Written by Graham Linehan and Arthur Matthews
Directed by Declan Lowney
Starring Dermot Morgan, Ardal O’Hanlon, Frank Kelly, and Pauline McLynn
- Writer’s Commentary on five episodes
- Cast and Crew Biographies
- Photo Gallery
Rating: NR, safe for 13+ or so
My Advice: BUYITBUYITBUYITBUYITBUYIT
Father Ted just might be the best TV show ever. And before you charge me with prejudice, let me defend myself—this show is not only hysterically funny, it is clever, thoughtful, well-written, and smart. If you’re wondering how a sitcom featuring three priests stationed in rural Ireland could be a laugh-riot, you’ll just have to trust me on this one; it’s irreverent without being heretical or just rude, and understands its subject matter perfectly. The Father Ted Crilly of the title has been exiled to a remote island off the coast of Ireland to dwell with an ancient priest (Father Jack) who basically knows three words (“drink, “feck,” and “girls”) and a young priest, Father Dougal, who is quite simply free of such little things as a conscience. And common sense. And, well...you get the idea.
There are too many plot twists and surprises for me to give them away here. Suffice it to say that each episode is more marvelous with the last, including such gems as Father Jack’s naked sleepwalking, a visit from three bishops, and a vacation that, of course, does not go at all as planned. Not to forget the bishop with the rabbit phobia, the Sinead O’Connor spoof...the list of choice moments goes on. With episode titles like “Flight Into Terror,” “Cigarettes and Alcohol and Rollerblading,” and “Hell”--what do you expect?
The acting is just amazing. The comic timing of Morgan and O’Hanlon is just spooky perfect. They possess the ability to utter perfectly normal-sounding lines and elicit laughs for days--a feat no American actor these days can seem to manage. Kelly as Father Jack is so creepy and wrong that he is brilliant, as is the charming McLynn as the eccentric, to say the least, Mrs. Doyle. Also, look for a couple of cameos by Irish comedian and BBC talk-show host Graham Norton as an overly chipper young priest.
All in all, the comedy is of the type that never grows stale. Father Ted never loses sight of the fact that it is a comedy, unlike the sitcoms of some other superpowers I could mention. The comedy also never grows stale; you could watch these episodes over and over again--and you’ll want to, believe me--without getting tired of the jokes, which are funny every time. Think of how often you can hear Monty Python’s “The Philosopher’s Song” without getting tired of it...the same principle is at work here, yet this series remains entirely itself. Check it out today and see if you don’t wander your house for days afterward shouting “feck!” to whoever will listen. I honestly just cannot praise this series enough.
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