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Mrs. Premise and Mrs. Conclusion Visit Jean-Paul Sartre

The cast:

Graham Chapman
John Cleese
Eric Idle
Eric Idle
John Cleese
Michael Palin

The sketch:

(ANIMATION; ends with an animated woman going into a Laundromat. Cut to the interior of a Laundromat. Various shabby folk sitting around. Mrs. Conclusion approaches Mrs. Premise and sits down.)

Mrs. Conclusion: Hello, Mrs. Premise.

Mrs. Premise: Hello, Mrs. Conclusion.

Mrs. Conclusion: Busy day?

Mrs. Premise: Busy! I've just spent four hours burying the cat.

Mrs. Conclusion: Four hours to bury a cat?

Mrs. Premise: Yes! It wouldn't keep still, wriggling about howling its head off.

Mrs. Conclusion: Oh - it wasn't dead then?

Mrs. Premise: Well, no, no, but it's not at all a well cat so as we were going away for a fortnight's holiday, I thought I'd better bury it just to be on the safe side.

Mrs. Conclusion: Quite fight. You don't want to come hack from Sortonto to a dead cat. It'd be so anticlimactic. Yes, kill it now, that's what I say.

Mrs. Premise: Yes.

Mrs. Conclusion: We're going to have our budgie put down.

Mrs. Premise: Really? Is it very old?

Mrs. Conclusion: No. We just don't like it. We're going to take it to the vet tomorrow.

Mrs. Premise: Tell me, how do they put budgies down then?

Mrs. Conclusion: Well it's funny you should ask that, but I've just been reading a great big book about how to put your budgie down, and apparently you can either hit them with the book, or, you can shoot them just there, just above the beak.

Mrs. Premise: Just there!

Mrs. Conclusion: Yes.

Mrs. Premise: Well well well. 'Course, Mrs. Essence flushed hers down the 1oo.

Mrs. Conclusion: Ooh! No! You shouldn't do that - no that's dangerous. Yes, they breed in the sewers, and eventually you get evil-smelling flocks of huge soiled budgies flying out of people's lavatories infringing their personal freedom. (life-size at-out of woman at end of last animation goes by) Good morning Mrs. Cut-out.

Mrs. Premise: It's a funny thing freedom. I mean how can any of us be really free when we still have personal possessions.

Mrs. Conclusion: You can't. You can't ' I mean, how can I go off and join Frelimo when I've got nine more installments to pay on the fridge.

Mrs. Premise: No, you can't. You can't. Well this is the whole crux of Jean-Paul Sartre's 'Roads to Freedom'.

Mrs. Conclusion: No, it bloody isn't. The nub of that is, his characters stand for all of us in their desire to avoid action. Mind you, the man at the off-license says it's an everyday story of French country folk.

Mrs. Premise: What does he know?

Mrs. Conclusion: Nothing.

Mrs. Premise: Sixty new pence for a bottle of Maltese Claret. Well I personally think Jean-Paul's masterwork is an allegory of man's search for commitment.

Mrs. Conclusion: No it isn't.

Mrs. Premise: Yes it is.

Mrs. Conclusion: Isn't.

Mrs. Premise: 'Tis.

Mrs. Conclusion: No it isn't.

Mrs. Premise: All right. We can soon settle this. We'll ask him.

Mrs. Conclusion: Do you know him?

Mrs. Premise: Yes, we met on holiday last year.

Mrs. Conclusion: In Ibeezer?

Mrs. Premise: Yes. He was staying there with his wife and Mr. and Mr. Genet. Oh, I did get on well with Madam S. We were like that.

Mrs. Conclusion: What was Jean-Paul like?

Mrs. Premise: Well, you know, a bit moody. Yes, he didn't join in the fun much. Just sat there thinking. Still, Mr. Rotter caught him a few times with the whoopee cushion. (she demonstrates) Le Capitalisme et La Bourgeoisie ils sont la mimes chose... Oooh we did laugh.

Mrs. Conclusion: Well, we'll give a tinkle then.

Mrs. Premise: Yes, all right. She said they were in the book. (shouts) Where's the Paris telephone directory?

Mrs. Inference: It's on the drier.

Mrs. Premise: No, no, that's Budapest. Oh here we are Sartre ... Sartre.

Mrs. Varley: It's 621036.

Mrs. Premise: Oh, thank you, Mrs. Varley. (dials) Hallo. Paris 621036 please and make it snappy, buster... (as they wait they sing 'The Girl from Ipanema) Hallo? Hello Mrs. Sartre. It's Beulagh Premise here. Oh, pardon, c'est Beulagh Premise ici, oui, oui, dons Ibeezer. Oui, we met... nous nous recontrons au Hotel Miramar. Oui, à la . barbeque, c'est vrai. Madame S. - est-ce que Jean est chez vous? Oh merde. When will he be free? Oh pardon. Quand sera-t-il libre? Oooooh. Ha ha ha ha (to Mrs. Conclusion) She says he's spent the last sixty years trying to work that one out. (to Madame Sartre) Très amusant, Madam S. Oui absolument... à bientôt. (puts the phone down) Well he's out distributing pamphlets to the masses but he'll be in at six.

