"Promised Land"

A review by Jenni:

I was pretty psyched to discover a station I now get, Gospel Music Channel, plays Promised Land.  So I chose this episode not only cause it's next in line but in preparation for watching that show.  Also, I wanted to get the sole remaining non-Andrew episode outta the way.

What I love about this episode:
This is another example of an episode from over a decade ago still seeming really relevant.  Experiencing job loss?  Financial insecurity?  Looking for meaning and not always finding it?   Those are still major factors today.  I couldn't help but wonder how PL would be met by viewers if it aired today. 

"Don't poop in your own cave."  Gotta love Hattie.  I'd never heard that line before but she has a point!

I really like Dinah.  I think she's one of the main reasons I watched PL.  She was a teenager I could relate to.  At least in the beginning.  I was always kinda studious and liked to analyze things other than boys.  And Josh reminds me a lot of my brother with his sarcastic remarks and bleak humor (lamenting the loss of pancakes after the far more devastating loss of the doctor).  In some ways, the Greenes reminded me a lot of my family which probly drew me to the show.

Hattie cracks me up although if I knew her in real life I think I might just get upset with her a lot!  I couldn't believe it when she cracks the line about Russell losing two jobs in one month right after learning her friend has died! 

I miss Ossie Davis.  I always enjoyed seeing him whether as Erasmus on PL or Erasmus or Gabriel on TBAA.  He brought such warmth to both characters.  I used to think he shoulda played God at some point.  Not on TBAA, just at some point.

This episode definitely has a way of putting life into perspective.  I may worry about money.  I may have known about my parents' money concerns when I was younger.  But I never worried that we'd run out of gas or have to buy expired goods for food.  So the Greenes definitely make me feel blessed and like I shouldn't take all that I do for granted.

Fine acting from Gerald McRaney all the way around.  Not only in the prayer in the graveyard scene which I think is kinda iconic for PL but the look on his face when Josh sees him as a grocery carry-out.  It's a profound moment.

I like how during the prayer scene, Russell brings up different types of prayer: Claire's beautiful, lyrical ones.  Hattie's angry ones.  Then he launches into his own emotional, conversational prayer.  I love how TBAA demonstrated that God will listen to us no matter how we choose to speak to Him.  The fact that Russell calls God "sir" is also touching.

"Believing in angels but seeing none, he borrowed their wings instead and went out to meet his saving grace at the end of the road."  I just think that line from Claire's note to Russell is so beautiful.

"You take America with you wherever you go."  Tess tells that to Russell and I think it's so true but not just about America.  I think we take our past and our roots with us wherever we go, our connection to them evolving as we grow.

How can you not be moved when the Spanish-speaking lady comes up to Russell and tells him she has no money but gives him her sandwich?  Heart warming!

To be honest, the entire scene on the bus gives me goosebumps.  It's such a lovely display of the kindness of strangers and Tess is pretty darn stirring.

"God is very aware of you."  Such a simple line from Tess but so important.  More than anything, I think we just want to be noticed and who better to notice us than God?

The Greene children arguing over car seats is easily the most relatable aspect of this for me.  Perfect.  That was a huge part of my childhood and *still* happens and my youngest sibling is nearly 20.

What I didn't love about this episode:
onica starts off really whiny and snotty in this.  She's humiliated by humans finishing her assignment?  And Andrew's the one with the problem with pride???  Not only that but why's she seem so obsessed with us at other times to the point of kinda wanting to be one of us by Season 7?

"Show the kinda people your mamas raised."  That line from Tess on the bus just makes me sad.  Cause I can't help but think that in some cases we absolutely do NOT want people to act as their parents (it's definitely not just the domain of mamas) raised them.  Having worked with children a bit and knowing people who still do on a day-to-day basis, I think it's so sad that some parents aren't teaching their kids basic life and social skills and compassion.

Lingering questions:
I'm left pondering still about the connotation of the United States versus simply America.  This episode seems to elevate America over U.S.  I have to say I'd vote the opposite.  I guess just cause America isn't unique to the U.S.  There's South America, Central America, and North America of which the U.S. is only a part.  Still, they do have a point since citizens of the U.S. are Americans not United Statesers.   So I dunno.  What is the difference between the U.S. and America?  If someone says "Oh, they're from America" do people in other countries automatically assume the person is from the U.S. or maybe also Canada, Mexico, etc.?

Seriously, what is the deal with Erasmus' Aunt Georgia???

Parts that made me feel swoony:
I missed him very much in this episode...  That's right.  He doesn't even need a name now.  You know who I'm talking about. 

And I just realized his absence in this episode apparently made me think I wouldn't need screen shots.  So now I gotta go do that so I have photos for this.

Random thoughts:
I miss my Monica-like hats.  No one wears em much any more.

Erasmus' jar of peaches reminds me of the movie Holes which also features jars of peaches that end up resolving a plot line.  What's with peaches???  They are yummy.

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