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Trivialising the War

The cast:

GENERAL
Graham Chapman
CORPORAL
Eric Idle
AGING GENERAL
Terry Gilliam

The sketch:

Cut to a Whitehall war office conference room. A general is on the phone. Four other generals sit there.

General: Five shillings a dozen? That's ordinary cabbages, is it? And what about the bombs? Good Lord, they are expensive!

A corporal rushes in.

Corporal: Sir!

General: Yes, what is it?

Corporal: News from the Western Front, sir.

General: Yes ... ?

Corporal: Big enemy attack at dawn, sir ...

General: Yes ... ?

Corporal: Well, the enemy were all wearing little silver halos, sir ... and ... they had fairy wands with big stars on the end ... and ...

General: They what ... ?

Corporal: .. and ... they had spiders in matchboxes, sir.

General: (in disbelief) Good God! How did our chaps react?

Corporal: Well, they were jolly interested, sir. Some of them ... I think it was the 4th Armored Brigade, sir, they ... well, they went and had a look at the spiders, sir.

General: Oh my God! All right, thank you, Shirley.

A girl emerges from under the table. She is a blonde WAAF.

Corporal: Sir!

General: (to a sergeant) Get me the Prime Minister. (the sergeant opens the door, Churchill stands outside) Not that quickly! (the sergeant shuts the door) Gentlemen, it's now quite apparent that the enemy are not only fighting this war on the cheap, but they're also not taking it seriously.

Ageing General: Bastards ...

General: First they drop cabbages instead of decent bombs ...

Corporal: The crates were probably quite expensive, sir.

General: Quiet, critic! And now they're doing very silly things in one of the most vital areas of the war!

Ageing General: What are we going to do, Shirley?

General: Well, we've got to act fast before it saps morale. We're going to show these Chinese ...

Captain: Germans, sir.

General: These Germans ... we're going to show them that no British soldier will descend to their level. Anyone found trivializing this war will face the supreme penalty that military law can provide. (he holds a heroic pose; there is a pause during we expect to cut; we don't; suddenly he breaks out of the pose into informality) That was all right, I think?

Captain: (getting out drinks) Seemed to go quite well.

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