Joan of Arcadia
Requiem For A Third Grade Ashtray

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

Joan's walking along a busy city street, muttering and kvetching to herself: "Share the burden, get milk, make dinner, be a grownup -- that's fine! Except that I don't vote yet! I barely drive. I can't even go in the senior lounge. I.e., I am not a grownup." She marches right past Adam, who's taking some of his artwork into the café she just passed. He calls to her, "Jane?" She stops and looks at him. He glances into the café to convey his confusion: "I didn't think you were gonna make it…" Joan's surprised to see him, and explains she has to go to the hardware store. Adam, understandably, seems hurt and disappointed. But he also seems pretty used to it, too. Joan notices this, of course, and says, "Wait a minute…you need help, right?" He says he does. Joan thinks aloud: "And that's why I'm here…to share the burden…because that's what I'm supposed to do." Adam: "Great." He asks her to grab a couple of small pieces, and then he goes inside. Joan picks up the sculptures and looks up at the sky, asking, "Right?" No answer. She nods to herself doubtfully: "Right." She takes them inside.

Joan watches Adam tighten something on one of his large pieces and says, "Looks good." Adam: "You think?" Joan asks him, "Uh, why do I feel like we're cheating on Iris?" Adam dismisses that: "That's crazy." He moves on: "So, um, what did you need from the hardware store?" Because he might have something similar you could pull right off one of his sculptures. Joan sighs, "Nothing. It can wait. I mean, this is more important." Some Café Ennui denizen of the half-slacker, half-hippie breed comes over and comments on Adam's work: "Kinda takes recycling to a whole new level. Cosmically responsible, dude." Adam thanks him and wanders off. The guy stands there next to Joan, examining the piece, and Joan whispers, "'Cosmically responsible'?" He says, "Yeah." Joan: "Was that supposed to be subtle?" Cosmic Dude: "Uh, not really…" Joan: "Okay, I am taking responsibility for my personal life right now -- so deal with it." She leaves him there to wonder about the uptight chick. Yeah, it's been a while since she mistook the wrong person for God, hasn't it? I'm not keeping a score card or anything but it seems like a long time.

She walks over to the counter and asks for a hot tea. The woman at the counter -- a similar slacker/hippie hybrid -- replies, "Wow. 'Tea.' We've got, like, eighty varieties: herbal, green, black, English, Irish, chai…" Joan doesn't know and doesn't care to decide: "Just tea. Thanks." The barista gives her a big, knowing smile and says, "It's not up to me. You gotta make a choice." Joan panics and looks back toward Cosmic Dude, realizing he wasn't God after all. She winces, and then says, "I'm choosing to be here with my friend, okay? Luke is fine. He was alone all day. So just back down!" Barista gently offers a diagnosis: "I think you want the chamomile. It's very calming." Joan covers her mouth when she realizes she's 0 for 2 and apologizes. She tells her to forget it.

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Joan of Arcadia

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