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YMMV / Father Ted

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  • All There Is to Know About "The Crying Game": "He got his lad out!"
  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • Is Dougal just extremely stupid, or does he have schizophrenia (or some other psychosis)? 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. In addition, many of his behaviors are not stupid so much as they are just plain nonsensical. He probably only became mentally ill sometime in his adult life, after becoming a priest.
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    • Alternatively, Dougal is conscious of his status as a Manchild and became a priest as a means of attempting to metaphorically Never Grow Up. We hear him mention on multiple occasions that he considers Catholicism to be a load of nonsense, and he describes having a job outside of the priesthood at the end of "Speed 3" as being part of the "real" world. Perhaps he decided to pursue religion precisely because he found it so absurd and fantastical that he believed it would enable him to go through life without ever having to develop the sense of maturity needed to face reality.
  • Alternative Joke Interpretation: In the episode "Cigarettes, Alcohol, and Rollerblading" Father Jack gives up drinking for Lent. When he sees Father Ted and Father Dougal for the first time while sober, he asks "Where are the other two?" This joke could have meant that he either saw a blurry and distorted version of Ted and Dougal while drunk, or he always saw 4 other priests thanks to Single Malt Vision.
  • Awesome Music:
    • Which should also be a Crowning Music of Funny; "My Lovely Horse".
    • The Rugged Island priests' song "The Miracle Is Mine" from the same episode qualifies too. It is hammy and overblown (in the vein of many Eurovision entries), it has a vague religious lyric to it, and is backed up by a full choir and orchestra. This is a good Establishing Character Moment for Dick and Cyril, because they are shown to have a genuine musical talent and planning, whereas Ted and Dougal do not. However, due to the biased voting (again, which happens in Eurovision in real life), Ted and Dougal manage to win anyway.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: Jack's nude sleepwalking in "The Plague" definitely qualifies, for he never engages in it again; nor does anyone bring it up. Subverted with the music video dream from "A Song for Europe"; a clip from that appears in the final episode
    • Bizarro Episode: The whole fecking episode may also qualify as a BLAM, as the rabbits appear unexpectedly and unrealistically appear and disappear with Jack changing rooms, besides the nude sleepwalking. Subverted with "Grant Unto Him Eternal Rest", as one of the lines in "Escape from Victory" asks if Jack was 'dead again'.
  • Broken Base:
    • More like "broken periphery demographic." Catholic priests either think it is hilarious and harmless satire or insulting and poorly researched slander.
    • Between English and Irish fans, the debate rages over whether the show counts as Irish or not: All-Irish cast, including several iconic Irish comedians such as Pat Shortt, Tommy Tiernan, Graham Norton and Brendan Grace, Irish writers and a strongly Irish setting, versus an English broadcaster and a huge English fanbase.
  • Common Knowledge: Dermot Morgan's death wasn't the reason "Going to America"'s ending omitted Ted being Driven to Suicide. It was changed because the writers didn't think the original was funny.
  • Crosses the Line Twice: "Night of the Nearly Dead" essentially has Frank Kelly in black-face to show that Father Jack's condition is hardly unique.
  • Draco in Leather Pants: Some viewers would have you believe that Ted did absolutely nothing wrong in "Are You Right There, Father Ted?" and that the accusations of racism he gets over it are entirely unjustified (or at least a severe over-reaction). For one thing, Ted himself immediately admits to Dougal that his impression of a Chinese person was racist, and for another, he tried to give the Chinese family who witnessed his impression a really lame excuse as to why he was doing it (stretching his eyes to avoid something called "Fat Eyes") instead of just apologising immediately, which is probably what caused the situation to really escalate.
  • Ending Fatigue:
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: Bishop Brennan, who gained legendary status after appearing in a total of three episodes ("The Passion of Saint Tibulus", "The Plague" and "Kicking Bishop Brennan Up The Arse".
  • Fandom-Enraging Misconception: God help you if you call this show a "Britcom" around Irish people.
