Bitchy and Screechy

Author: Jess

Rating: PG

Subjects: Monty Python, humor

Summary: Mike and Eric play a little joke on John and Jonesy. A very small reference to the "Itchy and Scratchy" characters from The Simpsons.

Warning: Apologies to Terry Jones and John Cleese. I have much respect for each of them and am just having a little fun with some of their known qualities. If you're a huge fan of either of them and don't think you can take a poke of fun at them, please turn back now. I will ignore all flaming emails!

Disclaimer: I am not making any money off of this. The Pythons do not belong to me, they belong to themselves. This fic is copyrighted August, 2003 and may not be used or altered without the expressed permission of the author.

Part 1

(Setting: A Python script meeting at Terry Jones' house, January 1972)

"I'm telling you Jones, it's wrong!!"

"That's 'cos you don't know comedy when you see it, John!!"

"How the hell is this supposed to be funny, I ask you??"


Eric looked back at Michael and rolled his eyes. Mike snorted. The two had since backed away from the table and were now standing on opposite sides of the doorway leading into Terry's parlor, where the meeting was being held. John and Jonesy had been going at it for at least half an hour. They had been discussing one of the sketches written by Michael and Jonesy, though it was mostly written by Jonesy, hence his offense to John's "how can it be funny?" comment.

"I told you once, I told you twice, and I am telling you for the last time, Jonesy, we're repeating ourselves!" John said adamantly with his arms folded across his chest.

Jonesy fixed him with a piercing glare. If looks could kill, John would be instantly dead in the cold ground. He didn't say anything for a couple of minutes. Then finally he leapt from his chair, raised his eyebrows and his eyes widened...

"A-HA!!! I've finally realized it! You're INSANE, John!!" he exclaimed with his mouth wide open.

"I beg your PARDON???" John countered incredulously. "You're the one who gets up in arms when you hear the truth!"

Michael shut his eyes and sighed. He turned to Eric.

"You know, if this keeps up I'd suggest we mutiny," he said quietly.

Eric chuckled.

"Not a bad idea. From what I can see, I'm not sure if they'd be willing to follow, though." He gestured toward Graham and Gilliam who were still sitting at the table, quietly observing the heated argument.

Mike rolled his eyes. "What is wrong with those blokes?"

Eric shrugged. "Guess they're so used to it by now, they've become numb to its effects," he grinned.

Michael shook his head. "I am really getting sick of this. I mean, collecting Gray and getting here late each week is bad enough, but listening to them argue is enough to make me jump out the window.

"Hey, Mike, you don't want to do that. You'll give them the satisfaction of driving us mad and they'll keep at it," Eric joked.

Michael giggled in spite of himself.

Suddenly, both John and Jonesy whipped their heads around and looked straight at them.

John raised his eyebrows.

"Can we help you, gentlemen?" he said sarcastically.

Mike and Eric's eyes widened and they blushed, just like two little kids who realized they got caught doing something wrong.

" were just..." Eric trailed off.

"Why don't you two pretty boys go someplace else, tend to your voluminous quantity of fanmail and stop distracting us!!" John interrupted.

Jonesy laughed, which prompted Gilliam and Gray to giggle.

"Pretty boys??" Michael repeated incredulously.

He and Eric walked out of the room toward the foyer.

"I'd like to think that was a compliment," Eric said wryly.

"Damn those argumentative bastards," Mike said under his breath. "It's their fault we're so behind schedule."

"Yeah, I...." Eric trailed off. He glanced over toward the parlor where Jonesy and John were still going at it excitedly. Suddenly a grin spread across his face.


"I was just satisfying it would be to have a little fun at their expense," he said quietly.

Michael raised an eyebrow.

"It seems they're a bit pissed off that we are known for being 'pretty boys'...I was wondering how many Python fans know about THEIR true nature," Eric continued.

"What are you suggesting, Idle?" Mike grinned.

Eric put his finger up to his lips and gestured for he and Mike to go outside. They exited Jonesy's house and descended the front steps.

"I have a Super 8 camera back at my flat. Next week when we meet again, I'm going to smuggle it into Jonesy's house. As soon as they start going off, the camera starts rolling," he giggled mischieviously.

Michael laughed.

"Oh dear, I reckon they'd be right embarrassed if they saw themselves going mad on film," he giggled.

"And not just next week, but every time we meet to work on the scripts. We'll build up quite a collection Then we'll present it to Duncan and see if we can get a little program out of it."

Mike raised his eyebrows.

"You're serious??" He put his hand over his mouth to stifle the laughter.

Eric nodded.

"Old Bitchy and Screechy won't know what hit them," he grinned.

"Hey, I quite like that. 'The Bitchy and Screechy' show," Mike laughed.

"You work on the concept, I'll work on the theme song," Eric winked.

