BBC’s 1982 Barchester Chronicles, episodes 1-3

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Slope is not finished with the bishop. He obviously wants to preach a sermon at the local cathedral, and he weasels his way into it by pointing out that the clergyman scheduled to preach has been chilling in Italy for years for questionably valid health reasons and will not be available.

hypnosis

“I will hypnotize you into letting me preach.”

bringing facts

“I bring facts about a malingering clergyman. Bow before me.”

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“Malingering clergymen are the root cause of all evil in the world.”

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“Thanks for being manipulated, bishop.”

We then get to watch Slope’s sermon, which is a mini masterpiece of its own. Before he preaches, the church’s choir performs. Slope does not seem to approve.

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“Your choir just pisses me off on principle.”

His very first sermon to these people is a blasting of their choir because it’s putting the focus on man and not God, and he also calls for an emphasis on logic and reason instead of medieval spectacle. Put that in your pipe and smoke it, Barchester!

I think Slope actually makes some interesting points in his sermon, but there are more tactful ways to say it. Also, it’s pretty clear his intention is to insult the status quo in the parish, like Harding and Grantly, rather than address issues he thinks actually need attention. So, I’ll give him some points for delivering an interesting message, but still it’s a really shitty thing to do as your first act as chaplain, and that also makes it funny.

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“Just your everyday passive-aggressive sermon.”

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“Just so you know, you’re all going to hell.”

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“It’s the 19th century, people. What’s your excuse for this shit?”

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Fire and brimstone.

The sermon goes over about how you expect it would with Harding, who is being directly targeted as the guy in charge of the choir, and Grantly, who is always righteously indignant on Barchester’s behalf.

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“That sermon was the most offensive thing I have ever experienced.”

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“I am so spiritually distraught now.”

Mrs. Proudie, though, is impressed.

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“That was awesome, my evil friend.” “Yeah, I know.”

Next page: Slope brings the smarm charm.

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