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mstaken

Joan Of Arcadia

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It's funny how deeply this show resonated with me. Even when it drove me crazy, so many of the themes and ideas always did---and still do, in fact---float around my TV-obsessed mind. Here's the place to reflect on the bests and worsts of the series: Favorite season, favorite/least favorite episodes, characters, relationships, storylines, themes and, of course, your favorite and least favorite of the Gods. :) 

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I've been happily remembering just how many great quotes this show gave us: poignant, thought-provoking, funny, clever...and all things that sounded better coming out of the actors' mouths than they would out of mine :)

This is the place to post your favorite quotes! If anyone wants to, we can make a game out of it and have people guess the speaker, speakee (yeah, I know...pretend it's a word!) and episode. 

A few I came across: 

"Humility isn't actually humility unless there's something you're good enough at to be humble about."

 “Romance serves a purpose. It’s a meditative state. It puts logic to sleep so that people can come together. Otherwise, you guys probably wouldn’t risk it. Love is big. It’s a bright light in the universe. And a bright light casts a big shadow."

"People don't really belong to each other, Joan, regardless of what contract they sign. They choose each other every day."

"But, sometimes, it's enough to plant the seed, walk away, and let the flower grow on its own." (yeah, I know...kind of sappy, but it gets to me!)

"Most miracles occur in hindsight."

"It's not about punishment. It's that actions have consequences, and to be in denial of that is to be disengaged from the laws of the universe, which renders you powerless and vulnerable to an inordinate amount of pain. Other than that, it's no big deal..."

And, of course, I can never hear the word "ripples" without thinking of this show and thinking of Joan's gleeful "the ripples were GOOD." (And apparently I can't even type that without this lump forming in my throat!)  

I'm sure I'll post a ton more quotes, but I'd love to see what others find and remember! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Kris Lemche as Cute Guy God was the most familiar and Jeff Licon as Goth Kid God the most enigmatic, but Juliette Goglia as Little Girl God was the most endearing and Kathryn Joosten as Old Lady God (a/k/a Mrs. LandingGod in homage to her character on the West Wing) the most comforting.  The genius of the show was to tell deep truths through their sparse dialog ... and a wave that said so long for now ... and come follow me.

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It's funny, because for a while I agreed with the many people who felt S1 was markedly superior to S2, but I recently rewatched some episodes and was surprised to find that I loved S2 just as much---and, at times, even more. Both seasons had certain missteps for me, but it was just such a poignant, insightful, warm, wise, thought-provoking, illuminating, intelligent and surprisingly funny show overall that the minor missteps no longer matter much to me. 

Kathryn Joosten as Old Lady God (a/k/a Mrs. LandingGod in homage to her character on the West Wing) the most comforting.

 

When we talk about the show's Gods, she's always the first to leap to mind! 

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Just from S1-E1 Pilot:

Joan- I’m not crazy!

God - Its not about religion Joan. Its about fulfilling your nature.

Luke - As the great physicist Farraday once said, “Nothing is too wonderful to be true.”

Kevin - Joan, here’s the thing. Mom likes normal. Dad really likes normal. Before my accident, Luke was all they could handle in the freak for a kid department. Now they’ve got me. You’re their only hope for normal.

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Joosten was a fine character actor.  She played her JoA role with compassion.  Her scenes were almost always when Joan was about to lose it completely and needed grounding and comfort.

And S2 did have plenty of good moments and scenes.  Even the Duffisodes aren't so bad on their own.

Edited by libad

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I've been pondering this ever since I was reminded that the 10 year (gulp) anniversary of JoA's cancellation is upon us, and another fine poster suggested that we discuss it! Where do you think the Girardis, Grace, Adam, Friedman, etc. are now? What have they chosen to do with their lives? What kind of triumphs and struggles have they experienced since we last saw them? Does Joan still talk to God? Are the characters in close contact with one another? What havoc might have been wrought by Ryan if the series had continued? I'd love to hear people's thoughts! 

