Up with this sort of thing.
April 23, 2015 4:13 AM   Subscribe

 
Some years after Father Ted ended, Linehan and Mathews ran into a real-life priest – always a sticky moment for the men who had portrayed Catholicism as a joke and the Vatican as an all-night disco party. Ted was intended to be crazy and absurd, they said. Nobody really thinks priest are like that. “Lads,” the cleric confided, “you don’t know the half of it.”
Father Ted and The Vicar of Dibley are well-loved by the handful Anglican of priests I've known well enough for it to have come up, for pretty much this reason. Never mind satire, aspects of the shows (the weird, slightly awestruck way in which some parishoners relate to them; the interminable parish council meetings; the handful of deeply odd personalities left to ferment beneath the cover of po-faced respectability) are so close to the truth that they're basically a documentary.
posted by metaBugs at 4:36 AM on April 23, 2015 [9 favorites]


Go on, go on, go on, go on, go on, go on, go on, go on.

GO ON!!!!
posted by Wolof at 4:40 AM on April 23, 2015 [11 favorites]


"So what do you want to write about?"

"How about...a lovely horse?"
posted by Fortran at 4:42 AM on April 23, 2015 [9 favorites]




The legacy of Father Ted 20 years on.

I feel so old.

But I love some random bits have joined the lexicon.
posted by Mezentian at 4:52 AM on April 23, 2015


And of course Graham Norton as the incomparable Father Noel Furlong.
posted by GallonOfAlan at 4:52 AM on April 23, 2015 [5 favorites]


The Daily Edge has an oral history of Speed 3 up for the anniversary as well.


That scene is also the only one in the entire run of Father Ted which sees Ted himself carrying out the duties of a priest on camera.

Linehan explains: We had a very strict rule in Ted that you would never see them doing their job – confession, mass, that kind of thing. We wanted to write about the stuff between those times. But the mass on the milk float was just too good to pass up.

posted by damayanti at 5:03 AM on April 23, 2015 [5 favorites]


Useless priest, can't say mass.
posted by drezdn at 5:04 AM on April 23, 2015


The story of the death of Dermot Morgan always gets to me. :(

24 hours after recording the last episode of Father Ted, he had a heart attack while hosting a dinner party at his home in south-west London. He was rushed to hospital but died soon afterwards.
posted by fairmettle at 5:09 AM on April 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


As someone who had to go to a lot of volunteer committee meetings in Wales, I can verify that the parish council meetings in Vicar of Dibley are actually an accurate documentary.
posted by kalimac at 5:26 AM on April 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


My catch-all, non-committing, put-'em-off phrase to this day is: "That would be an ecumenical matter!" It does tend to stun people into silence and off the subject.

Should you ever find yourself in Co. Clare, the "Craggy Island Parochial House" is open for tea.
posted by The Nutmeg of Consolation at 5:35 AM on April 23, 2015 [15 favorites]


For those who (like me) are allergic to The Vicar of Dibley, may I suggest the excellent Rev.
posted by Paul Slade at 5:35 AM on April 23, 2015 [10 favorites]


Let us not forget Father Brian Eno, just to link this to a FPP from yesterday.
posted by sobarel at 5:39 AM on April 23, 2015 [5 favorites]


5 years ago for the 15th anniversary there was a documentary about it called Small, Far Away. It's pretty good. Seeing Father Jack as a normal person and not a grimy drunk bastard is really weird.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 5:45 AM on April 23, 2015 [10 favorites]


As you guys could tell if you saw my MeFi profile, I am quite the fan of this show.

How many times have I looked for My Lovely Horse on youtube when I was depressed, I wonder? The fake horse riding gets me every time.
posted by Tarumba at 5:46 AM on April 23, 2015 [3 favorites]


“The stuff that’s come out about the Catholic church since Ted is so horrific, and so real, that you just couldn’t play the priesthood for laughs,” he says. “It just couldn’t work.”

I loved Father Ted, and still do, and that's definitely what I think when I see it now - it just couldn't have been done after all the abuse scandals came out. So I'm glad it happened when it did. There are so many parts of it that are in my consciousness and still make me laugh at random moments. But one of my favourites is definitely the fact that everytime I hear The Specials "Ghost Town" I think of the charity disco episode and what a great payoff "Please stand for the national anthem" is. Still cracks me up.
posted by billiebee at 5:57 AM on April 23, 2015 [7 favorites]


Should you ever find yourself in Co. Clare, the "Craggy Island Parochial House" is open for tea.

Consensual or non-consensual?
posted by blue suede stockings at 5:58 AM on April 23, 2015


Now available at lovely.horse
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 6:01 AM on April 23, 2015 [5 favorites]


The week after the first episode aired Linehan appeared on Channel 4's complaints show, Right to Reply, to be told by a woman from Manchester that he didn't know what it was like to be Irish.

