Hometown: arguably subverted - the film is expected to be accepted in France and America, but the Americans protested it strongly and the film itself went on to be regarded as one of the best British films ever made.
  • Precision F-Strike: mild-mannered Michael in the initial taxi sequence.
  • Right in Front of Me: the interaction between Michael and the petitioner at the front door. Could also fall under Actually, I Am Him.
  • Sarcastic Devotee: Jones the Wife. "Don't ask me, darling, I'm just a pwetty face."
  • Take Our Word for It: Desmond's Tourettes outburst at the BBC office, during the meeting with Alan Dick.
  • The Drag Along: John, who is acknowledged as being a contrarian and almost invariably in opposition if opposition is there to be represented.
  • Those Two Guys: Desmond Lovely and Gareth Nice, the Christian protestors who each have speech impediments.
  • Trouble Follows You Home: the Christian protestors appearing in both John and Michael's front gardens during the course of the film.
  • TV Telephone Etiquette: The conversation between Michael and his mother, Mrs. Palin.
  • Vindicated by History: Life of Brian is now regarded as one of the best British films ever made, an acknowledgement made just before the credits.
  • Willing Suspension of Disbelief: Jones the Wife.
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