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WMG / Father Ted

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Dougal is the secret son of a priest.

It seems the only explanation for how someone so utterly unqualified could have become a priest: his mother threatened to go to the papers, and to avoid a scandal young Dougal was fast tracked through the seminary.

I'm about 50/50 on the chances that Bishop Brennan is Dougal's real father.

  • Do the words "You address me by my proper title, you little bollocks!" ring any bells?
    • No such luck - the proper title for a bishop in Ireland is "Your Grace".
  • I dunno, he did state in Grant Unto Him Eternal Rest that both his parents were dead. Of course, this is Dougal we're talking about.
    • Or maybe his mother kept the truth from him and claimed that his father was dead.
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    • Maybe they both just told him they were dead. He'd have fallen for it, he really would.
  • Or maybe Ted is his real father, he does act like a father to him, lampshaded in The Old Grey Whistle Theft. And Ted's real father is Jack!
    • And Mrs Doyle could be Dougal's mother. She certainly treats him like a child (she even bathes him), and Ted seems very jealous when Pat Mustard steals Mrs Doyle's heart... One big happy family.

Dougal is a lot smarter than he seems.

That diabolical laugh with the trophy in the Christmas Special? Completely genuine. He's an evil mastermind who plays Ted expertly through Obfuscating Stupidity. Being sent to the island is all part of his Evil Plan to take over the world.

  • Something that reinforces this is that whenever Dougal is in actual physical danger, he tends to be a lot smarter, such as in "The Mainland", when they are trapped in the caves and Ted winds up the thread his jumper had been spinning (thus stopping them from fining their way out) as he looks on in horror.

Dougal is The Straight Man in a Cloud Cuckoo Lander world.

Following on from above. The whole ‘Why not knock loudly?’ thing in ‘Cigarettes & Alcohol & Rollerblading’ seems to suggest this.

The opening sequence demonstrates some kind of helicopter accident that takes place either before or after the events of the series

Dougal isn't stupid(or at least not just stupid)), he has schizophrenia

His behavior throughout the series is that of someone completely detached from the real world—with Ted even having to draw him a chart describing the differences between fantasy and reality—and moreover Dougal's thoughts and words do occasionally conform to reality and to varying degrees. In addition, many of his behaviors throughout the show are not outright stupid but just plain weird and nonsensical. He only became mentally ill sometime in his adult life, after becoming a priest.


Father Jack is a former Soldier of Heaven...

...and the series is set in the In Nomine universe, probably a Bright Low Contrast game. He lost an Ethereal Force in celestial combat and became the madman we know today, but retained a massive amount of Corporeal Forces. His stranger shifts may be the product of willing Kyriotate possession.

The show is a crossover with Ashes to Ashes (2008)
Only it's in the priest version of purgatory instead of the coppers version.
  • Wait, so if you fiddle your expenses in heaven (i.e. the Dublin parish) you get sent back to purgatory? Our (English) MPs are fucked!
    • What if Ted , Dougal and Jack were never priests while they were alive and having to live like priests is their punishment in Hell.

Father Ted takes place in the same universe as The Snapper.
In the Irish TV film The Snapper (1993), actor Pat Laffan plays George Burgess, a lecherous middle-aged man who gets a young woman pregnant. In the Father Ted episode 'Speed 3' (1998), Pat Laffan plays Craggy Island's new milkman, Pat Mustard – a lecherous middle-aged man who gets numerous women pregnant.

Could it be that the two characters are one and the same? By the end of The Snapper, George Burgess has left his wife and is presumably homeless. Perhaps he fled Dublin and changed his name in order to escape the scandal that he had knocked up a girl, and so that he could continue his womanising lifestyle, and eventually ended up on Craggy Island? After all, 'Pat Mustard' does sound a bit like a pseudonym. The two characters have similarly selfish, obnoxious, horny personalities, although Pat Mustard is slightly more cartoonish and exaggerated, in keeping with the style of Father Ted. Considering the similarities, it's hard to believe it's all coincidence; the writers probably cast Pat Laffan because they had already seen him play this sort of role, and knew he could play it again. The actor aged between The Snapper and Father Ted, which fits with the idea that several years have passed between the two. And, as an additional link, Irish actress Rynagh O'Grady plays a minor character named Mrs O'Leary in The Snapper – she is best known, of course, for playing the recurring character of Mary O'Leary in none other than Father Ted.

Incidentally, this theory would mean that the other films in Roddy Doyle's Barrytown Trilogy – The Commitments and The Van – also take place within the Father Ted universe.

