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Recap / Father Ted S 2 E 5 A Song For Europe

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My lovely horse, running through the field,
Where are you going with your fetlocks blowing in the wind?
I want to shower you with sugar-lumps, and ride you over fences,
Polish your hooves every single day, and bring you to the horse dentist
My lovely horse, you're a pony no more,
Running around with a man on your back, like a train in the night
Like a train in the night
'My Lovely Horse'

Dougal has "Eurosong fever" months ahead of the competition. He suggests to Ted that they write a song together to represent Ireland, but Ted rejects this on grounds that they are not skilled in songwriting. However, Ted soon discovers his nemesis Dick Byrne will be entering a song and decides that if Dick Byrne can write a song, he and Dougal can write a better one. After working all night, they come up with "My Lovely Horse", a tuneless dirge with ridiculous lyrics lasting less than a minute. After trying the song out on Mrs Doyle and Father Jack, Jack is so infuriated he shoots Ted's guitar. Disillusioned, they ready to give up when Ted discovers the lyrics fit a tune by "Nin Huguen and the Huguenotes", an obscure B-side for an entry from Norway's Eurosong preselection from the 1970s. As Dougal recounts that whole band died in a plane crash (including all the record company staff and everyone involved in the copyright) Ted suggests that they “honor” the forgotten tune by performing it with their lyrics.

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At the Dublin theatre where "A Song for Ireland" is being hosted, Ted discovers that instead of being selected by popular vote (which has proved extremely successful for Ireland in the past), the winner will be determined by Judge Charles Hedges. Initially, Ted and Dougal are unimpressed with Dick Byrne's entry, "The Miracle Is Mine”, a slow moving emotionally wrought ballad until the curtains from to reveal a full choir, huge band, and a suddenly passionate performance from Byrne. Now worried, Ted goes backstage for a smoke where he hears the Norwegian tune they ripped off from first being whistled by a maintenance worker, then playing in the lift. Horrified and realising that the song is well-known, he and Dougal are forced to adopt "Plan B": singing the dreadful original version.

Despite their poor performance, and against the evident wishes of the audience, Irish Eurosong boss Charles Hedges selects "My Lovely Horse" as Ireland's entry, unconvincingly laughing off Byrne's suggestion that he wants to guarantee Ireland losing the main competition since it’s getting expensive hosting the it every year for the last five Eurosongs. The episode closes at the Eurosong contest, with Ted, Dougal, Jack, and Mrs Doyle listening to every country awarding them “nul points".

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Tropes featured in this episode:

  • Affectionate Parody: "The Miracle is Mine"
  • Artistic License – Biology: Fetlocks are metacarpophalangeal joints in the front legs of horses. They do not 'blow in the wind'.
  • Artistic License – Music:
    • A whole bunch regarding the "Eurosong Contest," which one could maybe Hand Wave due to it not working the same way as the real Eurovision Song Contest:
      • The way the Eurosong voting system works here is reversed. In the real contest, each country is called to give out their points for other contestants, not to have their scores read out to them jury by jury. Also (and likely due to the way the real contest's voting system works), a country cannot directly give "nul points" (a term not used by the real contest) to another like everyone does here.
      • Priests, as religious figures, are not allowed into the real Eurovision. If the show had been depicted following the real Contest's rule, Ted, Dougal, Dick, and Cyril would have been disqualified before they even entered their songs.
      • One of the other contestants at the Song for Ireland (which we never see) is a band called 'The Hairy Bowsies' with a song called "You Dirty English Bastards". The real Eurovision bans most political content.
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    • Ted calls Ice-T 'Icy Tea' and Snoop Dogg 'Scoopy Scoopy Dog Dog'. Similarly, he reckons that the song written by Benny Cake that made number one in England was called 'Vienna'; that song actually went to number two in England. Also, it wasn't written by a priest called Benny Cake. However, these are likely intentional, and meant to show how clueless about music he is.
  • As Long as It Sounds Foreign: The ending:
    • The French jury gives the score as "nul points", when the actual French for "no points" is "pas de points" or "zéro points". Justified by "nul points" being used by fans and media reporting on the real Eurovision, although the real contest never uses it.
    • The German jury uses the French word for Ireland, not the correct German. A similar thing happens with the Dutch jury, who also use the wrong word for 'no'.
    • All the other juries speak foreign sounding gibberish.
  • Bestiality Is Depraved: "We want to keep out of the whole area of actually being in love with the horse."
  • Bland-Name Product: The "Eurosong Contest," the show's stand-in for the real-life Eurovision Song Contest.
  • Catapult Nightmare: Happens to Ted and Dougal at the end of the dream sequence.
    Ted: We have to lose that sax solo!
  • Comical Overreacting: Ted in the lift after hearing what was going to be his source music.
  • Cringe Comedy: After discovering that the producer and presenter are gay, Ted (a Catholic priest, who usually would be against homosexuality) cannot seem to keep the conservation straight.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Ted and Dougal plagiarise someone else's work without checking its history.
  • Disney Acid Sequence: Ted and Dougal imagine a music video for their song in their sleep.
  • Epic Fail: The Failure Gambit succeeds so spectacularly, Ireland gets nothing from anyone!
  • Even Evil Has Standards: While 'evil' is pushing it far, Dick Byrne feels rightfully cheated by the Song for Ireland production team over their rigging of the competition.
  • Facepalm: Mrs. Doyle after hearing "My Lovely Horse" for the first time, right before Jack obliterates Ted's guitar with a shotgun.
  • Failure Gambit: Hedges plans to lose Ireland the Eurosong with a very bad song. And he succeeds.
  • Failure Is the Only Option: Once Ted has been chosen as Eurosong entrant for Ireland, all hope of another win that year is lost for Ireland.
  • Feud Episode: Like Competition Time, this episode partly deals with Ted and Dick's feud.
  • Funny Background Event: The names of some of the unseen acts and/or their songs can be seen on the board behind Rickwood at one point, and many are quite humorous.
    If I Could Wear My Hat Like My Heart
    The Grand Girls