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There's such a large number of possible alternative universes that I'd set myself one ground rule -- that speculations be consistent with the characters' true natures, even if those may consist of clashing contradictions.  For example, Ryan Hunter can be nasty but can't develop supernatural powers.  And Adam has to deal with his psychological damage. Grace must retain her distrustful misanthropy to some extent. I'm not suggesting immutable type-casting, just consistency as the characters grow.  And growth should happen, otherwise it's boring rehash. /2-cents

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Oh, I'm totally on board with those ground rules, libad! 

I'm still trying to sort out my own thoughts, but I'm so eager to hear where you and others think our characters are (and have been) personally and professionally since we last saw them on our screens. 

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I love those, libad! Another one that's simple but well worth reminding myself of:

"Just make sure you take it all in. Let yourself be dazzled." 

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I wonder if a reunion movie could get any traction with the example of Veronica Mars behind us?

Really, V.M., Joan of Arcadia and Jericho are the big three I always saw that kind of cult interest for.

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From S1-E02 - The Fire and the Wood

God - Humility isnt actually humility unless you are good enough at something to be humble.

Grace - The reason for my tardiness is I am late.

Grace - And Rain man's back to underpants.

Luke - It's like watching three monkeys build a particle accelerator using tinfoil and a BB Gun.

God- Anti cli-mac-tic. Anti cli-matic means you're against the weather.

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When the cancellation happened a lot of us hoped for a movie to wrap up the unresolved questions at the end of S2.  I don't think it will ever happen for several reasons.  Barbara Hall doesn't seem interested.  She left a big clue in the introduction of her latest novel, Charisma (which I hope others will read and discuss here because it reimagines many of the themes in JoA).  The actors have moved on, although Amber Tamblyn seems to keep in touch with several of them.  But mostly I think the audience isn't large enough or motivated enough or organized enough to make it happen. 

Interesting footnote: VM and Jericho shared some of the same actors -- Patrick Fabian, Sydney Tamiia Poitier (VM) and Sprague Grayden (J).

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Libad, Charisma is near the top of my Amazon wish list!

 

Did Barbara Hall give any indications as to what a third season might have included?  I'm assuming Ryan played a fairly large role in it, but has she revealed any other storylines or character arcs she had in mind? 

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There's a youtube video of a talk BH gave at a college some time after the cancellation that briefly mentions S3, I seem to recall.  Nothing specific, though.  Her novel is well worth reading.  Every so often you hear a line in the voice of one of the JoA characers.  The book reads like a tv script -- filled with dialog and just rounded out with description that on tv would have been covered adequately by the visuals.

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I just wonder things like whether Little Girl God grew up. I saw the actress on another show and didn't recognize her. So I guess she would have to. Or they could just not show her anymore.

Also, it just occured to me that the Godwave and the Pageant wave consist of similar gestures, but in one, the wrist moves side to side and in the other it rotates front to back.

I hated the Ryan subplot. I'd be happy enough if they just ignored it, or glossed over it while getting viewers up to date in a voice over about the past decade, or something like that. The problem is, the show used Joan coming to terms with her situation, and being a catalyst for events in the world, as the primary driving storytelling forces. By now, she'd have to have come to terms with it. And for her to be a catalyst is fine, but I'm not sure it's enough to just make a movie where we see her go through the motions of getting a task and seeing the ripples. Maybe it is. But then... does she still have a situation where no one knows? The genius of the show was partly in Joan being opened up to questions about spirituality and the naure of the universe. Making her a kid facilitated the awe and the learning and the humility of it. If she's now an adult, is she still as surprised, clueless, or... how do they manage the questions? I might not be a good enough writer to imagine how it would work from a storytelling angle. I really liked the show best when they were exploring her confusion and having her look for meaning. I don't just want her to be the magical fairy dust on xmas eve or something like that, where she shows up, does her thing, and smiles to herself while God waves at her from the sidelines and Timmy gets to live another year or something.