And I've only ever attended Catholic mass once, and it was in Catalan, which gave me the opportunity to observe it without being distracted by any annoying meaning. Father Ted did seem to be the template for what was going on, though - the main priest was an avuncular middle-aged man, flanked on either side by two supporting priests, one older, one younger, whose job seemed to be to laugh at his jokes and be foils to his schtick (mostly the older one, not unlike the piano player on the David Letterman show) and wave incense around (mostly the younger one), while the main priest worked the congregation like a pro. I have no idea if all masses are like that, but I could see the Craggy Island trio doing it.

And of course, it introduced me to The Divine Comedy, for which I'm eternally grateful.
posted by Grangousier at 6:05 AM on April 23, 2015 [3 favorites]


Thank you for that, EndsOfInvention! I saw that program a couple years ago and thought it was wonderful.
posted by The Nutmeg of Consolation at 6:09 AM on April 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


"Oh, hello, Mr Norton? We're doing a new sitcom and we'd like to cast you in it as the most irritating and awful person in the world."
"It's the part I was born to play!"
posted by sobarel at 6:15 AM on April 23, 2015 [10 favorites]


Just for Ted fans who weren't aware of Dermot Morgan's previous stint in the clergy: about fifteen years before Craggy Island, Morgan was the groovy leather-jacketed Father Trendy, who used to finish out the variety show The Live Mike. His "Thought for the Day"-style homilies that closed the programme, with their clever use of pop culture references, definitely got through to the youth of the day. (There's another clip here, which hopefully isn't region-blocked.)

For background: Fr Trendy was (I think this is pretty well-attested) an affectionate parody of Fr Brian D'Arcy, an Irish priest who was, as far as I know, genuinely pretty popular with young people at the time; he still pops up in the news from time to time, most recently for being censured by the Vatican (under Benedict XVI) for his progressive views on clerical celibacy, contraception, and the Vatican's handling of the abuse scandal.

My schoolfriend's mother, who was in one of his youth groups in the 70s, always maintained that Graham Norton's Fr Noel Furlong is another — much, much less affectionate — parody of D'Arcy. One could argue that the change in representation — from the kind, if naff, Trendy to the sinister, vaguely demonic Furlong — reflects, in microcosm, growing suspicions of the benevolence of the Mother Church in the intervening period. I have only just thought this argument up, and will have to try it out next time I'm in the pub.
posted by Zeinab Badawi's Twenty Hotels at 6:23 AM on April 23, 2015 [9 favorites]


I can report that much of Father Ted remains fondly thought of by various strata of various bishop-ridden churches, and "That would be an ecumenical matter" continues to have currency as a useful gambit.

In sitcom veritas...
posted by Devonian at 6:32 AM on April 23, 2015 [3 favorites]


Ted's version of My Lovely Horse is the performance that convinced me I could play the guitar and sing at the same time. Btw, it is mandatory for all my pupils to learn that song (that's the one they always remember and sing when we meet in the school corridors).
posted by nicolin at 6:42 AM on April 23, 2015 [13 favorites]


Father Ted is perfect comfort watching for me. Father Dougal is absolutely one of my favorite fictional characters of all time.
posted by darksong at 6:53 AM on April 23, 2015 [3 favorites]


I must be some kind of geek, because I was in a Kentish Town pub a couple of years ago and nudged my friend and said, "There's Graham Lineham!".

Who? What? "The guy who created and wrote Father Ted!"

Cue sardonic look at me for being so geeky as to view a (to him obscure) writer the way some view celebrities.
posted by C.A.S. at 6:57 AM on April 23, 2015


Absolutely love Pauline McLynn's performance as "Mrs. Doyle" - man, she has some comedy chops and some of the most scene stealing-est skills ever. She's not just the "go on" one.

I rewatched the entire series when I was recovering from a stressful hospital visit and it was one of the best coping strategies for stress at that time; comedy really is the best medicine.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 7:03 AM on April 23, 2015 [7 favorites]


Up with this sort of thing.

Careful now.
posted by Artw at 7:03 AM on April 23, 2015 [15 favorites]


"These are small...but the ones out there are far away."

Someday the kids are going to see the show and realize why I keep explaining this to them.
posted by Artw at 7:06 AM on April 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


Metafilter: I have only just thought this argument up, and will have to try it out next time I'm in the pub.
posted by metaBugs at 7:08 AM on April 23, 2015 [9 favorites]


I was living with an Irishman at the time it came out and he said, this is exactly what it is like, they've got everything right, even the wall paper!
posted by asok at 8:01 AM on April 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


My SO thought it was overblown, puerile slapstick until she moved here and discovered how close to reality it (still, in some parts, especially the west) actually is.
posted by Zeinab Badawi's Twenty Hotels at 8:12 AM on April 23, 2015 [3 favorites]


The legacy of Father Ted 20 years on

It's either very small, or very far away.
posted by miyabo at 8:23 AM on April 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


LOVELY HORSE

(Since it's GCHQ, we can be confident it's a deliberate tribute...)
posted by Bwithh at 8:23 AM on April 23, 2015


Having a Catholic background it always seemed uncannily accurate to me, though then the running joke that priests had scandalous secret lives was just vague enough to be amusing whereas now it's a bit sharp and painful.

