"Quality Time"

A review by Jenni:
Wow.  I skipped town for three days and, thus, didn't get to do an episode viewing/reviewing over the weekend.  But it seems like it's been weeks since I watched TBAA.  Weird.  Anyhow, due to being behind schedule, I'm typing this as I watch.

What I love about this episode:

What does it say about the relatability of aspects of this episode that I started viewing this at 9:14 and it's now 10:01 and I'm just now getting to *actually* watch it cause I stopped to check on laundry and that morphed into a buncha chores...

Is it bad that I'm finding this episode kinda fun and ironic in the sense that Toni reminds me of Martha Stewart who kicked TBAA and a buncha other stuff off the Hallmark Channel with the result that their ratings are tanking?  Ha ha.  Okay, so that wasn't nice but... I'm not sure I feel it's not at least a lil deserved.  Who builds that much of a schedule around one person and one type of programming?!?!

"Time...  People handle time so differently.  The smart ones make every minute count."  A good quote from Tess to remember.  Actually, I think this episode coulda done with a lot more Tess.  Tough love was sorely needed by all.

"Teenagers don't feel like they're typical.  They think they're uniquely odd."  Yay for Tess.  That's how I felt as a teenager and she got it.

Aww.  I'm a sucker.  I think Matt sneaking through the window and talking about moonlight is adorable.  Clearly I am not ready to parent a teenager.  Knew that..

Mocha pizza...  For all of the writers' issues with continuity, I do like that they never forgot Monica's coffee addiction.  And, actually, a mocha dessert pizza would probly be good.

Monica's and Andrew's lil discussion about her cooking abilities is cute.

It's nice that Angelo researches diabetes... kinda redeems his being a total brat before that.

I liked Monica's lil pep talk to Amy about being happy that her diabetes is being treated.  I sympathize with Amy.  But I knew a little kid who had to deal with diabetes and he showed a lot more fortitude than this girl far older than him.  And his was also more serious.  So her whinyness and negativity needed to be addressed.

While Toni drives me batty because she's a complete control freak, I do think this episode highlights how often it is that the mom ends up carrying the weight around the house.  She cooks, cleans, deals with the diabetes, etc.  When I had to have IVs, it was all on my mom.

The family fight is kinda good.  It's kinda nice to watch these people have things shouted at them that I wanted to shout. 

I don't really know how to explain disease.  Simply saying God doesn't give them to people isn't really fulfilling.  But I do like that Monica stresses how God gave Amy everything she needs to deal with the diabetes.  There is something to be said, too, as Monica does that illness makes us focus on the gift of life.  And to take more care with ourselves.

OMG.  I wish Monica would go around the world telling parents that sometimes kids need leadership more than laughter, as she tells Paul.  Soooo many parents need to hear that and stop being their kids' best friends and be adults instead.

That's cool that Paul thanks Monica for her revelation.  That seems to hardly ever happen.

It's good to see Paul finally give Amy her shot.  And to see Toni in the ridiculous costume.  I just wish the episode would have shown more of these bearable versions of the characters.

Monica getting a "No!" in surround sound to her offer of a slice of mocha was funny.  Yay, trio!

This episode reminds me that I need to check the smoke alarms...  And that makes it worth the frustration of having to watch really annoying people.

What I didn't love about this episode:

Why does Monica seem to enjoy putting people in boxes?  She'd barely seen Amy and dubs her a "typical teenager."  Based on what?!?  And what's a typical teen, anyhow?!?  Pray tell.  This is at least twice Monica's take on teenagers has made me want to throw things even as an adult rewatching these.  I was a teenager for the bulk of TBAA's run and sometimes I wonder how I even got through some of these episodes without going hoarse.  And it was almost always Monica who angered me.

Toni.  Seriously.  From her second scene on I just wanna shake her.  I mean she later says she's worried about Amy having an eating disorder yet she calls attention to her eating at the breakfast table.  Cause everyone knows the best thing you can do for someone with an eating disorder is kid them about how they eat in front of others.  Not.  And who meets the news of their child's sickness with a query about uniforms!?!  I get shock but that's just crazy.  It's diabetes, not something deeply tragic and surprising that would prompt dissociative behavior.

