Monday, February 21, 2005

Father Ted

The highest concentration of writing/study hours occurs, for me, on Sunday afternoons/evenings/nights. It's when I write the most essays, get the most work done on major papers, it's when I do the bulk of the reading for classes early on in the week. So, by 1am, I'm tired and quite in need of a break.

So, for at least a year, Sunday nights at 1:00am on the local PBS station, KERA 13, "Father Ted" has been my weekly ritual.

I never laugh out loud when watching TV by myself. It's not that I don't find things amusing, but rarely do I find them laugh-out-loud funny. But "Father Ted" regularly has me (not quite literally, but almost) rolling on the floor.

For those of you who don't know what it is (which, I suspect, is most of you), it is a British comedy that aired in the mid-to-late 1990s. It's set in Ireland, on Craggy Island, where Father Ted Crilly, along with the very, very dim Father Dougal McGuire and the perpetually drunk-or-asleep Father Jack, is the parish priest. They have a housekeeper, Mrs. Doyle, who loves making loads of tea and sandwiches, for everyone who doesn't want them.

The comedy ranges from totally immature to slapstick to character comedy to satire to anarchistic. It is all of these at once. It is hilarious! The very low-budget-ness of it all makes it even better.

They show it on PBS without commercial breaks at all, so it is only 20 minutes long. But, not until tonight, when I missed it by falling asleep, did I realize what an important part of my week those twenty minutes are. It's become a ritual. As those of you who know me are aware, I get into habits (good or bad) and it's hard to change them. This, somewhat unbeknownst to me, has become a weekly habit. I didn't miss it 'till it was (temporarily) gone.

Anyway, to get my weekly hit, I decided to go online, convinced that for such a wonderful show, there must be loads of websites about it. I was not disappointed. I now feel compelled to share some of the sheer hilarity of it with you, by giving you a few select quotes:

"Did you know you could praise the Lord, just by leaving the room?" --Ted to Dougal

Father Fitzpatrick: And this is the last known photo of Herr Hitler; he's signing a few death warrants there.
Ted: Funny how you get more right-wing as you get older!

Dougal: Sorry Ted. I was concentrating too hard on looking holy.

Dougal: God, I've heard about those cults Ted. People dressing up in black and saying Our Lord's going to come back and save us all.
Ted: No, Dougal, that's us. That's Catholicism.
Dougal: Oh right.

Ted: Dougal, don't you think that if we put this baby's moustache, this baby's head hair and this baby's sideboards together we'd get....Pat Mustard?
Dougal: D'you think the babies could be copying his style?
Ted: No, Dougal, I think Pat Mustard's been delivering more than just dairy products, if you see what I mean.
Ted: Do you?
Dougal: No.

Ted: I'm not a fascist. I'm a priest. Fascists dress up in black and tell people what to do. Whereas priests......More drink!

Re-reading those quotes just now, I realize that you may not find them as funny as I do. I have a few hypotheses about this. 1) Perhaps one must hear them in their context, both situational and thematic. 2) It is possible that I've chosen poor quotes. I've just picked these from websites devoted to "Father Ted." I can actually recall quite a few funnier things, but not well enough to quote them, so I didn't. 3) It's possible that the show itself is not all that funny. Rather, my enjoyment of it stems more from my context... I am watching it after spending hours and hours on academic-y things, so anything is funny. 4) We must always consider the option that you simply lack a sense of humor and thus don't appreciate the genius of "Father Ted" (or at least those select quotes).

Either way. I'm off to bed. I've gotten my Sunday night Father Ted fix.

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