"A House Divided"

A review by Jenni:

Herein lies trivia!  I'm taking notes for a future round of JABB Jeopardy.  If anyone reads this and is NOT on the YG, I hope that explains the randomness.  :-)

What I love about this episode:

It is oh so fun to see Doc Hock and Lt. Goldman together again!  Alright, so it's Andrew and Phil but still...  I was amused, though, to see JD's hair so closely cropped in this and Stephen Caffery's hair all shaggy.  It's a complete switch from Tour of Duty.  I just wish they'd had more scenes together.  Woulda been fun.

I like Phil.  And not just for the fun flashback factor.  He seems like a great guy.  I think it's adorable he asked John for Janet's hand.  And I like how he often seems to be the only caring, considerate one of the three parents even though John isn't his kid biologically.  I also thought it was great that he was able to see Martin's POV even though he was married to Janet.  Cool guy.

Props to whomever thought up having John's emotions expressed via his drawings.  That crying dino gets ya in the gut.

Andrew's apartment is 333.  Had it been simply 33, I woulda been freaked.  Characters attached to the number 33 often end up sacrificed (a la Jesus who traditionally is thought to have been executed at 33).  But 333 is cool since it kinda plays on the angelic trio who brought the apartment into being... much to Andrew's chagrin.

I wish Andrew was real and that we could validate his identity as an angel.  Cause if we could then people might accept his "Everyone has a right to their theory" stance and who knows how many disagreements would be laid to rest!

Despite my horror at the parents' behavior, I do think the writers also gave us a compassionate view of them.  I don't think anyone gives birth to a child with their ideal being that they'll only get to spend X amount of time with them and will then need to pass them along to the other parent.  It must be sad to be cut out of part of your child's life.

I love that Tess brought up King Solomon.  That story begged to be referenced here.

I wish every parent, divorced or not, would watch this episode.  When Tess tells the adults that every fight they have makes John pull away and enables anger to build, that's such a true and poignant statement.  Parents need to heed it.  Tess' entire no-nonsense attitude with these parents is great.

"He will always give you the strength you need to survive and to find your way," and "Sometimes parents teach their children things and sometimes children have to teach their parents things" are my two favorite quotes in this episode.  Both are spoken by Andrew to John.

I really approve of the overall view of this episode which says that children should obey their parents but also advocate for themselves.  When God told us to honor our parents, I know He wasn't giving a pass on some of the abusive behaviors some parents engage in.  TBAA walked a good line here.

Love it when Tess says "You hush!" to the father at the end.

The lil boy who played John did a fantastic job.  He broke my heart when he made his demands known.  And they were so simple: being able to wear a coat of his choosing, having a home, eating only once, etc.  The writers really thought about what his frenzied lifestyle had done to this kid.  And when he says it's not the kid's job to make parents feel good... wow.  Unfortunately, I think some parents think that's exactly what kids are for. 

The happy drawing at the end was very sweet.  Yay!  Nice counterpoint to that poor dinosaur.

What I didn't love about this episode:
Wow.  It's all I could do to keep watching the parents.  I have no doubt it's accurate.  I've heard some awful divorced parents stories from teachers.  But geez... in public!  In front of their kid!  At school!  With the teacher and other parents right there!  You'd think if compassion for their kid wasn't enough to do it (as it shoulda been), sheer embarrassment woulda shut those two up.

Ack!  Ack, ack!  So I spent most of this morning writing about how Monica can be so clueless and even hurtful with Andrew.  And then I watch this and John's dad assumes she's Andrew's girlfriend.  Blech!  That'd be a stroke or heart attack waiting to happen for poor Andrew.

Lingering questions:
When, if ever, does it become okay for one parent to complain about the other parent to their child?  Cause I know that happens both in divorced and intact families.  And I don't know if I think it's ever okay.

Do we ever hear Andrew get addressed by anyone else at the school?  It seems odd that John called him Andrew.  So I wonder if all the kids did.  I guess I'm not sure what else they'd call him.  Mr. ??? 

Parts that made me feel swoony:
God help me if I'm ever a single mom and I walk into my child's classroom and a guy like Andrew is teaching it.  Unrequited love is fun to write about but probly not so fun when it's real and the object of it is your kid's teacher.  But I digress... everything about Andrew as an elementary school teacher is swoon-inducing.  He is lovely and adorable.  I love how, when he visits with John outside, he doesn't just stand there.  He takes a seat and gets down at John's level.  He sure knows how to talk to kids.  Once again I find myself thinking that God needed to drop a basket with a baby off at Andrew's door step in one episode.  I would have so watched that spin-off.

Andrew can play pinball apparently well enough to teach Monica.  I like that.  Not sure why but I do.  Andrew is very talented.  Football, poker, pool, now pinball! 

That's so awesome that he takes John out for a day.  I'd love to look at dinosaur stuff with Andrew.  Course, I'd probly tease him about whether he ever knew any.  :-)

I think it captures Andrew's personality perfectly that he instantly understands why John purchased his art set on his own.  That's one of the things I love best about Andrew.  He seems able to not just react compassionately to what people do but often understand why they did it.

