Joan of Arcadia
Vanity, Thy Name Is Human

Episode Report Card
Deborah: B | 2 USERS: A+
Maybe He's Born With It...Maybe It's Maybelline

It's night, and Helen's out on the back porch carrying two canvases around when Will comes out and asks what she's doing. She says it's just a new project, and adds, "Oh, did I miss your interview?" She seems genuinely dismayed. He says it was nothing. She apologizes, saying she got caught up in other stuff. He's glad she missed it: "I was a little full of myself." She places the canvases on what I think is a brick barbecue and starts squirting some kind of accelerant all over them. Will: "Hey, hey! That's your painting!" Helen: "Yeah, the one that caused all the trouble." Will: "Aw, Helen, I am really sorry." She smiles at him: "No, it's not you. This painting…it became so important. It had this hold over me, like…the whole world was supposed to love this brilliant new Helen. Well, I hated her." She lights a match and sets the thing ablaze. Dude, what is with these Girardi women and the destruction of art? I understand the dramatic value of burning the painting, but I still think she could have resolved her feelings about it and found a way to move forward without destroying probably the best painting she's ever done, if the ones we've seen so far are any indication. Will: "Someone was gonna pay you for that." Helen assures him there will be others: "'Out of the ashes, the phoenix rises, reborn in boundless grace to fly again.'" Will: "Don't take this the wrong way, but artists are a little cracked." I think if Will had witnessed the previous exchange between his daughter and her artist boyfriend, he might have to revise his opinion slightly. Helen: "Least I didn't cut off my ear." They stand there in the orange glow of the fire, warming their hands slightly and pretending the fumes aren't acrid and even noxious. Helen snuggles against Will, saying she missed him. Will watches a mortgage payment burn: "How much…were they gonna pay?" Helen kinda screws up her mouth, and Will laughs. But he's crying on the inside.

Someone knocks at the front door; Joan comes downstairs in a red hoodie and flowered pyjama pants, with her hair wet. She opens the door to Adam, who's standing there looking sweet and hopeful, as always. Joan: "Hey." She seems pretty contrite. "I guess I kinda flipped out." Kinda? Adam, gently: "Yeah." She doesn't know what to say. He explains, "The mall really does freak me out. You know…it's like all the stores are yelling at me." Dude, I am so with you. I knew it wasn't some pretension on his part. Some of us -- not naming any names here -- are just easily overstimulated by things that don't bother other people: lights are too bright, voices are too loud, everything seems to reek of some chemical scent or other, and being out in the commercial world sometimes just feels like sensory assault and battery. I mean, I go to the mall when I have to, and I don't care who knows it, but I rarely if ever enjoy it. I'm always drained by it. Joan replies to this explanation with her usual sensitivity: "So I guess that makes us both crazy." Adam: "So we got that going for us." She chuckles a bit. He adds, "Uh, I -- I really liked that pink shirt you were wearing the other day." She looks at him, touched, and then confesses that she thinks she threw it out. Adam: "Oh." She invites him in. He's carrying a large brown paper bag and she asks him what's in it. He hands it to her and she looks inside: "Dude, Where's My Car? Bill and Ted's Excellent AdventureDumb and Dumber…" She looks at the last one, and pauses, as if she can't quite believe it: "Tommy Boy? Did you rent these?" Adam looks at her, smiling slightly and shaking his head. Joan smiles: "They're yours?" Adam: "There's an anarchic absurdity in Dude that speaks to teenage alienation." Joan raises her eyebrows at him. He grabs it and says, "It's funny as hell." He shoves it in the VCR as Joan says, "Tommy Boy's a classic." They sit on the couch, and Joan snuggles up to him as Adam says, "Tell me about it! You know that scene where Spade spills the M&Ms on the dashboard? 'Yo, there's a protective candy shell!'" In unison, they quote: "'Your brain has a protective candy shell!'" They go on giggling easily together about the film as the camera withdraws through the house and out the door, where Will and Helen are sitting on the porch, watching the fire roasting her paintings. The music is David Wilcox's song "Fall Away." Will takes her hand and they sit in the glow, smiling but not talking. "When my time is through / Call my name / Show the way to sweet surrender / Help me say / Everything but you / Everything but you / Everything but you / Fall away."

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Joan of Arcadia




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