Joan of Arcadia
Secret Service

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

Will's futzing with the kitchen door while Helen aggressively cleans the kitchen. He jumps a little when she smacks a burner ring on the counter, asking, "The…stove do something wrong?" Helen scrubs away, claiming she's trying to de-stress. Will asks if she wants to talk about it. Helen: "Not really." Beat. "Yes." Frink: "Dude, that was so your cue to leave. You snooze, you lose." She tells him she's thinking about taking a break from teaching and going back to school. Will: "Where's this coming from?" Helen gripes about her budget being cut: "Apparently art isn't a priority." Will: "You should call the Louvre and tell them." Hee. Hey, doesn't Joe Mantegna look cute in that sweatshirt? I really love him as husband and dad, and I'm so tired of the police stuff. Please, please, have a radical mid-life change of career. Maybe, in the course of investigating some case we don't care about, he could discover some neat little restaurant that's for sale and buy it on impulse? I'm guessing Chewy's familiar with a few eateries. I don't know. I just don't think I can face another episode involving Arcadia PD, never mind another season. You want darkness? There's plenty of it in the world without ever having to go near a police station. There's darkness in all the lead characters on this show. It's in everyone. Explore that. You don't need the police plots. Helen continues, "And Price caught me showing a piece of my work to Adam." Will shrugs: "You respect Adam's opinion. That doesn't mean you're a bad teacher." Helen says that Price told her she needs to look inside herself: "And he's right. The kids aren't inspired. I'm not reaching anybody. I have nothing left to teach Adam -- he's better than I am!" Will: "C'mere." He holds his hands out and Helen takes off her gloves and tosses them down with her sponge, saying it's okay. But she walks into his embrace: "So I'll have more time to devote to my own painting. You know, maybe it's a good thing. I'm just babysitting the kids anyway." Will tries to tell her she's doing a lot more than that, but she suddenly interrupts him, alarmed: "Hey, what are you doing?" Will: "I'm…trying to cheer you up…" Helen: "No, no…with this. This screwdriver." She pulls one out of his back pocket. He grabs it, saying he's fixing that squeak in the laundry room door. Here's where the writers got extra-tired of thinking and reached into the Big Bag of Television Clichés for the old "Handyman? HA!" routine. I'm sure there's a whole thesis to be written about how on television there are almost no fictional males who can repair their way out of a paper bag. I suspect it's some twisted vestige of second-wave feminism, but much like the writers, I'm too tired right now to figure it out exactly. But they make shitloads more than I do, so I still think they should shape up. Anyway, Will and Helen tread the well-worn path of wife begging husband to leave well enough alone, and husband pigheadedly persisting. Eventually, the door falls on his head. Will makes excuses, Helen makes sarcastic remarks, Will offers a weak rejoinder. Aaand…scene. No, wait…here comes Kevin. He figures while Dad's in fix-it mode, he might as well put in for an oil change. Helen gives her son a dirty look.

Cut back to the community centre, where Joan is doing a craptastic painting job on a wall where I can only describe the preparation as piss-poor. Me: "Okay, now, you know I'm going to have something to say about this." Frink rubs his eyes. "I can only imagine." I mean, come on. Now, if this is simply a make-work project, well, I suppose I can overlook it. No, that's crap. I can't overlook it. I am my father's daughter, and my father's middle name is "If It's Worth Doing, It's Worth Doing Right, And Don't Forget, If You Want Something Done Right, You Have To Do It Yourself." (Yeah, it's a bitch to fit on forms.) You know, if you're going to spend time and money to paint something…do it right. Even if it's not your money, do it right. Stuff should be done right. That's my policy. Yeah, it's a hard row to hoe. Cry me a river. Joan's slopping powder blue paint over a lumpy, patchy, dirty wall. I think she's attempting to cut in around a doorway, but she might also be simply attempting to paint the whole damn wall with a two-inch-wide brush…who can tell, with this wide drippy swath she's slapping up? Yeesh. Anyway, she turns to Denunzio and says, "Hey, that was, um, really funny what you painted on the wall before." She laughs a fake little laugh and adds, "I mean, 'this sucks.'" She's being so weird. If I didn't know better, I'd think she was making a weak attempt to come onto him. Joan continues, "Because it definitely sucks, right?" Okay, I get it. She thinks he must be her "mission." Denunzio says, "Whatever. Beats anger management." Joan brightens up a little: "So you're angry. I mean, it makes you want to act out, right?" Denunzio: "What are you…a narc?" I think I love Denunzio. Joan gives him some blather about how she's just a concerned member of the community, but Denunzio tells her to just leave him alone. He walks off as Joan mutters, "Believe me, I'd love to."

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Joan of Arcadia




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