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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[]

Argument Clinic[]

A man (Michael Palin) walks up to a receptionist (Rita Davies) at a clinic and says that he'd like to have an argument. The receptionist asks the man a couple of questions and then sends him off to Mr. Barnard in Room 12.

The man walks into Room 12 but instead of arguing, Barnard (Graham Chapman) starts shouting insults at the man. After the man tells Barnard what he's here for, Barnard politely tells the man that Room 12 is Abuse and Room 12A is for an argument. The man leaves and Barnard calls the man a "stupid git".

He enters Room 12A where he finds Mr. Vibrating (John Cleese) at his desk. The man asks if the room is the right room for an argument but Vibrating says that he told him once. They then get into an argument about whether Vibrating told him once or not. Vibrating then stops and asks if this is the five-minute argument or the full half-hour. The man says he's here for the five-minute argument and then, they continue their previous argument. Eventually, they get into an argument about whether they're actually having an argument or if Vibrating is just contradicting everything the man says. The man tries to explain what an argument is but either Vibrating ignores him or the man finds himself just contradicting too. Eventually, Vibrating dings the bell on his desk and explains to the man that his five minutes are up and that the man will have to pay up if he wants him to continue arguing. The man tries to say that that wasn't five minutes but he eventually gives in and pays up. They then get into an argument about whether he paid or not. However, the man then catches Vibrating and says that if he didn't pay, how is he still arguing. Vibrating says that he could be arguing in his spare time. The man eventually leaves.

The man then walks into a room labelled "Complaints". The man in charge (Eric Idle) starts complaining. The man eventually exits.

Hitting on the Head Lessons[]

Money programme 11.PNG

The man walks into another room where he is hit on the head by a mallet wielded by a man by the name of Spreaders (Terry Jones). Spreaders hits him a couple more times before the man tells him he came to complain. Spreaders says that it's "Hitting on the Head lessons" in this room. The man calls it a stupid concept.

Inspector Flying Fox of the Yard[]

Money programme 12.PNG

Inspector Fox of the Light Entertainment Police (Chapman) enters and introduces himself. He hits the man and Spreaders with a truncheon to silence them and then arrests them. He says he's charging them with Section 21 of the Strange Sketch Act. He explains that they both took part in a strange sketch that may cause mental confusion to the Great British Public. Just as he walks them off to the Yard, Inspector Thompson's Gazelle of the Programme Planning Police (Idle) enters and arrests the entire show on three counts. These three counts are "acts of self-consciousness behaviour contrary to the 'Not in front of children' Act", saying "so and so of the Yard" everytime an inspector appears, not ending sketches with a punchline and ending sketches with a policeman coming in. At that moment, a policeman (Cleese) enters. Then, a hand claps on the policeman's shoulder.

Other performances[]

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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