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Understanding Love, With Father Ted.



As a child, I never liked Father Ted; the mid-90’s Irish Television comedy, based around the trials of an uptight Catholic priest, and his eternally dim associate. Being a lover of farcical British comedy - and the fact it was an acclaimed show, I should have enjoyed it - but I didn’t. I found the jokes one-dimensional, characters stereotypical, and a gutter-mouthed old drunk to be a boring, drawn out cliché.

Which makes the next sentence somewhat contradictory. For the majority of this Christmas period, I have found myself laughing my arse off (not literally, that would defy medical science), at one show in particular - and openly admitting how brilliant a work of comedy it truly is. You guessed it… Father Ted!

The question I have asked myself, is what happened? How did I go from seeing this comedy as an exercise in moronic wisdom, to an entertaining source of merriment? Initially, I thought my sense of humour had changed; but as the comedies of my childhood still make me laugh, this is untrue. Maybe I am more mature, and able to appreciate the subtle intelligence? But I chuckled endlessly at Alan Partridge when I was barely thirteen, so even this made no sense. After consideration, I believe the answer comes from two aspects of life; the first, is my girlfriend. The second, is that old chestnut love. Allow me to explain...

Now and again over the past year, Father Ted has turned up in random, intermittent periods on Television; while me and my other half have been together. Much as I couldn't stand it, she enjoys the show. Because of this, I would – at least initially, force myself to sit through sporadic episodes. On Christmas Eve, the show popped up as we relaxed under the glow of Christmas lights. For the first time, I found myself enjoying and appreciating the beauty of the comedy. Somewhere, somehow, something I never cared for, became not just tolerable, but enjoyable. Looking at her, and seeing her happiness - born from a mixture of youthful memories and surrealist humour, I began to understand I had learned to love this show, purely because I love her; and by giving it another chance, was able to appreciate just why Channel 4 deem it the funniest comedy they have ever produced.

Ordinarily, if I had no genuine love for her, I would have scoffed at the stupid show, switched it over, and hoped Dave was showing a marathon of the comedies I would view over and over; enjoying like a pair of predictable old trousers - such as Bottom, Blackadder, or The Office. But when you truly love someone, a part of you embraces their wisdom and offers it a chance; as you subconsciously begin to search for that nameless place, which omits their own energies of love upon surroundings.

"I didn't do it!"
And this is where I believe a simple idea, can show us how a love for the wider world is paramount in creating a happier, productive life. If I am able to transmit lesser forms of this same love anywhere I roam, maybe it is possible to begin to appreciate, enjoy, and ultimately, love aspects of it I have so often disregarded - through my own ignorance, as stupid. Maybe empathising with the local kids could allow me to bop my head, as I enjoy the robotic rap of N-Dubz. Perhaps if I find connection with the growing level of uber-nerds, I could figure out how week long Dungeons and Dragons battles, ignites serotonin in their Games Workshop loving brains. And maybe, just maybe, if I can learn to sense where those who learn to love the internal bitterness which overlaps the human spirit, I can bypass all their negativity, and find the human spirit they hide - through a fear, masquerading as their friend.

Those who truly love you, will not judge you. They will never criticise the choices you make, because of their own doubt and insecurities. They will also try to understand how you see the world, even if their eyes do not view it in the same light. I am still a million miles away from understanding the constructs of love - it takes a lifetime to even begin to, I would imagine. But I now know the roots of love are found in finding an acceptance, appreciation and genuine respect for portions of life, maybe once scoffed at as ridiculous. All you need is an open mind, an open heart, a positive framework, and a loving partner - a hate filled one will destroy all the love you seek, or even distort that which has been built; but this is another topic, for another day.

Father Ted is actually very funny. The jokes are subtle, subversive, yet silly, and as an education in the Catholic Church, it is good enough for me. It is also impossible to compare with any other show; quite often a sign of works of genius. Now when the show pops up in random, intermittent periods on Television, I smile and hope it is an episode I haven't seen before. Falling in love is easy. Embracing and developing it, takes a lot of dedication, desire, and hard work - in order to utilise it's true power. In a very unique way, I owe my new ability in understanding love, to Father Ted..

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