Joan of Arcadia
St. Joan

Episode Report Card
Deborah: B- | Grade It Now!
YOU GRADE IT
Paranoid Schizophrenic With A Miscellaneous Complex

-----Original Message-----
From: Deborah Birkett
Sent: Wednesday November 26, 2003 9:59
To: sars@televisionwithoutpity.com
Subject: "Joan"

Sarah, I can't finish this recap -- I've sustained a severe aortic injury. I have to go to the ER. Sorry. Maybe Demian can finish it?

D.

-----Original Message-----
From: Sarah D. Bunting
Sent: Wednesday November 26, 2003 10:42
To: deborah@televisionwithoutpity.com
Subject: "Joan"

Suck it up. It's sweeps, and everyone's busy.

S

Adam walks away, leaving Joan in the breezeway, crushed.

Joan comes to the door of her history class. You can see Painter God on the ladder in the hallway behind her. She hesitates for a moment before going in. She opens the door to the class. Only Mr. Dreisbach is in the room. She says Price sent her to see him. He gestures to her to sit down; she does. He brings over her test, and holds it up in front of her. There's a big A+ circled in red on it. He says, "Congratulations." Joan grasps it, looking relieved. Maybe she thought the first time was just a fluke. I'll bet the second test was a lot harder than the first one, too. She smiles up at him and says, "Thanks." Now would be the time to do a big silly dance and jump around yelling, "In your face, Flanders!" Or, you know, not. He perches on the edge of the desk and says that he was absolutely certain she had cheated. I guess that's as much apology as she's going to get. He says it's because he's been teaching for thirty years: "And I know perfectly well when I'm not getting through to students and I wasn't getting through to you." This, of course, doesn't allow at all for the possibility (and indeed, the actuality) that Joan might have her own reasons and motivations for studying and doing better. Whether it's God telling her to, or her parents saying, "We'll buy you a [fill-in-the-blank] if you get an A on your history test," or Joan herself deciding, "Hmm, maybe I better apply myself if I want to get into college" -- there could be all kinds of reasons why a student might get her act together.

Joan replies, "To be perfectly fair, Mr. Dreisbach, I think you're really only getting through to Steve Zakheim." He knows: "And that's my fault. Somewhere along the line, I...got discouraged and I started...phoning it in. I'm aware. It's a teacher's greatest fear." He sits in a desk near Joan's, saying, "Before this event, I was going to quit. This was going to be my last year and it was causing me a lot of pain because I wasn't going out in a blaze of glory. I was surrendering in defeat, like the French at Agincourt, floundering in the mud of my students' indifference. But I made you care about history, Ms. Girardi." No, you totally didn't, dude. I guess God has reasons for making it look that way, though. He continues, "I don't know how I did it, but I did." Joan's all teary, I guess because she knows the truth. Dreisbach: "And that's the whole point. You inspired me to take back my crown. I thank you." He's a little teary. I'm a little queasy. This is a bit too Touched By An Angel for me -- or rather, since I've never actually seen that, it's a little too much how I imagine that show to be. Don't thank her -- admit you were wrong and apologize, damn it! Joan, eyes brimming, says, "Mr. Dreisbach...you have...no idea how incredibly cool this is." He replies, "Oh yes...I do." Phew. I thought this scene was weak on the first viewing, and it's not improving with repeated exposure. They're doing the best they can with it, though. It's the writing; it's just so much luncheon meat. I would say Randy Anderson's scripts need more work. Joan laughs.

Back in the offices of Budget Therapy. Joan says she'll start, and announces that she retook the test and got an A: "And I, well, sort of saved someone's life." Sure thing. It's not like Dreisbach had the slip noose around his neck and was preparing to kick out the chair, for God's sake. He was just going to retire. Helen asks, "You did?" Joan hedges: "Well, sort of...symbolically. And even though all my friends hate me, I still feel pretty good. Look, I know the only reason we were in therapy was because I acted kind of crazy, but um, as far as I'm concerned, we can all go home now, because the craziness is over. I'm done." The therapist looks at Will and Helen and asks if there's anything they'd like to discuss. Helen says she's starting to think maybe Will was right: "Maybe we all just need to talk to each other and not bring all our problems in here." Will: "Then again, maybe it's best that we get it out in the open." Helen is thrown slightly by this, and she says, "Well, this wasn't for our problems; this was to help the kids." Will says their problems affect the kids. Helen tries to explain to the therapist, "He doesn't mean problem problems." Will: "We're in this forum now; maybe it's best to talk about whatever it is that's really going on." Luke and Joan exchange glances. Will: "Whatever's...causing tension." Helen says she would like to hear more from Luke: "He's right. We don't check in with him enough." Naturally she wants to hear from him, because whatever Luke says will probably be the least threatening thing. Joan pats Luke's hand sarcastically.

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Joan of Arcadia

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