Mrs. Conclusion: Oh well, I'll ring BEA then.

(Cut to them sitting on a raft in mid-ocean.)

Mrs. Premise: Oh look, Paris!

(Cut to shot of a notice board on the seashore, it reads 'North Malden Welcomes Careful Coastal Craft'.)

Mrs. Conclusion: That's not Paris. Jean-Paul wouldn't live here. It's a right old dump.

('Alan Whicker', complete with microphone, walks in front of sign.)

Whicker: But this is where they were wrong. For this was no old dump, but a town with a future, an urban Eldorado where the businessmen of today can enjoy the facilities of tomorrow in the comfort of yesterday. Provided by a go-getting, go-ahead council who know just how loud money can talk. (a phone off-screen stuns to ring) Interest rates are so low...

(Cut to head of drama's office; he is on the phone.)

Head of Drama: Well ifs none of my business but we had the same trouble with one of our Icelandic sagas. These people are terribly keen but they do rather tend to take over. I think I'd stick to Caribbean Islands if I were you. (rings off) Fine... and now back to the saga.


( Thundering music. Cut to an Icelandic seashore. Dark and impressive. After a pause the pepperpots walk into shot.)

Mrs. Premise: Here - this is not Paris, this is Iceland.

Mrs. Conclusion: Oh, well, Paris must be over there then. (points out to the sea; they walk back to the raft)

(Stock shot of Eiffel Tower. French accordion music. Mix through to French street thronged by cod Frenchmen with berets and loaves. Mrs. Conclusion and Mrs. Premise appear and walk up to the front door of an apartment block. On the front door is a list of the inhabitants of the block. They read it out loud.)

Mrs. Premise: Oh, here we are, Number 25 .... (reads) Flat I, Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Flat 2, Yves Montand, Flat 3, Jacques Cousteau, Flat 4, Jean Genet and Friend, Flat 5, Maurice Laroux...

Mrs. Conclusion: Who's he?

Mrs. Premise: Never heard of him. Flat 6, Marcel Marceau, Walking Against the Wind Ltd.. Flat 7, Indira Gandhi?

Mrs. Conclusion: She gets about a bit, doesn't she?

Mrs. Premise: Yes, Flat 8, Jean-Paul and Betty-Muriel Same.

(She rings the bell. A voice comes from the intercom.)

Voice: Oui.

Mrs. Premise: C'est nous, Betty-Muriel, excusez que nous sorerues en retard.

Voice: Entrez.

(Buzzer sounds.)

Mrs. Premise: Oui, merci.

(Interior the Sartres flat. It is littered with books and papers. We hear Jean-Paul coughing. Mrs. Sartre goes to the door. She is a ratbag with a fag in her mouth and a duster over her head. A French song is heard on the radio. She switches it off.)

Mrs. Sartre: (MICHAEL) Oh, rubbish. (opens the door) Bonjour.

Mrs. Conclusion: (entering) Parlez vous Anglais?

Mrs. Sartre: Oh yes. Good day. (Mrs. Premise comes in) Hello, love!

Mrs. Premise: Hello! Oh this is Mrs. Conclusion from No. 46.

Mrs. Sartre: Nice to meet you, dear.

Mrs. Conclusion: Hello.

Mrs. Premise: How's the old man, then?

Mrs. Sartre: Oh, don't ask. He's in one of his bleeding moods. 'The bourgeoisie this is the bourgeoisie that' - he's like a little child sometimes. I was only telling the Rainiers the other day - course he's always rude to them, only classy friends we've got - I was saying solidarity with the masses I said... pie in the sky! Oooh! You're not a Marxist are you Mrs. Conclusion?

Mrs. Conclusion: No, I'm a Revisionist.

Mrs. Sartre: Oh good. I mean, look at this place! I'm at my wits' end. Revolutionary leaflets everywhere. One of these days I'll revolutionary leaflets him. If it wasn't for the goat you couldn't get in here for propaganda.

(Shot of a goat eating leaflets in comer of room.)

Mrs. Premise: Oh very well. Can we pop in and have a word with him?

Mrs. Sartre: Yes come along.

Mrs. Premise: Thank you.

Mrs. Sartre: But be careful. He's had a few. Mind you he's as good as gold in the morning, I've got to hand it to him, but come lunchtime it's a bottle of vin ordinalre - six glasses and he's ready to agitate.

(Mrs. Premise and Mrs. Conclusion knock on the door of Jean-Paul's room.)

Mrs. Premise: Coo-ee! Jean-Paul? Jean-Paul! It's only us. Oh pardon ... c'est m'me nous...

(They enter. We do not see Jean-Paul although we hear his voice.)

Jean-Paul: Oui.

Mrs. Premise: Jean-Paul. Your famous trilogy 'Rues i Liberte, is it an allegory of man's search for commitment?

Jean-Paul: Oui.

Mrs. Premise: I told you so.

Mrs. Conclusion: Oh coitus.

(Stock shot of a plane taking off)


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