Memories of Connecting: Fathers, Daughters and Intergenerational Monty Python Fandom

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This chapter draws on findings from the audience research project Monty Python Memories, which has amassed 6,120 questionnaire responses from across the world. The chapter focuses on one of the first searches conducted on the project dataset, which revealed that a prevalent trend crossing respondents’ memories of first encountering Python were mentions of ‘Dad’ or ‘Father’, with 1,098 responses mentioning one or both of these terms in their, generally lengthy, answers. On isolating these responses (henceforth referred to as the ‘Dad Memories Group’), it became apparent that there was a concentration of younger respondents in this group (particularly in the 18-35 age categories), pointing, crucially, to Python’s durability across generations. In addition, there was also a shift in the number of women within this group when compared to the dataset as a whole – an 8% rise in female responses and a 7% drop in male responses. The chapter argues that these findings prompt a series of questions relating to studies of intergenerational fandom; if, as previous scholarship has indicated, mothers and daughters can use shared media engagements to discuss puberty and romantic and sexual relationships, then what might be the motivations, benefits and consequences of a shared engagement with Monty Python between fathers and daughters? Is this shared investment in Python informed by different forms of emotional engagement and ways of looking at the world? How might this relate to Python’s status as sketch comedy, rather than dramatic narrative? The chapter’s analysis considers these questions by exploring the discursive repertoires/ways of talking about the association between fathers and Monty Python amongst the female respondents within the project’s ‘Dad Memories Group’, in order to shed light not only on Python’s durability across decades but also its surprising status as a cross-gender form of intergenerational media fandom.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAnd Now for Something Completely Different
Subtitle of host publicationCritical Approaches to Monty Python
EditorsKate Egan, Jeffrey Andrew Weinstock
Place of PublicationEdinburgh
PublisherEdinburgh University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9781474475181, 9781474475174
ISBN (Print)9781474475150
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2020


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