"Monica's Bad Day"



A review by Jenni:

It's been a rough couple weeks.  Someone I know was killed by a drunk driver last week.  So I was going to skip my episode review this week because I just knew that, in light of that very real tragedy, seeing Monica go to pieces over mere annoyances would make me want to hurl things at the screen.  However... my desire to see Andrew in a novel situation (it's been so long since I've seen most of these later episodes that they seem new) overrode that.  And a part of me kept saying "Watch it.  Watch..."  Turns out that this episode, which I remember only as being super-annoying, offered me exactly what I needed to hear.  More on that later on... in Andrew's section.

What I love about this episode:
Always good to see Cliff Clavin!

Something about Monica's matter-of-fact way of saying "The angel of death is in the taxi behind us," amused the heck outta me.  I needed a smile.  Needless to say, I'd have hopped into that taxi.  AOD or not, Andrew is awesome.

Gotta admit, the camera angle as Flynn flipped Monica off was pretty ingenious.

"The world is full of anger and people have a way of saving it up and then dumping it on the next unsuspecting poor soul that gets in their way."  That quote from Tess is so true.  I admit that I've been guilty of doing exactly that.  Beyond the anger aspect, I think the world would be a better place if we were all taught constructive conflict resolution as children.  Because that right there is where the bulk of my anger comes from.  I get ticked at someone but then don't have the guts or words or means or whatever to confront *that* person. 

I can't help but laugh when Monica says "Human beings are really starting to get on my nerves."  Cause she gets on my nerves a lot.  So there.

I love the idea of anger as a contagion.  Because it really and truly is.  Most if not all negative emotions are.  I went through a really bad space of time a couple years back because I failed to distance myself from a really negative person.  Her aura was just so toxic that I couldn't snap away from it.  So I firmly believe in this kind of chain reaction depicted in this episode.  I would have liked to see in an eventual episode, though, how to cope with people who are energy vampires.  Because the big issue for me is even energy vampires are God's children.  So it feels wrong to ignore them.  And yet... it also seems wrong to let them diminish who you are and your enjoyment in life.  So I woulda loved to have seen the angels delve into how to morally cope with those poor souls.

"Fallen angels always have something to learn before they can get up."  Nice quote from Tess that I think applies equally well to humans.

I liked the "happy reality" that Tess shows Monica.  It really makes ya think about how tiny things can alter the way a bigger thing turns out.  But if you think too much about it, your head will probly explode!

All the mentions of the Queensboro Bridge makes me feel smart cause they cause the following to run through my head: "The city, when seen from the Queensboro Bridge, is always the city glimpsed for the first time."  The Great Gatsby.  Although I actually remember it more from Beauty and the Beast
than my two readings of that novel.

I appreciated this episode's balance of Monica understanding the little things that make up Wendy's longing for her deceased husband.  The good night kiss, etc.  However, via Wendy, the writers also make it clear that Monica could not possibly understand the full depth of that loss.  She doesn't need to continue on in grief, she's not alone.  That's the balance I want with angels.  Compassionate understanding and yet acknowledging that our way of living is different.  Cause I'm sure I can never fully understand them, either.

"The world *is* a beautiful place, and there are good and kind people in it.  You just forgot that today.  You forgot because something got in the way of the goodness and the kindness that could have kept you going."  I like that quote from Monica and clearly I'm not the only one as someone already put it on my TBAA quote page.


Ditto with this one: "Life *is* worth living, and you never know when a little thing will come along that will change your life.  Or a little thing that you do might change the life of someone else.  No one is alone.  We're all connected.  This past week, I've really noted how truly connected we all are.

Finally, I like that the episode shows how a bad mood can truly damage others and yet it also showed that it's never too late to begin to set things right.  Monica was able to help Wendy.  Things worked out for Flynn.  The brothers were reunited in time.  This episode could have come close to just making us want to throw our hands in the air and say "It's too late!  Things are too mucked up at this point!"  But it leaves us with hope as the best TBAA episodes do.

What I didn't love about this episode:

Because of Andrew's line, which I'll get to below, this episode will now remain special to me.  However, there's still a lot that bothers me about it.  So to start...

