"Perfect Game"

A review by Jenni:

What I love about this episode:

In a nice, possibly accidental, bit of continuity, Andrew is presented as being pro-computer.  This meshes nicely with "Lost and Found."  Or maybe he just secretly wanted to don neon and play whatever version of bowling that is when they turn off the lights and everything is psychedelic.  In any case, it was cute and fun to see him pondering why they weren't at a newish bowling alley.

Actually, I just like that the Father told them to have fun together.  That's great.  I wish He had more often.  Maybe things would have been better down the road...  (And, yes, I believe it's totally okay to question TV God.)  But when Tess said they were there to bond I was like "Awww!  About time!"

It's very nice that Monica's eager to help out, even during her evening off.  She can be such a conscientious, compassionate person.

"Friendship is a very valuable gift."  Nice quote from  Monica.  Just wish she consistently recognized that...

I *loved* when Renee said about feeling like she and her fiance were giving their wedding away piece by piece.  I have no plans to marry but I'm afraid if I did that I would fall into that trap.  So something about someone else voicing that concern was cool for me.

"These humans and their hearts... it's pitiful."  I have a feeling I should be put off by Tess' remark there but I thought it was funny!  Admittedly, sometimes we are pitiful.

Wow...  I really wasn't looking forward to this episode just cause I couldn't remember
feeling particularly fond of it.  But it has some really interesting lines that fit in freakishly well with the current Dyeland situation.  I about fell over when Monica said: "Sometimes people hurt each other and they don't mean to.  But all it takes is putting your pride away long enough to talk about it."  Andrew and Monica desperately need to talk.  But, aside from the Dyeland plot element of Monica's and Andrew's fractured friendship, it really is a great quote.  Because sometimes putting that pride away is so, so hard.

I was really struck when Tess told the affianced couple that eloping to avoid decisions was wrong.  Cause sometimes I think I might want to elope.  But now I recognize that I would only be doing it to avoid decisions and taking a stance.  And if you can't start your marriage by being able to make decisions and defend a stance... that's probly not good.  So thanks, Tess!  :-)

I like that Ziggy's reaction to Monica's revelation was combative yet not evil.  I don't know.  Something about her not immediately going to "An angel!  Praise God!  I have been so wrong!" seemed so real.

Again, it was just surreal watching this.  Monica's lines just paralleled the current JABB story so well.  When she was talking about how we need to decide whether to stay or walk away or talk or be silent when things get rocky with love... that's exactly the decision I'm forcing Monica to make in the story.

"Love is the greatest gift that God can give two people but if you don't accept it, if you let pride get in the way of the words 'I love you' then love has no place to go but away."  That's another quote from Monica that grabbed me.

"He will always give you a second chance to love."  Yep, Monica again.

I love that when Ziggy asks the angels if they can just make Darrell come back, Andrew responds that "that wouldn't really be love."  Very true.  And also... it's exactly what I need from Monica concerning him.  I needed a scene where she went after Andrew when he was upset.  Not a revelation a la "Til Death Do Us Part."  Just Monica *choosing* to go after Andrew because she loved her friend.  Incidentally, this is also a theme in an upcoming JABB story in which I'm making it *very* clear that the Dyelanders choose to support Andrew and are not sent by God's command or just brought in by chance.  Real love requires a conscious choice.

For some reason I thought Darrell was without a doubt terminal.  So I was glad to watch this and find that wasn't really the case and that he had hope of a recovery.

Finally, this episode amuses me cause it reminds me of when I was lil.  When storms would scare me, I was told that the thunder was just angels bowling.  I can't remember what lightning was... maybe angels playing flashlight tag?

What I didn't love about this episode:
I'm slightly bothered by the fact that the angels apparently have no regard for HIPAA.  Even though Darrell's letter was on the ground, I don't think that made it right to show it around.  That's private information.

How sad is it when we find out Darrell's friends didn't even really know him?!  In some ways, I think that was kinda "woe-is-Darrell" overkill.

When Monica followed a crying Ziggy, I thought it was impressive.  I mean she was supposed to be off for the night but she chose to help Ziggy.  But then it just started making me mad.  Monica chose to help Ziggy.  But she chose to bail on Andrew in "The Journalist."  And I just can't reconcile these two Monicas.

I know this is just all me but... as much as I love some of Monica's lines to Ziggy, I sometimes had a hard time not finding them hypocritical.  I just really wish I still believed Monica was a good friend to Andrew.  But I don't.  I just don't think she seems to see her friendship with him as "a valuable gift."  I don't think she voices her fondness for him very often.  I do think she walks away sometimes when she should stay. 

Finally, I really wish they wouldn't have reused this title for another episode...  Why!?

Lingering questions:
I wonder why Andrew paid for the bowling and not Tess?  No big deal, just curious since she seemed to be in charge.

When Monica was talking to Ziggy about saying "I love you," I came back to the old question: Did Monica and Andrew ever say they loved each other?  In my "Cry and You Cry Alone" review, I pondered whether Monica ever said it to him as she did to Tess.  But... I need to be fair.  I'm not sure he ever said it to her or Tess.  And I'm not sure if Tess ever said it to him.  And that's really a shame if they didn't all say it to each other at some point.  I keep hoping one day I'll be watching and find examples of each exchange.  Cause if God's messengers of love can't speak of love to each other... uh oh.

I don't bowl.  Maybe this answer is obvious to someone who does.  Why would the machinery have a setting that would allow for fixing a game?  I mean what would be the legitimate purpose for that?  Is this at all realistic?

Parts that made me feel swoony:
The first couple minutes of this present an Andrew wardrobe trifecta!  Leather jacket, sweater, AND flannel shirt!  It must have been awfully cold!  But he looked awesome.  And triple cuddly.