I agree the fans are not motivated enough to organize like the VM fandom. But I bet that if Barbara Hall and the rest of the gang were, and they put out a movie, it would get watched.

Something I've been thinking about lately is that even in the Bible, people who hear God are generally not enjoying it that much. Elijah was a grumpy guy who lived in a cave and used to bargain with God for help with certain problems in exchange for doing what he was asked to do, since he basically hated his job as God's nudger-on-Earth. He really didn't like his job as prophet at all. Jonah also was anything but happy to be given a task. Abraham is the original guy with a God problem, because although he went along with it, the command to sacrifice one's child is a lot rougher than destroying your best friend's sculpture. When I was watching the show, I kept being annoyed with Joan's crankiness about being given asignments. But it seems like her behavior was fairly typical. So maybe a movie could go that way-- showing how the life of Joan is made messy by being given constant missions. 10 years later, she's still dabbling, she's regarded as the crazy aunt by Luke's and Kevin's progeny, and it's all because she's been busy catalying all over the world, at the behest of the almighty.

Things I liked about from the show were the idea of ripples, and also "failure of imagination." We could see her working on  particularly tough assignment, trying to figure out how to handle it, or we could see her doing something that had particularly unexpected ripple. What, specifically, I don't know.

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Possibilities, yes, a new set of avatars would be needed not just to accomodate the aging of the actors but to interact better with a more mature Joan.  As I said before, BH has revisited the major JoA themes in her novel with a protagonist who is an older woman about 30.  Contact with the Divine is different as well, but I won't drop any spoilers because the story is well worth reading.  In fact, turning it into a screenplay wouldn't be hard at all and there's enough action and drama to hold an audience for 90 minutes. I think fans of the show would appreciate it, even if disappointed that it wasn't truly a S3 movie.

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I think some of the avatars (Cute Boy, as an example) could continue because they mature with Joan- she still can respond to snippy. Goth God will probably have to change, though, since the goth look is kind of pushing it when you are approaching 30. I'm sad that we would need a new comforting presence, since Kathryn Joosten is no longer with us. No matter how old we get, we will always needs our [mom, grandma, daddy, whatever], and having the opportunity to have Joan be able to turn to that same comforting diety as an adult as she did as a child would be touching.

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So what would you guys name as your very favorite and least favorite episodes of the series? I'm embarking on a rewatch and eager to know! 

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Bringeth It On has always been one of my favorites. I thought Helen's anger at the "bad girl list" and her exhortation that the baby's father needed to be part of the discussion were spot on- both in character for her and also elements that simmer below the surface in real life situations and just don't ever get addressed in a satisfying or fair way. I loved Adam's cheerleader sculpture, and Joan's final audition cheer. And that was the episode that gave us the immortal "moose or elk" discussion between Luke and Kevin. As much as the kids sniped at each other, there were scenes to show just how much they cared about each other and how important they all were.

The Rocky episodes touched me deeply. It's hard to say which I liked more- Death Be Not Whatever gave us some very good Joan introspection and life and death (and the realization what some people, like Rocky, just don't have the fear of what comes after life is done in with world), but Jump gave us good ripples.

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From S1-E3  Touch Move    --    few snappy one-liners, but some nice repartee.

-----------------

Ms. Bloome - Your daughter has a very special connection to the universe.

Joan - No I don't.

Luke - No, its true. She is from another planet.

------------------

Joan - I'm not allowed to change my mind? What kind of universe is that?

God - Oh, you can change your mind, but you still have to play that piece. So you should think before you move.

--------------------

Kevin -  You are going to find some people who totally get what a non-repulsive, sub-defective you are.

--------------------

Luke - Can you just leave my sister alone?

Girl 2 - Back off Pin Head.

Luke - That's Mister Pin Head to you.