Monica using guilt to get Merl to give her a cab ride was kinda low, IMO.  The guy was off for the night.  He probly worked a long day.  Monica pulling rank and calling upon the fear of God seemed rather abusive.

It's not pleasant to be flipped off.  But Monica saying it feels like Flynn is "trying to kill me"... wow.  I've been accused of being too sensitive.  And even I'm gonna have to say that Monica is being way, way too sensitive there.  And she knows what it feels like to have people actually try to kill her!  It can't possibly really be the same feeling as some stranger just momentarily freaking out and walking away.  That's insanity.

Further, her reaction to the hooting and hollering men also annoys me.  Simply because she's merely annoyed.  She's lucky that annoyed is all she needs to feel.  That happened to a friend and I once and then the two guys started following us and we had to run into a store cause we were scared.  It's something that lots of women need to deal with and it can be freaky.  And seeing Monica just roll her eyes and use it to further her campaign of annoyance bugs me.  She has it easy.

Really Monica is just over-the-top annoyed here.  I mean getting annoyed about being asked by the hostess if only 2 people were eating!?!  That's a valid question.  Lots of people arrive in separate parties intending to eat together.  I mean I get annoyed and have trouble letting go sometimes.  But my annoyance tends to fixate on the original offender.  I don't go looking for annoying things in random folks so I can gripe about it.  Monica is really too much here for me.

I don't like it when Andrew is made to seem like someone to be escaped or outrun...  I know he doesn't take it personally but still...

Lingering questions:
What would a drink with onions taste like?  Yuck.  I'm having trouble imagining that.

Did Andrew know what was in the deceased wife's letter?  I kinda started to wonder if maybe he was her AOD, she begged for his help, and this seeming caseworking gig with Simon was actually just fall-out from that AOD gig.

Parts that made me feel swoony:
Andrew sounded twangy in his first scene.  Love the twang.

Andrew is cute as always the few times he pops up.  I love that he never gives up on Simon or lets him off easy.  He pushes him to do what he needs to do.  But Andrew is scarce here.  And yet it was him who gave me this episode's shining moment...

I mentioned above that this has been a very sad time.  And while I'm beginning to make peace with what happened, there are still images and thoughts that bother me to no end.  And they're the sort of things that it's difficult to discuss with people cause you don't want to impart your horror to them.  I'm beginning to make peace with the death of this person we lost.  But not with how she died. 

I gasped when Wendy revealed that her husband had been killed in a car accident.  Like I said above, I barely recall these episodes.  I kinda thought maybe he'd died.  But I also thought maybe he'd walked out.  I didn't at all remember that he died in a crash.  I almost turned the episode off at that point.  But something told me not to.  I cried along with Wendy.  Because I, too, hated thinking of them trapped in their car, alone.  That image haunts me.  And it's not being acknowledged.  No one is talking about what happened.  So that's why no one's said what I most needed to hear.  Until Andrew did.  I needed to hear that she wasn't alone.  And he said that.  And then he said this: "I held his hand.  I told him he was safe.  I told him that... that God loves him."  That she's forgotten whatever pain she felt.

I know Andrew wasn't really there.  But his saying that line validated for me my belief that someone was.  That someone said those things to her.  Someone who cared.  Someone beautiful.  Someone loving.  So now I know I was meant to watch this episode this weekend.  Times like this, I wonder if the entire purpose of my crush on Andrew was just so I'd come to these moments when I most needed them.

Random thoughts:

Music:  Piano music at Flynn's Bar and Grill.  I couldn't ID any of it.

Simon's son's annoyance with the waitress telling her favorite dish reminded me of an article I read.  It was some guy's list of 100 tips to people opening restaurants.  And he strongly urged against that for exactly the reason the son states: I don't know you, why do I care?  And I couldn't get over how many passionate responses to that were made!  Both pro and con.  Honestly, I've never even thought much about that tendency. 

