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Are You Right There, Father Ted?

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Are You Right There, Father Ted?
Series 3, Episode 1
Are You Right There, Father Ted
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Are You Right There, Father Ted? is the first episode of the final series of Father Ted.

Synopsis

In the episode's prologue, Ted - who has apparently been promoted, likely as a result of the Golden Cleric award he won in the previous episode - relaxes in a luxurious Dublin parish mansion, with a respected clergyman after an exhausting business trip to Paris, bartering over which masses the pair will tend to that day. Ted awaits his dinner of pheasant and optimistically muses over his immediate future. All of a sudden, a church accountant asks Ted about a discrepancy with church expenses... and Ted is promptly sent back to Craggy Island, to Dougal's delight.

As the episode proper begins Ted - after settling in - collects a borrowed copy of Stephen King's The Shining from a friend, Father Seamus Fitzpatrick, and is surprised by his sizeable collection of Nazi memorabilia (his collection more resembles a shrine to the Third Reich, along with a former Nazi veteran). On Ted returning home, Mrs. Doyle injures her back after falling off the roof. Because of this, Ted and Dougal are forced to assume her cleaning tasks, and quickly become very bored. To liven things up, Ted places a lampshade on his head like a coolie hat, and starts imitating a Chinaman. Unfortunately, he looks out the window and sees three Chinese people watching him, and before long, rumours that Ted is racist are flying all over Craggy Island; most of his honest attempts to prove otherwise are blighted either by incongruous objects or downright ill luck; at one point, he is seen standing behind a window with a perfectly square bit of black dirt on it, thus appearing to give him a toothbrush moustache similar to Adolf Hitler's.

After fronting a (laughable) presentation of cultural diversity on Craggy Island Ted resorts to wining the Chinese families and apologising for his mishaps, to a degree of success, mostly due to the provision of free alcohol. Unbeknownst to Ted, however, Father Fitzpatrick had died in a medication mix-up a few days ago (he and his Nazi associate inadvertently took cyanide pills they mistook for valium) and had left his Nazi collection to Ted, instructing "Habit-Hat" (with whom Ted had ordered furniture recently) to mail the offensive collection to the parochial house. Mrs. Doyle has already placed the collection on full display by the time Ted and Dougal return - with the Chinese people - to the house for a nightcap.

In utter desperation Ted sends more alcohol to the Yin family the following day: unfortunately, Father Jack intervenes by emerging in a Nazi uniform from a box, having drunk all the liquor.

Father Jack spends practically the entire episode in small spaces, including inside a grandfather clock, which leads Ted to assume Jack is agoraphobic, which Dougal thinks is a fear of fighting.

Trivia

  • In the book Father Ted: The Complete Scripts, Arthur Mathews observes that the islanders' actions in this episode are the opposite of those in "The Passion of Saint Tibulus": in the earlier episode, they completely fail to do what Ted wants them to, while in this episode they enthusiastically follow what they imagine to be Ted's example even though he desperately wants them not to.
  • The pub Ted visits is Vaughan's, a real pub in Kilfenora, County Clare.
  • Ted's slides feature:
    • An unnamed black man who visited the island a few years ago
    • The Great Wall of China
    • Mao Zedong
    • Mr. Miyagi from the film The Karate Kid
    • A Māori man
    • Cato from the Pink Panther films
    • Ming the Merciless, fictional character from Flash Gordon (Ming is often criticised as a negative Chinese stereotype)
    • Two photographs of groups of Chinese people
    • Ted himself
    • The words "NOT A RACIST"
  • Father Jack's agoraphobia in this episode contrasts with the claustrophobia he had in "Grant Unto Him Eternal Rest" that had Ted and Dougal waiting by his coffin the night before the funeral to make sure he is not buried alive (which was prevented by his "resurrection"). Ted mentioned he always had a fear of enclosed spaces like the kind he now hides in.
  • The ending theme is redone in a Chinese folk music style.
  • Channel 4 delayed airing this episode by a week out of respect to Dermot Morgan who died on February 28th, 1998, one day after he had completed filming the series finale.

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