"Angels Anonymous"

A review by Jenni:

This is one of those episodes that I'm kinda nervous to watch.  For one, I remember nothing.  For another, I did see the promo when I watched the VHS version of "Sunny" and so was reminded it was about a teacher.  And emotional things about teachers are a lil iffy with me right now since I definitely consider John Dye to have been a teacher in my life.  So here goes...

What I love about this episode:

Well, right off here's a nice Tess quote: "Just because we don't always know what He's doing does *not* mean that *He* doesn't know what He's doing."

I do like it when people never have any idea that angels were involved.  I just think it's more realistic.  So... I'm excited to see if they stick with that for this episode.

Ha.  I do love Tess praying for the jerk face who is married to Leigh.

Ya know... I think I woulda taken to Rafael more had we gotten to see this bemused sarcasm that he's showing off when he gives the litany of Bubba's false claims.  Nifty ketchup bottle trick, too.

I like that Monica sabotaged Karen's car.  I think that means we're 3 for 3 on the main angels messing with other people's cars.

Dave talking about Kevin made me flash to the scene in Mr. Holland's Opus where they're standing by the grave of their fallen student and the coach reads "In Flanders Fields."  It also reminds me of being at a funeral during which a teacher stood up to eulogize her student who was, like Kevin, killed by a drunk driver.  I don't know where she found the strength.  It takes a really strong person to be a teacher.  It's an occupation of perpetual good byes.  Like Dave says "Why start a year when you know it's going to end?"  But they do start the year.  I couldn't do it.  So I have a lot of admiration for those who can and I appreciate the episode highlighting that aspect of teaching.

As much as I dislike that the "anonymous" nature of this left Gloria with more of a presence than the other four, this scene of whisperings around the table is pretty moving.  Because, as I said, I think it's so much closer to real life.  I don't think many of us witness the glowing revelation scenes.  But a still, small voice and the feeling of something... someone... being there... that's real to me. 

Each of the students having their moment to tell how Mr. Price changed their lives is beautiful and touching to watch.  But it also cuts.  It's a moment some of us never get.  Sometimes when you think someone's dead, they're really dead.  And then you just have to wait to tell them what they meant to you.  I honestly don't know how people who don't believe in Heaven manage.  Without that, I think I'd go insane and collapse under all the indebtedness I never got to express.  I really like the song "Imagine" for its melody and message about living for today but to "imagine there's no Heaven" is not the least bit alluring.  Without that future, the past is too crushing.  While I believed in Heaven long before TBAA, I am grateful for all the times it reminded me of the hope and peace Heaven holds.

I love what Michael says about how the man he saved lives because of Mr. Price, too.  I firmly believe some people leave behind legacies so huge that it's only in Heaven they can fully understand how many lives they saved through a ripple effect.

I also love that Leigh finally puts her foot down and makes her husband be a father.  Tess didn't even need her five minutes!

"He has blessed you with gifts that some may call coincidence, some simply take for granted: the smiles of old friends, the warm embrace of love, the healing power of truth.  Angels have passed this way today and though you cannot see us, your hearts know that we were here.  And it is to your hearts that we speak and say 'God loves you so very, very much.'"  Lovely and, I believe, very true quote from Monica.

What I didn't love about this episode:
Again... we shouldn't have to pay for Gloria's stupidity.  Thanks to her, that lil girl at the start may develop doubts about Santa long before she's supposed to!  I just don't think I have the same sense of humor as whomever created her.

Suddenly realized I am halfway through Season 8...  Not happy.

Lingering questions:
Am I the only one who would feel totally creeped out by some random guy asking me to try on a sweater?  Do people actually do this?  Eeek.

Why did they think we'd want to see so much of the new angel?  Really, I want to know.  I've realized it's not so much that I mind Gloria.  What I do mind is that in some episodes she gets way more to do than the other three.  And we didn't have a history with her.  Why did they think we'd care to see her more than the characters we knew for 5.5 to 7 years?

Parts that made me feel swoony:
Giggle.  "It is... two pineapples past 11:00.  That is a clock, isn't it?"  I love this man.  And I also love it when his hair is all windblown!

Andrew as a marriage counselor...  I'm sure he'd be great at it.  Just gotta say that if I was having marital problems and that guy was my counselor... it would not help.  ;-)  Yes, yes... I know.  If I was in love with the man I went into the counseling session with, I wouldn't feel that way.  But as this is all hypothetical... I'd want to ditch and spend my life living in blissful, platonic awesomeness with Andrew.

I really like that light blue shirt Andrew's wearing on the balcony with the other three angels.  And that he sets his hands on Monica's and Tess' shoulders...  He's so cuddly...  And ellipsis inducing...

I love the look of dread in his eyes when it dawns on Tess that Gloria has her car.  ;-)

Andrew whispering to Peter to remember his first job interview made me flashback to Andrew whispering to the son in "Til We Meet Again" about it being the last time he had with his father.  That TWMA scene has been on my mind a lot since John's death.  I feel like an angel was whispering to us all in the months and weeks before his death, urging us to say what needed to be said and pray the prayers that needed to be prayed.

"Any man's death diminishes me, for I am involved in mankind."  Wow... I totally forgot they quote John Donne in this episode.  That quote always makes me think of Doc Hock and, in one of those bittersweet ironies of which there are so many, I thought of it again after John passed away.  It's a lil surreal to hear it spoken here.  It's one of those lines that you learn in high school and only later on down the road do you really understand and feel in your heart. 

Random thoughts:

Music: Some random instrumental muzak at the start in the pub.  At the mall you can hear "Deck the Halls" over the loud speakers.  Instrumental only.  Elevator music version of "Jingle Bells" can be heard in the, well, elevator.  As the people start arriving at the restaurant, there's a Hawaiian-style song playing but I can't make out any lyrics.  There's another islandy tune after it but I don't think it had words.  "Away in the Manger" is being piped in while Gloria and Dave shop.  There's another tropical song playing when things start to get tense at the "reunion" table.  I think I heard "under the stars."  It's probly all studio music.

This is set in Bubba's Polynesian Paradise.  Just in case that trivia ever comes in handy...

Wow.  Two Christmasy episodes in one season.  Nifty.

Scenes Hallmark cut:
- I didn't notice anything at all which is strange.  But the fact that I was weepy the first time and making earrings the second time maybe means this is due for a recheck sometime.

Further on down the road...
Aww.  Monica's wearing a Y necklace.  I miss those. 

Sigh...  Hi, Gloria. 

Yep.  I would still be so creeped out if some guy in a store asked me to try something on.

I wonder if it's hard for Andrew to listen to two people debate whether or not to have a kid.  Cause I find I sometimes have very little patience for that kinda stuff and I technically could have a kid.  Odds aren't good but they exist.  Andrew can't.

So after the students bring up the "I do not care" thing, Andrew exchanges a meaningful look with Monica.  He wasn't present when Dave said that and I don't believe she was either.  So how'd they know?  I guess God told em.  How would that have gone?  "Hey kids, when someone says 'I do not care,' it's important!"

Yet again I forgot about the drunk driving accident element...  Perversely, it feels good to be back at tearing up on TBAA just because it hits close to home at times.  The birthday of my co-worker who was killed by a drunk driver was just a week go so she's been on our minds more than usual.

OMG.  Someone needs to slap Leah's husband.  If he brings up his bloody surname one more time...

This episode kinda reminds me of the movie Indian Summer, especially the Michael element.  Cause in that the dysfunctional kid ends up being the one that really pulled it all together.

I love that smile from Hal Linden at the end.  Proud!

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