    You Dirty English Bastards
    The Hairy Bowsies

    The Drums of Africa Are Calling Me Home
    Sean O'Brien

    Sha La La La La La La La La La La La La
    Death Pigs
  • Hollywood Tone-Deaf: Averted spectacularly by Ted and Dougal, whose attempt at writing a song results in the thoroughly awful original version of "My Lovely Horse." Even after Jack makes his opinion on the song clear courtesy of a shotgun, Ted thinks that the only problem is the tune (or lack thereof) despite the lyrics being equally awful.
  • Inept Talent Show Contestant: Zig-zagged with "My Lovely Horse", which starts out as a thoroughly awful song, and is improved somewhat when Ted and Dougal plagiarize a seemingly obscure song, only for them to have to revert to the original version after finding out that the song they plagiarized is actually famous.
  • Jerkass: Dick is once again very cocky and insulting towards Ted about his chances of winning the Eurosong contest. Though this time, Dick's confidence is shown to be entirely justified.
  • Musical Episode
  • Musicalis Interruptus: When the dream ends, the song (in the middle of a sax solo) is cut off abruptly.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Death Pigs
  • Noodle Incident: The plane crash that killed the members of Nin Huguen and the Huguenotes and their record label's staff
  • Not That There's Anything Wrong with That: Ted towards the producers after discovering they are gay
  • Precision Cluster F-Bomb Strike:
    Ted: Just play the fucking note!
    Ted: NO, NOT THE FUCKING FIRST ONE! THE FUCKING FIRST ONE'S ALREADY FUCKING DOWN! JUST PLAY THE FUCKING NOTE YOU WERE FUCKING PLAYING EARLIER! I'VE BEEN PLAYING THE FUCKING FIRST ONE! WE HAVE THE FUCKING FIRST ONE!
    Dougal: So, I'll just...
  • Pretty Fly for a White Guy: "The Drums of Africa Are Calling Me Home" by Sean O'Brien
  • The Psycho Rangers/Similar Squad: Again, Dick and Cyril serve as this to Ted and Dougal, but there are differences. Not only is Dick's song completely different from Ted's, but he has an whole orchestra and choir backing him.
  • Ripped from the Headlines: Ireland won the real Eurovision Song Contest in 1992, 1993 and 1994, and so had the costly obligation of hosting it in 1993, 1994 and 1995. This episode is said to based on attempts by RTÉ to do without hosting it for another year in that timeframe.
  • Shout-Out: Watch Ted's Cluster F-Bomb sequence closely. Does it remind you of this?
  • Sound-Effect Bleep: Every F-word spoken by Ted during the song writing scene is replaced with a bleeping noise.
  • Straight Gay: Mr Hedges and Mr Rickwood
  • Springtime for Hitler: Averted. Even though the producers picked "My Lovely Horse" in an attempt to make Ireland lose, their plot actually succeeds.
  • That Makes Me Feel Angry: "OOH, I REALLY HATE FATHER DICK BYRNE!"
  • Time Skip: "SIX WEEKS LATER"
  • Totally Radical: Indicted by Dougal with his rapping
  • Uncomfortable Elevator Moment: Ted has one of these when he finds out that the elevator music is the supposedly obscure song that he and Dougal plagiarized to make "My Lovely Horse."
  • The Unintelligible: Fred Rickwood's speech is entirely incomprehensible. Until he goes on-stage, and becomes suave and well-spoken.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Ted and Dougal are this to the Eurosong producers
  • Very Loosely Based on a True Story: Ireland's three-win streak at the Eurovision in the 1990's is lampooned here.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Technically Charles Hedges is trying to save money by rigging the selection process for Ireland's Eurosong entry; in real life it costs a fortune to host the Eurovision Song Contest, never mind participate in it.
  • Word Salad Lyrics: "My Lovely Horse"
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