August 21, 2009

Justify My Netflix: Father Ted, Season 1

(Like many Netflix customers, I too can get quite lax with the timely watching and returning of my movies, which of course defeats the entire purpose of having a flat-rate rental plan in the first place. To combat that, I am now writing standardized mini-reviews of each and every movie I end up watching through Netflix, both instantly and on DVD. Don't forget, all previous 'Justify My Netflix' reviews can be found on CCLaP's main movie page.)

Father Ted: Season 1

Today's DVD: Father Ted: Season 1, 1995 (Amazon | IMDB | Netflix | Wikipedia)

Why I added it to my queue: Because this is the fabled first series by absurdist master Graham Linehan, who was to go on to create the nerd cult hit The IT Crowd for British television in the 2000s. Because it's a wicked parody of all the heartwarming dramas the BBC ran in the '90s about Irish Catholic priests in the middle of the rural countryside; and I'm already a fan of heartwarming '90s BBC dramas about Irish Catholic priests in the middle of the rural countryside, so figured that a wicked parody of them would be right up my alley as well.

The reality: Funny as hell, but only if you give it a chance (and cut it some slack). The fact is that Father Ted is just as obtuse in its humor as the more well-known IT Crowd, only with a situation that's tailored a lot less for absurdist humor -- because let's face it, unrealistically bizarre things happening to a group of antisocial geeks in the basement of a faceless corporate headquarters simply seems to be more natural than the same events happening to a group of priests on a forgotten tiny island off the coast of Galway. If you're willing to give it some patience, though, as well as forgive what is sometimes some awfully clunky jokes, this show has the potential to have you rolling on the floor in laughter at points: note for example the absolute bastard which is the curse-spewing, teenage-girl-chasing, floor-polish-drinking Father Jack, or the fact that the title character once ran off with a sick orphan bound for Lourdes and instead spent the money on a gambling spree in Las Vegas. Make no mistake, The IT Crowd is simply a better show than this one; but if you're a fan of the latter, you will definitely appreciate the former, as far as being able to see where Linehan's unique sense of humor comes from, and how he was able to hone it in the '90s on Channel 4's dime.

Strangest piece of trivia: Despite this being one of the more popular TV shows in the history of Ireland, performed by a mostly Irish cast and containing dozens of insider Irish jokes, the show itself was produced by a UK network.

Worth your time? If you're a fan of absurdist humor, then yes. If not, you can probably safely skip it.

P.S. By the way, there are dozens upon dozens of clips from this show over at YouTube; but each and every single one of them have had their embedding capabilities banned by Channel 4, owner of the show. What the f-ck, Channel 4? Is it that you don't want anyone to actually give your shows any publicity? What a frustrating situation, when all I wanted to do was show you a little example of how funny the show is.

Filed by Jason Pettus at 2:30 PM, August 21, 2009. Filed under: Movies | Reviews |