Medium and the Message"
A review by Jenni:
What I love about this episode:
Well... if a show *must* do a clip show, this is a fairly
ingenious way of doing it. It's much more inventive than,
say, having the cast sit around a fire and talk about the good
I was trying to think as I watched this what else was on the air
at the time. It seems a bit prescient cause I'm pretty
sure there actually are explosion shows now... more than there
were then. And while we may not have America's Funniest Surgeries,
there are scads of true life medical shows... some of which are
likely lacking in taste. So even though TV may have been
shady when this was written, I do think this episode was a bit
ahead of its time.
As I was watching this episode, particularly when Monica said
"Angels can be very edgy," I took stock of my many feelings
about TBAA. And I realized that some of the things the
network people wanted... well, they were versions of what I
wanted. No zombie Andrew, though! Cause I did
sometimes want the show to be more edgy. Emotionally edgy,
not "blow it up!" edgy. But
the more I thought about it, TBAA really did give the angels a
lot more attitude and edge than anything I'd seen before.
When you consider that previous to that all I ever considered
angels doing was singing, looking holy, and behaving like
gleeful super heroes... the show really did explore some big
emotions for them. We saw them angry, heartbroken,
jealous, whiny, judgmental, hopeful, excited, loving, tender,
tough, grieving, exultant, and more. They confronted evil,
they bashed pervert's computers, they countered homophobia, they
helped free slaves, they dealt with the aftermath of suicide,
they talked about abortion, they wasted no time in addressing
9-11, and the list could go on. So while I may cringe at
Monica sometimes or wish Andrew had been able to voice just a
bit more angst... TBAA dealt with a lot and it wasn't always
easy so... I salute them! And would I have even thought to
want edgy angels if not for TBAA? I think not.
Awesome quote from Monica: "Heaven is like every beautiful day
you've ever seen. Every beautiful flower you've ever
smelled. Every kiss you've ever had."
As appalling as it was, I did get a kick out of the executives
suggestions for the angel of death. First, I'm glad we are
not the John/Trevor Bucket Brigade nor the John/Bach Bucket
Brigade nor whatever that third "cool" name was. But the
zombie line was definitely the best. Sad part is it'd
probly happen now since there's a zombie craze.
I know this is purely self-interest but I liked the idea of
Irene, the executive assistant, as the moral compass. But
then that's pretty close to my job so I'm biased!
I like that they included a montage of many of the guest
angels. It's good to give credit where credit is due.
I was amused by T.K. fretting that the revelation scene idea was
too over-the-top. I've known a few people in the fandom
who felt exactly that way. Even I have a time or two (or
more). So it was good to see it acknowledged. Makes
me wonder if they had people lurking online, reading comments.
I love that Irene saved T.K.'s script. And the manner in
which she saved it (filed under H for hit) was great.
Gotta love the meta-ness of Andrew saying he liked Monica's
angel show idea and her responding with "It'd never work."
And yet it did. For nine years. Or, if you're like
me, 16 years. Hey, I still "see" Andrew going out on
assignments so it's still going for me! :-) He's a
grade school librarian right now. Sigh...
What I didn't love
about this episode:
I couldn't help feeling it was slightly hypocritical at
points. For example, all this business about
explosions. I get that they were commenting on a show that
was all about explosions. So it's not like they were
saying no show should ever have an explosion.
Nonetheless... I find it interesting this episode aired
the same year Promised Land
added a scene of an explosion to its opening credits.
Further, one of the montages (the one meant to show angels are
edgy) featured a car chase, explosion, drive-by, etc.
Granted, not all the clips were that sort of violence but the
majority were. So, to me, it seemed a lil weird to
lambaste this explosion show then more or less brag about how
edgy they are by showing a bunch of violent scenes. There
are other ways to show edgy. And it's not that I feel TBAA
was too violent. But it kinda damaged their argument with
me to basically have a "Large Scale Violence Reel."
I really did like the montage of Andrew scenes. However,
it would have been nice to throw in some scenes of Adam and
Henry. As much as I love Andrew, the other two were part
of TBAA's history. And future. Adam would return in
Season 7 and Season 9. And they didn't make it into the
montage of guest angels, either. I get kinda creeped out
cause it sometimes seemed like TPTB at TBAA wanted us to forget
them. Think I'm nuts? Go try to find a copy of Fear Not! in
picture book form. They literally put Andrew in Adam's
role! I never thought Andrew could creep me out but that
I wonder how accurate that 76% of people in the United
States believe in angels stat was? Maybe I can find
out... Check this
out. Very interesting.
So having watched this episode again, I'm still unsettled on
what TV's responsibility is. Where's the line between
gratuitously pushing violence and people needing to take
responsibility for their own actions regardless of what's on
TV? And while I may want nicer shows on TV, is it really
right to complain about what children see? Shouldn't their
parents be the ones monitoring that... not some far off TV
exec? Then again, it takes a village. I dunno!
Watching this, I had to wonder what CBS' people thought? I
mean it basically makes their type look pretty soulless.
But as I write this, the Late Night War II is happening.
NBC's own employees are sniping at them (rightly, IMO) and there
doesn't seem to be any censoring. It's like they don't
care as long as it gets ratings. So maybe the CBS people
didn't care as long as this episode pulled in X million viewers.