Michael nodded and waved to Eric as he got into his car and drove away.


Part 2

The following week, Michael met Eric as soon as he arrived at Jonesy's house. He made his way up to Eric's car.

"Did you bring the camera?" he asked.

Eric nodded. "Yup, it's right here," he answered, holding up a black shoulder bag.

"How are we going to do this without John or Jonesy knowing?" Mike suddenly asked, concerned.

"When it looks like they're going to go off on each other, I'll quietly leave the room, or excuse myself. I'll conceal myself in the doorway and start filming."

Michael nodded. They made their way up to Jonesy's house, giggling.

Michael was about to knock when the door swung open violently.

"MIKE!! ERIC!! It's about bloody time you got here!!" Jonesy screeched.

"What?" Michael asked curiously.

"You're ten minutes late!! And don't give me the excuse that you had to give Graham a lift. because he's already here!!" Jonesy squealed.

Michael furrowed his brow as he saw Graham already sitting at the table with John and Gilly. He looked at Graham questioningly.

"David gave me a lift over here," Graham shrugged.

"Oh," Mike answered, a bit dumbfounded.

Suddenly, Eric couldn't hold back and he reached for the camera inside the shoulder bag, turned it on and aimed it right in Jonesy's face as Jonesy screamed:


He then stomped inside and headed for the kitchen as he heard the teakettle go off. Eric fought hard to hold back the laughter.

"What did you do??" Michael said quietly with an amused grin on his face.

"I aimed the camera right for Jonesy's face as he was screaming. I zoomed in a bit, so there's a nice close-up on his face, I'm afraid," he giggled.

"Hmm, that would be a good lead-in for the first episode," Mike grinned.

Eric nodded as they made their way to the parlor. They hoped they could get through this meeting without bursting into laughter.


The meeting started off placidly, with each of the Pythons (save Gilliam, who only gave some rough ideas of what his cartoons would be about) presenting their ideas for sketches. Close to an hour into the meeting, however, Jonesy and John got into another heated discussion. John started bitching again that all the sketches were thinly veiled rehashes of earlier sketches, while Jonesy loudly defended the sketches and kept insisting that John was crazy. At one point, Jonesy rose from his chair, sauntered up to John, and began poking him in the chest (not an easy feat as John had almost a good foot over Jonesy) to emphasize his argument.

As soon as he heard a slight raise in their voices, Eric quietly got up and left the room. No one seemed to notice he was gone except for Mike, who kept his head down most of the time so they wouldn't see him smirking. Eric hid himself behind the door, just peeking the camera slightly around the corner so he could get a good view of the room inside. He tried very hard to stifle his giggles.

When the meeting ended and everyone got up to leave, Mike walked past Eric and raised his eyebrows questioningly.

Eric grinned and nodded.

Over the next few weeks, Eric made sure he brought the camera each time they met. Luckily no one ever noticed that he had it, or that he had left the room.


Close to the end of January, Mike met Eric down at the BBC, since they were going to present the material to Duncan and ask if they could make a little series out of it.

"Well, I got four weeks worth of material on here," Eric said, gesturing toward the film reels he brought. "Would have gotten more, but at last week's meeting I think Jonesy was starting to get suspicious."

"Can't have that, can we?" Mike grinned.

Duncan Wood, a tall, thin, middle-aged man, entered the room.

"Well...Mister Idle. Mister Palin." He began.

Michael and Eric nodded and smiled.

"I understand you have some material you'd like me to take a look at...for a possible television series?"

Eric nodded and presented the reels to Duncan.

"What is the premise?' He asked as he loaded the first reel into the projector.

"Well...we thought the Python fans might like to see what goes on behind the scenes," Mike said timidly.

"Especially fans of John and Jonesy. They might like to see what these chaps are really like," Eric giggled.

Duncan stared at him blankly. Eric turned his eyes downward and blushed.

As the projector started up, suddenly a large, slightly blurred extreme closeup of Terry Jones' face appeared in front of the camera.


Duncan's eyes widened and his eyebrows shot up.

He turned and looked at Michael and Eric while pointing to the screen, going, "Is that..?"

Eric grinned and nodded.

Duncan watched the film intentively. Eric and Mike were worried that he'd find the whole idea ridiculous, or even worse, inappropriate.

Fortunately for them, he found it quite amusing. He howled with laughter upon seeing Jonesy walk up to John, angle his head upward and poke John in the chest, which caused John to pull himself up to his full height. It made him look like an angry cat threateningly arching its back.

The second reel of film proved to be even more amusing. At one point John picked up a Melmac plate and banked it off Jonesy's head. If the plate was made of porcelain it wouldn't have been as funny as it would probably send Jonesy to the hospital. But seeing some light durable material bouncing off of Jonesy's head was actually pretty funny.

