Sunday, October 03, 2004

Joan of Arcadia - Out of Sight 

Damn. Such a good show.

I loved that in Joan's dream she was the Joan of last season, with the lighter, livelier hair, cooler clothes and hip accessories. It's such a contrast with her current "tryiing to be normal" garb and style. I noticed this week she was even trying to "normalize" her scarves, but the wispy floral stuff just didn't have the same vibe.

Sadly, my hopes from last week were dashed - Grace and Luke are trying to find common ground in order to continue their clandestine relationsh... thing (see contractual prohibition on the R-word). They have a great scene in which they each play a selection of their favorite tunes for the other, and of course they can't stand anything that the other listens to. Personally, I was all over Grace's selection. And Luke - Metallica? Please. Just when they're about to throw in the towel, a group passes by with Kool & The Gang's "Celebrate" blasting from a radio. Our melody-crossed lovers discover a mutual hatred for that one, and the sparks fly. Luke declares, "Grace, this is our song!" How perfect is that? "Their song" is one they both despise.

God is being persistent despite Joan's clear break-up of last week. I'm glad to see God's not giving up, because otherwise we wouldn't have much of a show to watch.

Joan's best friend from camp, Judith, is now at Arcadia High, having been booted from Country Day School for filling the car of one of the faculty members with styrofoam peanuts. Kind of harsh punishment for a prank, don't you think? Anyway, Joan and Judith have this huge bond, and folks at camp used to refer to them as Joaneth. Grace is dismayed, as this means she'll "have to get to know another person." The first group scene reminded me of scenes from Buffy, where the various Scoobies would come into view and form a clump of solidarity. Here we have Joan, Grace, Adam, Luke, Gwynneth, Friedman and now Judith. Oddly, the uber-hip Judith seems to have a thing for Friedman.

It appeared that Judith might take a hasty exit from the cast when she drank herself into a coma at her first my-parents-are-out-of-town party for Arcadia High, but fortunately Grace kept her eyes open (unlike Joan, whom God asked to do just that - keep her eyes open, not get passed-out-drunk), took charge and ordered the 911 call. Judith will recover, and Joan's eyes are fully open once more. Also during the party, Luke attempted to talk to Grace, who stalked off while reminding him of the no party contact clause. He puts Kool and the Gang on the stereo, which wins her over. In the middle of their makeout session, he informs her that her breaching of the no party contact clause has nullified their confidentiality contract, and the whole thing is now up for renegotiation. I'd have to say I think he's right, dammit. Also at the party, Gwynneth hooks up with a guy who did some sort of particle physics internship over the summer, and they disappear into each other's mouths.

Speaking of Buffy, Joan's boss Sammy is now on leave until his wife is back to whatever passes for normal in Arcadia, and his best friend and business partner is running the store. He is also Sammy, and is as much an intellectual snob as Sammy I, but in a much more aggressive manner. He's also the actor Jack Plotnick - the late lamented Deputy Mayor Allen Finch, the accidental staking victim whose death put Faith firmly on her path of Rogue Slayer! Anyway, he's horrified at Joan's dismissive attitude toward books, but trips all over himself in excitement when Helen comes in and asks for something by Hegel on Existentialism. She's doing lots of reading for her spirituality quest, including a couple of books by Graham Greene, for whom yesterday would have been his 100th birthday (see what you learn by listening to NPR?).

Kevin went to see Andy, who's living in their old city four hours away, and living a self-pitying life as a window washer. His parents told him the lawsuit would be paid by insurance and therefore would not harm the Girardis. He and Kevin get into an argument in which Andy blames Kevin for not taking the keys away and Kevin asks Andy if he'd like to trade places. Kevin takes off, but is now beginning to blame himself. Of course, I seem to recall him blaming himself for that very thing last year. I think the bottom line is that both of them made mistakes, but the Girardis decided not to go after Andy's family for his mistake, and Kevin is left with the permanent reminder that you should do the right thing when it's called for. Andy's family, on the other hand, are selfish money grubbers who apparently aren't willing to take responsibility for anything if they can blame someone else for it.

Will has a small storyline in which he convinces a woman to do the right thing and she points out her nephew and his best friend as the perpetrators of a drive-by gang shooting that accidentally killed an 8-year-old boy. As her reward, the gang torches her house and her right along with it. Sounds like a lesson in not doing the right thing? Turns out that the nephew's been in foster care for years since his mom died, and the aunt didn't take him in. She says that if she had done the right thing she would have welcomed him into her home way back when and then none of the gang activity and killing would have happened.

So today's lesson is to keep your eyes open and do the right thing. Joan declares her understanding of this at Judith's hospital bedside, then goes out into the hall where she runs into Adam. He then goes off to work, and Joan has a chat with Mrs. Landingham-as-candy-striper God. I think she's on her way back to the old Joan we loved, and the episode ends with Joan crying on God's shoulder while God tells her it's okay and tries to comfort her.

How cool is that? Hugged by God.

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 8:14 AM