Joan of Arcadia
Wealth Of Nations

Episode Report Card
Deborah: B- | Grade It Now!
The Wages Of Sin

After the commercial, Judith and Joan have gone to The Only Vintage Store in Town to try to buy back all the clothes. Joan: "We need my aunt's clothes back. It's an emergency!" PMVD: "I thought she died." Judith claims Joan's uncle is really mad. PMVD wants $500. Joan's outraged: "But you only gave us $400!" Let's see: they got $150 the first time, and had $36 left over. That's $114 spent on five coats for the homeless. Next time (or times) they must have gotten the balance -- $250 -- which is exactly what Joan told Friedman she had for the laptop. So…they pocketed $286 and spent $114? Nice. Thank God for the "invisible hand of social justice." What is it, a fist? PMVD: "It's called capitalism, dear. I'm entitled to something for my trouble." Judith: "We were helping the homeless." PMVD: "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice -- oh, no, not her." He looks toward the door. Joan sees her mother barrelling in, and she and Judith dash aside and pretend to be looking at clothes before Helen sees them. She holds up the coat and asks PMVD, "Where did you get this?" PMVD rubs his temple and mutters, "Why'd I take my eye mask off today?" He turns to Helen: "It belonged to her late aunt." He points to Joan. Helen turns around. Joan's shoulders sink before she turns to face her mother. Helen: "Oh, God." Joan says it's not how it looks. It's not? I'd say it pretty much is. Joan admits to selling the clothes. Judith: "But we sunk all the money back into buying clothes for the homeless." Man, Judith just has no compunction. Joan says they bought five times as many clothes. Helen: "And you didn't keep anything for yourselves?" Judith shakes her head innocently. She doesn't even have a passing acquaintance with the truth, that girl. Joan, typically, equivocates: "Well…not much, anyway…" Helen's really pissed: "What did you take?" Joan: "Nothing!" Helen glares. Joan: "Almost nothing. I mean, we were supposed to take something for incentive, you know, like Adam Smith said." Man, Helen is madder than I've ever seen her: "Oh, shut the hell up about Adam Smith!" PMVD: "I really wouldn't cross her." Helen asks where the money is. Joan says it's "sorta gone." Helen: "Sort of." Joan confesses about the belly rings. Yeah, Helen's real impressed with that. Joan adds, "We got a laptop…for Adam." She quickly adds, "Rove," so her mother doesn't go off again about Adam Smith. Judith contributes that they got a really good deal on it. Joan swears they didn't hurt anybody. Helen says people have stopped donating clothes. Jeez, that was fast. She continues, "They trusted us! That man gave us his dead wife's coat for the homeless, not for you! And not for belly rings!" Man, sometimes italics are just so…inadequate. Helen sighs. She doesn't know what else to say, and she rushes out. Joan's eyes are filled with tears. Even Judith manages to look mildly chastised. I can't be arsed to find an ounce of sympathy for them.

Some church somewhere. Luke and Grace are at an Alateen meeting. Okay. That? Is just not gonna fly. I could buy that Luke might have been able to convince her, but to jump from presenting the idea to a totally resistant Grace, to this scene a few days later, with no explanation of how he persuaded her to do this, is just silly. That's exactly the scene we needed to see, and it's not here. What did he say to her? What did he promise her? Did he make some kind of bargain? It's just moving too fast, and I feel like the writers are cheating a bit and even rushing the storyline -- perhaps to get us somewhere good, faster. But I don't want to just get someplace. I want to experience the process. I want to actually walk over the terrain, not breeze over it in a small plane. That, to me, is what puts this in After School Special territory. Feh. Anyway. One guy is sharing the story of his alcoholic father. Grace is sitting next to him, legs wrapped tightly together (like the bottom half of Garudasana, looking impatient and uncomfortable. She whispers to Luke, "This is just too weird, Girardi." The guy next to her sits down and the facilitator asks, "Anybody else?" A whole lot of faces look in Grace's direction in a kindly, receptive way. Frink: "One of us…one of us…" Grace uncoils herself and stands up, somewhat reluctantly: "Hi, my name is Grace." Everybody: "Hi, Grace." She continues: "Uh…nothing leaves this room, right? Because I will hunt you people down." Heh. That's the Grace we know and love. Luke looks around, slightly apprehensive about Grace's approach, and shaking his head almost imperceptibly. She hesitates a long time before saying slowly, "My mother is an alcoholic." At that, Luke reaches over and threads his fingers through hers. Grace doesn't freak. She turns her head to look at him, and says, "And this is…" Frink: "Say it! Who's your daddy?" Luke looks like he can't imagine how she's going to introduce him. Grace concludes, "My boyfriend…Luke." Wow! A qualified squee. I'm still annoyed about the skipped-over parts. Grace gestures subtly for him to stand up. Everyone says hi to him, as he stands up next to her, stunned.

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Joan of Arcadia




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