In another instance, Jonesy actually picked up a chair and threw it at John. It missed its intended target and ended up only a few inches from Jonesy's cat, which screeched almost as loud as Jonesy ever could. When the physical abuse failed at attempting to make them laugh, the verbal abuse more than made up for it. John bitched about ridiculous things, such as Jonesy's gut blotting out the sun. Jonesy countered with a snide remark about John losing his hair. And, of course, nothing could make up for Jonesy's high-pitched squealing.

"Oh my God!! Please turn this off before I spill a gut!" Duncan exclaimed between fits of laughter.

Just as Jonesy was about to hurl a glass ashtray at John, Eric stopped the film.

"So, what do you think?" Mike asked, turning toward Duncan.

"What do I think? Do you know how long it's been since I've laughed this hard?" the man answered, still giggling.

"I can't imagine," Eric said facetiously.

"Well," Duncan sighed as he finally calmed down. "I think you chaps have something here. All you need to do is come up with something for the opening credits and something to lead in to the footage. Do that for me and we'll set up a timeslot for it."

Michael and Eric turned to each other and smiled.

"Thanks very much for your time, Duncan. We really appreciate this," Eric said as they both rose and shook his hand.

As they left the room, Duncan looked at the two reels of film on his desk, shook his head and giggled.


Part 3

A few months later, the Pythons were at the BBC, about to tape the "All-England Summarize Proust Competition" episode. Mike and Eric were grinning knowingly at each other almost the whole time. Today was the day that their new "series" would be debuting and they wanted to make sure John and Jonesy would see it.

Eric knocked on the dressing room door. He entered and found Mike in his costume for the "Travel Agent" sketch. He was sitting in front of the mirror, combing his hair. He noticed Eric and turned around.

"About ready?" Eric asked.

Mike raised his eyebrows questioningly.

Eric gestured out into the hallway and grinned.

A grin slowly spread across Michael's face and he nodded.

"I'll wheel a television set out into the main room," he said quickly as he and Eric left the room.

Michael found a TV set sitting on a cart and wheeled it out into the room where the others were sitting, reviewing their lines. He took hold of the extension cord and plugged it in.

"Palin, what the hell are you doing?" John demanded.

"The atmosphere here is a bit tense, so we thought we could lighten the mood by putting on the telly," Mike smiled.

John rolled his eyes.

"What's on?" Gilliam asked curiously.

Mike feigned ignorance and shrugged his shoulders.

"Don't know. But it can't hurt to find out."

He switched the television on and tuned it into BBC2.

Suddenly an announcer's voice proclaimed, "The News at 10 will not be shown today. And now we bring you a new program...The Bitchy and Screechy Show."

The remaining four Pythons eyed the set curiously.

Suddenly, cutesy music began to play, over an alternating montage of pictures of John and Jonesy with their mouths wide open and angry looks on their faces. Eric's voice sung...

They bitch,
and screech

They bitch and bitch and screech

Bitch bitch bitch
Screech screech screech

The Bitchy and Screechy Show!

The opening credits ended with a shot of Jonesy throwing a chair at John, finishing with a loud crashing sound effect.

John and Jonesy's jaws dropped.

The scene opened with a shot of Michael sitting at a desk, wearing a gray suit, red tie, and with his hair combed nicely. He appeared in his usual sunny disposition.

"Good morning," he smiled. "This program is for all the Terry Jones and John Cleese fans out there, and we know there's a lot of you. You've seen them as they appear in Flying Circus, in the "And Now For Something Completely Different" film, and even on stage. But, do you really know them as we do?"

"What is this crap??" John exclaimed.

"Shh, I want to hear this," Graham addressed him. "It seems quite interesting."

John glared at him.

On the television, Michael continued...

"Each man is an enigma, cloaked in mystery. For those of you who'd like to get to know them almost as well as anyone could, we have quite a treat for you. These secret bits of footage from Python script meetings dated January, 1972 reveal Terrence Jones and John Marwood Cleese as they truly are. Sit back and enjoy."

He ended his statement with a quick little grin.

The footage began with the close-up of Terry's face screaming at Eric and Mike to get their arses inside. Peals of laughter from the studio audience were heard in the background.

Eric and Mike found it hard to keep a straight face, but Gilliam and Graham started cracking up.

Jonesy blushed bright red.

Suddenly the camera cut back to Michael at the desk.

"Not just another pretty face," he joked.

Jonesy ran up to the TV and glared at Mike.

"MICHAEL, YOU TRAITOR!!!" he squealed.

Mike raised an eyebrow at him and grinned.

As the show wore on, more footage of John and Jonesy bawling each other out was shown, intercut with commentary from Michael. Nearing the end, Michael explained to the audience how the footage was procured, and asked the cameraman to come forward.