Was T.K.'s script meant to be an homage to Promised Land which was on
its last legs at this point? I kinda got that idea when he
described "Home of the Brave" as being about a family trying to
do the right thing. Further, the crossover that doubles as
PL's premiere ends with the Greenes driving off with a sign
reading "Home of the free and the really brave."
I wonder if a family-based network would even work these
days? Seems like people actually like a lotta the junk out
made me feel swoony:
Andrew lamenting the influence of TV was pretty
cute. Even if it did reiterate that he's way old and that
I probly shouldn't have been crushing on him at 14. And...
I think I shall have to add his long coats to my list of
"Awesome Andrew Articles of Attire." Loved it. And
his dismay over America's
Funniest Surgeries was endearing. And made me not
want to let Andrew ever watch the bulk of the TLC line up even
if I do think it'd be a fun story idea.
But back to Andrew's clothes... I have to admit that when
one of the network people asked if the angels would wear sexy
clothes I had a bit of my own montage of Andrew's
ensembles. Okay, so maybe flannel shirts, jeans, cuddly
sweaters, vests, etc. aren't "sexy" but I think I can say in the
affirmative that angels on TV can dress very attractively.
At least attractively enough that those clothes and that angel
are still being discussed almost 7 years after he wandered off.
I was super psyched that Andrew got his own montage and it just
made me swoony over other episodes. And sometimes not
swoony but definitely attached.
I thought it was very sweet (though obviously sad) when he was
recalling Irene's death. He has this look about him in
those moments. Admiration, I think. And there's
something very appealing about someone like Andrew admiring one
of us humans.
I did get a chuckle
outta T.K. talking about there being 64 channels. My cable
goes up to 260 channels or something like that and it's not even
the most expansive package. So it was a bit of a dated
reference but oh well.
When one of the network people suggested martial arts angels, my
first thought was "Well, John Dye actually coulda pulled that
off!" At least I assume he woulda remembered a bit from Best of the Best.
I'm glad Andrew didn't go around karate chopping people.
I never realized "revelation scene" was a term actually from the
show. I thought the fans just started using it. But
Monica actually uses it in this episode.
Scenes Hallmark cut:
This was a hard one to tell cut scenes on cause I think they
only cut from the clip montages. And since I've seen every
TBAA episode through this one at least once in the past 16
months, it was difficult for me to tell what was cut.
Cause it seemed like I'd seen it all recently-ish. But
here's what I *think* may have gotten cut.
-During the "do angels wear sexy clothes?" montage- I think they
cut the flashbacks to Monica as a lamaze coach in "Great
Expectations" and a chauffeur in "Rock n Roll Dad."
-During the edgy segment- Monica's lecture to the mom at the end
of "Operation Smile" and the assassination attempt in "Secret
-AOD segment- It seems like Hallmark shortened the "Written in
-Post explosion segment- The "Sins of the Father" flashback
seems longer in the CBS version
-Tess segment- I think Hallmark cut the "Sins of the Father"
Tess yelling at Andrew over the car segment as I don't recall
seeing that in Hallmark's cut. I also don't recall seeing
flashbacks of her in "Operation Smile" and "Smokescreen."
-Other angels segment- Sam's "Midnight Clear" clip seems longer
on CBS as does Taylor's in "An Angel by Any Other Name."
But, again, take this all with a grain of salt cause it was
really, really difficult for me to determine whether something
looked "I saw it last weekend" familiar versus "I saw that two
months ago" familiar. The good thing is I don't think they
cut anything from the original scenes in this episode.
further on down the road...:
Here I am watching this
at nearly 7 on a Sunday night. Almost like the old
Sigh... I did love Andrew's long
coats. Which I almost typed out as love
coats... So Freudian it's not even funny.
"Sometimes it only takes a minute to change
everything." Yeah... All too true quote from
Seeing Andrew cuff that would-be assassin is still super
cool. Seeing Jack Black as a perv is still really
Sigh... that scene from "Lost and Found" gets me every
time. Andrew holding that poor lil girl on his lap
and talking to her about going to Heaven before her
parents... so sweet and so sad and reassuring all at once.
Ha. "Half-vampire/half-angel" TV show... That
would be weird! I wonder if I'd watch it?
Thing is what most interests me about vampires is the
immortality aspect which you can get into just as easily
Since I last watched this, I've lost a co-worker.
Thankfully, that experience was not at all similar to what
you see here. We were all either wrecks or just very
quiet. No one was at all crass like that awful woman
in the up-do.
I have to admit I do get a bit bored during this episode
simply because it is a clip show and also because the plot
line isn't hugely relatable. So... I started working
on a page for the Pay
It Forward in Memory of John Dye site.
And it hit me suddenly how bittersweet that is. I
used to watch TBAA and imagine following John's career
with my own children. Now I help with his memorial
site. I feel very blessed to have a role with that
but how I wish there wasn't any reason for it to
exist. I know, though, that he is happy and at
peace. That's what I used to pray. "Please
God, get John Dye on another show but if not... well, so
long as he's happy." Amen.
the Episode Guide
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.)