Saturday, 17 January 2015

Father Ted

Father Ted is a comedy series that first aired in 1995 on channel 4 that follows the daily lives of three priests who live on a small island that isn't included on any map, Craggy Island, with its landmarks being 'the field' and the holy stone of Clonrichert. The narrative does not include plot heavy story lines, instead it shows the routines and reactions that the three priests and Mrs Doyle face everyday, no matter how small the problem may be. Father Ted, the main character, is seemingly the only normal character with in the household, with one priest, Father Dougal McGuire who doesn't really know what is happening all the time. With Father Jack Hackett, a drunk elderly priest, who's dialogue consists of as little syllables as possible, drinks and sleeps everyday, and Mrs Doyle the housekeeper who always asks if they want a cup of tea, forcing them to have beverage even if they don't want to.

The programs humour is based on the reactions of the main character and trying to solve the problem that he or the other priests have caused. For example, in one episode, Father Ted tries to raise money to repair the leak in the roof by arranging a raffle, in which the main prize would be a car. However as Ted notices a small dent in the car, he tries to fix it and ends up making the car worse and barely driveable. The reaction that Ted has as he realises what he has done to the car is what makes the scene for the audience. As the camera changes from Dougals face to a close up of Ted as he continues to try and hammer out what began as a small dent in the car, being as delicate as possible, it then zooms out to show the whole of the cars appearance. He slowly walks to Dougal, gazing at the cars appearance, muttering he'd sleep on it. It then cuts to Father Ted screaming in the night, as he realises that he has destroyed the car. This delayed reaction works well with the main characters personality, he tries to fixes things and in the end, he always somehow makes it worst, no matter how had

Episode 'Think Fast Father Ted'

The appearances and expressions of the characters help to build the personalities of the roles compared to the body language which is not as exaggerated compared to most comedy shows, instead it relies on the small actions, the twitches or characteristics that each character portrays. For example the appearance of Father Jack Hackett, depicts warts, boils and gnarled teeth, which resembles a filthy and non healthly lifestyle to the audience, it is not until the character creates a hostile expression towards Ted for not giving him a drink that the viewer sees that he is a grumpy old man, who would do anything for a drink. I personally love how when an alcoholic beverage is either poured or clangs slightly as it hits the table away from him, he moves his head from left to right, much like a dog that can smell his dinner and is then able to say the name of the drink. This small action shows how much he needs this form of drink to the extent he even knows the smell and sound of the bottle from a distance.

Another example can be seen in Father Dougal McGuire's reactions when Father Ted tries to explain something to him, in the episode that involves them going on holiday. Ted holds a miniature figure of a cow in his hands and holds it up to Dougal, explaining that the ones outside where very far away, which was they they looked small like the figure, Dougals expression is a mixture of thinking and confusion as he tries to wrap his thoughts around this concept, his body language leaning towards Ted as if to try and absorb the explanation, his armed crossed to show how he still doesn't understand what is being said.

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