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The Monty Python Connection You Missed In The First Harry Potter Film

The whimsical "Harry Potter" franchise and the humor of the Monty Python sketch comedy troupe are two of the most essential contributions to global pop culture to emerge from the United Kingdom in the 20th century. The latter's routines, especially the ones featured in the 1975 classic "Monty Python and the Holy Grail," have become a cultural touchstone for generations of comedy fans. Meanwhile, the "Harry Potter" franchise is beloved the world over, having expanded over the decades since its release from the original seven-book series into a multi-billion dollar franchise (via Money) that now encompasses movies, theme parks, video games, and more.

Thanks to an eagle-eyed viewer, fans of both properties have realized that there's another connection between the two besides their level of popularity and their country of origin: A Redditor on r/MovieDetails has pointed out that the 2001 film adaptation of the first book in the series, "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone," is hiding a direct reference to one of the absurdist comedy troupe's most famous sketches.

Harry Potter and the Spam, Spam, and Spam

The original sketch debuted as part of "Monty Python's Flying Circus" TV series in 1970 and was directed by Ian MacNaughton (via IMDb). Set within a tiny diner, the sketch revolves around an irate patron who just wants to eat a Spam-free breakfast, only to be told by the waitress — as well as a group of Vikings who also happen to be dining there — that almost every dish in the restaurant contains the infamous canned meat.

"Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" pays a subtle homage to this sketch in the background of The Leaky Cauldron, the famous London pub and inn that serves as the entrance to Diagon Alley. The establishment's menu is showcased in the background on an easy-to-miss blackboard, which simply lists "Leaky House Soup" over and over again in slightly different permutations, similar to how the waitress from the Monty Python sketch rattles off the Spam-heavy ingredients in their meals.

The ongoing legacies of Harry and Monty

The "Harry Potter" movie was directed by Chris Columbus, an American writer and director who, like the members of Monty Python, made a mark with his work in comedy. Before directing (and later executive-producing) films in the Harry Potter franchise, Columbus was known for helming beloved laugh-riots such as 1990's "Home Alone" and 1993's "Mrs. Doubtfire" (via IMDb). However, while the Leaky Cauldron appears throughout the "Harry Potter" films, it seems that the Python reference snuck in under Columbus' watch can only be found in the first movie (although maybe we just haven't looked hard enough).

In the meantime, the influence of the Spam sketch has extended beyond the wizarding world. DigitalTrends explains that the routine is credited with inspiring the usage of "spam" as a slang term, which first gained popularity in the '80s as a way to describe a torrent of indiscriminate communication (like the waitress spewing the Spam menu) and, a short time later, the unwanted emails that began to plague internet users' inboxes. The term is used today to refer to everything from using cheap tactics in video games to flooding social media with annoying messages — truly a part of the modern lexicon.