Thursday, January 24, 2008

The Vicar of Dibley

I’ve had parishioners after me to watch this TV show for years now.  Funny thing, but I talked with other clergy in town and none of them had seen it either.

If you’ve never hear of “The Vicar of Dibley” it’s one of those wickedly funny BBC sticoms that can make you blush but also fall out of your seat laughing.  How do I know?  I finally watched a few episodes thanks to the miracle of DVD.

In fact, just last night I watched my first episode ... and my second and my third and my fourth.  Over lunch today I watched number five.  

Last night, we started laughing so loud that our son came in and said, “What’s all that noise?”  We decided it wasn’t quite family fare, so we sent him back to bed and giggled as quietly as we could.

Although I have to tell you, as an Episcopal (Anglican) priest, I was at first offended by the show.  I mean, I had parishioners telling me that the show reminded them of our congregation, and if ever there was a country church that did not remind me of us, it was this.  The vicar (played by Dawn French) reminds me more of Rosanne Bahr than anything else.  She thinks her parishioners are idiots, and seems to think of her pastoral role as a bit of a joke.

For the record, I want everyone to know I don’t think my parishioners are idiots, and I take my pastoral role seriously.

On the other hand, I’ve never had parishioners like the Vicar’s.  One of her parish council members is a stuck up prig, another is his adult son with the personality of a pine cone.  The council’s clerk records every breath of the minutes with agonizing fastidiousness while one of the members can’t say “Yes” without first saying, “No,no, no, no, no.” Tthen there is the council member who has a fascination with animals.  ‘Nuff said.

Did I mention her verger?  The new (at least in the old episodes I’ve been watching) wife of the pine cone councilman, she thinks the capital of France is “F”.  

So, I guess you can forgive the vicar for a little frustration, not to mention an addiction to chocolate and a fascination with men who are not from Dibley.  I realize I’ve come late to the show, and I’ll probably never be a watch-it-every-week kind of fan, but I can appreciate the uniquely British humor.  Yes, I’ll watch more DVD’s of it, no doubt.  Yes, I’ll laugh until juice squirts out my nose.  No, I won’t be moving to Dibley any time soon.