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Summer Viewing Guide: 'Father Ted'

Being a Catholic, if there is one show I always have to recommend people watch, it's Father Ted. For a show that was on British TV, financed by British people, but made with pretty much only Irish people, this show is the best thing to come to America since … well, I don’t want to say U2, but I guess I have to.

Series co-creator Arthur Mathews created the character of Father Ted for a stand-up routine that he performed before his band, the Joshua Trio, would play. The band featured the other creator of Father Ted, Graham Linehan. The show would run for three series of 25 episodes in the mid-1990s before both creators decided enough was enough. They ended Father Ted during the height of its popularity due to a fear of watering down the writing.

Father Ted is about three priests sent to a parish of a God-forsaken island off the coast of mainland Ireland. Craggy Island is home to a colorful group of townsfolk, and as much as you may fear the show being about Catholic priests, it's really a debate on how important is organized religion in modern society.

Noted Cast
Father Ted Crilly: Dermot Morgan (Scrap Saturday, The Live Mike)
Father Dougal McGuire: Ardal O'Hanlon (My Hero, Robbie The Reindeer)
Father Jack Hackett: Frank Kelly (The Italian Job, The Deal)
Mrs. Doyle: Pauline McLynn (Shameless)

Reasons to Love Father Ted

The Gilligan's Island Factor
The three priests have been cast off onto this island for doing unspeakable acts in their previous parishes. Father Jack is the old lecherous priest, who is half awake and only says four words (feck, arse, drink, girls). Father McGuire is essentially a child acting as a priest. No one knows how he became a priest, but he was part of the "Blackrock Incident," where many lives were irreparably damaged. Finally, Father Ted — the brains of the operation — was sent for his involvement in taking money meant for a sick child's trip to Lourdes. He would spend the series saying that money was only "resting in his account." No matter what they do, it seems they will never be able to leave Craggy Island.

The Catholic Church
The Church never had a chance with this show. Priests are depicted as idiots, out of touch, drunks, gun runners, adulterers, thieves and perverts, among other things. While the priests of Craggy Island have their own faults, the writers (Linehan and Mathews) always find a way to redeem them in the end. It would be so easy to run your main characters through the mud, but they understand our need to love and respect them.

When asked about the rather blasphemous actions of the priests on the show, Linehan commented, "It's a job to [Ted]. He doesn't care about religion." He later said that Ted and Dougal are "just two people who happen to be priests."

Mrs. Doyle
She doesn't have a known first name, and no one knows much about Mr. Doyle, but Mrs. Doyle is the most hospitable person on the island. Originally depicted as the stereotype of how warm and welcoming the Irish are, she morphed into a great character for the priests.

The … Well … Curse Words?
Feck. Seeing as how you can't say "fuck" on TV, the writers created a new word. Father Jack would not say "freak" or "freakin'." He would say "fuck."

The Naughty Bits
Well, this show made fun of everything it could in pop culture, which was a nod to the show's creators liking Seinfeld.

Terrible Keanu Reeves films that made a million sequels.

Eurosong contests.

Cameos of Brian Eno. If you have to ask, shame on you!

Phone chatlines … for priests only:

You need to see this show even if you're not Catholic. I love watching this show — it's always a hoot. If you don't like this show, you're either racist or you're a member of the IRA.
Summer Viewing Guide: 'Father Ted' Reviewed by Seth Pohorence on 6/14/2013 Rating: 5

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