Joan of Arcadia
The Devil Made Me Do It

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God Told Me To

Joan arrives at Grace's house, which is a large, nice-looking house covered in white siding. When she knocks, she seems slightly surprised to have a man (it's H!ITG! Paul Sand) answer the door. It's like it never occurred to her to wonder what Grace's parents are like. I've wondered, but I never pictured them like this. When she addresses him as "Mr. Polk," he corrects her, "It's Rabbi Polonsky, if you please." Rabbi? I almost plotzed when I heard that. Boy, he and Grace must be a real handful for each other. He assumes she's a friend of Grace's. Joan nods and introduces herself. He explains that Grace is his daughter, and that his grandparents changed their name to Polk but he changed it back to Polonsky. He continues, "And to defy her father, which is healthy in moderation, Grace kept Polk. Also, she's not home. Is there a message?" Joan says she dropped by to ask a favour, but she'll just leave a note on Grace's locker. Grace's father tries to say goodnight, but when he shakes her hand, she grips it and doesn't let go. She asks, "Can I ask you a religious question?" He says maybe a small one, because he's enjoying his dessert. Joan: "Would God ever ask a person to do something bad?" Rabbi Polonsky: "No. No, and for future reference, evil is a large question." Joan: "So if someone were asking me to do something wrong, they would probably be working for the Devil?" The rabbi starts explaining, "We don't really believe in 'the Devil.'" He makes little quotation marks with his fingers. Joan looks confused. He invites her to have a seat on the porch. He begins, "Now, if you mean yetzer hara, which is our inclination towards evil, that comes between us and God, then the answer is 'maybe.' Why? Is somebody asking you to do something wrong?" She's not sure. He says yetzer hara "thrives on moral confusion." Joan asks what she should do. The rabbi advises her, "Confuse the confuser. You act with righteousness and you act with kindness, then you follow yetzer hatov: that's your own good inclination." The rabbi sees his chance to make an escape, and after they say goodnight, Joan says, "Enjoy your dessert." She sits on the porch looking troubled. Boy, picture the fireworks if Grace came home right now.

The next day, Grace follows Joan into the auditorium, complaining, "Girardi! What the hell made you think you could just drop by my place?" Joan: "Well, you never said I couldn't!" Grace figures Joan has the brains to deduce that from what she refers to as her "general vibe." Joan says, "Oh, yeah, like I deduced that your dad's a rabbi -- a really nice rabbi -- and that your real last name is Polonsky." Grace is really pissed: "Don't stop by my house! Unless you're invited. Which will never happen!" She stalks off, and Joan says, "Wait! I need you to help me steal this!" Grace whirls around and says, "I'm mad at you! I'm yelling at you! I wouldn't help you do anything! Don't you pick up any signals at all?" Well, there's all this divine static clogging the channels. Joan sighs and looks around. She addresses...well, the ceiling, for all intents and purposes: "Excuse me, but I'm out of ideas. Stealing was bad enough, but if you expect me to destroy this, then that's just evil. Do you do that?" She shouts, "Well, do you?" She puts her hand up to her ear as if to indicate she can't hear a response.

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Joan of Arcadia

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