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Argument Clinic (or Argument or The Argument Sketch) is a sketch that appears in "The Money Programme," the twenty-ninth episode of Monty Python's Flying Circus.

About[]

It features the absurd humour favoured by Monty Python and showcases the special chemistry between Michael Palin and John Cleese. The sketch's premise involves a service that exposes customers to unpleasant experiences for a fee. For example, one can pay to be verbally abused (by Chapman) or to be hit on the head (by Jones).

The Argument Clinic sketch leads into Hitting on the Head Lessons and Inspector Flying Fox of the Yard sketches.

Synopsis[]

A man (Palin) arrives at the clinic for an argument. The receptionist (Rita Davies) sends him to Mr Barnard's room. He walks into the room to be greeted by sudden insults spat by Chapman. After Palin tells him he came for an argument, Chapman says this room is for abuse and points him to the room next door.

Palin enters Mr Barnard's room (Cleese). Initially, Cleese simply gainsays (def'n: to oppose via contradiction) everything that Palin says. This frustrates Palin, who asserts that "an argument's not the same as contradiction"—("Simply saying 'No it isn't' isn't an argument." "Yes it is!" "No it isn't!")—until he realises that Cleese is engaging him in a sort of meta-argument about what constitutes an argument.

Cleese dings his bell and stops arguing as five minutes is up. Palin pays him to argue for another five minutes only to continue the argument of contradictions. He is ultimately unsatisfied with the argument, however, and goes to complain—only to find that the complaints department (staffed by Eric Idle) is where customers go to listen to a professional complainer.

Hitting on the Head Lessons[]

Money programme 11.PNG

Finally, he stumbles into a room where he is struck on the head with a mallet by Terry Jones, who gives being hit on the head lessons, which Palin proclaims a "stupid concept".

Inspector Flying Fox of the Yard[]

Money programme 12.PNG

In typical Python fashion, the sketch ends when Palin and Jones are arrested by Inspector Fox (Graham Chapman) for violating the Strange Sketch Act, but not much before the entire show is arrested by Inspector Thompson's Gazelle (Idle) for violating both the Not-in-Front-of-the-Children Act and the Getting-Out-of-Sketches-Without-Using-a-Proper-Punch-Line Act, and for "simply ending every bleeding sketch by just having a policeman come in". Right on cue, another inspector (Cleese) appears and puts his hand on Thompson Gazelle's shoulder, who says "It's a fair cop!" Cleese's inspector has another inspector's arm put on him as well, and the end title rolls.

The sketch is performed slightly differently in Monty Python Live at the Hollywood Bowl. In this version, the sketch ends abruptly while Cleese and Palin are mid-argument, by the entrance of Terry Gilliam, on wires, singing 'I've Got Two Legs'.


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