Tuesday, January 20, 2004

Joan of Arcadia - Recreation 

After a few nights catching up on Tivo'd shows, I'm now ready for the new week to begin! Before we watched Joan of Arcadia, I commented to The Girl that after last week's emotional wringer the show was in need of a light-hearted episode. Once again, Barbara Hall delivered.

The shot of Grace perched on top of the stairway rails reading, with everyone else walking by without thinking anything was strange was perfect. The follow-up of her surfing down the rail while talking to Joan made it complete. That was as defining a moment for Grace as crashing into the railing was for Xander on the first episode of Buffy.

I even moved a touch towards being okay with the concept of Grace and Luke when Grace made the anthropological comment about the party being like a particular mating ritual only without the evisceration, and without skipping a beat and appearing (plausibly) to know exactly which ritual she was referencing, Luke replied that the night was still young. They're both geeks, it's just that Grace is cynical about the world and those in it, while Luke is blindly enthusiastic about discovering the universe and the secrets it holds. Hopefully they'll continue providing an amusing balance.

Joan's reaction when the police appeared at the door was perfect - who hasn't been relieved when an authority figure has taken the heat off of you for shutting down something that you know has gotten out of control? I was a bit fearful that the Joan-Adam thing was going to turn into a run-of-the-mill teen angst storyline, but by the time they were slow-dancing on the front lawn my faith had been restored. Of course, if Adam really cares about Joan, he followed up the dance by going in and helping clean up the party evidence before the parents' return.

Speaking of the parents, that brings me to my one issue with this episode. I understand they tried to explain away Will's unusual behavior as being a post-traumatic effect of his abduction, but I didn't buy it. Yes, he does seem like he's not a spa kind of guy, but the development of his character thus far doesn't support his ruining the entire romantic weekend with Helen. His entire motivation (including his expressed internal handling of his reaction when he felt he was about to die) revolves around his family. I know I wished for something more light-hearted this week, but his spa behavior was bordering on the level of sitcom. I also find it beyond comprehension that he would not have found some way to contact Toni, who he knew was awaiting his signal outside an active meth lab. Yes, it worked out well - Toni and the rest of the officers would likely have been killed in the explosion had they gone in - but it was as far out of character for him to forget about his fellow officers as it was for him to sabotage his alone time with his wife.

But I can let this slide, and perhaps these questions will be explored in future episodes. They have a good track record of not leaving plot points hanging, or plot holes open.

Last note - the idea of recreation being as important as every other aspect of life, and essential for redefining and starting anew, is one I hope more people grab onto.

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 8:13 AM