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The best moment, to this day when I hear the first bar of Time by Chantal Kreviazuk I flash back to that moment. The halfway point of season one which potentially would have been the series finale. The Rube Goldberg device inspired by God to give Joan a perfect setting for her first kiss with Adam

 

The worst, music related was changing the music for the seasons DVD sets because of the evil greedy music industry

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From S1-E4 - The Boat

God - The thing about fear is it doesn't leave room for anything else, like beauty or purpose.

God - I don't pop. I abide. I am eternal. There's no popping.

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"Evil is charming and beautiful. It makes you doubt yourself. It asks you for one small compromise after another until it whittles you down, and it functions best when no one believes in it." - Lily

"Guilt is the spiritual equivalent of physical pain. And like pain, things go horribly wrong when we ignore it." - Father Ken

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Ten years later Friedman is a disbarred corporate lawyer, having set up a complicated investment scam with a hedge fund manager and been caught by the Feds.  Spilling the beans before his partner in crime, he got off with a suspended jail sentence, but lost his license to practice law.  Friedman was resourceful, however, and networked with contacts in Hollywood to become an agent (that Shakespeare thing now makes some sense) where shadiness and scheming are assets.  Still clueless in the romance department, he chases but never seems to catch.

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From S1-E5 - Just Say No

 

Grace - Uh, Clay Fisher just flirted with you. Adam Rove is all about you. Dramatic tension ensued. Were you born without a radar?

 

Joan - Who's Joe Namath?

Helen - A football player who wore panty-hose.

Luke - For that you get a grill named after you?

 

Joan - We interrupt this metaphor to bring you the following message. I'm not in the mood.

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Hi everyone! I'm not sure if most non-me people still check out these threads, but I figured it was worth a shot! I've played this game on a lot of other forums, and it's always a lot of fun. We start with a list of episodes, characters, Gods(!), relationships, scenes, or whatever else we feel like. Once per 24 hour period, you'll just vote on which ones to eliminate. I tally the votes and update the list once a day. Needless to say, the game gets increasingly tough as it goes on, as it's harder and harder to decide which beloved episodes, scenes etc. you're willing to vote out.

 

Let's start out with episodes, shall we?! Season 1:

 

Pilot

The Fire and the Wood

Touch Move

The Boat

Just Say No

Bringeth It On

Death Be Not Whatever

The Devil Made Me Do It

St. Joan

Drive, He Said

The Uncertainty Principle

Jump

Recreation

State of Grace

Night Without Stars

Double Dutch

No Bad Guy

Requiem for a Third Grade Ashtray 

Do the Math

Anonymous

Vanity, Thy Name is Human

The Gift

Silence

 

Just vote for the three you most want eliminated! This is hard already since I love this season so very much, but...

 

Night Without Stars 

Requiem for a Third Grade Ashtray

The Uncertainty Principle 

 

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Thanks for starting this thread! I haven't played this game in awhile.

 

So working on memory alone, here are my votes. I agree that S1 of JoA is probably one of my favourite from US TV so this was not easy:

 

Night Without Stars

No Bad Guy

Requiem for a Third Grade Ashtray

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I love them all too, but you can dump:

 

Drive, He Said

No Bad Guy

Vanity Thy Name is Human

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I'm so happy you guys are participating! I'll leave this open until tomorrow in hopes that another JoA fan will wander over and join us :) 

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From S1-E6 Bringeth It On

 

Grace - Uh, I think I got better things to do than watch a bunch of cheerleaders flash their panties at brain-dead jocks.

----------

Grace - It's the one advantage to being universally despised. You get to say whatever you want.

Adam - Unchallenged.

----------

Joan - Well I can't do any stunts, no, no,

and how about jumps, so so.

So why am I here, well its really odd,

But I'm here to cheer on a mission from God.

So put me in the game or leave me on the bench,

so you can go to heaven and I'll get out of French.

----------

Joan - Dad, it's called high school. Everyone's hiding something.

----------

Grace - First, I don't like anyone. In her better moments, your sister didn't make me want to puke.