The comments on that article are fun, and this one is pretty popular:

(from MissLauraR, 3d ago)
A few supporting characters you forgot:
Father Hank Tree,
Father Hiroshima Twinkie,
Father Stig Bubblecard,
Father Johnny Helzapoppin,
Father Luke Duke,
Father Billy Furley,
Father Chewy Louie,
Father John Hoop,
Father Harry Cakelinem,
Father Rabulah Conundrum,
Father Pee-wee Stairmaster,
Father Tri-Peglips,
Father Jemimah Ractoole,
Father Jerry Twig,
Father Spodo Komodo,
Father Canabramalamer,
aaaaaaaand Father Todd Unctious.

Seeing Graham Linehan interviewed, suddenly it's clear where Ardal O'Hanlon got his stare of a mad child from.
posted by glasseyes at 8:31 AM on April 23, 2015 [8 favorites]


@Artw: Indeed.

Came for the clever OP title, was not disappointed. FT was the first time ever I saw Catholics on TV to be laughed with, not at. It did the impossible given that Linehan "went there" early and often.

It's as hard for me to put words to it as would be to explain how Dave Chappelle's comedy worked for me. Both series had similar effects on me.
posted by drowsy at 8:46 AM on April 23, 2015


Is there nothing to be said for saying another Mass? God I love saying Mass!
posted by inturnaround at 9:01 AM on April 23, 2015 [5 favorites]


I thought the other one went very well.
posted by drezdn at 9:28 AM on April 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


fairmettle: "The story of the death of Dermot Morgan always gets to me. :(

24 hours after recording the last episode of Father Ted, he had a heart attack while hosting a dinner party at his home in south-west London. He was rushed to hospital but died soon afterwards.
"

Until this article I didn't know he died. Feck.
posted by Splunge at 9:29 AM on April 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


So many potential usernames. Bagsies Father Spodo Komodo for my BND.
posted by billiebee at 9:50 AM on April 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


Too late.
posted by glasseyes at 10:17 AM on April 23, 2015


Jeebus, that documentary is great. Thanks, EndsOfInvention! They go into the origins of My Lovely Horse. Behold: The Swarbriggs - That's What Friends Are For, the 1975 Irish Eurovision entry.

Eurovision. It just keeps giving and giving.
posted by Orange Dinosaur Slide at 10:51 AM on April 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


I really recommend the Small, Far Away documentary linked to earlier in the thread. It's lovely.
posted by Corduroy at 11:05 AM on April 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


I thought Father Ted was quite funny, then I moved to Ireland. It's a documentary.
posted by deadwax at 9:07 PM on April 23, 2015 [4 favorites]


For me, my go to wrote is wherever I go buying clothes. "You see, ordinary shops sell what look like black socks, but if you look closely, you'll see that they're very, very, very, very, very, very, very dark blue."
posted by happyroach at 12:11 AM on April 24, 2015


One of the things I've always wanted to do is go to Ireland's Largest Lingerie Section with some like-minded chums, dressed as priests.
posted by longbaugh at 1:21 AM on April 24, 2015 [3 favorites]



For those who (like me) are allergic to The Vicar of Dibley, may I suggest the excellent Rev.
posted by Paul Slade at 5:35 AM on April 23 [10 favorites −] Favorite added! [!]


I don't know much about The Vicar of Dibley, but I can say, as a member of the clergy, that I love Rev.
posted by 4ster at 11:20 AM on April 24, 2015


Thanks for this. I watched FT in maybe the early 2000s on Canadian TV and adored it. Had no idea that the actor who played "Ted" was dead by then. Started rewatching the series yesterday because of this post and have had lots of giggles.
posted by oceanview at 12:39 AM on April 25, 2015


Reading this thread has caused me to realise that my entire life, i've confused Father Ted with another show called Aunty Jack. Having seen the videos in this thread and youtubed some Aunty Jack, this has been a huge mistake.
posted by pseudonymph at 6:26 PM on April 25, 2015


my entire life, i've confused Father Ted with another show called Aunty Jack.

One's about a trio of Catholic priests on an Irish island, the other's about a boxing glove-wearing cross-dresser who will rip yer bloody arms off.

That's an impressive level of confusion.
posted by Mezentian at 12:10 AM on April 26, 2015 [1 favorite]


Mezentian: One's about a trio of Catholic priests on an Irish island, the other's about a boxing glove-wearing cross-dresser who will rip yer bloody arms off .

That's an impressive level of confusion.


Right? Part of me feels like I ought to add Uncle Grandpa into the mix, for maximum masculine-familial surreality.
posted by pseudonymph at 5:36 AM on April 26, 2015 [1 favorite]


'You were wearing your blue jumper?'
posted by Picollecta at 8:20 AM on April 29, 2015 [2 favorites]




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