  • Fountain of Memes: Even two decades since the last episode aired, the show is still highly quoted in Ireland and many current events will have a Father Ted meme attached to them.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment
    • The flashbacks of Father Jack in his days teaching in a Parochial School during the first series episode "Grant Unto Him Eternal Rest" definitely qualify as a "Funny Aneurysm" Moment given the subsequent scandals in Ireland regarding exactly this sort of abuse in Irish Catholic Schools and Orphanages.
    • There's an episode where Ted angrily tells a cop about the good old days, when the police would cover up crimes committed by Catholic priests. The whole thing is Played for Laughs, but can come off as somewhat disturbing in light of the massive pedophilia scandal that rocked the church years later.
    • Likewise, the scene in another episode where Ted tries to assure Niamh Connolly that not all priests are pedophiles, and ends up suggesting there may be as many as 10 million priests who are pedophiles.
    • In the Niamh Connolly episode, her anti-clerical song starting with a shriek of "MEN! IN! DRESSES!", given Graham Linehan subsequently becoming more notorious for his violent online transphobia than his comedy writing.
    • Another cringeworthy one is Jack's P.E teaching.
      Teaching Nun: He's also asked me to remind you that it is very hot today, so there will be no need for your tracksuit tops.
    • One of the Bishops dying of a massive heart attack as lead actor Dermot Morgan would later die from the same thing.
      • Ted remarking, "A heart attack? That's rare these days" is a bit hard to take nowadays.
      • Likewise, the scene from the previous episode of the dancing priest dying from having a heart attack due to too much dancing. As seen in the Harsher in Hindsight example, Morgan's constant reshoots of his dance scene in "Going To America" exacerbated the heart problems he was feeling during filming, and prevented him getting treatment in time. So effectively, what was one of the most absurd and improbable deaths in Father Ted ended up coming true.
      • Even worse, Ted grabbing his chest in shock when Mrs. Doyle surprises him with a cup of tea when he turns on the light.
      • And the three 'Death' Tarot cards he chooses from the fortune teller's deck in the first episode. Given that it comes out of the blue and is not used for any kind of punchline afterwards, it gets outright creepy.
    • The titling of the penultimate episode "Night Of The Nearly Dead". Dermot Morgan died after the filming of the following (and last) episode "Going To America".
    • Averted in the finale; the writers originally intended the series to end with Ted contemplating suicide, but this was replaced with a clip montage when Dermot Morgan died.
    • The episode "The Mainland" had Ted coming across Richard Wilson while in mainland Ireland, deciding to yell "I don't believe it!" at him for a laugh … and then getting beaten up for it, as it turns out Wilson grew to hate the phrase. It's a lot harder to watch now in light of a very similar incident that happened to Dave Chappelle while he was on holiday with his family (someone intruded on the family to shout "I'm Rick James, bitch!").
  • Growing the Beard: While the first series isn't considered bad by a long shot, it's noticeably slower-paced than the two that follows, and has much more of a focus on cringe comedy than the surreal and absurd humour that the show would become known for. The second series is seen as when the show really found its footing.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • Dermot Morgan was actually having heart problems during the filming of the Shaft scene of the last episode "Going To America". However, Tommy Tiernan (who played the suicidal priest) kept flubbing his lines, and the producers would not let Dermot go until it was finished. To make matters worse, Dermot had to do dance moves in this scene, and doing them repeatedly exacerbated his condition. He died less than 24 hours later. If the reshoots of the scene had been stopped and Dermot had gotten treatment, there is a chance he might have lived. However, there is equally a chance that he might have died whilst away and the rest of the episode would never have been filmed.
    • To make it worse, this episode originally ended with Ted on the window ledge, about to kill himself but after Morgan died they replaced the ending with a montage of funny moments from the show.
    • The set-up is that the Catholic church deals with miscreant priests by quietly shuffling them off to some out-of-the-way parish until it all blows over. Sadly, this turned out to be the case in real life too, and with worse offenders than Ted, Dougal and Jack.