----------

Joan -

We live to cheer;

we're so sincere;

unless you get in trouble,

then we're outta here.

'Cause it's such a royal pain

when a friend gets arrested.

How could I have known?

How could I have guessed it?

It's not like she's my sister.

whoops! Is that my beeper?

And even if she was,

am I my sister's keeper?

Sorry, got to go,

tryouts are today.

Tell her we'll think of her

every time we say

go, eagles! Go, eagles go, go go, eagles!

My name is Joan;

This cheer is my own.

So kiss my feathers,

'cause this bird has flown.

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Pilot
The Fire and the Wood
Touch Move
The Boat
Just Say No
Bringeth It On
Death Be Not Whatever
The Devil Made Me Do It
St. Joan
Drive, He Said
The Uncertainty Principle
Jump
Recreation
State of Grace
Double Dutch
Do the Math
Anonymous
Vanity, Thy Name is Human
The Gift
Silence

 

I don't mind playing with just our cozy little group here if you guys don't! It's a fun (albeit mildly torturous!) way to relive how much I love many of these episodes and to sort out which ones I value most. 

 

Requiem of  a Third Grade Ashtray, despite its rather awesome name, is history---as are Night Without Stars and No Bad Guy. The next round is open, and we're still voting against three. 

 

My ugh-this-is-already-insanely-difficult votes:

 

Drive, He Said 

Double Dutch

The Gift 

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S1-E7  -  Death Be Not Whatever

 

Price - And what career would you like to explore, Mr. Rove?

Adam - I want to do something soulless and corporate, Mr. Price.

Price - Good choice.

---------

Father Ken - The job of a priest is to serve humankind. And, you know, fund-raising.

---------

Rocky - I can list all the organic poisons in alphabetical order.

---------

God - You see me the way you want to see me, Joan. Like right now, you're mad at me. Maybe you feel safer to be mad at me when I look like this.

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S1-E8 - The Devil Made Me Do It

 

Joan - What's with this new thing I ask you a question and you ask me 20 questions about Luke? I think of it as Socratic parenting.

----------

Grace - 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?

----------

Joan - I'm having second thoughts about you.

God - It's called a crisis of faith. It's all right. It's not really faith if there's no crisis. Faith is an act of will, not a feeling.

----------

God – Every new decision is another chance to do the right thing. You don't get that from the other side.

----------

Joan - I had a failure of imagination.

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Not quite headcanon, but I was watching AT's Portlandia episode. She was a bookstore intern, and it reminded me so much of Joan and Sammy's store. So, maybe Joan moved to Portland and is still doing the literature thing. I question how much she would like the Northwest, though.

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Ten years later Friedman is a disbarred corporate lawyer, having set up a complicated investment scam with a hedge fund manager and been caught by the Feds.

 

Ever since I saw Captain America: The Winter Soldier, it's been my personal headcanon that Friedman joined SHIELD, maybe analyzing data using probability theorem (like he and Luke do in the first season). I bet Joan's given him advice or hints before that caused ripple effects that led to lives saved led on a global scale. Plus, you know he would imagine being a spy would be so cool and would try to use it to win over the ladies, at least at first. Can someone write this fanfic?

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Ever since I saw Captain America: The Winter Soldier, it's been my personal headcanon that Friedman joined SHIELD, maybe analyzing data using probability theorem (like he and Luke do in the first season). I bet Joan's given him advice or hints before that caused ripple effects that led to lives saved led on a global scale. Plus, you know he would imagine being a spy would be so cool and would try to use it to win over the ladies, at least at first. Can someone write this fanfic?

 

I haven't even seen Captain America, but I absolutely love this idea anyway! 

 

I'm going to go against the grain and say that I don't see Joan as having a career as a writer or teaching/editing literature. She just doesn't remind me at all of any of the people I know who have a flair and passion for those fields. More to the point, I see Joan as wanting to impact people's lives in more direct, interactive ways. I can actually see her as some sort of social worker---not as a touchy-feely, 'so it sounds like you're feeling badly about that...' therapist, but someone who works directly in the community to make a difference, maybe running programs for at-risk kids or families dealing with grief, or, say, working as a medical social worker to help support and advocate for people with life-altering injuries similar to Kevin's. 

