Love That Dare Not Speak Its Name

There are those trends from our youth that we all admit to sharing. Everyone had a copy of “Thriller” by Michael Jackson, didn’t they? Or perhaps you were more a “Hysteria” by Def Leppard sort? Ha ha, remember when we used to wear Day-Glo? Hee hee, acid-washed peg-leg jeans! Ho ho, VC Andrews books!

I am convinced, however, that there are the pop culture items that we think we love alone. You think to yourself, did anyone else remember Frankenweenie? Nah. They don’t. I was the only one. And you feel alone in your cheezy love, but also sort of glad no one else remembers it, because it is so bad, SO cheezy, that it would be too painful for anyone else to know of your love.

This is how I feel about Father Ralph.

Anyone know what I am talking about? I am talking about (and I barely can make myself type this out) THE THORN BIRDS. I, at an entirely age-inappropriate time in my life, had a burning love for Father Ralph. That’s right. The priest that raised up little Meggie from toddler-dom to womanhood, and then turned his fatherly love for her into sexy-forbidden-horizontal-lambada love for her. Father DeBriccasart. De-frickin-Briccasart. Doesn’t that sound like a combination between fricassee and brisket? So meaty. And I loved it. LOVE, love, loved it. I am always so forgiving of my youthful self, and I almost always can remember what it felt like to love the things I used to love in my childhood years, but this one? I can’t do it. Former me, I don’t GET YOU. Former me, I totally judge you for this. I mean, EW. Ick ick ick. Leathery, orangy Richard Chamberlain? Wearing priest dresses? Really????

Yes, really. I can barely remember watching the mini-series on tv, and I can’t imagine HOW I was able to watch this at such a tender age with my very media-conscientious parents around, but I did. There are certain scenes of it that I have a hazy memory of, like Meggie’s pink dress, and Father Ralph chasing her down the beach (oh dear jehosephat) and other nasty bidness like that. I then remember discovering that this epic miniseries was based on a book, which I read as a teen and recommended to all of my friends who loved Father Ralph just as hard as I did.

When I went to college, I had just about forgotten about Father Ralph and his smudgy eyeliner. (He totally had smudgy eyeliner on all the time. I swear.) Then, one year in college, I was sick for like a week. And during that week, I watched bazillions of movies. And when I was at the end of this week, I was at the movie store, and completely out of ideas. Until I saw him. On the shelf. Father Ralph! You have returned to me! I rented it to see if it was all I had remembered it to be.

It wasn’t. I rolled my eyes at it. I laughed at it. I couldn’t believe that I had loved it so much. Could. Not. Believe. Then, towards the end of the series– (because yes I totally watched it all. All nine million hours of it)– some scene came on. I wish I could remember now what it was. But the melodrama! It sucked me in! And I started to tear up. Oh, the forbidden love! They can never be together! Waaaaahhhhh!

This is the precise moment that my friend U. walked into the room. I may not remember the scene I was watching, but I remember my friend’s face. He looked at the screen. Father Ralph in his be-frocked glory. He looked at me. Teary-eyed. He just stared at me and Father Ralph. Our forbidden love exposed.

My friend laughed at me. And you know what I did? I tried to DEFEND it. No really, it’s a good movie, I lied. It’s not what you think! My friend knew I was talking crap. He could smell the shame on me. It was the scent of Father Ralph, emanating off of me. We never spoke of it again.

Yesterday, I saw U. I hadn’t hung out with him since my birthday, and he brought me a present. I am always, always open to accepting presents. So exciting.

I opened it. And what did I find? This.

The Thorn Birds: The Missing Years

The Missing Years?! The Missing Years.

I looked at this present- a gag gift, in all senses of the term. Ha ha, funny! Gag.

He so called me out on that one. He remembered, all these years, when he caught me crying over Father Ralph. And he brought it back. In front of OTHER PEOPLE, even.

Oh the shame of it. Father Ralph, you’ve besmirched yet another young victim.

Please someone. Make me feel better. Did Father Ralph ever touch your heart? Your dirty, dirty heart?

I’m out,
Librarian Girl


  1. Sorry Librarian Girl. I cannot help you out. I’ve never seen it. But you sure do make it tempting. Too bad I just gave away my DVD player to my mom recently. It doesn’t sound like something I’d want to rent and watch with her at her place.

