"The Perfect Game"

A review by Jenni:

What I love about this episode:

"Families should stick together.  Not be stuck with each other."  I like that quote from Tess. 

"Tess says to be a good angel I need to absorb as much human experience as I can."  It's not that the quote from Gloria, outta context, is really that powerful or anything.  But that line of thinking has been on my mind a lot lately.  What if an angel actually dwelt among us?  What if he saw us as children, was there as we married and/or had children, as we grew old, and then as we died?  What sort of angel would he become?  I have my theories.  And drafted stories...  But I like that TBAA planted these ideas in my head with lines like that and episodes like "There, But For the Grace of God" and "Black Like Monica" and "Children of the Night" and so many others in which the angels really and truly experienced human life.

Mr. Aaron gives a much more natural performance than some people who have appeared as themselves.

As I admit below, this episode really doesn't appeal to me.  But I do like the historical portion.  Just the look of it and getting a sense of what the early African American players had to go through.  I think maybe part of the issue is nowadays modern baseball is so scandal-ridden.  It's hard for me to get invested in Ben and his fellow players.  But equal rights is always something worth getting invested in.

I've been listening to patriotic music lately.  Seemed like a positive thing to do.  So I was moved by Tess' performance of the anthem paired with the players coming together to salute the flag.  And while I'm thinking this had to have been filmed before 9-11, I'm sure many people were especially moved to see and hear her performance less than a month later.

"God gives His children gifts because He loves them."  Another good Tess quote.  Just wish it had stopped there...

I definitely think knowing our heritage, as stressed here, is a good thing.  And honoring our ancestors, however we count them, is important, too.

I only noticed this on second viewing but I love that both Candy and Ben have 11 on their jerseys.  Has a nice full circle effect.

What I didn't love about this episode:

I really wish they hadn't given Monica that new gift.  Something about it is unsettling to me and it just doesn't play as well as when Andrew or Tess would provide the historical perspective.  I understand that it was likely added because Monica needed to become more independent.  But it just makes me think too much of Medium or something.  The fact that I don't recall any instances of it in S9 makes me think I'm not alone in my distaste for it.

I'm afraid this episode just doesn't interest me or keep my attention.  The fact that I'm not a sports fan may be part of it.  Possibly also that there are no female characters save the angels.

Andrew didn't get to be in the flashbacks meaning we were sorely deprived of Mr. Dye in period costuming.

Tess' quote about God giving gifts starts out great but then just gets cruddy IMO.  Angels don't have family, heritage, or legacy?  Umm... okay.  Silly me thought they had a Father and brothers and sisters in His fellow children.  We all have a divine heritage and nobody who devotes all their time to spreading the message "God loves you!" can be said to not have a legacy.  And they don't have anyone to be proud of or pass that pride onto?!  Crikey.  What is the supervisor/trainee relationship if not that?!  I'll agree that they don't have those things in the exact same way we do.  But differences are stressed far more than necessary in those lines.

Lingering questions:
Could even dearly beloved Andrew convince me to eat a hot dog?  Hmmm...

How did I totally forget Babe Ruth was in this?

Parts that made me feel swoony:
Anyone ever noticed Andrew has kinda bad table manners?  ::giggle::  It's cute.  But really... he's licking his fingers here (he also does this in "Psalm 151," he chews with food in his mouth in "Buy Me a Rose."  Dude's kinda a mess.  And yet I love him.

In all seriousness, it "burns me up," too, to see kids get treated poorly in sports to the point that they lose the love of the game.  This is what I mean about how Andrew sometimes seems more sensitive and picks up on stuff when the others are just chirping along.

Andrew tosses a baseball from hand to hand.  Not only does it make me happy to see him doing something playful but it's another example of how his hands often didn't stay still.  And I find that endearing for some reason.

So I like that Tess quote that I typed out at the top of this review.  But in Dyeland stories Andrew sometimes quips that the girls are "stuck with me."  So I'd just like to go on record as saying that if I knew Andrew, I'd be totally cool both with sticking together with him and being stuck with him.

Sad...  I want inside Andrew's head when he comments that his baseball glove is "definitely from another time."  I wanna know its history with him!