Here's me going angsty as always: I often wonder, and have probly mentioned it on other reviews, how difficult it is for Andrew and the other angels to see parents either abuse their kids or disregard their feelings.  Speaking from personal experience, if you love kids and don't/can't have them... there seems to be a certain sort of anger that you feel towards those who have been thusly blessed and fail to recognize and celebrate that.  I think I'd lash out at these folks if I were Andrew.

We don't get to see bumbling Andrew nearly enough!  I love how he gets all flustered in the courtroom and questions Tess about John staying "at my... house?"  Love the lovely angel.

I'm totally bummed that THC cut the scene of Tess and Monica decorating Andrew's apartment.  It was sooo girly!  But at least they kept him trashing that leopard pillow.  What were the ladies thinking!?!  Yuck!  Not manly!

I think Andrew pretty much gives us all a glimpse into some of his problems when he tells John that he was so busy trying not to hurt Monica's and Tess' feelings as they decorated that he forgot to be honest about his own feelings.  Poor Andrew.  I don't think he developed that habit only in this episode and he certainly didn't leave it behind here.

Sigh... It kinda pains me to hear Andrew advise John to speak up and voice what he needs.  I guess it makes me feel better to think even angels are sometimes better at giving advice than taking it.  But mostly it makes me sad for Andrew.

Random thoughts:
Music:  Andrew and John sing "99 Bottles of Root Beer" in the caddy.  Aww.

Andrew's classroom in this is number 320.  Just saying.  And the school he teaches at is Garfield Elementary.  Good to know.

Scenes Hallmark cut:
-Tess actually showed up at the arcade.  After John and Andrew walk off.  Monica tells her that John wants to divorce his parents but that she thinks she and Andrew talked him out of it.  Tess says "I see.  So now two more adults are telling him how he should feel" or something to that effect.  Then it goes to Andrew and John at the museum.

-And now... the big one.  Andrew makes his way to apartment 333.  Monica meets him at the door and you hear Tess say no one can come in until she's finished.  Monica explains that they're having a dispute.  They close the door on Andrew.  A moment later they reopen it.  Tess invites Andrew in and proudly shows him her "elegant, classy, strong" design, saying those are qualities angels should have.  It's all those things.  But a bit cold, IMO.  Not child friendly.  Monica then says that she feels Andrew's home should be warm and comforting, as he is.  It morphs into a pastel and earth tone theme.  Girly, IMO.  They ask Andrew which he prefers.  He's baffled.  He reminds me of a dog standing in between two people who are both calling for him and he's unsure which to go to.  He compliments them both in rather vague terms.  They both ask him which it will be and Andrew just awkwardly laughs.  It then goes to him and John in the hall.  They're carrying several of John's bags.  John explains that he didn't know what to pack since he's unsure how long he'll be there.  He suggests it may be until he goes to college.  Andrew tells him that in that case, they better get working on his grades.  And then they enter and go to the scene THC has.  It's all really funny and sweet and a good glimpse into Andrew's character.  And this recap doesn't do it justice...

-After Tess calls a recess, John leaves the stand and goes to Andrew and Monica and laments that everyone, meaning his parents, is going to hate him.  The angels look sympathetically at him and it goes to commercial.  Brief but really sad.  It returns with the adults in Tess' chambers which THC includes.

Further on down the road...
Yay!  I really like this episode.  :-)  And it still makes me happy which is a really, really good thing because I once feared I might have a hard time watching both it and "Here I Am" (another favorite) again.  See, I watched those two episodes on January 10th, 2011.  I'd been going through a rough patch and that was the first day that I really felt good and at peace.  I sat and watched TBAA and clipped recipes and all was well.  Then on the 11th, news of John Dye's death broke and I can remember thinking "Oh my God... those were the last two episodes of TBAA I will ever watch completely happily."  Thankfully, that was not the case.  And hopefully I can be happy tonight.  :-)  I got my chai and cupcakes so I'm off to a good start!  ;-)

These parents haven't improved over time...  Sheesh.  The volcano/exploding sniping is ridiculous.  I guess I should feel blessed that I've never hated someone so much that I felt like spending every moment I could talking smack to them.

I forgot that Andrew was teaching Monica to play pinball... which means Andrew must have some ability with pinball.  Fun!

I wonder what the statistic is on how many kids at some point or another want to work with dinosaurs when they grow up?  I did.  Which is hilarious given I hate getting dirty and, ya know, dirt's kinda a big deal for paleontologists. 

I still love Andrew's reaction "You mean in my hou-ouse?"  Ha.  So cute.  Also, I miss the 90s/early 00s brand of clothing layering... 

So happy to see the cut scene of Monica and Tess decorating Andrew's place.  Poor Andrew.  Really what were they thinking with the animal print?  I do really like Monica's color scheme, though.  Blue and yellow is one of my favorite color combos.  But... it looks girly in her scheme. 

Sigh...  It makes me sad when Andrew calls Monica and Tess his "really good friends" and then I think of the finale...  Grr to the finale!

I love this exchange:
Andrew: God isn't just up in the sky.
John: Where is he then?
Monica: God is everywhere!

I don't have children but I love what Monica says about how parents see the world differently, more vibrantly through their children's eyes.  Just from being around kids I can also add this: the world is often way more hilarious through their eyes.

Back to the Episode Guide

(The 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.)