These are awful human beings!  I can't believe the parents didn't react more sternly when Angelo made that crack about his sister being a geek and then trying to make money off her illness.  That type of thing really bugs me.  And then these socially irresponsible little cretins turn into jerk adults all because mommy and daddy never instilled common decency and kindness into them.  I can only imagine what would have went down had any of my siblings talked like that while another had a major health scare.  In my book, no tuba for a week and he ain't getting paid for *any* chores for a week, either!

Gah...  I'm not sure I'll make it through this episode twice (necessary to get cut scenes).  These people make me want to throw things.  I, like Amy, can't believe Toni wouldn't let Matt stay.  From what I gather, he's the son of a longtime friend.  She can't trust him enough to let him stay in the room with her daughter when both parents are present?!  Her sick, frightened daughter?  Yes, they deserved some punishment for sneaking around.  But get a grip, lady!

Paul needed to man up and take care of his daughter.  What a wimp!  Maybe it's because diabetes is something I've known about since I was little due to my Grandpa having it and then my mom having gestational diabetes, but this all seems way too dramatic.  I mean it's a very serious disease but between Paul acting like it's a death sentence and Angelo dubbing Amy a geek for it, these people badly need a reality check.  And Matt acts like a jerk about it (although I will give him that Amy's lying was bad).  Remind me not to send my kids to this school district...  Maybe if they all weren't so freakish about it, Amy wouldn't have had that bad spell towards the end. 

All right...  Who, even when receiving bad news, forgets their other kid and leaves them?!  Gotta say, I'm a little disappointed in Andrew speaking up in the parents' defense when Angelo throws that up at them.  I have no doubt Andrew's had more than one assignment that involved children left alone and fatal fires so I can't imagine him actually seeing this as just a mistake.  But I will say that I have a personal ax to grind here because a lil girl I once knew did die in a fire because the adults were not being responsible and seeing to her well-being.  That wasn't just a mistake, either.  Parents aren't allowed to make those kinds of "mistakes" and let it just be glossed over. 

I guess this is a good episode plot in the sense that these people clearly and obviously needed angels.  But the characters were almost too obnoxious to be bearable IMO.  That being said, I think it's only fair to admit that possibly a lot of why I don't care for this episode stems from the fact that I know a person who developed juvenile diabetes when small.  And, like I said, I know someone who lost their life due to irresponsible parenting and fire.  So knowing people who have experienced the two traumas in this episode and did NOT have it turn out so well... it makes me dislike these people for whining and crying more than realizing how much worse it could be.  But I really do think the parents were dealt with much, much too generously.

Lingering questions:
Isn't increased water intake as a sign of diabetes common knowledge?  I'm just surprised Toni wouldn't have at least considered that possibility as I've known that for a long time and don't read countless parenting books.  But then I know two diabetics so maybe that's why I know.

I wonder if this is near where "A House Divided" is supposed to be?  Matt says the pizzeria is in Garfield Heights and in the other episode John attended and Andrew taught at Garfield Elementary.  The weird things ya notice...  Same writer, too.

Parts that made me feel swoony:
Andrew is utilizing all of his buttons in his first scene...  Well, I guess that's okay.  ;-)  Lovely color on him. 

Oooh.  Andrew is a handyman again.  And, yes, he is a Godsend like Paul said.

Ha!  I love this man!  Andrew's expression when that guy pulls him into a hug at the volleyball game... priceless!  And oh-so-relatable.  I'm easily freaked by displays of affection from people I don't feel close to but who seem to think personal space is a myth.  This actually makes me feel good cause Andrew isn't at all cold.  In fact, he's really affectionate and cuddly.  But even he thinks non-close people should watch it with the hugging, apparently.

I love Andrew's WTW face when Monica tells Toni she admires pizza.  What the what indeed.  (The alternative phrase/ abbreviation is too vulgar for Andrew, by the way.)  Anyhow, that's nice he also praises her as a hard worker.  Aww.  Andrew's so sweet.

Andrew as a carpenter is very cool.  But, seriously, why does Toni think she can just make the carpenter into a cook and that's just okay?  What if Andrew hated cooking!?  But he's so laidback about it.  Lovely angel.