    • In the episode "Going to America", Father Cagney talks about the celebrities he met in his parish in Beverly Hills, and describes Kevin Spacey as "a nice guy". The fact that the allegations against Spacey are the same as those unearthed against a number of Catholic priests, particularly in America, just a few years after the series aired, makes hearing the line today uncomfortable on more than one level.
    • On a meta level, Frank Kelly's death is this, as he died exactly 18 years after Dermot Morgan and of the same cause (heart attack) note .
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • On a meta level: having watched "Cigarettes, Alcohol and Rollerblading" will almost completely derail any serious use of Mozart's Rex Tremendae or Dies Irae.
    • One of Dougal's remarks about the 'Beast' is that "instead of a mouth, it has four-arses'. Four-arsed creations have be referred to or shown in South Park years later.
    • The Priest Chatback hotline is advertised in much the same way that gay sex talk lines are. Fast forward to 2016, when a story broke about trainee priests using Grindr.
    • Ted's embezzling of church funds to go to Las Vegas was echoed in late 2018, when it was discovered that two nuns in California were caught doing the exact same thing.
  • Hollywood Homely: Mrs. Doyle. The show's attempts at making her a Gonk had fluctuating results, probably because her actress Pauline McLynn is actually far from ugly in real life. In fact, she nearly didn't get the part because it was felt she was too pretty; she got the part after turning up to a later audition with a terrible case of the flu.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Ted, who's venal and self-serving but also has to put up Dougal's stupidity, Jack's own jerkassery, and things in general often going to hell.
  • Memetic Badass: Bishop Brennan and his cape. He was already an intimidating character, but it was the last segement of "Kicking Bishop Brennan up the Arse" that truly established him as a badass, and it's one of the more memorable parts of the series.
  • Memetic Mutation: Loads in Ireland. All the catchphrases have become instantly recognisable, as well as a few other signature lines such as those quoted at the top of the page.
    • The "Lovely Horse" song. Behold, Ellis' Lovely Horse, and Rhythm Heaven's Lovely Horse Duel.
    • "CAREFUL NOW and "DOWN WITH THIS SORT OF THING!" has been photographed at many real life protests. Regardless of the actual tone of demonstration. Plus, it's available as a t-shirt and gets a Shout-Out in GTA V. When he first heard of the signs appearing, Graham Linehan tweeted how "immensely proud" he was that his work has had such a cultural impact.
    • These are small... but the ones out there are far away.
    • "I hear you're a racist now, father."
  • Mexicans Love Speedy Gonzales: As noted above, it's incredibly popular in Ireland. Yes, it was created by Irish writers, had an Irish cast, and was set in Ireland, but it was still intended for British audiences, making its popularity in Ireland an unintentional (or least secondarily intentional) byproduct.
    • On a similar note, you'd think Catholic clergy would hate this show. You'd be absolutely wrong.
  • Older Than They Think: "Dermot Morgan playing a funny priest" actually goes all the way back to 1980, when he would appear on The Live Mike as "Father Trendy" to deliver the end-of-episode homily.
  • One-Scene Wonder:
  • Signature Scene:
    • Ted and Dougal protesting The Passion of Saint Tibulus. "Down with this sort of thing!"
    • The music video for "My Lovely Horse."
  • What an Idiot!: Where does one begin with a show like this?
    • In "Competition Time", Mrs. Doyle tries to tempt Henry into drinking a glass of sherry without realising that he is a man who is currently on the wagon. At that point, Ted walks in.
      You'd Expect: For Ted to remind Mrs. Doyle that they already have an alcoholic in the house (Father Jack, a priest well-known for keeping absurd amounts of alcohol) and that she might want to put it away. Sure he might say Jack would go berserk if he saw Henry with what he would believe to be his alcohol, but it would be a start.
