A review by Jenni:
What I love about this episode:
"You belong to the ultimate family business." That line from
Tess to Monica isn't really one I can put on my quotes page.
Out of context it's just kinda nonsense. But in this episode
it's perfect. I love the idea of the angels all as family,
working together on God's business. And we're part of that
family, too! This whole angel/human/God family idea
has been big with me lately.
I really like Phil. As a directionally impaired person, I'm
glad to see that represented by an angel as cool as Phil!
Sing it with me! "I get knocked down! But I get up
again! You're never gonna keep me down!" Thanks TBAA for a
look back at my high school years. Ha! Sure, it got
played to death but I still bop my head when I hear
"Covered dishes. Now it's official." That line from
Dee Dee just really jumped out at me. That sort of
sarcastic, bemused remark is a lot how my family greets
grief. And it's true. Death does bring out the covered
dishes. I always thought that was a stereotype but if it
is... it's a true one.
"Imagine how it felt to love someone you don't understand.
And then to lose them... never really knowing them at all."
That quote from Monica hits me on a couple levels. First, I
think we've all lost people without knowing what we wanted to of
them. Then we grieve the loss of not only them as we knew
them but also them that we never knew. On a less serious
level, it brought the Andrew and Monica debacle to mind for
me. I know it wasn't on Monica's mind but she basically
experienced that. She lost Andrew without ever really
getting Andrew. Makes me feel sad for them both.
I thought it was cool how Andrew's paper that he'd been carrying
around ends up being how Buddy makes his way home. Nifty.
While I was initially stunned by the father continuing to be angry
even after he was blessed with a living son, I am glad that TBAA
had the mother stand up to him and stick with Buddy. Yay,
The part where Monica bemoans how we don't celebrate a life until
the person is dead makes me think of Waking Ned Devine.
It's a lovely Irish film in which one fellow actually gets to
attend his funeral and hear his eulogy. It's really
beautiful. Anyhow, Monica makes a good point as the eulogist
in that film does.
"God wants you to cut it out." Wow. See, that's
another great line that out of context just doesn't work.
But in context... The way Phil says it so bluntly and
powerfully to the father just really made me pause. I like
it when the angels were brazen with people who really needed to
have sense knocked into them.
As for Phil, I continue to admire Dr. Cosby for being able to play
this role not once but twice after his son's death. It's
difficult to watch him talk about how many fathers have prayed for
more time and "saved up kisses and hugs" for sons they no longer
have. I can't imagine how hard it was to say it without
breaking down. But you know he means it, he knows it
personally. And that makes me take the message much more
seriously. And it makes me wish my dad and brother would
What I didn't love about
It's hard to watch the dad in this. The way he turns even
his son's funeral into a business deal. Yikes... And
yet something about it rings true. It seems like sometimes
we don't take time to grieve and try to just plug it into our
usual lives. That doesn't work. I can't say I've ever
treated funeral costs as a business negotiation. But I have
tried to soldier on in my usual style when it was really not great
for me to do so. So this isn't a case of my disagreeing with
how TBAA presents something. Just a case of "so true, I feel
uncomfortable watching it."
Really my only actual complaint (beyond the usual not enough
Andrew) is that it just seems too neat that the driver in Buddy's
car was a violent thief who Andrew later tells us was given a
second chance but didn't take it. Something about that just
seems forced. Like I can imagine the TBAA writers being
"But it wasn't their son and he walks into the funeral!"
"Well, then who was in the car?"
"I dunno. Just some other person that borrowed the car,
"But then the viewers might start worrying about that poor
"Well, then we'll say he was a car thief who threatened Buddy."
But I do still come away from this episode thinking some poor
person's son is dead, they don't know, and meanwhile some other
family has been making black humor toast jokes about him this
Didn't the family think it was odd that the funeral home
lady and the musician were the same person (Tess)? But then
they seemed kinda disrespectful of the musicians. They
didn't even want them fed. So it's highly possible they just
saw Tess-the-musician as a blur. (ETA: Tess was
recognized. See the last section.)
I wonder how much of this was written as a tribute to Ennis
Cosby? When Monica finishes the eulogy and reads the line
about how "everyone was a friend" to Buddy, I automatically
thought of how it had been said that Ennis greeted people with
Parts that made me feel
I love Andrew in hats. He just looks so handsome and this is
another clear winner! Just too bad he doesn't get many
scenes in this episode. But the hat it worth watching this
for (of course, there are other reasons)... and only because of
who is wearing it. I'm sure the hat sitting on an empty car
seat would not have the same effect.
