Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Father Ted

Worse than World War II
Apparently. Image via Amazon
Yes, I've gone back to the old way of doing things; mocking idiots and their idiotic reviews of things on Amazon and the like. Today's post comes courtesy of idiots holding idiot opinions in regards to the non-idiotic Father Ted, the much-loved Irish sitcom. Father Ted, as you probably know, focuses on the exploits of three Priests, banished to Craggy Island, an hellish location off the coast of Ireland, due to their incompetence. Father Ted was the winner of several BAFTA awards, and is one of Britain's best-loved sitcoms, holding a cult-like status in Britain and Ireland, where a festival is held yearly in its honour. These accomplishments mean little to our following contributions, however:
I must admit first off that I only watched the beginning episode on this DVD before cutting my losses and packing it in (Well then, you're not really fit to review a box set of all three seasons, are you? Perhaps I'll review your face, which I have never seen, in a negative fashion. My, what a Christmas it shall be...). My wife viewed perhaps the first ten minutes before deciding that washing the dishes was a better time investment. (Your wife has some pretty interesting dishes, I'll bet.) 
The Irish isle of Craggy Island is home to three priests in this BBC comedy mini-series (It's not a mini-series. It is a series, that's how long they are. In fact, you're reviewing all three series. How long do you think a series is?. Did you watch a remake acted out by midgets? Because I'd like to know where you found such a thing...). I use the term "comedy" loosely (How nice for you, to be able to use terms in such a fashion. I hadn't realised you were the Oxford Dictionary. How proud we all are of you, becoming sentient and running amok, reviewing things and using your carefully-crafted definitions so haphazardously). There's Father Ted (Dermot Morgan) and his young assistant, Father Dougal Maguire (Ardal O'Hanlon), whose chief duty appears to be caring for the previous parish pastor, the aged Father Jack Hackett (Frank Kelly) (Well, that's not really his duty. They've been sent to the island for various failings explained in a later episode. You know, one of the ones you didn't watch? But can happily offer an opinion on?). In the first episode, at least, Fr. Jack's role is limited to sitting drunk, insensate, or simply in the throes of senile dementia in his favorite chair, aroused only long enough to throw empty booze bottles at the television, drool uncontrollably at the memory of young, Catholic-school girls long past, or shout incoherent deprecations at Father Dougal (Yes. That's what he was like. You must make a point with these things though, otherwise you're just stating facts about what you saw. Remembering isn't the same as reviewing...). Dougal, on the other hand, has the mind and mannerisms of a silly adolescent ("silly adolescent"? Is that a phrase you actually use?). Compared to these two, Father Ted is so normal as to be boring (I don't think he was boring. But I probably think that based on my foolish decision to watch all the episodes, many times. What I should have done was form an opinion based on a single viewing of only one episode.). The plot of this first episode also (Also? You haven't said what it contained in addition to the following. You've described the characters. Characters being present isn't a plot.) involves the host of a national television broadcast coming to the island to interview Father Ted on the topic of priests in isolated places (Well, at least you got the gist of your one-episode trip to Craggy Island). (In the only marginally good line whatsoever, Ted tells the visitor over the phone that he'll know he's reached the island when he sees the boats painted with radiation symbols dumping nuclear waste into the sea. (Yes, that was an amusing scene, wasn't it? Like the rest of the bloody scenes in the episode))
True, I probably didn't give the series a fair shake (Probably? There's not probably about it, there are 25 episodes and you watched one.). But what I saw was so boring (There was a spider-baby, for feck's sake. Well, not really... But how was it boring? You got to see a cat go round and round.) , so tasteless (It wasn't that tasteless. Tasteless would be you, eaten by hamsters, shown on Channel 5), and so stupid that it doesn't even rise to the abysmal level of current American sitcoms (Wow, in one fell swoop, you've reviewed EVERY American sitcom as well. I wonder if you managed to watch the whole one episode of each that is required to form an educated opinion on the subject? While we're on the subject, America also produces many good sitcoms. Perhaps you just don't like comedy, which would be acceptable, if you didn't seem intent on reviewing it) . There are several off-beat British telly comedies available on video to U.S. audiences that are infinitely better, including THE VICAR OF DIBLEY, THE DARLING BUDS OF MAY, and BALLYKISSANGEL(That was a drama, but what the hell... And anyway, they're not as good.).