I love it when Andrew tries to teach Monica sports.  He just seems so big brotherly.  I might actually care about a sport had he taught me.

Andrew just seems so into bowling and happy!  It reminds me of when he fishes.  He could care less about the outcome.  He just enjoys it.

Andrew apparently believes in the adage "Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned."  As a Dyeland writer, I wonder if he would believe that even more strongly now.  ;-)  My comeback would be "Hell hath no torture like an overly reticent AOD." Tis true...

Since this episode is largely about marriage... Here's what I would like in a future spouse: someone who will approach someone when they're down, even if they're a stranger.  Someone who can look as tender-hearted and compassionate as Andrew does when he talks with Darrell.  Someone who isn't afraid to be physically affectionate when it matters... as when Andrew pats Darrell's shoulder.  So if I could find a human version of Andrew... ya never know.  But, seriously, he was very sweet with Darrell.

Did I mention how much I love the sweater?  I do.  And I love that Andrew smiles so much in this.  Happy Andrew makes me happy.

Random thoughts:

Music:  There is gobs of music played at Cherry Lanes but it's so quiet and tinny that I couldn't make anything out.  There's a female new agey/alternative number at the start.  I *may* have heard the phrase "leading me on" during it.  Also heard a country song by a female.  And another by a male.  There's disco on the radio show.  Then maybe a 50s style love song at the alley?

Monica bowls like me!  Super slow and in the gutter!

Monica tells Ziggy she's been "an angel for almost an eternity."  Not sure what that means but thought I'd note it since I have been taking down any references to the angels' ages.

If you liked bowling, I think Ziggy's idea of a wedding in a bowling alley would be fun!  Maybe just the reception, though.  I bet some guests would be thrilled since receptions can be kinda boring.

Scenes Hallmark cut:
-Aww.  Right after Ziggy goes behind the alley to fix the game, they cut a cute lil scene of Tess making a strike as Andrew, sprawled on the bench, looks on with amusement.  Tess then pointedly asks him if he has any questions and he responds with "No ma'am!"  I love it when Andrew says that.  So proper and adorable.  Although I'd likely cry if he said it to me.  I don't wanna be a ma'am yet!  Anyhow, the Darling One (I am now not using Andrew's proper name for the duration of this section because I am loopy and haven't yet had all my morning caffeine) informs Tess that in bowling what she did is called a turkey.  Tess tells him that she thinks the turkey is the one who hasn't had three strikes in a row.  The Swan Boat laughs.  She then asks where Miss Wings is.  The Dear Old Brick then points to the counter where Monica is still tending it for the scheming Ziggy.  That's when Monica picks up the fallen trophy which is where THC starts the scene.

-Wow.  This is NOT a good THC episode for Tess!  After she jokes around with Warren and Sweeney at the kitchen, she and Warren have a heart to heart.  Warren tells her that Renee is ticked about his elopement idea and thinks he hates her parents.  Tess asks if this is true.  He says no but he's in love with her, not them.  Tess asks if he loves Renee, as opposed to merely being in love with her.  Warren asks what the difference is.  Tess tells him "Love makes room for everybody" (good quote) and that you marry because you're in love but stay married because "you do love."  Warren tells Tess that he's a simple guy and doesn't get why everything has to be so complicated.  Tess encourages him saying that they'll get through this if the couple just keeps talking.  Warren thanks her and leaves.

-After Tess finds the lung cancer letter, there's a scene of Darrell making another strike as the crowd cheers.  He says he's quitting his job and tells his buddy that the game is God's way of telling him to stop wasting his life as a mall security guard.  He declares that his "ship is coming in."  And then it goes to the angels violating HIPAA which THC keeps.  :-)

Further on down the road...
Well, I do believe this is the first one of these I've done from a car.  Here goes... 

Does Andrew bowl much, I wonder?  He seems to know a lot about bowling alleys and apparently even has an idea of what a bowling alley should be like these days.  Huh.  Interesting...

Monica's always happy when she's working?  Okay...  I'm not even gonna bother listing all the ways in which that's not true.

This episode is jumpy.  Terrible camerawork.  Oh wait... that's the road.  ;-)  Really this is a bad way to watch the show.  Jumpy and sun glare.  But I've got a super busy week ahead so...  I'd rather have jumpy, glarey TBAA than no TBAA.  Plus... I'd also really like to cram "Beautiful Dreamer" in since it's Promotion Day.  So if I have any time to watch TBAA that doesn't involve a moving vehicle... I'd rather watch BD when settled and this while in the car.

I always loved this sweater of Andrew's...  I dunno why but his striped sweaters made me happy.  Still do.

"Friendship is a very valuable gift."  Thanks again, Monica.  Now please write it down.  Sorry, that was mean.

Andrew's so cute with his "No, ma'am" and "Yes, ma'am" to Tess when she's getting her turkey.

I can't even remember the last time I had a chili dog.  I miss eating stuff without analyzing it...  Adulthood is blah sometimes.  But also good in a lot of ways.

Andrew quoting "Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned" still amuses me.  I think by now he may want to update that to "Hell hath no fury like a Dyelander woman when I've been scorned."  ;-) 

And it smells like cattle...  Yes, I'm driving through rural Nebraska.  Well, riding while someone else is driving.  Watching TBAA and driving does NOT mix.

I need a good cry.  My soul needs a shower.  Just been too busy to cry.  Ack.  That's sad!

Actually, this is a good episode for me to watch.  One of the stories I'm writing on involves someone feeling betrayed by someone they loved very much.  But that person never, ever intended to hurt them.  The circumstances are way different but Ziggy's anger is justifying the characterization I've got going.

Sigh...  Someone burying their face in a loved one's coat or shirt will never cease to be sad and moving.

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