Father Ted
Father Ted is why I am the way I am. The TV Show changed my life. Photo: Channel 4/Graham Linehan

The TV show Father Ted was a staple of my life in Ireland during the late nineties. It also is directly responsible for my twisted sense of humor and lack of fucks given about any sort of organized religion. It also made me one of the most easygoing, laidback people you’ll ever meet. I do not get offended.

If anything I’m normally the one doing the offending. I’m pretty sure I’ve rubbed some people at Vendetta up the wrong way since coming on board, but instead of tip-toeing around I just laugh at it and move on. If you don’t like that then blame Father Ted.

Originally pitched to RTE, the national broadcaster of Ireland, Father Ted was turned away for being sacrilegious. At that time there was about 2% of Ireland that still believe in the mythical man in the sky and RTE wasn’t willing to take a chance on offending anyone… heaven forbid! The creators of the show took it to an English broadcaster by the name of Channel Four and the rest is history. So if you’re 2% Irish shame on you!

The show became a massive hit and the actors became household names. Also, because it was shot in Ireland and Channel Four broadcasted in most homes in the country it became an Irish institution. To this day there are still trips to the place used as the Parochial house in the show where you can get a cup of tea and a picture.

If you’ve never seen it I recommend downloading the free Pluto TV app and watching it on-demand. Unless you don’t have a sense of humor then I’d recommend one of those crappy American sitcoms like ‘Always Sunny in Philadelphia’. The easy synopsis is it’s about three priests and the parish they live in, but that would be leaving out their housekeeper Mrs. Doyle who was the life of the show in many episodes.

Father Ted, the title character, is often misunderstood and dreams of getting off Craggy Island (their fictional home) for the bright lights of Vegas or even New York. He has been paired with dim-witted Father Dougal and the vocabulary-impaired Father Jack. The latter is also fond of a drink which if you ever worked in the industry in Ireland you’d know is not stretching the truth.

Each episode is 25 plus minutes of inside Irish jokes and poking fun at religion, the catholic one in particular. At thetoptens.com it currently sits fourth in best British sitcoms of all time, so if you have a sense of humor and don’t take life (or religion) too serious do yourselves a favor and check it out. If you don’t have a sense of humor (several people I can think of at this site already) I’d probably skip this recommendation. You’re with the 2% Irish who give the rest of us a bad name.

Seven favorite scenes:

Dougal: “Who would he be like? Hitler or one of those mad fellas?”
Ted: “Oh, worse than Hitler. You wouldn’t find Hitler playing jungle music at 3 o’clock in the morning.”

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Ted: “Old women are closer to God than we’ll ever be. They get to that age and they don’t need the operator anymore. They’ve got the direct line.”

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Dougal: “God Ted, I’ve heard about those cults. Everyone dressing in black and saying our Lord’s going to come back and judge us all.”

Ted: “No… no Dougal, that’s us. That’s Catholicism you’re talking about there.”

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Mrs Doyle (While Ted is trying to eat a sausage): “They were a bit obsessed with the old… S-E-X. God, I’m glad I never think of that type of thing Father. That whole sexual world. God, when you think of it it’s a dirty, filthy thing, isn’t it Father? Can you imagine Father? Can you imagine Father, looking up at your husband, and him standing over you with his lad in his hand, wanting you to degrade yourself? God almighty can you imagine that Father? Can you picture it there Father? Oh, get a good mental picture of it. Can you see him there? Ready to do the business?”

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Ted: “There was a time when the police in this country were friends of the church; speeding tickets torn up, drunk driving charges quashed, even a blind eye turned to the odd murder!”

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Ted: “I’m not a fascist. I’m a priest. Fascists dress up in black and tell people what to do. Whereas priests…”

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(Bishop O’Neill and Father Dougal are strolling down the road together)

Bishop O’Neill: So Father, do you ever have any doubts about the religious life?

(Dougal looks around)

Bishop O’Neill: Is your faith ever tested?

(Dougal keeps looking around. Wide eyed. Looking confused)

Bishop O’Neill: Anything you’ve been worried about? Any doubts you’ve been having about aspects of belief? Anything like that?

Father Dougal: Well you know the way God made us all, and he’s looking down at us from heaven?

Bishop O’Neill: Yeah…

Father Dougal: And then his son came down and saved everyone and all that?

Bishop O’Neill: Uh huh…

Father Dougal: And when we die, we’re all going to go to heaven?

Bishop O’Neill: Yes. What about it?

Father Dougal: Well that’s the bit I have trouble with!