I love how good Andrew is at talking to confused people... like
Phil. He doesn't get sucked into their concern. He's
just very calm, cool, and collected and makes ya feel like
everything will be alright. I want/need an Andrew.
It'd be nice if God just sorta paired them up with neurotic types
like me. :-)
And we have more of no-drama Andrew after the car dies. He
just takes it all in stride. I love this guy.
So while I'm kinda bothered by the way the actual guy who died is
dismissed, I'm glad Andrew was taking care of that aspect.
The TBAA writers could actually appease me on a lot just by saying
Andrew was taking care of it. Cause Andrew is awesome.
Music notes: "Still the
One" by Orleans at the start of the episode during the car lot's
big anniversary sale. And yes... believe it or not... that
is Chumbawamba's "Tubthumping" playing in Buddy's car! Tess'
Society Trio plays soft jazz at the anniversary
soirée. There's some hard rock song playing in
Buddy's car in a separate scene from the "Tubthumping" one.
Organ music plays in the mortuary both when the family goes to
choose a casket and again during the funeral. Some lady
sings "The Old Rugged Cross" at
This episode made me consider how many TBAA episodes deal with
prodigal children. "Reunion," "Full Circle," and the PL
crossovers with Joe, "Children of the Night," to name some.
Of course, they had plenty of prodigal parents, too.
I almost entirely forgot this episode. I remembered Phil
being in it. I remembered Andrew's hat. And I knew it
involved a family thinking their son was dead but that he appeared
at the funeral. I had no recollection of him having a
wife! And I was as taken aback as I likely was the first
time I ever saw this when it was discovered that Buddy really was
dying. So this episode was virtually new to me!
Scenes Hallmark cut:
-The theme song seemed
really sped up. Possibly it is all the time on Hallmark
but this time I really, really noticed it. So that makes
me think sometimes they speed up the intro when they need to
gain a few seconds in an episode.
police come to the family's residence, it goes to
commercial. When it comes back, Monica and Tess are
outside the dealership. Tess talks about how God sets
plans then someone gets in a car drunk and throws it all
off. Phil is still MIA as far as they know so Tess says
she'd like to wrap Phil's halo around his neck... nice.
Then it cuts to Andrew finding Phil. Hallmark jumps from
the police to Andrew finding Phil.
Andrew and Phil scene, there's a scene of the Mangione women in
the home. They are dismayed cause Buddy never drank and
drove that they knew. DeeDee asks when they can cry, the
mom says Mangiones don't cry. Then the dad and Frankie
arrive after viewing the body. Pretty sure Hallmark jumps
right to when the two men arrive.
the Mangione family is shown walking up to the funeral
home. The dad tells them to let him do all the
talking. Frankie *does* recognize Tess as the musician
from the night before when she welcomes them in. This is
something I found suspicious (no one recognizing Tess)... turns
out it's Hallmark's fault. Tess explains that she was
moonlighting. Next, Tess and the family are seated.
She offers them support but the dad wants to jump right to "the
numbers." Then they view coffins. Hallmark cuts
right to them looking at coffins.
Further on down the road...
This may be a difficult one to watch now... but I am looking
forward to John looking especially gorgeous in that hat.
All this talk about deals is making me think of
Rumpelstiltskin. I'll love Andrew best of all TV characters
til the day I die, I think. But Rumpel's probably my
favorite current TV character... even if I do spend some episodes
of Once Upon a Time daydreaming about John being a
character in it...
Actually would have liked to have seen "Phil's Fabulous
Four." I wonder who the other three woulda been?
They switched out Chumbawumba. Too bad. Na na na na na.
Whoa. Uh. That seems to be the lyrics to replacement
Oh yay... Here he is! Swoon... I wanna get in
I'm so not looking forward to the first time I have to do the
whole mortuary thing. I've been there when a loved one
died. I can do the visitations and the funerals. But
the whole business of dying... Not sure I'll be able to cope
well with that.
The dad's behavior is pretty awful but... "something with a lid on
it" does seem sufficient. I wish we could go back to those
plain pine boxes that don't cost an arm and a leg.
Gah, the gallows humor is so my family. I sometimes have to
bite my tongue cause I know that's not how everyone copes and it
can seem really awful.
Yeah... it's difficult. I went for so long hoping, somehow,
that John's death had just been some crazy misunderstanding.
It didn't even make sense after the first week or so. But
still... I'm not even quite sure when I finally let that
Still love Phil's big scene. Dr. Cosby was amazing in his
Parts of the Buddy eulogy really do sound like John: the parts
about seizing life, about seeing God in all.
"God gave him the need to live and love as hard as he could, for
as long as he could because God knew that He didn't have that long
the Episode Guide
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