"Deconstructing Harry"

A review by Jenni:
I set out with the intention of watching "Redeeming Love" but my DVD player started playing this.  And it doesn't take much convincing to get me to watch Andrew in uniform.

What I love about this episode:
The police uniform.  And the guy wearing it.

I got a giggle out of this episode right away.  Not because of the actual show but because I'd just got back from Mass and the gospel was the account of the Pharisees confronting Jesus about taxes and Him answering with "Give to Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's."  Then Tess quotes that right at the start.  Nifty.

I like that on occasion TBAA had the angels having to do the usual human stuff like renewing driver's licenses, giving blood, and serving on a jury.  It just makes them so much more approachable and like they're more bonded to us and what we do in our daily lives.

Monica is stranded, left waiting for hours and she keeps cool.  I'm impressed.  Cause sometimes I think Monica gets too emotional but here's a case when, in her place, I'd have totally bugged out.  Yet she doesn't.  Yay.  See, I really do like Monica... most of the time.

I'm amused by the scene wherein Monica plays Captain Obvious with Tess about the two women's identities and how Harry's ashes don't belong to Doris.  And Tess is all "duh!"  There are a few scenes I think are just cute and fun.  I like how the two women do a double take when they see Monica for the second time.  And I love Andrew's scowl after Monica calls him a terrible mechanic.

I like that Tess and Andrew both point out that they are NOT there to judge either Doris or Stella.  Rather, they're against particular actions and thought processes.  It's an important distinction to make. 

I appreciate that Tess jumps all over Harry's dislike of Doris' singing and how Doris shoulda told him to shove it.  Okay, maybe Tess didn't put it that way.  She clearly wasn't impressed by Harry, though, and particularly not that aspect of his character.  She makes Doris see that Harry had no business taking something she loved away from her.  Doris adores singing and I think Tess got that joy back for her. 

I appreciate how this episode handles adultery for the following reasons: the angels stress how it means taking part in something that is less than what the Father wants for us.  They also make note of how it doesn't demonstrate the inherent dignity we have as children of God.  Tess brings this home when she tells Doris that the Father wants her at the table, not scrounging for crumbs.  They don't make it into a "you broke a commandment, terrible you!" thing.  Rather, it's a "you've betrayed yourself and others and turned your back on what you deserve: a truly loving relationship" thing with them.  While I
think the Commandments are important, until people recognize their own beauty and God's will for them, following those are impossible.

 I really like Victoria Jackson's role in this.  Lydia's part is very cute and brings everything together nicely.  You get the idea she's the one that saw the real Harry.  Well, Andrew seems to have, too.  The only moment in this episode when I sometimes feel like crying is when Lydia tearfully says that Harry was her friend.

That song, "Borrowed Time," is quite lovely.

Love the DMV photo showing Tess and her best sides.  :-)

What I didn't love about this episode:
I'm afraid I'm gonna have to say it...  Andrew was pretty stupid about his car keys.  Seriously, what was he thinking leaving his keys in the squad car?  He would have been in HUGE trouble if he were really a cop and Stella woulda shot Doris.  All because he left her with his keys which she used to get his gun.  I just don't even know how to explain that.  Very bad thing for him to overlook.  But I love him, anyway.

I'm more than a little bothered by Stella's dismay over the non-church going Harry getting an angel.  As if that's something that's earned.  But I know some people think like that, unfortunately.

I didn't like this episode's handling of adultery for the following reason: it's assumed that Stella shoulda fought for Harry.  Now, maybe Andrew said that cause by then he'd heard about how much she loved him.  But to me it gives the impression that an angel thinks fighting for a marriage after adultery is a good idea, period.  It may not be, IMO.  If I was married and my husband cheated, I think I'm completely within my rights to put the kibosh on things right there.  It would not be right for me to berate him in front of any children that may exist.  I would not have the right to harm him.  But I darn well have the right to say I'm not fighting, he ruined the marriage, and I'm out.  I think the TBAA writers tend to gloss over adultery too much.  And maybe I have a different take given that my entire life has coincided with the AIDS crisis.  Which means I learned about STDs right along with sex.  So I don't see adultery as just disrespecting one's marriage vows and betraying the heart and soul of your partner.  I see it as also putting your partner at risk for STDs.  So I'm afraid I don't see, and will likely never see, people jumping right to "fight for the marriage!" after learning someone's been cheated on.  I'm not saying I don't think reconciliation is possible.  It certainly is and if couples can work together to save their marriage then I think that's something to be proud of and admired.  But telling someone they should have fought... I can't support that.  I can support someone fighting for their marriage after making the decision themselves.  But I don't think I should be the one to bring it up to them and I really don't think Andrew or any of the angels should either.

Finally, I'm not really crazy about Harry's ashes going Heavenward.  It was a nice image but why would he get such special treatment?  He wasn't exactly Elijah or Jesus material...  Maybe we were just supposed to assume that the ashes were blown around, not that they went to Heaven. 

Lingering questions:
Do you really have to take a road test when you're renewing your license?  I've never heard of that.

Why does Andrew have to explain his continued presence at Harry's funeral to Tess?  Has she not been paying attention the countless other times before he's hung around after someone's died?  Did she forget about talking to him about doing more case working gigs?  Sometimes I do worry about their memories...

Is Andrew ever comfortable wearing a gun?  He talks about how he's not comfy wearing one at a funeral but I'd be surprised if he's ever truly comfortable wearing one.

Parts that made me feel swoony:
Andrew sounds so Southern during parts of this episode!  I *love* it.  I wish his accent came through more often.  So adorable!

I love that Andrew's so stunned by the idea of someone having an affair for fifteen years.  And that someone else would put up with that.  Given all he's probly seen, his naivete at times is almost a miracle.  If not a miracle it's at least endearing.  The way he keeps shaking his head is especially so.  I get the feeling that if Andrew were human he'd likely be radically monogamous.  Just the same, I'm glad he's not human! 

Doris curses Andrew (I think that's what that spitting thing is about) and he just smiles.  And so adorably and good naturedly.  Class act.  I just find it unfortunate that he makes the point of saying he's not there to judge yet Doris pretty much judges him.  Sad.  So I'll swoon over him to make up for the curse.

But really it was all about the uniform for me.  :-)  He just looked so officially handsome.

Random thoughts:
Angels can sorta lie.  I know it's in the rules that they can't but Andrew totally does in this.  He makes up that clanking sound in the squad car.  This is welcome news to me cause sometimes I've given up on what coulda been amusing scenes in JABB stories just cause it woulda involved an angel fudging something a bit.  This episode gives me permission to do that! 

Poor Tess!  She just can't trust those Angel Babies!  Andrew steals her car in "Sins of the Father" and then Monica does here!  Sheesh!  I did feel bad for Monica who seemed really worried about that.  Andrew was much more calm as a car thief.

A Word from Travis:
I remember not being fond of this episode about two women fighting over the ashes of a man (one woman was his wife and the other was his lover).

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