“Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition”


‘Either you get it, or you don’t’

I have this super-talented friend (Hi, Roy!) — a guy from back in Ogilvy Days — who writes an extremely erudite blog post every single day. Honestly. I don’t know how he does it. I have issues pulling silly nonsense out of my head once a week. Another really smart daily poster is Heather Cox Richardson, who writes “Letters from an American.” But I digress.

In one of his recent daily posts (I can’t get over the fact that he does this seven days a week when all I do is dread Tuesdays), Roy wrote about stuff in movies that he finds funny even if nobody else does. He asked his readers to chime in with movie moments, and I offered up “The In-Laws” with Peter Falk and Alan Arkin, the whole of which The Child found profoundly unfunny — even though I think it is one of the most hilarious movies ever made. (“Serpentine, Shel. Serpentine!”)

Anyway. I form a sort of instant bond with other people who think “The In-Laws” is funny. (How about you? Do you find it hilarious? Or do you go all blank-faced and stiff-backed at Falk’s and Arkin’s antics like Her Childness does?)

The Child, modeling a sweater I knit her — and making a similar face to the one she made watching “The In-Laws”

Speaking of movies — and to explain today’s title — there is another filmic catch-phrase that some people get. And which many more don’t. It’s from a Monty Python skit and plays a major part in a little-known work of cinematic art called “Sliding Doors” with Gwyneth Paltrow and John Hannah.

I don’t want to make you watch the movie to get the reference of which I speak. But, since I absolutely hate spoilers — what was with the Times after the third episode of Succession, huh? — I don’t want to give the ending away either. Suffice it to say that “No one expects the Spanish Inquisition” takes “Get it?” to a whole new level.

He’s a terrific guy, but he totally doesn’t “get” the Spanish Inquisition

He does like a good fish joke — just for the halibut (say it out loud)

I’ll wrap this up today by saying that there are at least four people in my immediate circle — my three Younger Brothers and my One and Only Sister — I can count on to crack up at the mention of the Spanish Inquisition. And, of course, there was my Dad, who would watch Peter Falk and Alan Arkin “serpentine” with me as often as I wanted him to — and collapse in hysterical laughter each and every time. Miss you cracking up, Dad.

Dad and Mom not watching “The In-Laws.” But cracking up anyway

New York City. April 2023

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12 thoughts on ““Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition”

  1. Barbara Moscarello-Barbera

    Alice, of course we’re friends, I love the “In-laws”!! “Serpentine Shell” I’ve got a huge smile on my face just thinking about that scene.

  2. I own VERY few DVDs of movies (or TV show, for that matter). I HAD to have the In-Laws. Just the BEST. Plus, all anyone has to say is “Serpentine”, and I am reduced to a puddle on the floor.

    • First, I totally LOVE that you are “reduced to a puddle on the floor” at the mention of “serpentine!” (I am, too.) Thank you for identifying with — and loving — one of the world’s funniest movies. Now I have to go grab my DVD (yes, I also own it in that format) and watch it again tonight!

  3. Faith Norwick

    Loved both those movies. John Hannah! Remember keen in the in laws. They had cut it out of the video years ago. Licensing I suppose.

  4. Binx

    John Hannah and Nobody Expects the Spanish Inquisition is BRILLIANT; my favorite part of Sliding Doors. But have to admit to never seeing The In-Laws… Not a huge Peter Falk fan (tho I was subjected to Columbo when a kidster.)

    • Thank you for weighing in, dear Binx. I had a feeling you’d know all about the Spanish Inquisition! As for Peter Falk, I used to watch Columbo with my Dad, who of course adored the show. Lately I’ve been streaming it at night if I can’t sleep. It’s like a soothing balm. “Just one more thing…”

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