Simon and son's discussion of their wife's and mother's burial made me think.  I wonder if it should even really be up to us to decide whether we're cremated, buried, or other.  Because I think at that point... we probly matter the least.  We've moved on.  But it's the people left behind  that still need to cope.  I mean I would hate to make known a strong desire to be cremated only to have that cause a survivor to be agonized.  So I hope when my time comes, the people I leave behind just do whatever.  Ya know, except for some sort of Weekend at Bernie's scenario.  I'll have to put my foot down on that one.  ;-)

Scenes Hallmark cut:
-Before the first scene at Flynn's, they show him walking to the restaurant while on his cell.  He's clearly speaking to someone representing the bank officer.  He asks them to tell him he's sorry for missing him earlier and thanks him for rescheduling and asks that he call on the cell when ready.

-They cut Simon's son arriving.  He calls the bartender "Honey" right after his dad has treated her rudely.  She does not take kindly to that, tells him the waitress isn't a "honey," either, and just waves him to the table where he and Simon end up.  *Then* Tess makes the remark about the bad mood going through the whole place.

-I'm gonna have to side with THC on this cut... the segment after Monica passes out begins with her on the floor.  But the voiceover is her in the cab talking about how it was terrible.  Flynn says she did look like an idiot lying there.  Monica explains that she was overwhelmed and that his words were like bullets in her heart.  Flynn tells her it wasn't like he was trying to shoot her.  Monica goes onto say how words can be just as hurtful and tear at the soul, etc.   I'll agree that words hurt.  Sometimes immensely.  Especially if you have to live an entire human life with the memory of them.  But Monica continuing on with that murder metaphor is straining my patience, hence thinking it was a good cut.  In the wake of local violence, an immortal crying about being verbally shot at kinda makes me want to shake said immortal and haul them to scenes of actual shootings or the resulting funerals.  Anyhow, then it goes to the crowd murmuring as Monica begins to rouse which is where THC starts.

-Hopefully I caught them all.  I didn't feel well when I watched the THC version and now I really don't feel well watching the CBS version so my attention span isn't good.

Further on down the road...
Strange.  The last time I watched this episode, things were very sad at my workplace.  Now this episode rolls around again and, once more, things were very sad at my workplace.  Thankfully, this time around things turned out better than before.  Thank God for that!

Whatever else my personal feelings about this episode, I do like the in medias res aspect.

"Rather abusive"?  Earlier me was clearly being nice.  Monica was so wildly WRONG to use guilt to get that cabbie to take her.  She screwed up.  Majorly.  He shouldn't have to deal with fear of divine retribution just to cover her sorry backside.  If "The Journalist" was the beginning of my breaking away from Monica, this was probably what prompted the separation.  "Netherlands" was the divorce.

Ha!  My Bible study just talked about wellsprings!  "Guard your heart, Angel Girl.  It's the wellspring of life...  Well, your heart and your soul's like a river that can be poisoned very easily if you're not careful."  Love it.

"Words can be just as dangerous."  Uh, yeah, Monica.  So sorry you felt like bullets flew into your heart cause some guy you don't even know got angry.  But you threatened a man who had done nothing wrong using God!!!  THOSE are dangerous words... especially when said by someone claiming to be a messenger of God!  No sympathy for you!

It crossed my mind that maybe my reaction to Monica would be more sedate if I ever watched this episode during a good period.  But I just don't think so.  It's really the cabbie thing that I can't get over.  Using God-themed guilt against a person strikes me as singularly terrible whether it's a bright, sunshiny day or a miserable one.

Sigh...  finally to Andrew's lovely part.  Still makes me tear up.  I needed to hear that so much the last time.  And I'm grateful because I felt such a surge of emotion and gratitude for John.  In his last few months on this earth, I thought of him with renewed appreciation.  It helped me to remember that when January came.  That single scene redeems the entire episode for me.

But things with Monica were never repaired.  I think I must have some sort of number of strikes that I've unconsciously chosen.  A character gets X number of strikes and then they're outta there.  Whatever that number is, she went above it.  I continued to love the show.  But I didn't trust Monica anymore.

The reunion of the two brothers is another definite highlight.  Ya know, I love the interconnectedness of this episode.  I wish there was a way to keep that and remove the Monica badness from it.  Oh and the birthday card...  How lovely of the mother to think of that.  Maybe that's what annoys me so much about this episode.  There are some really wonderful touches that may have added up to this being one of my favorite episodes.  But Monica running through it derailed that.

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