Friday, April 3, 2015

The Vicar Of Dibley: "The Easter Bunny"

Premiered April 8, 1996.

Geraldine: This is the awful moment where I tell you that the Easter Bunny absolutely and totally does not exist at all.
Alice: Well,  maybe not where you come from.  But here, we've got our very own proper Easter Bunny.  I've seen it!

It's Springtime in Dibley.  The residents of the small Oxfordshire village are preparing for Easter. This is the Vicar Geraldine Granger's (Dawn French) first Easter in the village.

Alice (Emma Chambers) tells Geraldine that the Easter Bunny visits Dibley every Easter and that every resident has seen it.  The Vicar scoffs, telling Alice there's no such thing as the Easter Bunny.  Alice reacts with consternation, saying that anyone who doubts the existence of the rabbit comes under the ancient curse and is doomed to have their firstborn child be a dunce.

The next day at a meeting of the parish council, Geraldine asks the council members about the Bunny.  Everyone backs up Alice about the existence of the "Dibley Bunny" and they're very matter of fact in their belief.  The Vicar thinks the village has gone crazy.  In other business, Geraldine suggests that each member of the council give up something for Lent -- which leads to her being forced to give up one of her favorite things ... chocolate!!

Geraldine:  Sorry, have I just stepped into The X-Files
Shortly before Easter, Letitia Cropley (Liz Smith),  one of the more eccentric members of the parish council  (and that's saying something) falls ill.  When Geraldine arrives, Letitia is near death and asks the Vicar to speak to her.

She imparts a secret to Geraldine ---  Letitia has played the  Easter Bunny in Dibley for the past 30 years.  Letitia's dying request is for Geraldine to take over the role when she dies.

Geraldine is horrified at the request, but agrees. 
On the evening before Easter, the Vicar dresses up in a bunny costume and sets out to deliver chocolate eggs to every house in the village.

Things do not quite go according to plan, as she encounters...the Easter Bunny?

Is this the real Easter Bunny? 
RigbyMel says:

The Vicar of Dibley is a brilliantly funny British series and this episode is a standout.

It manages to walk a fine line between sadness and comedy and does so very successfully.

I especially enjoy Geraldine and the members of the council's attempts to avoid Lenten fines for giving in to their vices.  Hugo (James Fleet) and his struggle to avoid lustful thoughts about Alice, on whom he has a fearsome crush, is particularly funny.

Bunny Geraldine vs. chocolate eggs
Geraldine's comedic wistfulness over the loss of her beloved chocolate is comedy gold as are pompous head of the council David's (Gary Waldhorn) rather wicked efforts to tempt her to cheat.   There's not many TV shows that touch on Lent at all, so that also makes this interesting viewing from that point of view.

Hugo and Alice being sheepish around each other ... 
Even though Alice is on the "thick as two short planks" side of intellect (it is suggested that her mother fell victim to the alleged curse), her childlike faith in the existence of the Easter Bunny is very sweet to see due largely to her portrayal by Emma Chambers.

As Easter does center on a death and a resurrection, it is appropriate that Letitia passes on the Dibley Bunny tradition, ensuring that the Bunny will live on after her.

Geraldine really does make an adorable Bunny!
This episode of The Vicar of Dibley is both touching and funny and Lent as well as Easter are used to excellent advantage without being a bit cloying.

If you're a fan of funny ladies like Dawn French and smart British comedy,  this episode is not to be missed!

RigbyMel's rating:

4 Easter Eggs

J.A. Morris says:

I can't add a lot to what my co-blogger said, "The Easter Bunny" is an excellent holiday episode of a great comedy series.  Dawn French and her ensemble cast are funny as always and the "holiday" aspect of this episode has made it an annual event in our house.
Letitia shares her unique Passover pancakes recipe with the parish council.

It's very rare that an episode that focuses on a characters death can be sad and hilarious.  Most sitcoms that attempt this often turn dissolve into "very special episodes."  But "The Easter Bunny" succeeds, spending just enough time mourning Letitia before getting back to the jokes.

"The Easter Bunny" is available on a dvd titled The Vicar Of Dibley:The Specials & Series 2.

There aren't many Easter specials, episodes and movies, so "The Easter Bunny" is a nice addition to that short list.  It's highly recommended and does a great job connecting the religious and secular traditions of Easter.

J.A. Morris' rating:

4 Easter Eggs!

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