"A Joyful Noise"

A review by Jenni:

What I love about this episode:
I really enjoyed how Melissa's "problem" and Dr. Adam's real problem were compared and contrasted in this episode.  The look on the doctor's face when Melissa asks "Don't you ever hear stuff nobody else can?" is so disturbed.  To contrast that with Melissa's absolute love for her angel voices was really poignant for me.  I think it kind of goes along with what Monica says in the graveyard later.  For adults sometimes a heartbreak comes along and from then on they don't see beauty.  This episode reminds me a lot of Jesus saying that we must become like little children.  It's only when Adam is able to drop the dark veil that's made him perceive everything pessimistically that he can experience the joy that Melissa has. 

I really think Tess is a great teacher in this.  Particularly, I like it when she informs that boy that teases Melissa that "I do not accept the word weird."  I've had some teachers that were very much like her in that respect and others who were not.  Betcha can guess who I liked and had more respect for!

I wish Clara had made more than this one appearance.  First, I love the idea of a female archangel.  Second, Olympia Dukakis is great here.  Third, I just loved her way of speaking. 

I am absolutely not, not, NOT a person who thinks all psychiatry is bad.  However... I do think over-medication and inappropriate medication occurs.  So I applaud TBAA for offering up just such a scenario with Melissa.  I was once misdiagnosed with a physical illness and given medication that basically killed my emotions.  It was so weird.  I got so frustrated with my inability to cry that I ended up climbing onto the roof of my house in the middle of a rainstorm.  So... seeing a show bring up the possibility of catatonia resulting from wrongly prescribed meds is a big deal to me. 

Monica stressing that there's an angel with all children when they die, while not exactly groundbreaking for this show, was still comforting to hear.

This from Clara gives me a lump in my throat: "You're not only always going to hear the angels.  When little children get older, other voices drown the angel voices out.  But you should never stop listening for them.  Sometimes you'll hear them in the trees. Sometimes you'll hear them in the crickets at dusk. Sometimes you'll hear an angel in the sound of 'hello.' But never stop listening. And never forget that you did once hear them. And some day you'll hear them again."

"Tis a Gift" is really a very appropriate song to have the children be singing and, I think, really reiterates what this episode is about.  Awesome choice.

While I may have some issues with Monica, I'm genuinely happy for her at the end of this episode.  I can't sing well, either.  So I always felt for her in that aspect and Clara's pep talk to her was really great and well-deserved.

What I didn't love about this episode:
This isn't a gripe about the episode.  Just a not entirely positive reaction.  To be honest, this episode kinda makes me sad.  When Melissa talks about it being hard to grow up and not hear the angels any longer... I could relate.  I mean I don't recall ever hearing angels.  But it made me intensely miss the spirituality of my youth.  I think there's something beautiful about faith at all stages.  However, there's a certain appeal to the memories of my thinking Jesus really did come to take my deceased pets Home, that angels had fluffy wings and were always happy, and that God was a nice, Grandpa-looking guy on a cloud.  And atheism was simply astounding and, as Melissa said, sad.  These beliefs were comfortable and Heaven did seem closer, at least in hindsight.

Beyond the spiritual aspect, this episode also makes me bemoan the usual rush of my own life.  I couldn't even watch this episode in one sitting because I felt like I'd better get the vacuuming done and a window replaced first.  (And the sad irony that I chose to do this right after Clara said "the older you get the more noise you hear" did occur to me.)  Then there were the unplanned interruptions both good (an amusing squirrel outside licking a Skittles package he or she had found) and bad (unwanted phone call).  If I can't even get 45 uninterrupted minutes to watch a TV show about angels... I do wander how many real angels I might be missing just from failing to slow down and listen.

My only real gripe is that using the name Adam did throw me a few times.  Once or twice when someone referred to an off-screen Adam... I thought AOD.

Lingering questions:
Is this episode kinda going for the idea of life before birth?  I can't quite decide if they're implying that children hear angels because they come first from Heaven or if babies can hear angels upon being born but without necessarily having been to Heaven.  Personally, I like the idea of life before birth.

When I look at Rorschach I mostly see butterflies and sometimes other insects.  What does that mean?  ;-)

I wonder where the truth lies in Adam's and Monica's debate about whether religion is thrust upon children or whether children are born with a natural faith.  I think I believe a lil bit of both.  Who knows? 

When Adam sees the tire swing moving is that supposed to be the wind or are we to believe he can see the effects of Andrew even if he can't actually see Andrew?

Parts that made me feel swoony:
Andrew is always good-looking IMO.  But this episode has some of the most swoon and sigh inducing shots... 

First, Andrew is adorable with children.  I love his expression when he says "Those are my toys!" jokingly to Melissa.  And then when he's crouching down and talking to her and shakes her hand... love the lovely angel.

I know I'm biased but I loved Andrew's painting!  And, yeah, I do think it looked kinda "Van Gogh-y" to borrow his word.  But then I like Van Gogh.  I wish Andrew would come paint a wall here... 

Andrew calling Van Gogh a "seriously disturbed dude" amuses me.  And also makes me a lil sad cause that sorta goofy, lightheartedness (even when maybe not so appropriate) aspect of Andrew seems to die off later.  Poor love.

He's way cute when he asks Monica about the singing aspect.  Then he gets flustered and tries to be polite as possible about her poor singing.  Aww.

I know a graveyard scene, especially of the nature of the one in this episode, is absolutely not an appropriate time to be crushing but...  Andrew looks really good in that scene.  Blue jeans and a yellow shirt.  Wind going through his hair, backed by green trees...  Nice.  Andrew always looks nice backed by trees and we get to appreciate it a lot in this episode!

Andrew swaying with the tire swing... 

Andrew in those gold hued shots inside the cabin...

Random thoughts:
I'm glad Melissa met Clara but I feel that church should probly get some sorta security/safety mechanisms in place.  It's scary that a kid could get up to the top by themselves!

I'm pretty sure I learned the word catatonic from this episode.

Monica comforting Adam, newly returned to the tragic cabin, about how his daughter didn't die alone made me think of The Shack which I read recently.

A Word from Travis:
I wondered how Katie hearing voices connected to Dr. Adam Litowski who seemed to suffer from some sort of recurring nightmare/memories from the past. I was astounded by how these 2 interesting characters connected. They were both interesting as a young Katie wasn’t afraid to tell others that she heard from angels while Dr. Adam Litowski kept his nightmares to himself.

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(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.)