I'm digging Andrew's brown sweater during the pizza costume scene.  And his very diplomatic "They are that..." when Monica dubs them "unique."

Ooh.  Andrew fighting the fire is nice.  But, again, I sometimes worry that these things mess with him.  Why could he stop that fire but not others?  Hugs to Andrew and his angst that I imagine...

Random thoughts:

Music:  Classical... I think I knew it at one point...  Strings-centric.  Gah, now this is gonna bug me.  Boccherini's Minuet.  Thank you, Google.  Only took me about half an hour...  There's a band at the volleyball game, I assume playing the school song or something.  Angelo attempts to play his tuba.  I have no clue what he's playing or if maybe he's just improvising.

Ha.  Toni's using a paper planner.  Those were the days!  Now if my Outlook dies, I'm in huge trouble.

It's a good thing neither Andrew or Monica are in unions.  Toni woulda heard from them the way she keeps repurposing the angels through out the episode.

If I had a pizza parlor, my secret ingredient would be thyme.  Because thyme is yummy and doesn't get enough attention.

Scenes Hallmark cut:
-I feel like there may have been more volleyball at the beginning but I dunno.  I kinda zone out during sports scenes.

-In the uncut version, the segment after Amy's collapse begins in the hospital waiting room.  Toni is on the phone pacing.  Monica is sitting with Angelo who tells her about a classmate he knew who collapsed after their teacher announced a science test.  He goes on to say that everyone thought the kid was faking.  Monica tells him that Amy is not.  Angelo sadly tells her he knows.  Then it goes to Paul entering and saying that Amy's being admitted for the night which is where THC starts the scene.

-There's definitely volleyball cut later.  After Amy returns to the team post-hospitalization, the segment opens with a game in progress.  Amy's parents and Monica are watching.  Amy misses a serve... or something.  I don't know volleyball.  Matt's dad asks her parents if she's okay and tells them they'll need her at state.  Toni tells him she's fine.  Monica leans over and tells the parents that it's only a matter of time before people find out and then Amy will discover it's nothing to be ashamed of.  Then Amy's coach calls her out which is where THC starts.

-Finally, the original ended with a PSA for JDF given by Roma Downey.  It now appears to go by JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation).

Further on down the road...
It's Memorial Day and I have the flu or something...  So, laying low with TBAA.

Andrew's so nice.  I seem to have said some version of that on the last three of these.  "Hardest worker I know" is high praise from him as devoted to his work as he is.  Lucky Monica!

What is the deal with caring about what Angelo's doing during the volleyball games?  So he's talking with the band?  And a parent would care because...?  It's not like he's taking up
any more time by talking than he would by sitting there watching.

The exchange between Andrew and Monica about her cooking prowess is cute.  For some reason, this episode never sticks in my head so every time I watch it, I'm surprised by what's in the episode.  Totally forgot about that.

So what is the boyfriend thinking are the three major food groups in chocolate covered cherries?  Fruit obviously.  Then I guess dairy for the creamy filling.  But then what?  Is sweets a group?  I can't think of any other category for chocolate.

I just don't understand, still, the secrecy about Amy's diabetes.  Growing up, I knew several kids with assorted medical conditions and no one cared.  I'm not gonna say bullying never happened.  It did.  But I can't recall an occasion when a medical issue was cause for the bullying.  We had a diabetic kid in grade school and he turned it into a science project that we all thought was cool.  And my class was bad!  Is this an especially vicious school and/or town?  So weird. 

I think maybe a lot of my problem with this episode... and why I tend not to remember it beyond being the "episode with Andrew fighting a fire!"... are the characterizations.  Juvenile diabetes is a worthwhile subject but these people are so unlikable and unrelatable that it's hard to take it seriously and not view it as a Saturday Night Live skit called The Over-Dramatic Family.  This episode is completely lacking in subtlety.  In the words of Ron Burgundy, the greatest anchorman to ever live: "Boy, that escalated quickly. I mean, that really got out of hand fast."

Those uniforms are horrendous but, yeah, it's nice that Toni put one on. 

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