The jacket containing the FATHER TED DVD (Your DVD wears a jacket? How civilized... It doesn't even have arms, yet it wears tiny clothing. And you're still not satisfied?) claims that it's the "best comedy about three priests on an island". Good heavens, how many can there be? (Seriously? I think I see the roots of the problem here... That statement was what they like to call a "joke". The humour arises from the fact that there aren't any other comedies about "three priests on an island", which - as you point out, while you neatly sail past the point - is to be expected, as it is a rather surprising location for a comedy to take place. But heavens, Sir! I'm sure everyone involved is sorry for using some originality when locating their sitcom) And imagining the plots and quality of the others simply boggles the mind. (Haven't you heard of them either? Well, Father Tim was actually a lot better. It was so good, it actually brought about World Peace. Seriously though? You didn't get that that was a joke? And you're reviewing comedies?)
Next, a man who wanted to see a sitcom about three priests, on an island, having sex.
From the five star ratings given by other reviewers, I went ahead and acquired (You didn't just buy them then? You sound ashamed... Did you steal them from the blind?)Series 1 and 2 and, to put it mildly, I was disappointed. It just goes on to show that not everyone's sense of humour is the same. (No. No it isn't. Which is fine, if you weren't trying to force us all to burn our copies of Father Ted and agree with you. You Nazi. You might, legitimately, point out I'm doing the same thing, but in support of Father Ted. Well, I'm allowed. I'm right.
If you like witty humour, then this is not the comedy for you (Is it not? Shit, my whole life was a lie. Again.). Try Blackadder II to IV or The Thin Blue Line (Have done, liked them, own all of Blackadder, great comedy. Prefer this though. But, I suppose I'm just wrong). If you go for comedy with hilarious sexual connotations (Seriously, if you do, why are you considering this? Did you see the box and go, "Yes! Three Priests! Alone on an island, in a sitcom! There'll be plenty of sexy humour there! Maybe they'll wrestle each other in oil, and there'll be some good old-fashioned fisting!" Because, if that's your thing, then fair enough. But I don't see how you could have thought Father Ted would produce the goods for you), then there is no beating Coupling. Father Ted has its moments (Lots and lots of them), as when the main character tries his hand at some panel beating (Ha! It went pretty wrong.). The entire series, however, is spoilt by the writers' lack of inventiveness. Some "funny" scenes are repeated ad nauseam like when Mrs. Doyle falls out of the window sill, again and again (Yea... It didn't happen every episode, you know? It happened like 3 times, and was actually varied - for instance, when she uses Angel wings attached to a wire to gracefully float down from the window sill. This joke only worked because of the proliferation of windowsill falling based skits). All Father Jack says is "Feck", "Women" and "Drink" ("Arse" "That would be an ecumenical matter!". Oh, and a load of other things. If you were exaggerating to illustrate his small vocabulary, then I'd let you off, but your next sentence implies this is actually all he says. Which is false. Making you a liar or a fool). How the writers expect these three words to be funny over so many episodes is beyond me. (Firstly, the humour isn't just that he says some words a lot. Certainly, the fact you would expect an elderly Priest to be more eloquent is a joke in itself, but this tendency to repeat certain words is used to comic effect in episodes as well.) Contrast this with Only Fools and Horses where John Sullivan consistently introduced five star comic situations over a span of more than 60 episodes (Yea. Wasn't really that funny consistently though... And I seem to remember a lot of catch-phrases being used anyway, with the expectation they would be funny over so many episodes...). My advice is to buy the first series; if you like it then buy the rest. (I did. And I did)
Funny as all get out - if you're OK with all things anti-Catholic (Many things, especially a harsh stance against the child molestation. I wouldn't advocate murdering a Catholic or anything though, most of them are probably nice people. Actually, I've got several Catholic friends, all of whom like Father Ted. I've yet to meet someone Catholic who dislikes it.). The last remining bigotry that remains politically correct both in UK and among "progressive left" in US (It's not really that anti-Catholic. Certainly, the characters aren't shining examples of mankind, but they are shown to have been "banished" to the island for incompetence and unprofessionalism. So the series doesn't exactly portray them as average Catholics. Besides, the series is extremely popular in Ireland, which is largely Catholic, and was written by two men brought up in Catholic Faith. So it's hardly an all-out attack on the Vatican by outsiders, is it?). We all await the Muslim version (About three Imams on an island off the West Coast of Ireland? Ok... I can't see there being much of a market for it, but I'm sure we can give it a go. Now, are they Shi'ite or Sunni Muslims? And how will we account for the different power structure of whatever branch of Islam we decide to focus on? And is there a strong enough, island based Irish Muslim population available to make this make the least amount of sense?). . . . . . (crickets chirp (Yes. Yes they do. Very astute))
To finish up, I'm sure I once saw a review where someone complained about Father Ted being offensive to the Irish and the Catholic Church, and then called Dougal a "retard". The Irony of their situation was, I imagine, lost on them. Apologies for not being able to find that review.
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