 

I see Grace as some sort of activist, having finally admitted to herself that, yes, she DOES care about myriad issues and that she isn't quite as cyncial as she lets on. 

 

I'll go the boring, predictable route with Luke and say that I can see him as a research scientist...and a phenomenally good one :) 

 

Do you guys think Will is still a detective? I can see him getting deeply fed up with the politics and bureaucracy of the department and maybe opting to become a private detective with Kevin as his chief investigator. And, oh, how I'd love to see a 'Girardis solve murder mysteries' spinoff!

 

I hope Helen continued as a teacher, maybe eventually teaching art to 'at risk' kids art after school. I see her as happy with the role that art plays in her life and increasingly at peace with her faith. 

 

*sniff* Now I miss this show. Again. Still. 

Edited by mstaken
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I'm sure everyone has DVDs, but in case you didn't know.  TV Guide network is rerunning the show starting with the pilot starting today.

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Thank you so much for the heads up, ParadoxLost! I'm not sure what it says about me that I rushed to make sure my TiFaux would record every one of these episodes despite already owning the DVDs :) I've missed this show terribly. 

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S1-E9 St. Joan

 

Grace - Joan of Arc was like the girl warrior. Strapped on chain mail and led men into battle. Naturally they burned her at the stake.

----------

Woman - Prepare for some advice. Are you ready? Because it's pretty cerebral. Nobody likes a smart ass.

----------

Grace - Hey, yo! Did your photographic memory run out of film?

----------

Grace - No proof, no test! Support Joan Girardi against the neo-fascists. Rally against injustice! Support Joan!

Joan - What are you doing?

Grace - It's your revolution. Don't you recognize it?

----------

God - Here's the thing you need to learn from the martyrs, Joan. They did it the hard way. That's what I'm asking of you.

----------

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Caught the Just Say No episode on TVGN today.  Good to see it back on the air.

Edited by libad

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How do people feel about Glynnis Figliola?  The character's awkwardness seemed a little off, but I'm not sure why.


Caught the Just Say No episode on TVGN today.  The final scene with Will begging Helen to tell Joan the story behind her "dark" paintings is as powerful as it was ten years ago.  All the characters look so young, of course, but I'm seeing more depth and nuance in the performances now.  This also is the epi where Will fires Lt. Dahglian for altering a crime report.  His disapperance gave us the opportunity to see other minor police squad characters.  It would have been interesting, though, to see how he might have developed.  Supporting characters were pretty memorable in the series -- Price, Lischak, Lily, Fr. Ken, Rabbi Polanski.  Dahglian was gone too fast.

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How do people feel about Glynnis Figliola?  The character's awkwardness seemed a little off, but I'm not sure why.

 

I never warmed to the character.  I agree there was something off about her whether it was the writing or the acting or both. I understood her crush on Luke, but she was also a bit two dimensional. I wasn't interested in knowing the character either and it was awkward watching her be jealous of Grace.

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A place to discuss particular episodes, arcs and moments from the show's run. Please remember this isn't a complete catch-all topic -- check out the forum for character topics and other places for show-related talk.

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I'm glad that this show is being rerun. I loved it, and especially loved Amber and her terrific performance.

But I'm also sad in a way because it reminds me of how the suits ruined this show.

Anyway, I'm hoping new audiences get to see what we've seen in this show, especially in the first season.

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Do you guys think Will is still a detective?

 

I think he actually joined the Behavioral Analysis Unit of the FBI, after having published a few books about serial killers.

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I wouldn't say Pasquale Moonves and his minions ruined JoA, even though they failed to understand and promote it properly. Barbara Hall and her writers still managed to produce meaningful dialog and layer the plot lines despite the meddling.

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