About Christmas TV History

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

1990s Christmas: Father Ted

Showing how much diversity there is amongst Christmas TV fans, here's a post on the holiday episode of the irreverent and funny BBC Irish sitcom Father Ted.  This comes to us today from my friend Austen.  She and I share a love of all things English including British TV and Doctor Who.  This episode "A Christmassy Ted" is available for viewing on DVD and Netflix, as well as my Youtube channel, TistheSeasonTV in the 1990s playlist.

Father Ted ran for three season, 1995-98.
As far as I’m concerned, "A Christmassy Ted" is the ultimate example of Father Ted wanting acclaim and instead getting lost in the lingerie section of the mall and ridiculed for the accounting irregularities that landed him his current job. We see Father Ted in the parochial house on Craggy Island off the west coast of Ireland living with the halfwit Father Dougal McGuire and the aging unbathed alcoholic Father Jack Hackett.

"Tea for everyone!" proudly exclaims Mrs. Doyle
 I fell in love with the show through Mrs. Doyle, the housekeeper who lives to serve tea (with an optional biscuit). Through all her strangeness, she does her job of keeping the priests fed and well looked after, and is always pleasant. I aim at being more like Mrs. Doyle, but when I fall short and end up being Father Jack, then I still get to end the day with “FECK! ARSE! KNICKERS!” Life is good.

Father Jack is smiling--he must be pleased by someone else's misery.
For Christmas, Father Ted buys Mrs. Doyle a tea making machine because he hopes it will make her life easier. She sabotages the machine and explains “Maybe I like the misery!” What a woman!

Mrs. Doyle isn't really happy with the Christmas present of a Tea Master machine from Father Ted
If I were stuck on an island, this group would be my ideal set of roommates. Wanted: three grumpy priests. At least one should be fairly sedentary. A housekeeper is a must, I won’t be doing any of the cleaning or cooking. I also expect regular tea breaks. A Golden Cleric Award on top of the mantle might be a nice addition. Another priest should still have hopes for a better life; that’ll make for better book discussions. The final priest can be dumb as a rock as long as he’s nice; might somehow provide entertainment.

Halfwit Father McGuire played by comedic actor Ardal O'Hanlon
That “stuck on an island,” feel might be what makes this show perfect for watching while homesick. I used it many times to translate what was happening while I was living in a foreign country. At the end of the day everybody gets a cup of tea and the chance to start over pretty much where they were the day before. If we’re lucky, we’ll get to watch Mrs. Doyle fall out the window, too.

Watch your step, Mrs. Doyle!

1 comment:

  1. I love watching Father Ted & this Christmas episode is hilarious. :-)