  • Mrs Doyle's name may well come from Roddy Doyle as well, plus Ted asks Dougal "Have you been reading those Roddy Doyle books again?". Also, Mrs Doyle mentions Mr Doyle very briefly before deciding not to elaborate further.
  • Wouldn't the existence of Roddy Doyle books in a verse written by him either be a Celebrity Paradox or this WMG being Jossed?
  • Well Garth Marenghis Darkplace did it.

The reason Mrs Doyle doesn't talk about her husband is because she killed him.
She's on the run from the police and thus hiding on the island. Her obsession with making tea is a sign of OCD brought on by nervousness, and she stays in the kitchen because she knows guests won't go in there. We see in "The Mainland" that she can get violent enough to be arrested (although the cops allow her and Mrs Dineen to be bailed out). The fact that her friend Mrs Dineen lives on the mainland indicates that Mrs Doyle use to live on the mainland and left it for a reason. It is plausible that Mrs Doyle's husband died because of being allergic to tea. Her 'go on' method of persuasion could plausible force someone to drink poisoned tea.

The reason the priests seem to have a One-Hour Work Week is because none of their parishioners want them anywhere near them.
Well, would you want Dougal's help with your problems?
  • Considering what happened the one time Dougal did a funeral, which leads to a hearse on fire inside a grave, this is highly plausible.
  • This may also have to do with the fact that we barely see any parishioners at all throughout 3 series apart from pensioners, which, as any Irish person knows, is Truth in Television for small Irish town on the Wesht Coast. In the first episode, Ted tries to work out Mass schedules, and he gives Mass to the nuns in "And God Created Woman", but by series three his parochial duties seem to have fallen by the wayside. Why? Because the Craggy Island population is quite old, meaning most of the inhabitants are too old and infirm or too far away from the church (depending on Craggy Island's nonsensical geography) to attend Mass, with the exception of John and Mary, who tend to be fairly busy and make fewer appearances later on, suggesting they either died or left, and Tom, who doesn't exactly seem the Religious type.
  • When asked what Dougal's duties are around the parish in "Speed 3", Ted can't actually answer.

Jack was in the French Foreign Legion.

Where did he learn his fighting skills? Why does he feel compelled to stand whenever the Marseillaise plays (and make everyone else stand)? Where did he learn to identify wines by sound? ("Jacob's Creek Chardonnay 1991!") (Okay, stretch there.note ) Maybe it's all from his service in the Légion étrangère. His age is approximately appropriate (assuming Jack's meant to be at least a decade older than Frank Kelly) for World War II, in which Ireland was neutral.

  • Or, another explanation which would fit with his darker nature, he was one of the fanatical rightists who joined the 33rd Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS Charlemagne (1st French).
  • One priest alluded to Jack being Polish.
    • Have to scrap that one. He was complaining about how Jack should have been pope instead of a polish man. Pope John Paul II was Polish.
  • Maybe he fought in the Pacific, which could explain his description of the rabbits in "The Plague" as "hairy Japanese bastards!"
  • He could easily have been a chaplain for some army unit or another: smiled-upon by the main body of the church in terms of religious support, but with the opportunity for senseless violence.

Father Dougal is a demon disguised as a human
He talks a bishop out of his faith and turns him into a New Ager in a single episode. He manages to finish a funeral with more bodies than he started. His feigned stupidity is the cause of half of Ted's problems.
  • If it's in the In Nomine universe (See Father Jack is a Soldier of God, above), Dougal could well be a demon of Dark Humour. It would explain a lot.

Noel Furlong is Jim Moriarty's embarrassing cousin.
He has the same ability to force groups of people to do his bidding, but only uses it for sing-alongs.

Bishop Brennan was defrocked after Kicking Bishop Brennan Up The Arse
Upon meeting The Pope, he screams "He did kick me up the arse!" and shoves him out of the way. Surely that would be a major strike against him. Or, in a Laser-Guided Karma moment, he gets demoted and sent to Craggy Island.
  • And Ted will be made a bishop to fill the vacancy left by Brennan. Brennan is demoted to priest and exiled to Craggy Island and Ted will be able to use his new authority over Brennan and Dick Byrne to dish out some long-awaited revenge...

Dougal is the anti-christ.
It's just no one remembered to tell him.