That "Thank you for your time" right before he leaves Norm's shop sounded really Southern and adorable.  Or maybe the eye brow raise right before it just enchanted me.  I gonna be a sapfest tonight, aren't I?

I love how into the game Andrew is.  It's a lil disappointing that I'm over halfway through this episode and Andrew hasn't been given much to do.  But I always wished they woulda given him more boy time.  (It's one of the reasons I wish Gloria hadn't been a permanent angel... the gender imbalance just grew.)  So at least here he gets to enjoy some sports.

Random thoughts:

Music: Tess singing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" to start off.  Then later she belts out the National Anthem a capella.

This episode makes me nostalgic for Wild and Crazy Kids.

Tess talking about the eldest Mr. McCloud has a real significance to it given her later bout with Alzheimer's.

Ben plays for the Richmond Braves.  Candy played for the Montgomery Marquees.  October 24, 1934 is the date of Candy's perfect game.  Just sayin'.

One Tess is all I could handle and I'm not even drunk...  Sorry.  I don't mean to sound mean but it's true.  Two Tesses in, say, that scene with Andrew in "The Violin Lesson" would be a nightmare.

I would like it noted that I did not cry during this episode.  Instead, I cried while washing dishes upon suddenly thinking of Andrew and his hat in "God Bless the Child."  Good gravy.  And I teared up again watching the CBS version which had a post 9-11 commercial.  I forgot how moving some of those were.

Scenes Hallmark cut:
- In the scene where Ben is running and the coach gives Monica Norm's back story, there's a little cut from the top.  The coach hits a couple balls and gives Monica notes on another player.  Nothing crucial.

-They also cut some from the top of the act that follows Mr. Aaron's scene.  Ben is on the mound saying "I shall not fail."  He notes his dad is absent.  He pitches, it's a strike.  Monica smiles.  It pans to the other three angels in the stands.  Andrew, clearly impressed, notes that "Ben's curve ball looks good!"  There's a second strike.  You see someone in the stands with a poster bearing Ben's name.  And then it's where THC starts with Ben saying "C'mon, dad!"

Further on down the road...
I decided there's little point in a four day weekend if it doesn't involve an extra TBAA.  :-)

Oh... yeah... I guess I really don't like Gloria's character at parts.  I forgot how seeing a forty-something woman behave like a whiny child kinda makes my skin crawl.

I never really understood TBAA's desire to divorce the angels from family symbolism.  They're a family by virtue of having the same Father.  I think Human A-produces/adopts/marries-Human B is a pretty narrow definition but one they seemed quite set on.  I can understand when Tess occasionally reminded Monica that she was not her mother.  But they are sisters...

I still wish we knew more about Andrew's mitt.  I'm gonna sit and imagine Joshua giving it to him and teaching Andrew and then the two playing catch.  Aww...  I hope he got it fixed.

"You know there are a lot of things in this world that people throw away because they think it's just too late to fix them."  Andrew giving us some food for thought.

I wish we'd been told more about how Monica's gift works.  Does the human have to give some sorta permission somehow or no?  Maybe this is addressed and I just don't remember.  Actually, I'm thinking no.  Cause no one was even around to give permission in "Shallow Water."

I love that Ben removes his cap for the "Star Spangled Banner" even though it's a memory and Tess, one assumes, can't even see him.  He just knows it's right.

I like that orchestration when Babe Ruth first appears.

Tess' first couple lines of her statement to Norman are so beautiful.  But why do they not think angels have a family or heritage or legacy?  Family: God is the Father of angels and humans and He only knows who else, we are all brothers and sisters.  Heritage: They were born of God Most High, Creator of the Universe and All That Is.  They have their responsibilities, given to them by Him.  They have their storied history of Eden, of Bethlehem, of the Tomb.  Legacy: We're still talking about that angel with the flaming sword in Eden!  How is this not legacy?  In TBAA-verse... does Andrew not have a legacy with the Masons?  How does this not count?  Procreation is not the sole way of obtaining any of this.  I do believe there are distinct differences between angels and humans.  But God as Father trumps all.  That makes us all kin without threatening the otherness and awe of the angels.

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