A review by Jenni:
It's a Sunday and 7 PM and I'm watching TBAA... It's like
the old days! Yay. Cept I'm not a freshman in
college... double yay!
What I love about this episode:
I like Georgia right off. She doesn't take any crap.
And she's blunt when she needs to be. But not just as an
excuse to be nasty. I wish I was more like her.
Hee. I like the Walkman magically appearing in Andrew's
hand. Actually, I just like seeing a Walkman as opposed to
I love Monica's sweater coat. I love them in general but
that one's gorgeous. And, yes, that was a really profound
point to make and I'm so glad I did. :-)
I'm by no means an expert but I love how they recreated the 30s
look. The energy is just so much different during those
As difficult as it is to see the lynching photos, I appreciate
that they took the risk and showed them on prime time TV.
People need to know more about that very sad part of our
history. I think most do know but to see the photos and how
blase many of the people in them are... it's heartbreaking and
"Sometimes pain is important, too important to ignore." I
really like that quote from Monica. Because sometimes I
think our culture is unhealthily obsessed with happiness and
feeling good. There are painful things in this world and
darn right you should be pained by them. I'm not talking
about leaving depression untreated or going for self-flagellation
or anything. But at some point choosing to remain ignorant
becomes sinful IMO.
I also like that Monica stresses that
Charnelle should be moved by those photos not because she's black
but because she's human. The world would be a really scary
place if only Jewish people, homosexuals, the Roma, and others
targeted by the Nazis were disturbed by the Holocaust or only
Rwandans were bothered by that genocide. It's like John
Donne said "Each man's death diminishes me, for I am involved in
mankind." (That quote should be very familiar to any of you
ToD fans, btw.)
Wow. The scene where Billie is trying to get Andrew to get
her drugs is really physical and intense. There aren't too
many scenes where the angels are in that close of contact with an
assignment for that long. It's hard to look away.
"It takes a lot of courage to carry on when life is hard."
Another good quote from Monica. I have a bad feeling I may
be missing Andrew ones just cause I get sucked into his scenes so
much that I can't pull bits out.
I was glad when Tess... who is obviously not a drug dealer...
showed up. I was really starting to miss her. It
seemed weird without her. Additionally, I like that Tess did
the revelation and not Andrew cause I think Billie needed to think
he was human.
The acting in this one is just really phenomenal all the way
around. I thought Paula Jai Walker was impressive, of
course. When Georgia is recalling the tragedy of her
brother's death on her birthday, the acting there is also superb.
"God is here. He's right here. You're never gonna walk
alone." Andrew to Billie. I caught it when I was
capping this episode. I really did just get too sucked in.
It's probably pretty rare for an entire song to be heard during a
TV episode. But I'm glad they had "Strange Fruit" presented
in its entirety.
The close-ups of the African-American lady in the crowd and the
club's owner while Billie is singing get to me.
"Quit hate and love all people for God made them all and He loves
them all, mistakes and all." Monica again.
I love that Monica tells Charnelle she's God's "little
"When anger turns to hate it becomes a noose around your own
neck. The more you hate, the tighter it becomes."
Monica to Charnelle.
ETA: Found another Monica one I like: "He
created you. You are His. And He is yours."
I really, really love that Monica tells Charnelle that her uncle
had no choice in losing his life but she does. While I've
never experienced the loss of someone to so vicious a crime, I
have known two people who were killed. Neither had any
choice. It wasn't the result of their behavior at all.
So I find myself now even more exasperated by people who are
careless with their own lives. Because not everyone has the
chance to live.
"God wants you to choose life and then to live
to testify that ya did." You guessed it: Monica.
That final image of the three angels in the museum sometimes
randomly pops into my mind. It's so powerful and sad.
They have witnessed so terribly much.
What I didn't love about
Who the flip shoos a dove away!?! Charnelle needs to show
some respect for the poor lil things. And pretty much
everyone including herself...
While I'm glad this episode doesn't try to gloss over things,
there are some things I wish I hadn't had to learn from it.
