We watched Monty Python’s Life of Brian with N and K yesterday. First, though, Mr. December asked me if it was okay for N to watch.
“I think so,” I reasoned, “he’s self-aware enough to know if he’s uncomfortable with it. If he is, we’ll switch it off.”
Mr. December considered this. “Okay. But what about that one scene…”
“I have no idea what you’re talking about,” I said. “Let’s try it and see.”
We did, and they loved it.
After the movie I tried to figure out what Mr. December was concerned about.
There was a bit of salty language, although it’s nothing my kids haven’t heard before—we live in the city and they take public transit. You’re going to hear a few f-bombs occasionally; Even more so if you’re a passenger in my car during rush hour on the Don Valley Parking Lot. The Pythons used their swearing sparingly and to good effect.
There were two incidences of full-frontal nudity, which I really have no problem with. My kids know what naked bodies look like, and these situations weren’t sexual; the characters just hadn’t dressed for the day yet.
And then there was “that one scene” that Mr. December was worried about. In it, Pontius Pilate warns his centurions (as they giggle at his pronunciation of the letter “r”) that they’d better not laugh when his friend from Rome comes to town.
Who is this friend? Why, it’s Biggus Dickus, of course. And the centurions and guards all laugh, of course. Pilate demands to know what the big joke is; what could possibly be funny about the name Biggus Dickus? This gag goes on for several minutes in the exact same vein.
When Mr. December said, “That was the scene I was worried about,” My immediate response was, “Why?”
I still don’t get it. That scene might be the most age-appropriate scene in the whole movie for a ten-year-old boy’s sense of humour. It’s really just a bunch of grown men giggling because someone said a “naughty” word; isn’t that what kids do? Not to mention that said “naughty” word is probably the mildest slang term possible for the male genitalia. I’m pretty sure it didn’t sully my kids’ virgin ears.
But while we’re going there, I just can’t countenance teaching my kids that anatomical terms are somehow inappropriate. Sure, there are situations in which they might not be an appropriate topic of conversation altogether, but otherwise they’re scientific terms. If anything, I’d rather my kids use the correct word instead of slang: pen*s instead of d*ck, if you please.
(I used those asterisks instead of correct spelling because I really don’t need to be picked up by any AI censors for this rant.)
The only really inappropriate thing in that movie, in my view, is the way they poke fun at people with speech impediments: Pontius Pilate’s mispronunciation of “r”, yes, but also a jail guard’s terrible stutter and Biggus Dickus’s lisp (unfortunate impediment for a guy who has two names ending in “s”.) It’s the year 2021 and it’s not appropriate to make fun of people with disabilities. That was the conversation I needed to have with my kids. Biggus Dickus is just a juvenile—albeit fun—distraction.