      Instead: He supports Mrs. Doyle's fanatical refusal to let any of her guests turn down any drink of any description, which naturally leads to disaster when she forces him to drink the sherry.
      But You'd Also Expect: That Father Dunne, who had brought Henry to Craggy Island, would have called ahead to warn Ted not to allow Henry near any alcohol, especially given that he's going to be sharing a house with Father Jack.
      Instead: He apparently forgets to do this.
    • In "Think Fast, Father Ted", Ted discovers that the car Brennan gave him for the raffle has a slight, but noticeable dent in it.
      You'd Expect: Ted to just leave it as it is; anyone who wins a car for the miniscule price of a raffle ticket isn't going to be bothered about a slight dent. At most, contact Brennan and try to persuade him to pay for the car to be repaired.
      Instead: Ted decides to try repairing the dent himself with a hammer... and after a few hours of tapping, manages to completely destroy the car.
    • In "A Song for Europe", Ted and Dougal are listening to a B-side from a previous EuroSong entrant, and realise that its music matches the lyrics of their song perfectly.
      You'd Expect: They would check up on the song's history to ensure that it is really as obscure as they think it is.
      Instead: They decide to plagiarise the song's music for their lyrics without checking its history. Cue Ted panicking when he realises that it is actually well known.
    • "Cigarettes and Alcohol and Rollerblading" contains a phone conversation with Ted and his rival Dick, in which Dick tells Ted that he is giving up smoking for Lent, with his two companions also giving up their vices, and asks Ted to do the same.
      You'd Expect: Ted would quiz Dick on whatever he is telling the truth or not.
      Instead: He believes Dick without any question, and naturally it eventually turns out that Dick is still smoking like a chimney, Father Johnson is drinking copious amounts of booze, and Father MacDuff is still rollerblading.
    • This label can be applied to Dougal in general, between placing rabbits in a Bishop's bedroom, selling the house to a feminist and ruining a funeral.
      • Speaking of the funeral, he only volunteered to do it since Ted (who was supposed to have been doing it) was distracted by unrelated matters and had gone for a walk.
        You'd Expect: Mrs. Doyle to persuade Dougal to wait for Ted to come back, and/or try to convince whoever is doing the funeral to delay it for about a day.
        Instead: She lets Dougal on his way.
    • In "Chirpy Burpy Cheap Sheep", Ted has just realised that a champion sheep's recent troubles with a 'beast' in the build-up to a new sheep competition are due to the farmer who owns the sheep arranging to have him scared. Effectively, that means the competition has been rigged, because the sheep has been entered into that competition.
      You'd Expect: Ted to remember that he bet the heating budget for the parochial house on that particular sheep, and confront the farmer on his way home from the ceremony where the winner is announced, and threaten to expose the scam if the farmer does not admit to it in front of the islanders.
      Instead: He interrupts the aforementioned ceremony and exposes the scam there and then. This results in the parochial house being without heating for the winter.
    • In "Speed 3", Ted is stuck in a situation involving Dougal on a milkfloat that, because of a bomb, will blow up if it goes below 4 mph.
      You'd Expect: Ted and those helping him to realise that this is (A) too dangerous for them to get Dougal out of without either having something handy to keep the speed of the milkfloat above 4 or killing themselves, and (B) a situation similar to a certain Keanu Reeves film.
      Instead: First they try performing a Mass dangerously close to the milkfloat. Then they fail to spot the Whole Plot Reference and get caught up with talking off-hand about The Towering Inferno, and irrelevantly watching The Poseidon Adventure only because 'Gene Hackman stars as a priest in it'.
      Implications: Firstly, the Mass example. If Dougal had let the milkfloat's speed fall below 4, not only would he be dead meat, but it's possible Ted and the others would have been caught in the explosion and been either burnt alive or get killed by flying debris. The second one relates to the film example; by the time they are able to figure out that they should 'put a brick on the accelerator', Dougal could have let the milkfloat's speed slip below 4, leaving no-one to save.


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