Eric, dressed in a casual tee shirt and a pair of jeans, walked up to the desk. He turned toward the audience with a cheesy grin, and they clapped.

"Now, sir, as I understand it, you filmed all this footage?" Mike asked.

Eric nodded, grinning widely.

"That's right, mate. With me lovely Bolex Super 8 camera here!" He held up the Super 8 camera.

Mike grinned back.

"Well, sir, you've made this audience laugh." He turned toward the audience. "Right?"

The audience answered with cheers. Eric smiled and bowed at the audience.

"Surely you deserve something for being responsible for such mirth. Therefore we have something special for you," Mike continued with a cheesy grin.

Eric's eyes widened and he began jumping up and down excitedly.

"OOOOOOH OOOOOOH what do I win???" he asked.

Michael looked toward the camera with a slight grin and raised his eyebrows up and down. He reached into the desk draw and pulled out a pair of earplugs.

"Your very own pair of earplugs, to safeguard you from the endless bitching and screeching you encounter every week!"

John and Jonesy sputtered angrily.

Back on the TV, Eric graciously accepted the earplugs.

"Oh, thanks muchly, mate!! You're a life-saver!"

Michael looked at the camera, furrowed his brow and silently mouthed, "thanks muchly mate?"

The studio audience laughed.

"Well, that's all for this week. There will be many more laughs to come, so stay tuned until next week!" Mike declared.

The end credits began rolling...

"The Bitchy and Screechy Show was conceived and written by Eric Idle and Michael Palin

Theme song written and sung by Eric Idle

Produced by Duncan Wood for BBC-2

With special thanks to John Marwood Cleese and Terrence Jones

Keep On Bitchin' and Screechin', Chaps!

No, really! We need a steady supply of footage here!

(c) BBC Colour 1972"

Following the credits was a replay of Jonesy throwing the chair at John, which ended in a freeze-frame and studio audience laughter.

John leapt up out of his chair.

"SHUT THIS RUBBISH OFF!!" he yelled.

"What have you guys gotten into?" Gilliam asked with an amused grin on his face.

"Quite simple, actually." Mike began.

"The 'pretty boys' have fought back in their own special way!" Eric said smugly.

"Don't encourage them, Gilliam!" John snapped. He turned toward Eric and Mike.

"Do you know what this is??" he asked excitedly.

Mike and Eric glanced at each other and shrugged innocently.

"This is slander!!" John continued. "I can sue you for this! In fact, maybe I will!"

Mike and Eric rolled their eyes.

"Yeah, go ahead and do that, John. I don't think you'll have much of a case when they see your mannerisms up close," Graham suddenly interjected.

"Oh, shut up, Chapman!!" John growled. "I can't believe you're taking their side! Lay off the drink so you can talk sensibly for once!"

"After this I'll need a good drink," Graham said wearily.


John looked curiously over at Jonesy who was sulking, his back turned away from them. He finally turned around, marched up to Mike and looked him straight in the eye with a menacing glare.

"You..." he began.

"OUR RELATIONSHIP IS OVER!!" he yelled, practically foaming at the mouth.

Michael raised an eyebrow at him.

"So I reckon the wedding's off?" He said amusedly.

Suddenly, Jonesy's glowering expression melted and his mouth lifted up into a smile. He started to giggle, and finally broke into all-out laughter.

Michael eyed him curiously.

"You know, there was a moment there where I wanted to literally rip your head off," Jonesy laughed.

Mike continued to stare at him.

"This was all a joke, right? You wanted to get back at me for treating you two so harshly that one time, right?" Jonesy continued.

Michael looked warily at Eric, then back at Jonesy.

"Er...yeah. Right." He grinned sheepishly.

"So it's not a REAL television program, right?" Jonesy grinned.

", no it's not," Mike answered. Eric shook his head.

Jonesy smiled. "Well. You've certainly taught me to lighten up a little."

He left the room, leaving Mike and Eric to look at each other curiously. John just sneered at the two of them before leaving the room with almost a campy bitchiness.

Eric and Mike shrugged their shoulders and began to laugh once John had left the room.


Two weeks later...

Mike curiously opened up an envelope he had received from the BBC. It was from Duncan...

"4 May 1972

Mr. Palin,

I regret to inform you that "The Bitchy and Screechy Show" has been cancelled. Two individuals who shall go nameless approached my office with a grievance against the transmission of this program. One in particular threatened legal action if I didn't yank it from the airwaves.

Once again I am truly sorry.


Duncan Wood

cc: Mr. Eric Idle"

Michael snorted. He knew full well who the two individuals were, especially the one who threatened legal action. Oh well, better to have the show cancelled than have to defend ourselves in court against Jonesy and John.

Luckily Eric kept the two film reels, he thought to himself as a sly grin grew onto his face...