Joan of Arcadia
Requiem For A Third Grade Ashtray

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Are You There, God? It's Me, Joan

Helen's having a bit of a morning, rushing around dealing with breakfast and lunch and a table full of…I'm not sure what. Tchotchkes, gewgaws, objets d'art, bibelots, et cetera. Will comes in, and she apologizes, saying she'll have coffee ready in a minute. He says he's got an early meeting, so he'll just get some on the way. Helen: "Again?" Will: "Roebuck likes to give out morning assignments. It's very Hill Street Blues." Kevin wheels in and asks about the stuff on the table: "What's this for? Show and tell?" Helen explains that it's for a class project: "Anything you want to keep, grab it now. Otherwise it's getting smashed." Kevin: "Cool. Is this like a new teacher intimidation thing?" Helen says it's art. Man, anytime you can't come up with a clear, succinct explanation for something, you can just call it art and get it past most people. "What's all this shit in the hallway?" "Art." "Why's the shovel wedged behind the toilet?" "Art." "How'd the ferret get run over?" "Art." She's still rushing around trying to make coffee as Will offers to help with something, even though he's already got his coat on. Helen refuses his help as she hurriedly opens a bag of coffee beans, and they spill all over the place. She just kind of freezes in exasperation, and Will says he's got it. She tells him he has to go -- even though she's just mentioned she to get to school early herself. Kevin takes off, saying he has to go in early, because he has "…a thing."

Joan arrives to ask her mother the location of the shirt she (Joan) was wearing yesterday. Before Helen can answer, Joan notices the stuff on the table and says, "Hey! My turtle ashtray." Helen wants to know if it's okay to use some of this stuff for a class project. Joan: "What do you mean, 'use'?" Will's on the phone telling someone he's got a "family situation." Helen explains that she needs stuff she can break up and use. Joan's all trembly: "You want to smash my turtle ashtray?" Geez. This from the person who wrecked Adam's best piece. Helen says Joan made a lot of ashtrays: "And this one has a broken head." I'd think Joan would be young enough that teachers weren't generally promoting the making of ashtrays so much anymore. Joan: "You can't smash Archie." Will announces he's making breakfast: "Who's up for French toast?" Helen says they don't have any milk. Joan says she got some last night. Both parents stare at her. Joan: "What?" Will thinks it's a little surprising: "You, getting milk." Joan: "It's not like it's a miracle." Well…there was divine intervention. Helen says, "Kind of." Boy, this family really needs to start expecting more from the kids. Helen needs to learn to let go and delegate. Will tells his wife to go set up her class: "I've got this. Where's Luke? Joan, go check on your brother." Joan: "Ew. What if he's, like, sweaty or naked or something?" Both parents, in exasperated unison: "Joan."

We see Luke, asleep in bed, snoring lightly. His face looks like it's been covered in a thin layer of drool. Joan comes up the stairs asking, "Luke, are you alive?" As she reaches the door, she says quietly, "You didn't turn into a…bug or anything, did you?" Luke mumbles, half-asleep: "Can't move…head's too big...full of air…possibly fluid." Oh, God. I know that feeling. Poor Luke.

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Joan of Arcadia

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