"Great Expectations"

A review by Jenni:

This is becoming addictive...

What I love about this episode:

As with tackling the death penalty in "Seek and Ye Shall Find," TBAA takes on another emotionally charged Big Issue.  This time abortion.  And again I was impressed with their ability to be touching and thought-provoking all without coming down hard on either side of the issue and potentially driving people away.  Some people might see that as weak-minded but the older I get the more I think it's the people who see things in shades of gray that actually give things the most thought.  Along those lines, I really like that they made Joann pro-choice and vocally so.  So often when some people use the word pro-choice they translate it to mean pro-abortion.  Joann is a perfect example of how that's not the case.

One more thing I liked about Joann: she unwittingly foreshadows a future TBAA episode.  When Bill is trying to convince her that they can have another child she says something about there would still be an empty chair at their table.  I wonder if the TBAA writers thought back to writing that line when they came up with the episode "The Empty Chair"?

Chris Burke is really great as Taylor here.  One of my favorite moments is after the dishes get broken and Bill seems about to say that the young boy is acting funny because he's not used to mentally retarded people.  But Taylor covers for him and instead suggests that the boy isn't used to bus boys.  Class act!

I also love that Taylor gets the first big revelation.  I don't recall that happening often with the guest angels.  And it's such a well done revelation scene.  There are a couple lines that stand out for me.  First, when Taylor reminds Bill that he (and everyone) are created in love.  It's such a beautiful way of thinking.  Then he later adds "What we do in love is never lost."  That quote gives me chills.  The good kind.  It's so hopeful and consoling.  The idea that no matter what tragedies befall us or what sort of cruelty may exist, knowing that what we did for love is never truly lost is inspiring.

Another lil moment I love is when Joann tells Monica and Tess that her baby has Down's.  Tess is completely unfazed and tells Monica "See, I told you he was special!" with such a great smile.  You can just see how much that moment meant to Joann. 

This episode does raise some good questions about parenting in general for me.  Why do parents seem to always want more for their child than they had?  Maybe the kid's gonna be perfectly fine with the same.  Then there's the lady at the shower bringing up how piano lessons are so important because they help with math grades.  What if your kid just plain doesn't like math?  While the main issue here was Bill's and Joann's decision, these tidbits could also broach some great discussion.

Finally, I have some favorite Andrew moments but those will be in my favorite section of these.  ;-)

What I didn't love about this episode:
I'm left troubled by the dynamics in Bill and Joann's relationship.  There's no question that Joann is strong.  Which is why I don't get why she so nearly goes along with Bill's plan to abort the baby. 

I actually have a really hard time with Bill, period.  It's not the fault of the writing, I don't think.  No doubt there are people like him.  I just cannot understand his failure to understand why it's not so easy for his wife to accept the idea of abortion as it is for himself.  Bill hasn't been feeling his body change.  Bill hasn't felt the baby kick inside him.  Bill hasn't been preparing himself to give birth.  Bill likely didn't stick a pillow under his shirt when he was a lil girl just to pretend he was pregnant.  To be honest, I think were I in Joann's position and my husband broached the subject of abortion, I'd go nutso.  As in "collect your ties and pants from the front lawn" nutso.  To me the appropriate response from him to the doctor's news should have been to ask what Joann wanted.  But from the first he makes only his wishes clear and it annoys the heck outta me.  I mean abortion's not exactly a painless procedure, I've heard.  So for that reason alone, Bill shoulda shown more interest in Joann's thoughts about it.

And I *hate* when he and Joann are in the car and Bill is going on about how Olivia's mom is emotionally drained, wants another life, yada, yada, yada.  Who died and made him her spokesperson?  I'm a lil concerned about Bill's propensity to think he knows how women feel.  I would have liked to have seen one of the angels really get onto him about that.

This is just lame but I don't like seeing Andrew handle baby paraphernalia.  It makes me sad.  And I know that says more about me than about this episode...

Oh and, like Andrew, I'm a lil skeptical about Monica's role as a Lamaze coach.  Is it common for people who have never given birth to coach Lamaze?  I just think I'd rather be taught by someone who's been there, done that.

Lingering questions:
How often is it that angels show up some place and have no idea where they are?  Tess is confused, Monica thinks they're in Columbine, and only Andrew seems to get it right.  Interesting.

I've wondered about this before and do sometimes during this episode.  Do you think people with disabilities no longer have them in Heaven?  Or do they have them but it no longer matters because we all see each other with only love in our hearts?  Or is there a choice involved? 

Anyone else find it ironic that during her class Monica stresses the importance of communication between the mommies and daddies?  She's a fine one to talk about the value of communication...  Her own lil group could do with some communication lessons.

What's Joann drinking at the cafe?  I heard pregnant women shouldn't have caffeine so is she drinking decaf coffee or tea or is this a recent finding she wouldn't have been aware of?

I wonder if Bill Smitrovitch was cast as Bill because of his previous work as Corky's (Chris Burke again) dad on Life Goes On?  I'm thinking it was likely a factor.

Tess has a line to Joann that goes "You take it from me.  Marriage can be a rocky road."  Who do you think knows more about marriage: a person who has been in one or a person who has never been married but has witnessed potentially millions of marriages?  Just curious.  It's be a fun debate topic.

We've talked about this on the JABB YG but I still wonder in exactly what circumstances Andrew can call 911 and when he can't?  The consensus there was that he can call the police if his role during the assignment would usually require that.  So, in this case, you would expect the manager of a cafe to call the police if a customer was shot. 

Finally, is there some sort of legal document one can get made up that says in the event of an emergency the doctors should strive to save your unborn child's life over your own if it comes down to it? 

Parts that made me feel swoony:
First, Andrew's so cute when he gets flustered when Monica asks about her chilled coffee.  And he says the machine is warming up but then counters by saying it's cooling down when he realizes that makes no sense...  So adorable!

I feel a lil sappy-swoony when Bill's complaining to Andrew about Joann and the baby.  Cause then I start to wonder if Andrew ever wishes he could have kids.  Ya know, like Monica seems to.  And if he does, that just makes me angry at Bill cause he's
complaining about something Andrew can never have.  And then I just want to hug Andrew and get him a puppy at least.  

Just look at this photo.  It is one of my favorite shots of him.  His eyes... 

I especially noticed Andrew's propensity to touch people in this episode.  Like when he pats Taylor's shoulder after the shooting.  And I think he does the same with Monica in the operating room.  Seriously, can someone just hug this guy a little more often!?!?!  I would if there weren't a screen in the way.

Random thoughts:
Andrew.  Babies.  Messes with my psyche.  Maybe that S5 DVD set should take it's time.  I'm not sure I can handle "Jagged Edges" any more.

A Word from Travis:
I remember seeing this episode (maybe when it originally aired) and it’s my favorite episode of the season. A man goes from dismay to loving his newborn son, who’s born with Down’s Syndrome.

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