I knew about lynching, of course. But I had no idea those
images were used as postcards. Disgusting. The photo
of the woman lynched with the son she tried to save is also...
beyond words. The lil girl in the sailor dress is
chilling. I'm glad TBAA told us these things, but to say I
liked learning them would be gravely wrong hence it's in this
Holy frigging cow. THC butchered this episode. I'll
pinpoint how later but some of these transitions are awful.
It seemed like my DVD player skipped but it didn't.
After this episode first aired and was being discussed online,
someone said that they disliked that Monica was Billie's
clapper. At the time, I didn't see anything wrong with
it. But I get it now. I think it would have been far
more powerful had a human clapped. Monica had nothing to
lose. It didn't take any guts on Monica's part to
clap. Monica's species wasn't the one perpetrating these
heinous crimes. The human species did. So, I agree
with that poster, the clapper should have been human.
Is it wrong that I kinda like watching Billie flirt with
Andrew? It's just cute. Note to self: Can totally
start making Dyeland characters flirtier. Apparently he's
okay with it. ;-)
Umm... was Billie trying to undo Andrew's tie? Boy...
totally missed that back in the day. Last I checked lapel
and tie were two totally different things...
that made me feel swoony:
He's just stunning. He looks fantastic
in 1930s clothing. And that hat... As much as I like
his hair, I've always liked him in hats, too.
And I'm amused
that a lot of times I don't even refer to Andrew by name when I
start this section. Everyone knows who I mean!
When he lifts Billie's chin so gently to look at her black eye...
honestly, I just wish he could have stayed with her. Watched
over her until the end. And then when he tells her she ought
to be treated like a lady... it does a number on me. I just
wish every abused woman had someone like him.
Oooh. I forgot that Billie dubbed Andrew "*my* Ginger
Man." But I can totally understand why she did...
I agree with Billie. Andrew is most definitely a gentleman.
Oh... I forgot about the black suit and yellow tie...
I have a confession to make. This is the only episode in all
of TBAA that ever made me wish Andrew was human. I had it in
my head that if he could have just stayed with Billie, she would
have been all right. And I realize that's all kinds of
stupid. And making Andrew into a prince running to save the
lady fair wouldn't actually solve anything because Billie needed
to be able to stand up for herself and love herself. Giving
her a new crutch, even a lovely, gentle, magnificent one wouldn't
have solved anything. But in my teenaged mind, I thought
Andrew could save her. Rewatching this, I know it's not the
case. Sometimes people are loved truly and completely and
still turn to drugs or commit suicide. Nonetheless, when he
strokes her face and holds her, I'm left to hope that she had
someone like that at some point... someone who cared about her and
didn't want anything and didn't use her as a way to demonstrate
his supposed power... even if only briefly.
He breaks my heart when Billie calls him a "dumb, sweet, old,
white boy" (well, the sweet and old are true) and shouts that he's
never seen a lynching and he shoots back that he has.
Because the sad fact is he probably saw countless. And
Aww, he kissed her cheek. And then later he blows her a
kiss. And the expression on his face then... so emotional
and just... lovely.
He looks shell-shocked at the end. Hugs to him...
Music: Charnelle is listening
to something on her Walkman when the episode starts. Rap, I
guess. And again when she enters the museum. Could be
the same thing. Honestly, most of it all sounds the same to
me. A bit later we get to hear Monica poorly crooning along
with Billie Holiday. Billie's band is rehearsing when she
enters during her first scene. Andrew plays something on the
piano as a sorta audition for Billie. Right after that she
sings "Them There Eyes." There's jazzy dancing music before
the final scene with Billie and
before that when Andrew and Tess are in her dressing room.
Then, of course, there's "Strange Fruit."
Charnelle telling Monica she's "never heard of him" in reference
to Billie Holiday makes me think of Cher in Clueless.
Okay... not to question either Andrew or Billie but... his ginger
ale looks really flat when they first meet. I didn't see any
bubbles. Actually, it really looked like liquor to me.
Darn. LJA's future daughter is named Annabelle and that's
the name of the girl in the sailor dress. Not good.