  2. yesssssssss. I had the hots for Ralphie. All the more disturbing as I was a Catholic girl at the time (in remission).Forbidden love still gives me shivers. Thorn Birds, Flowers in the Attic, Angelina and brother…..

  3. i had the same secret-love/shame later for loving North and South. ooh that dark-haired brother-of-Kirstie Alley from Lehigh Station, how gallant and sexy! but don’t tell anyone I said so.

  4. oh! I totally watched this as a wee kindergartener, WITH MY MOTHER. She was hooked and apparently didn’t notice I was watching it too. I think I was too young to really understand just how wrong it was.Hey did you ever watch that miniseries, V? Now THAT I totally remember watching, although it seems it came out the same year as Thorn Birds. My whole family was hooked on that one.

  5. Oh it’s too good! I LOVED that series. And when I read the book years later, I cried and cried. I have two confessions to make:1. Whenever I feel like a good weep I’ll pick that book up and just go for it2. Oh the shame…but the series is on my dvd rental list *hanging head* I wonder if I’ll laugh at it now…?

  6. Not Father Ralph, though Richard Chamberlain was one of my earliest crushes. No, my worst, most embarrassing cheese crush was Captain Apollo on the original Battlestar Galactica.And, oh god, I used to watch it with my father. It was one of the few things we ever bonded over, though I’m sure he was looking at entirely different aspects of the show than I.I wonder if he knew that every night when I took out the trash at the age of 14 I would search the night skies for any sign that Captain Apollo was coming to get me in his little fighter so that we could fly off together and have adventures in space, leaving this dull rock behind forever.

  7. I’ll cop to reading a few VC Andrews books that I borrowed from a friend, but I have to disappoint and say that I’ve never seen / read the Thorn Birds, never owned “Thriller,” and was never into Def Leppard. I might’ve owned some flourescent clothing at one point, if that makes you feel better 😉

  8. Thornbirds!! My whole suite crammed into the one room with a TV to watch it freshman year. (Whoops–I am old!) I must confess I did read the book–pure shmaltz.

  9. I will be brutally honest here: all I needed and wanted to know about sex I got from the VC Andrews books when I was in jr high– fuh-rightening! And all I needed and wanted to know about ‘adult’ sex I got from The Thorn Birds. I remember having nightmares after watching the scene where Meggie gets her knuckles rapped by those creepy nuns. I’d been watching it with my mother as well and had no idea nuns were capable of that kind of nastiness and my mom, Catholic-raised, arched an eyebrow at me and my naivete, haha. Colleen McCullough also wrote a book called TIM about an even MORE ‘forbidden’ love– between a woman in her 50s and her hot, 20-something mentally retarded gardener. They made a movie of that with Piper Laurie and Mel Gibson– u should check it next you’ve got the flu! 🙂

  10. Never seen it. But I think I might have been right there with you.VC Andrews lived down the street from my Grandparents. It was heartbreaking to find the VC Andrews only wrote the first few books, after that it was other writers using the name. I was destroyed and stopped reading them.

  11. I was never a VC fan or a Thornbirds fan but I remember having huge issues with Capt. von Trapp from the Sound of Music. I remember watching it and feeling very uncomfortable about the captain–he was just too intense and wonderful and sexy but he was a dad and not really a nice dad in the beginning!! And then that dance scene with Maria… god, it confused me to no end.

  12. Hmmm, I’ve never seen The Thornbirds, but now I am totally curious! And I actually just bought the song “Thriller” on iTunes. I can’t help it, but it’s my favorite thing to listen to around Halloween! And need I mention my long history with Bon Jovi?Nice job U.!

  13. Ooooooh, I loved The Thornbirds. Read the book, then watched the mini-series. I bet the part that tore you up was when the son died. So unfair!! So sad. Much weeping and wailing. But Father Ralph was

  14. I was laughing WITH you as I read this, you were laughing on the inside, right? right? :)I never saw or read the thornbirds so I can’t relate to this one, but I have plenty secret shame of my own.

  15. I was not a Thorn Birds gal, but I did have several inappropriate crushes:Jonathan from The Secret of NiMH. Yeah, that’s right. Jonathan, the rat, from a children’s story.Richard Dreyfus. Don’t ask me why. At 10, I thought he was incredibly attractive.

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