Series / The Flying Nun

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/FlyingNun02_5237.JPG
Rico: Sister Bertrille! You're...you're flying!
Sister Bertrille: Don't be silly, Rico! Whoever heard of a flying nun?!

The Flying Nun was a sitcom produced by Screen Gems for ABC, based on the now-forgotten book The Fifteenth Pelican by Tere Rios. The sitcom ran for three seasons, and produced 82 color episodes from 1967 until 1970.

The star was a young Sally Field (post-Gidget), who played a spunky novice nun assigned to the Daughters of Charity convent in Puerto Rico. As a novice, Sister Bertrille, as she was called, wore a white habit robe with a heavily starched winged cornette.

Due to some Artistic License Physics that beggar suspension of disbelief, Sister Bertrille was so petite that she was able to fly in a slight breeze. "When lift plus thrust is greater than load plus drag, anything can fly." And once the breeze caught her cornette...

Every week Sister Bertrille would solve a new problem for the people of San Juan, due to her ability to fly. How this novice can be more effective and nurturing than all the middle-aged experienced nuns at her convent is interesting to note.

It should also be noted that flying amongst nuns is an unusual habit.

Tropes featured include:

  • Absentee Actor: "The Dumbest Kid In School" is the only episode where Sally Field doesn't appear, in spite of playing the character after whom the series is named.
  • Baseball Episode: "The Big Game".
    Reverend Mother Plaseato: We shall... pray... for your eyesight, Mr Umpire!
  • Blunt Metaphors Trauma: Funny Foreigner Sister Sixto. Although technically not a foreigner since she is Puerto Rican.
  • Can't Get Away with Nuthin': Played with in "A Ticket For Bertrille." Bertrille takes one of the orphans with her when she runs some errands. She repeatedly commits minor traffic violations, which the local policeman keeps letting her get away with. But she starts to worry that the orphan is learning that it's okay to break the law, and insists that the policeman give her a ticket. Then Carlos seems him giving her the ticket and flies into a rage, and everything snowballs from there.
  • Can't Live With Them, Can't Live Without Them: As much as Carlos complains about Sister Bertrille getting him into trouble, he feels worse without her around.
    Carlos: When she's around I tell her to get lost, but when she does I go looking for her!
  • Cover-Blowing Superpower: Sister Bertrille really tries to avoid showing people she can fly.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": Usually, as is typical in a convent. But in one episode, an old boyfriend who fears his rejection caused Sister Bertrille to become a nun refers to her by her birth name of Elsie.
  • First-Name Basis: Most of the nuns address Carlos as Señor Ramirez. Sister Bertrille, being a very close friend, is the only one who calls him Carlos.
  • Foreign-Language Tirade: Carlos occasionally slips into these when particularly frustrated with Sister Bertrille's latest mess.
  • Give Me a Sign: Carlos's nearsighted uncle is convinced he's going to die in a week after seeing a giant white bird flying above him. Guess who the 'bird' was....
  • Hide Your Pregnancy: During the series' run Sally Field became pregnant, and obviously it couldn't be written into the show, so...
  • Hollywood Nuns / Christianity Is Catholic: Played straight in that the show involved nuns in a cloister and that they were truly Catholic, with the varying degrees of ages. The show's technical consultant was a U.S. Catholic advisory office for radio and television at the time, whose help made the setting and the characters (save the flying part) authentic and believable.
  • Hypno Fool: One episode has a dentist (Bernie Kopell) cross this one with a bizarre "Freaky Friday" Flip: He uses hypnosis to make Sister Bertrille and the Mother Superior think they're each other. Hilarity, of course, ensues when a visiting Father (Paul Lynde) is observing the convent.
  • Malaproper: Sister Sixto was prone to this, though she usually had some explanation for the mix-up.
    Sister Sixto: If at first you do not succeed, you cry, cry again.
    Sister Bertrille: That's not "cry", it's "try."
    Sister Sixto: No, you make them feel sorry for you. You know, if we did much more crying, I think it would be easier to sell the bed.
  • Narrator: Episodes are usually introduced by Sister Jacqueline, although some episodes are set up by Carlos, and even a few by Reverend Mother Plaseato herself.
  • Never Win the Lottery: In one episode, Sister Bertrille returns a lost lottery ticket to a poor couple, who come to believe the ticket is blessed to win after accidentally witnessing her flying off.
  • Nice Hat: So nice, it lets her fly!
  • Nuns Are Funny: Much of the series' raison d'être.
  • Odd Friendship: Novice nun Sister Bertrille's closest friend is Carlos, an agnostic playboy who owns a casino.
  • Plucky Comic Relief: Sister Sixto.
  • Reading the Stage Directions Out Loud: Carlos's cousin Luis, when participating in a play in "Hello, Columbus," says, "Most gracious and radiant Queen. He takes her hand."
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Despite being old-fashioned and somewhat strict, the Reverend Mother is a generally kind and reasonable woman who genuinely wants the best for Sister Bertrille and the convent.
  • Smurfette Principle: Inverted with Carlos.
  • The Other Darrin: Psychiatrist Father Lundigan is played by John Astin in his first appearance, but when he returns a season later he is played by Paul Lynde.
  • Thieving Magpie: In one episode, a crow takes off with a $5,000 donation check made out to the convent.
  • Title Drop: The page quote in episode "Operation: Population," as Sister Bertrille gets a lift while demonstrating a pogo stick to a young boy.
  • Uncanny Family Resemblance: Carlos and his cousin Luis.
  • Unique Pilot Title Sequence: It shows Sister Bertrille walking with her welcoming party back to the convent.
  • Wunza Plot (Nunza?)


http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Series/TheFlyingNun