Hopefully I'll forget the association soon cause I still like the
Monica is not a white person. She says so herself
here. So that answers my questions from my "Black Like
Monica" review in which I asked "Is Andrew really white? Is
Tess really black?" Apparently no. But that leaves one
question unanswered still: is Andrew really male? Gosh I
Note to self: In some future JABB story, have Andrew or Monica
play a CD by Charnelle. It'd be awesome.
Scenes Hallmark cut:
-Yep. They cut a Billie and Andrew scene. It comes
after Charnelle tells Monica about her brother's OD. I knew
they did. Andrew is still wearing the black, white, and
yellow ensemble so it must be shortly after he gave Billie the
"Strange Fruit" lyrics. Teary-eyed, she approaches him as
he's sorting sheet music or something. She tells him she's
been singing since she was a kid. And how she sang in
brothels and dives and the like but that now people pay good money
to see her all dressed up with her gardenias. And they want
to hear songs about moonlight and dreams and good stuff.
"And here you come with this," she says, "No colored person would
dare sing it. No white person would care to sing it.
Why should I?" Andrew responds "Because, Lady, people are
dyin'. Every day." They both look pretty anguished and
the scene shifts to Monica and Charnelle. The latter asks
when that all happened, actually starting to seem
interested. Monica responds that it was about the time her
grandmother was her age. Charnelle comments that it's hard
for her to imagine her grandma that young. Monica tells her
that they probly have more in common than she realizes.
Charnelle shakes her head and says her grandma's from the
South. She ponders aloud if she ever heard the song.
Monica says that no one would have had Billie not found the
courage to sing it. Then it goes to the first scene of
Billie and Andrew in her dressing room which THC cut to so
abruptly that it made my head spin. And that seems to be
all. I think the actual episodes got shorter and, thus, THC
needed to cut less.
Further on down the road...
Well, it's a Monday afternoon and I'm watching this. Yay
for a three day weekend! So... due to the rather bizarre
circumstances of my last viewing (a spontaneous crying fit
followed by the sad news two weeks later), I find myself a tad
nervous about watching this one again. Which is probably why
I didn't wanna watch at night. But now I'm ready!
I understand that she needed to get Charnelle's attention but it's
pretty rude of Monica to sing along to her music, rather loudly,
in a museum.
The gender confusion over Billie Holiday always reminds me of the
"I love him..." in Clueless. As if! And I
guess I already wrote that above. Well, just goes to show
that it's true!
Not that this deserves much thought but... is the usage of
"wasted" regional? Because here it seems like "wasted" is
pretty much only used for drunk but not for high as Monica uses it
Well... I'm not crying over Andrew in his fedora. So that's
good. But gosh he's gorgeous.
Welcome back to the one and only episode when, for the briefest
moment, I wished Andrew was human.
The scene between Andrew and Billie in the dressing room is just
so captivating. It's painful but yet I can't look away.
I'm really glad that in this episode we see two instances of
Monica being supportive of a singer and not envious.
Granted, we have no idea if Charnelle really can sing and I remain
a lil bothered by the initial "Strange Fruit" clapper being an
angel. But from a strictly character-based perspective, this
is way better than "Voice of an Angel."
I can't even imagine how painful it would be to walk through a
museum and find a picture of your family member's murder.
Yeah, I really do wish that Monica hadn't been the clapper.
Not only do I think that makes it less powerful (do you really
expect any other reaction from an angel?) but it also seems a
little like Monica tooting her own horn.
I always like it when TBAA referred to someone as God's "little
girl." Although now that I think about it... did they ever
tell a man that he was God's little boy?
A Word from Travis:
Iíve never seen this episode but based on your reviews, Jenni, I
look forward to seeing it; Iím not familiar with Billie Holiday. I
like some of the episodes where they go back in time and Iím not
so fond of some. I wonder what channels CBS/Moonwater Productions
had to go through before telling stories that included real
individuals (Billie Holiday, Abraham Lincoln, etc.)?
Overall, season 7 seems to have some very interesting episodes
(some filled with light moments, all episodes filled with
emotional moments. Most importantly, Godís love and compassion
continued to shine in all the episodes.)
the Episode Guide
photographs used on this page are from "Touched by an Angel" and
owned by CBS Productions, Caroline Productions, and Moon Water
Productions. They are not being used to seek profit.)