Joan of Arcadia
Independence Day

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The misfit posse (minus Friedman, but plus a barnacle in the form of Stevie) walks through the halls talking about some upcoming concert. Adam says it doesn't matter if they're late because there are so many groups playing. Joan explains why they have tickets when there aren't any left, which is something to do with Adam's boss's friend. Grace says irritably -- not that I blame her -- that she's heard about that twice already. Stevie says something so idiotic that I can hardly believe it: "And I saw his boss give him the tickets at work, so I kinda feel like a part of this, too." First of all, how pathetic. I doubt even the most desperate loser teenager would say something like that. Second, by that logic, I can take part of the credit for the moon landing. I mean, maybe I was only four years old, but my father made me watch it, so it's kind of like I worked at NASA. Whatever. Third, shut up, Stevie. I'm so sick of the way so many characters on this show are introduced in a way that tries to force us to care about them when we don't, and can't. And then when they do introduce a character we might care about -- Casper, anybody? -- they're gone inside of one episode. So, in conclusion: Shut the hell up, Stevie.

Luke inquires, "Uh, just to clarify: isn't the concert in Huntington?" It's over a hundred miles away. Joan thinks Luke is worried about them making it there in time. Adam says they can use his dad's pickup truck and sleep in the camper shell: "Lots of people spend the night at these things. We'll just drive back in the morning." Joan nods: "Simple." Luke has an incredulous look on his face, like he can't believe he's related to someone with the density of iridium. Luke: "Yeah, you are. Didja forget you have parents? There's no way they're going to say yes to this." Joan thinks it's a lot safer than driving back for three hours after the concert. Joan insists they'll be fine with it: "I mean, why wouldn't they?" Joan glances back at Luke, who just gives her a "God, you are deluded" look. Joan says she'll ask Helen first. There are a bunch of annoying cheerleaders practicing cheers in the hallway. Could they do that in the gym, maybe? Stevie opens her yap: "Definitely. Because moms always understand things like this." Grace: "Are you a Muppet?" Hee! More and more I want this show to become Grace of Arcadia. She and Lilly are the most interesting characters on the show to me. On first viewing, I thought Grace was reacting to Stevie, but having watched it several times now, it seems clear she's talking to Joan. Which is funnier, actually. Luke strongly advises her to reconsider. Joan: "Garage festival, with a boyfriend…out of my hands." She asks Adam to wish her luck. Before he can, Stevie bounces up and down and simpers, "Good luck." Adam and Joan quickly kiss and part, and Stevie sighs, "Don't they just make your heart melt?" Honestly? Anymore, not so much. She glances off in the direction Adam went, but since that was sort of in the direction of the viewer, the effect of this is that it seems like she's talking directly to the camera, which is most unfortunate. Then she bats her eyes briefly. Grace: "There is no irony at all with you, is there?" Stevie doesn't answer because she's noticed Friedman coming down the hall: "Oh, God." She starts fussing with her lank pile of hair as she watches Friedman approach. He's slapped upside the head by some passing jock. Stevie: "He is so hot." This girl needs more help than I can say. She tells Luke and Grace, "Work with me."

Friedman saunters up in an ugly sweater: "¡Hola, amigos!" He and Luke do one of those cool-guy handshakes. Stevie says, "Love your sweater," which only elicits a puzzled look from Friedman. She then announces she made friendship bracelets for everyone. Is she for effing real? Grace mutters to Luke through gritted teeth: "I am totally freaking out!" Stevie starts handing them out, explaining they're based on characters from The Lord of The Rings. I -- I don't even know where to begin. Well, some jokes about LotR characters would be good, but even though I sat through eleventy-thousand hours of that film trilogy because I love my husband, I can barely remember who was who. I clearly remember wanting to kill myself and Peter Jackson during some lengthy misery involving the Ents plodding through, what the hell was it? Mordor? Whatthehobbitever. Could that have been any more excruciating? (Frink: "If you think that was bad, you ought to try reading that section.") The only thing I got out of those films -- other than completely numb hindquarters -- was half a clue of what in God's name Robert Plant is wailing about in "Ramble On." Well, that, and the leverage I need to strongarm Professor Frink into attending four nights of Der Ring des Nibelungen when the Canadian Opera Company mounts it in September 2006. I will have my revenge. We'll see who's the Lord of the Ring. Tolkien's going down, man.

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Joan of Arcadia

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