Therefore, do not make any judgment before the appointed time, until the Lord comes, for he will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will manifest the motives of our hearts, and then everyone will receive praise from God. -1 Corinthians 4:5
Fr. Ted Crilly is a priest who is pastor of the Irish (fictional) Catholic parish of Craggy Island in Ireland. He is the model of a cocky self-absorbed priest who always seems to get himself in an unbelievable scrape and is also in constant trouble with his (hypercritical and bossy) bishop. Which is why he was sent to Craggy Island in the first place. Craggy Island is where you send troublesome priests; to the middle of nowhere, where they cannot cause more problems and give your bishop a headache.
Joining him in this exile is his assistant priest Fr. Dougal McGuire. His characteristics are that he is kind, gentle, and the dopiest individual portrayed in comedy today. Think of a dumbed down Woody from Cheers. Fr. Dougal just doesn’t get some of the basic social cues about life.
Dougal: ” Ted, I’ve heard about those cults. Everyone dressing in black and saying our Lord’s going to come back and judge us all.”
Ted: “No… no Dougal, that’s us. That’s Catholicism you’re talking about there.”
Rounding out the priests in the parochial house is the stereotypical elderly Irish perpetually drunk priest, Fr. Jack Hackett.
Fr. Jack: That would be an ecumenical matter.
And then there is their house keeper Mrs. Doyle who is constantly peer pressuring people into drinking tea and eating her homemade sandwiches.
Mrs Doyle: “It doesn’t matter what day it is, Father. There is always time for a nice cup of tea! Didn’t our Lord Himself on the cross pause for a nice cup of tea before giving Himself up for the world?”
One particular day, Fr. Ted decides to get serious and clean up the parochial house, as it is a mess. He gets Fr. Dougal to help him in his crusade of cleanliness. In the midst of trying to clean he notices a lampshade detached from its lamp and decides to make a joke.
Father Ted: Dougal, look.
(Dougal gives Ted a lampshade that he is holding. Ted puts it on his head and proceeds to do an offensive impression of a Chinese person)
Father Ted: I am Chinese, if you please!
Fr. Dougal looks at him funny.
Father Ted: Come on, Dougal, lighten up! [Chuckles]
Fr. Ted turns around, and sees a family of Chinese people watching through the window. He is horrified, and takes the lampshade off of his head.
Father Ted: [pointing at the window] Dougal, there were Chinese people there!
Father Dougal: All right, yeah.
Father Ted: I mean, what… what…
Father Dougal: That’s the Yin family. They’re living over there in that old Chinatown area.
Father Ted: Chinatown area?! There’s a Chinatown on Craggy Island?! Dougal, I wouldn’t have done a Chinaman impression if I’d known there was gonna be a Chinaman there to see me doing a Chinaman impression!
Father Dougal: Why not, Ted?
Father Ted: Because… Because it’s racist! They’ll think I’m a racist! I’m gonna have to catch up with them and explain I’m not a racist!
Fr. Ted then tries to convince the Yin family and the rest of the Chinese residents of Craggy Island that he is not raciest.
But alas the stigma of his raciest joke paints his future efforts meaningless as that one incident colors everything else that he says or does. Even his parishioners question his poor judgement in humor.
Colm: I hear you’re a racist now, Father!
Father Ted: Wha-what?
Colm: How’d you get interested in that type of thing?
Father Ted: Who said I’m a racist?!
Colm: Everyone’s saying it, Father! Should we all be racist now? What’s the official line the church has taken on this?
Father Ted: No! No-
Colm: Only, the farm takes up most of the day, and at night I just like a cup of tea. I mightn’t be able to devote myself full time to the old racism.
The Official line of the church on Racism.
