Joan of Arcadia
Secret Service

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Deborah: C+ | Grade It Now!
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God Is My Co-Pilot

In the Girardi kitchen, we see Kevin's face from inside the microwave, looking in at his popcorn as Joan claims, "I didn't do it!" He asks her to keep it down. Helen's complaining about the egging incident and how it makes her look. Joan insists she was framed. Kevin says, in a tiny, tiny voice that reminds me of his father (Jason Ritter's, not Kevin's), "I can't hear the popping." Joan and Helen natter back and forth. When Joan claims someone basically stuck the egg carton in her hands, Helen asks, "Who would do that?" Kevin: "Mom, it's high school. Who wouldn't do that?" Helen admits that if Joan did it, part of her would understand: "He's a filthy little cockroach." Kevin looks surprised: "Nice!" Will announces he's home as Helen claims, "I didn't say that." Will says to Joan, "I thought you had to be at the bookstore?" Joan says she's on her way out: "I had to finish fighting with Mom." Kevin amuses us silently with the eating of the too-hot popcorn. She thanks her mother and kisses her, as Helen presses a lunch bag of food on her: "Take some dinner. Popcorn's not a meal." Kevin wheels toward the living room, saying he's going to watch a movie. Will asks, "Do you ever go out anymore?" Kevin: "I signed up for Netflix and they just keep coming." He disappears. Will asks Helen about her fight with Joan. Helen: "We decided to unite against a common enemy." She tells him what happened, as Joan yells once more off in the distance, "I didn't do it!" Will smiles: "Are we buying that?" Helen: "Why not? I tell you, if I'd been there, I might have lobbed a few eggs myself." Will hands her a glass of wine: "Rough day?" Helen wants to know who gives community service for egging a car. Considering it's Price, I think Joan got off lightly. I would have predicted thumbscrews. Helen says Joan's supposed to be writing a paper this weekend. Will gets the bright idea that Joan should take his paint sprayer to save time. He brags that he painted the whole garage in a weekend. Helen: "And half the lawn!" He says he was still learning how to use it. He starts rummaging in a cupboard in the laundry room off the kitchen, looking for the nozzle. He finds some "decent rollers" which he thinks will be better than the "cheapies" Joan'll be given. Helen: "It's community service, Will, not This Old House." He finds something: "Hey! My toolbox! You said it was lost." Frink: "Does it say 'Pandora' on the side?" Helen mumbles, "I don't remember that." Will: "Finally, I can fix that door!" Helen emits the most unenthusiastic, mirthless laugh I can ever remember coming out of her.

At the bookstore, Joan runs into GodFella (which, honestly, might be my favourite avatar name, though not nearly my favourite avatar. I just wish I'd thought that up. Props once again to OhTara). He's sitting in a chair reading and sniffling: "Hey there, Joanie. You got a Kleenex?" Dude, what's with all the product placements? Band-Aid, Netflix, Kleenex. It's like American Idol over here. Okay, it's totally not, but I'm a little bored and I felt like going off about something. ["I'm bored too -- not by Deborah, obviously, but this episode, zzz -- so I'll remark that I don't know if Band-Aids and Kleenex count as product placements anymore. What's that word for when a brand-name item becomes the default name for that item -- like, that Kleenex are actually 'Kleenex™ facial tissues,' but nobody calls facial tissues anything but 'Kleenex,' even when they're Marcal or another brand? There's a term for this. Email me if you know it, it's driving me crazy." -- Sars] GodFella says Sidney Carton is about to be executed and it's so unfair: "But he displays such courage." Joan sits down, asking how he's going to die: "[Did] God shove eggs into his hands, too?" GodFella replies, "You suffered an injustice. It happens every day, all over the world." You know, I can take that blasé attitude from almost anyone, except the one being who has ultimate power to do anything and everything about injustice. He continues, "Now you can let it crush you, or you can rise above it. And who knows what could happen?" He asks if she remembers reading A Tale of Two Cities. Joan pronounces it a "ninth-grade snorefest." GodFella: "Come on! The ending! Carton stands before the guillotine, ready to sacrifice his life to save others, looks at the crowd screaming for his blood, and says, 'Tis a far, far better thing I do than I have ever done.'" GodFella's all worked up, and Joan offers him a facial tissue. ["Heh. I sit corrected." -- Sars] He takes, like, three, and says it gets to him every time. You know, if GodFella's going to get all worked up over a book, maybe it would be an idea to read it a little more carefully. I've never read this book, but according to three of my posters, Sidney Carton doesn't actually say this; he thinks about what he would say, if asked: "If he had given an utterance to his [thoughts], and they were prophetic, they would have been these…" I hereby give GodFella a D in Reading Comprehension. Can't wait for Parent-Teacher night. That should be…weird. Joan wants to know: "So, uh, what are they gonna do, write a book about me doing community service…or I get my head lopped off?" GodFella assures her, "Things are already happening, Joan." Joan: "What?" He tells her, "Just accept the sacrifice. And, uh…gift-wrap this for me, would you?" Frink: "Wonder what it says on God's credit card?" Me: "God Doe? God Q. Public?" And who's the lucky being who gets a gift-wrapped copy of Dickens from God? Whoever it is, I'll wager he or she writes a damn thank-you note. I can't believe how many people don't write notes of thanks. What the hell is wrong with people? I notice they don't have any trouble getting their lazy asses everywhere from Target to Williams-Sonoma to register for five hundred wedding presents, but somehow they've always got an excuse for why they haven't written to thank people. Frankly, I don't believe people can call themselves civilized in the absence of two things: 1) diligently writing thank-you notes; and 2) using cloth napkins. I'm just saying.

After the commercial, Luke plays with a pair of plastic fangs. He listlessly inserts them in his mouth and chews with them. Joan comes down into the kitchen and asks what he's doing up so early. She leans over his shoulder and uses his spoon to eat some of his cereal. Ew. I'd eat off the dog's plate before I'd eat from my brother's. Joan's wearing overalls, in which she looks about twelve or thirteen. Through the fangs, Luke mumbles, "I was wondering how it's possible that the world is this unfair." Lord. He spits the fangs out as Joan looks at him, wondering why he sounds like he has a mouthful of marbles. She assures him it's possible. Luke: "They did a simple equation, while I dug deep into the inner reaches of physics' primary quandary and pulled out a surprising answer and what do I get?" Joan: "Bitch-slapped by life?" Luke: "And Friedman eating my ribeye." Joan tells him to look at the bright side: "You got a prize." Luke: "Vampire teeth." What was that, like, twenty-seventh prize? I wonder if Luke's even considered that his work was incorrect or flawed. He adds, "One's broken. Story of my life." He schleps off with his bowl of cereal, telling her Dad said to remind her to take the rollers. Joan suddenly remembers something: "Oh, Luke, look, I know you're going through a big crisis and everything, but I was kind of hoping maybe you could totally save my butt and take my shift at the bookstore so I don't lose my job." Okay, just a dang minute. At 5:30 in the morning of the day of her shift, she's casting about for a replacement, when she's known about this for at least a couple of days? And who just sends any random person to fill in for them at her job? Has Luke ever even…worked? I mean, held down any kind of a job? I can see him having had a news

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Joan of Arcadia

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