Joan of Arcadia
Night Without Stars

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Boiling Point

All the Girardis are attending one of Kevin's wheelchair basketball games, watching him play. Kevin sinks a basket and his parents stand up and cheer. Luke looks indifferent. Joan cautions her parents, "Hey, hey, hey! No parental high-fiving!" Will takes Luke in an affectionate, if overly energetic, headlock and scrubs his hand through Luke's hair, asking what he thinks of his brother. Luke replies, "Are you mussing my hair?" Joan: "They're regressing. Sports do that to people." Wow. That might be the earliest I've ever gotten a shout-out in any episode I've ever recapped. The game continues, and some loudmouth yob right behind Will is screeching encouragement. Will turns with annoyance and says, "Hey, you know, I might need this ear later." Yob says, "You're at a game, dude. Chill." Will snarls, "Look, there's cheering and then there's moronic screaming for no apparent reason." Really? 'Cause I'm sorta vague on the difference. Helen is taken aback by Will's behaviour, but doesn't say anything. The kids aren't paying a lot of attention -- Luke notices more than Joan does. Yob asks if they have to take it outside. Will says, "I need a hot dog," and takes off. Joan: "Is that, like, guy menopause, or...?" Luke says he's gotta go. His mother says it's not even halftime yet. Luke: "Well, unless any of you can explain how constitutional isomerism differs from stereoisomerism, I have to hit the books." Joan: "What, Luke, the physics of basketball doesn't interest you?" Luke: "The only interesting thing about the physics of basketball is how time and space combine to create a phenomenon known as Luke's departure." Hee. He leaves. Joan wonders to her mother: "What's with the collective male wig-out?" Helen doesn't know, but says Kevin seems fine. Joan decides she needs something to drink.

We see Will standing near an exit, as if he's fighting with himself about leaving. Joan, at the concession stand, notices. He goes out. The woman at the concession stand says, "Tick-tock. Burning daylight, here." Joan: "What daylight?" Concession Stand Lady: "It's a..." Joan: "Metaphor." I do believe it's Lunch Lady God, but I don't know where my tape of the first episode is right now, so I can't double-check. Now I don't know what to do with the avatar name. Should she always be Lunch Lady God? That won't make sense to new readers. Or is she now Basketball God or Concession Stand God? But that will confuse old readers. Or will we end up like the offspring of parents with pairs of hyphenated names, and be stumbling over "Lunch Lady-Concession Stand-Lemonade Stand God," like the poor Braxton-Hicks-Terwilliger-Bunker brood? Oy. I think I better just stick with Lunch Lady God. Avatars shouldn't be allowed to change jobs, okay? No doubt I'll have to start calling Powerwalking God something else soon, probably Pilates God or something. (There's a Pontius Pilates joke in there somewhere.)

Anyway, Lunch Lady God says, "You want orange, don't you?" Joan: "While I have you here, what's up with my dad?" Lunch Lady God requests a dollar. Joan hands it over, and Lunch Lady God says, "I want you to work with children." Joan complains that her question wasn't answered. Lunch Lady God: "I don't answer questions, sweet pea. And this you know." Joan: "But I gave you a dollar!" She tells Joan that was for the soda. Joan: "Work with children? What, like, in a sweatshop?" She wants Joan to do volunteer charity work: "Looks good on the résumé." She suddenly shouts, "Illegal defence!" Joan: "What?" Lunch Lady God tells her to go on, because she's missing the game. Joan wanders back to her seat; her father comes zipping up and puts his arm around her, grabbing her soda and asking for a sip. Joan asks, "Have you been smoking?" Will: "Of course not." Liar, liar, lungs on fire. Joan glances back at Lunch Lady God, making a gesture behind her father's back, pointing as if to ask, "What is his deal?" Lunch Lady God is as indifferent as a civil servant. Joan screws up her face and makes another gesture of frustration, waving her hand dismissively in God's direction. See, that's how Joan's different from other teenagers: she doesn't have bad hair days. She has bad God days.

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Joan of Arcadia

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