Racism is a sin: a sin that divides the human family, blots out the image of God among specific members of that family, and violates the fundamental human dignity of those called to be children of the same Father. Racism is the sin that says some human beings are inherently superior and others essentially inferior because of races. It is the sin that makes racial characteristics the determining factor for the exercise of human rights. It mocks the words of Jesus: “Treat others the way you would have them treat you.” Indeed, racism is more than a disregard for the words of Jesus; it is a denial of the truth of the dignity of each human being revealed by the mystery of the Incarnation.
U.S. Catholic Bishops Pastoral Letter on Racism – , United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) (1979)
Fr. Ted teaches us a few valuable lessons.
- What we think we do in private, will be manifest in public in one way or another.
- We should be careful of what we say about others and always talk as if someone is listening.
- Racism is not a good thing and is frowned upon by a lot of people. The main comedy from this episode is founded on this fact that people know that racism is wrong.
Also we learn…
- A dumb silly comedy with no intention of doing anything but making you laugh can teach us of all things, the serious issue of Racism.
- That this TV program makes Kristin laugh more then any other TV show that ever has been or ever will be.
To get the full comedic weight of this episode you need to watch
‘ Are You Right There, Father Ted?’
It is the first episode of the third series of Father Ted, and the 18th episode overall.
It is extremely funny with other great gags.
It is notable for being the first episode aired after the death of Dermot Morgan, who played Fr. Ted. (Lord, may he rest in peace, bring him to the joys of heaven and forgive his sins) who had died the day after filming for the final episode had been completed. As a mark of respect to Morgan, the original transmission of the first episode was delayed by a week. (Wikipedia Article)
If you like stupid funny, you would like Father Ted. Some of the jokes are a little off-color so don’t expect a holy rendition of a grand homily given at Mass. Instead you will get a few good laughs. There are recurring characters (most of them priests) who add to the dumb humor on display.
Some of the funniest moments that made Kristin laugh so loud are the episodes…
Where the priests are sent to protest a racy film by the bishop, only to draw more people into it. The Passion of St Tibulus
(Ted, Dougal, and the visiting Father Jose Fernandez are playing Cluedo)
Father Fernandez: [translated in voiceover] I think it was… the Reverend Green, with the knife, in the drawing room.
Father Ted: Ha, those Protestants. Up to no good as usual.
Where Fr. Ted takes up the real meaning of Lent, which is the giving up game against Father Dick Byrne. Cigarettes and Alcohol and Rollerblading
Father Ted: Matty Hyslop. He was a notorious drunkard who found God and then decided to punish himself for his sins. Oh he used to do all kinds of things. Like he had this terrible allergic reaction to cats, so instead of avoiding them, he used to carry a kitten in his pocket. He’d sniff it from time to time. His head just inflated like a balloon.
Where they think Fr., Hackett is dead… but he’s just dead drunk instead. Grant unto Him Eternal Rest
Father Dougal: So anyway, you’re there now with Our Lord and Stalin and Bob Marley and my own parents…,
Where Fr. Ted and Dougal compose a song for the Eurosong contest. Song for Europe
My lovely horse
Running through the fields
Where are you going
With your fetlocks blowing
In the wind?
I want to shower you with sugar lumps
And ride you over fences
Polish your hooves every single day
And take you to the horse dentist
My lovely horse
You’re a pony no more
With a man on your back
Like a train in the night
Where Fr. Dougal is stuck in a runaway milkman’s truck which is about to explode, while Fr. Ted says mass on a open trailer because he doesn’t know what else to do. Speed 3
Father Ted: I know what’s going on, Pat Mustard. There are some very hairy babies on Craggy Island, and I think you are the hairy baby-maker.
Pat Mustard: Oh, yeah? Well, I think that you would need proof if you were going to make that sort of an accusation. And I’m a very careful man, Father. A very careful man!
Father Ted: Except when it comes to taking precautions in the bedroom.
Pat Mustard: Ah, w-… you certainly wouldn’t be advising the use of artificial contraception now, Father, would you?
Father Ted: Yes, I… well… if you’re going to be… of course you will…
If any of this sounds funny to you, I suggest you look it up and watch it.