On Watching Father Ted

Last night, I worked on Christmas cards.

I needed some background noise.

So I put in Father Ted.

Here’s the set-up for people who haven’t heard of it.

Father Ted was a mid-90s Irish sitcom about three Catholic priests who ministered to a small island off the coast of Ireland, Craggy Isle. The episodes revolved around Father Ted Crilley, a middle-aged priest who had been banished to the island for some financial irregularities (he went to Las Vegas when he should have been taking a boy to Lourdes). Joining Ted on Craggy Isle were Father Jack, a drunken, senile old priest who typically shouts “Feck!” and “Arse!” and “Drink!” when he’s awake and dreams of nuns when he’s asleep, and Father Dougal Maguire, a young priest who is a bit of an idiot. Indeed, it’s not even certain that Dougal has any sort of religious beliefs at all (he talks a Cardinal into becoming an atheist, for instance), and anything Dougal touches invariably turns out badly (like, for instance, the tragic incident where he oversees a funeral, only to end up with the hearse on fire in the grave). Ted wants to be famous and as far away from Craggy Isle as he can possibly get, only his schemes to break free of his exile never, ever work.

I’ve described the show as “Pinky and the Brain with priests,” because that’s how the show works — Ted is the Brain, and he schemes, Dougal is his Pinky (as both are a bit dim and are prone to saying completely random gibberish that has naught to do with anything).

I discovered Father Ted back in 2002; BBC America did an all-day marathon of Father Ted on the Sunday before St. Patrick’s Day (indeed, it may have been on St. Patrick’s Day), and it was the funniest thing I had ever seen. Ohmigahd, the episode “Kicking Bishop Brennan Up The Arse” has to be the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever seen!

Why is it that British comedies are so much funnier than American comedies, with the possible exception of Frasier? Can anyone answer me that?

Sorry, I digress.

I watched the first three episodes of the first season. Classic stuff. Father Stone, the uncommunicative priest who idolizes (quite literally; you should see the painting) Father Ted. Dougal’s moment in the sun, when he gets on television and starts babbling about the “Spider-baby.” Oh, and the protest Ted and Dougal have to stage against the blasphemous film, The Passion of St. Tibulus.

I was in stitches!

If you’ve never seen Father Ted, do seek it out. Your sense of humor will be thanking you for weeks and months to come. :)

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