Saturday, June 23, 2007

Joan of Arcadia

Have you ever experienced something so bad that made you just want to cry out and ask why it had to be? Questions of that sort are usually asked to the One who started it all – whether He exists or not.

We search for His answers in everyday things sometimes ignoring the fact that we had answers all along. And, for those whose love is only met by silence there is only pain. But what if, just what if, the One we seek to blame (or thank) appears before you just like anybody.


Joan of Arcadia explores the idea of God talking back to a young girl named Joan Girardi (Amber Tamblyn). Now back in the day when Moses was alive, the pyramids were brand new, and the years were counted backwards, ‘men of god’ or prophets as they were popularly called were older and experienced men. With Joan the working relationship, if can call it that, was never smooth, especially at this age.

Joan is a teenager and a middle child in a family still reeling from tragedy. She is just trying to figure out her place in the world; a highschool student with a lackluster academic record and social status to match. Hardly the person who will think of the greater meaning of life, especially God.

Imagine asking a teenager dealing with teenage problems like pimples, boys, and a social life, doing all sorts of weird, irrelevant looking tasks. The scenes where God gives the ‘missions’ to Joan had a serious heartwarming air about it but also a bit of comedy. Being a teenager, Joan, almost always, complains yet she still does it. Like in most religions free will is the hallmark of the relationship but in spite of the apparent restrictions God seems to always know what buttons to push. Well even if he doesn’t push a button how can anyone refuse?

In one episode Joan was asked to make a boat; not a model but a real boat where one can ride without fear of sinking. Sounds stupid right? Well Joan never finished the boat but at the end of the episode, it was revealed that the boat was meant for her brother, who needed something to make him believe in himself after loosing use of his legs.

One of my favorite scenes in that episode happened in the beginning when after she was asked to make a boat Joan shouted, out of frustration, "why can't you ask me to get a boyfriend?...you're impossible..." Although given with a slightly higher voice the scene was delivered with respect, hilarious even. Joan was just being a human.

As an agnostic my stance on religion can be described as cold, but it surprises me that I can still love a show like Joan of Arcadia. It is well written. Every one, regardless of religious creed can enjoy watching it.

One of shows brighter points will have to be its theme song ‘One of Us’ because it sums up the entire emotion of the show.

Joan of Arcadia had a great ensemble of actors; they all gelled and played their role beautifully. And thought the show was canceled it is still one of the best family oriented dramas to have ever come out in recent years.

But maybe what I really love about the show is what Joan has. Joan has a face-to-face guarantee that all the humiliations and pain in life is part of a big plan; that whatever the hardship everything will be ok.

We all seek that opportunity, I think, whether we’re doing good or bad, to have our questions asked and our piece said, face to face.

It would be nice to have that.