Father Stone is a demon.
One that sucks the life force from anybody he stays with. Why else would Ted, Dougal, Jack and Mrs. Doyle seem to lose the will to live when he's around. Plus, that little grin at the end of the episode.
  • And his grandmother Nana is the devil - her terrifying statement that she knows "what they're up to" indicates she could be a supernatural being.
    • Alternatively, Father Stone might be a physical manifestation of the guilt they feel that won't go away due to the actions that brought them to Craggy Island. The legend of "This Man" also features a character with thick eyebrows and a solemn expression, who has appeared in some peoples' dreams when something was troubling them. Whether they knew about this (it has been mainly spread by the internet) or not is unknown.

Mrs. Doyle had a mental breakdown after her husband died.
This would explain her neurotic behaviour, such as her obsession with taking care of Ted, Dougal, and Jack even when they don't want her to, as well as the fact that she freezes up whenever she thinks about her husband.
  • Mrs. Doyle is no more obsessed with offering nourishment to or trying to take care of friends, relatives and acquaintances than the average Irish Mammy/Auntie, as any Irish person could tell you. The reason the series is so popular is because it's very accurate. This troper has had money literally shoved into their hands (and then snatched away by parents who try and give it back) by relatives for birthday money as a child, and witnessed two female relatives struggling to pay for the cups of tea and cake first many, many times. Think of it as a form of taarof.

Craggy Island is a mutant colony
In the first episode, Ted notes that English boats dump nuclear waste by Craggy Island. It's also avoided like the plague by anyone with a brain. It certainly explains all the Eccentric Townsfolk.

Spiderbaby is a stealth parody of the eucharist
In the first episode, Dougal has a dream (or fantasy) about a spider that is part baby. It doesn't act like a baby, and it doesn't have the physical characteristics of a baby, but Dougal knows that it is part baby because it's in a pram. He's confused by the doctrine of transubstantiation. It looks like a slice of stale bread. It tastes like a slice of stale bread. But it's the body of Christ because the priest treats it as such.

Father Ted is a sequel to "Taffin", and takes place in the same universe
"Taffin" is a 1988 US-UK-Irish action movie, and is mostly notable for featuring Frank Kelly and Dermot Morgan in two small roles. Kelly is Sean, a mild mannered pub owner who's part of a group of protesters trying to stop the building of a chemical plant - a project approved and kept on going by the powers-that-be through corruption and other shady methods - in their small hamlet, who don't shy away from using questionable methods like asking the help of a well known violent thug to stop the construction. Morgan plays Micky Guest, a sketchy comedian who entertains the customers of a strip club by making innuendo-laden jokes about the strippers between exhibitions.

So, could this movie be some sort of behind the scenes look at what the two did before becoming priests? One can definitely see how Sean's involvement with the protests might have caused him troubles with someone powerful, and sent him down the dark path we all know.

Or maybe (and even better) a more realistic reconstruction of what exactly brought the two to be exiled on Craggy Island? It would explain how Ted turns out to be surprisingly knowledgeable about bras in the Christmas special, and would give his daydream fantasies that appear in a couple of episodes in season one a whole new meaning - sure, not Las Vegas, but one can imagine him making up details to make his small escapade sound more glamorous, and possibly pocket the money he didn't spend for the flight.

As for why their names are completely different in the movie and the series, while it's not too usual for priests to change name when they take the vows (it's usually much more common for nuns), it's also not unheard of.

Craggy Island is a purgatory and the cast are ghosts facing punishment for their crimes in life.
Bishop Brennan is the manager of the purgatory.
  • Father Ted - His greedy acts (including the incident involving the kid who wanted to go to Lourdes) as stated in the show.

Father Dougal is actually an American spy sent by the Freedom from Religion Foundation to ruin the reputation of the Catholic Church
Would explain why how he became a priest is a mystery, and why he doesn't believe in Catholic gods, and his Cloudcuckoolander personality, and the time a funeral he conducted ended in the hearse on fire in the grave. However, he treats his deployment as a spy for everyone's favorite loony atheist group like a extended vacation. And knowing he was sent by the FFRF, a group of which in this troper's humble opinion should be on the SPLC Hate Group map due to the things they've done basically coming off as sending a message that goes "all religion is evil and must be destroyed", he tries to be serious about being a secret atheist.
  • Building on that, Ted and Jack are infiltrators sent from other, similar organizations... only for the Catholic Church to catch on and send them to Craggy Island for it.

Father Ted is a Time Lord
The parochial house is his TARDIS.

The whole show is one of Father Jack's drunken hallucinations.
This would explain all the breaks with reality depicted in the show.

The whole show is one of Dougal's hallucinations, caused by him having too much sugar.
See above.

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