Saturday, September 25, 2004

Joan of Arcadia - Only Connect 

Oof - how disturbing on so many levels. Everyone is hiding something from someone else, if not from everyone else. Last night was an examination of the consequences of shutting yourself off from others, for whatever reason, and trust me - those consequences are not good.

First off, let me put it right out there. I don't like the bangs. But if the bangs were just part of the "Joan is cut off" storyline, okay. They framed her face and made her seem too much like a portrait of herself, too smooth and even. It was a great visual on the loss of her spirit and creativity.

Second, something good. Becky Wahlstrom and Christopher Marquette are now regulars. Yay - keep them on. I still think Grace and Joan should get together. One of the only times Joan seemed to regain her own personality last night was during her brief bedroom chat with Grace. And of course Grace would shimmy up the drain pip and climb in Joan's window rather than use the front door. "What are you doing?" "Clinging to a drain pipe." Also, Ms. Lischak is now the physics teacher, and she clearly loves physics even more than chemistry. She's awesome. It's like teaching is a performance art for her.

So Joan went to "camp" for the summer as part of her rehab process. She calls it crazy camp, Helen says it was to continue her physical recovery from the infection on which they're blaming her behavior of the past year. She's now trying with all her might to keep herself convinced that God never really talked to her, and that she was imagining the whole thing. God, meanwhile, is appearing in all the usual suspects plus at least one new on (Skateboard Guy). The first one who seemed to begin to break through was Little Girl God, who was bouncing and tossing a ball that looked very much like Earth. They give LGG the most insightful and philosophical lines, and this kid pulls them off perfectly.

Adam has spent the summer researching other experiences of talking with God, and now believes Joan, but she doesn't want him to believe it, and has barred him from discussing it with her or anyone else. She wants "the old me" back, and so does Adam. Trouble is, the person Joan is seeking never existed, and isn't the person Adam misses.

Grace and Luke have continued their odd relationship. She drew up and made him sign a Confidentiality Agreement, which he agreed to in order to receive his allotted 5 minutes per day of makeout time. In secret. And nothing else. Kevin extracted the truth, and convinced Luke that girls just want the guy to stand up (ironic choice of words coming from Kevin), and take charge. So Luke charges himself on over to Becky's house and rings the doorbell. She opens the door, says "You're dead," and slams the door in his face. End relationship. How weird do you think those makeout scenes were for the actors, one of whom is 17 and the other of whom is 29?

Helen is contemplating returning to the catholic church, and has been meeting with her priest friend and an ex-nun he referred her to. The ex-nun, Lilly Waters (played by Constance Zimmer), is fabulous. She a double-espresso drinking, cigarette smoking, gothed out cool chick who describes her nun days as follows: "Remember Sister Maria, in the Sound of Music? That was me, only with surfing instead of singing and spinning on the mountainside." But she's kept the whole idea secret from her family. Lilly chews her out, then tells her to get over herself and bring God home to meet the family before coming back to talk. There's a lot of references to God as boyfriend here. And of Luke as Not-Boyfriend. I heartily agree with the latter.

Will is continuing his efforts to find a common interest with Kevin, so Kevin decides to try out the adaptive golf idea. It didn't have the desired effect.

Will is also trying to deal solo with the fact that he and Helen are being sued for causing emotional distress to the young man whose drunk driving accident caused Kevin's paralysis, and whom the Girardis declined to sue for medical expenses or press charges against. Apparently Kevin called Will from the party and said that Andy was drinking. Kevin was going to drive Andy home himself, but relented when Andy became obstinate. So they're now holding Kevin and his parents responsible.

Helen goes to the station to tell Will about her crisis of faith, but Will really doesn't want to hear it. The whole thing with Andy is confirming for him the complete injustice of the world and his belief that we are all just here to get through each day with as little torment as possible until we die. Everyone and everything in this scene was very gray and blue, all muted tones, except Helen, who is wearing a deep red coat. Perhaps something about her taking steps to connect and return the vibrancy to her life, while Will is still repressed and isolated and can't see the beauty of the world?

Later at home, Will finally tells Helen his secret. They have a quality bonding minute before Luke drags them out to the garage to see Kevin in his golf set up. Unfortunately, seeing Kevin strapped to the side of the cart with his legs dangling limp on the ground only drove home the contrast between what he's gone through with Andy's apparent difficulty concentrating and trouble with work, and Will rushes back to the house.

Joan is back working at the bookstore, whose owner is continuing to have problems with his wife and her rabbit. It's worse than we realized, because the poor woman comes into the store in her pj's, and reveals that she has killed her beloved rabbit because her husband was jealous of her talking to it instead of him, even though in her mind Lydia was the only one who really understood her. The husband is shocked. The wife is shocked. Joan is shocked. God is shocked. The audience is shocked. I'm in tears, clinging desperately to one of my cats and being thankful that I have connections in this world.

Outside the store, Cute Guy God talks to Joan about the need to connect with the world and the people in it. Joan opens up to him, but tells him she can't see him anymore. She broke up with God.

Apparently next week there will be terrible fallout from said breakup. I know this is a drama, but it's getting very dark, and has very few light moments in which you can breath. I hope this doesn't go on all season, because I won't be able to take it.

Posted by Beth Henderson at 9:53 AM