"Rock n Roll Dad"

A review by Jenni:
So I'm glad I watched this *after* this evening's rainy ride home...

What I love about this episode:
My first favorite moment comes when Tess describes grieving as "good, healthy, and healing."  That may strike some as stating the obvious but as someone who has heard that grief seems to suggest a lack of faith... I'm *very* glad Tess said that.  It's also good cause Tess really grates at me later on in this episode so I'm glad she got some good points in.  ;-)

I'm not married so take this next statement with a grain of salt but I thought it was a pretty good portrait of a marriage.  That money fight and the mom trying to continuously be two places at once... awfully familiar to me.

I love the idea of writing letters to Heaven, especially when Monica explains about how you don't even need paper but can write one with your heart.  I used to write letters like that... it's a shame I stopped.  I should probly start again.  Take Monica's advice.  But just on this.  Not on other stuff...  :-)

Another nice Tess moment comes when Sam is in her mother's room.  Tess looks at her with such gentle compassion.  It's so lovely.  Just wish I didn't end up so angered at other points...

I thought the depiction of grief here was really very poignant starting with Jon's and Sam's fight about who was to blame for Evie's death.  As sad as it is, I think we often jump straight to the blame game when we lose someone.  And then we hurt ourselves or someone else.  When, later, Jon confesses to Monica that "if I start crying, I'm afraid I'll never stop" that hit me.  I've felt just the same before. 

Oh, hey, another nice Tess moment.  I really appreciated what she said to Dylan about how when he prays to God to keep his mother safe in Heaven, he's also keeping her safe in his heart.  Cause even though I'm Catholic and we regularly pray for the dead, I've never really got it.  I mean if they're in Heaven what could they need?  But maybe it's more for us.  To keep them in our hearts and to let their memory bring comfort to us.  And just to feel closer to them.  So thanks, Tess, for helping me to see what countless religion teachers could not.

Whoever had the idea to name the company whose driver picks Sam up "Wing It Construction"... I like the way your mind works.

When Monica confronts Jon about his comment that "some people found religion, I found Evie," I was pleasantly surprised when she told him that was wrong because he placed too much of a burden on a mere human.  She doesn't make it an issue of blasphemy or dishonoring God.  Instead she helps him to see that Evie was a beautiful human but only God is God and that's who he needs.

What I didn't love about this episode:
Maybe I'm thinking of this the wrong way but I'm not sure it speaks very highly of Monica that she says she doesn't understand holding onto things that hurt.  Sometimes I think our society has become too happy-happy.  We've elevated happiness as if it's the most important thing.  I'm more of the Romantic school.  There is beauty and inspiration in melancholy, in anger, and even in some pain.  Obviously I believe depression and rage issues are very real and need to be treated in order to give people the quality of life they deserve.  But the idea that we should let go of anything that causes any discomfort... it's a lil inhuman to me.  I also think this line has some relevance to the Andrew and Monica friendship.  More on that later.

Andrew looks incredibly sweet gazing out the Mateos' bedroom window.  It's just really too bad there's a married couple in there making out in bed.  Seriously, TBAA should have really watched it with those scenes.  I'm just really not crazy about an angel being around at those times.  It's nothing personal just... eek.  The only thing that coulda made that scene more awkward woulda been if a nun had run in screeching "Leave room for the Holy Ghost!!!"

Here's a common sense lapse I can't get over.  Evie tells Tess that they're very conscientious about security given Jon's celebrity.  So she apologizes for the run around the lil boy gave Tess.  Here's my question: what was a little boy doing answering a celebrity's door that early in the morning?!?!  And you get the idea it's not a rare occurrence cause the kid rattles off that speech.  Are Jon and Evie insane?!?!  I really think I must be way more jaded than the TBAA writing staff. 

I'm sorry but did Tess flipping lose her mind!?!  How dare she presume Andrew is sticking around Evie's funeral as some sorta groupie thing!!!  Does she honestly think God keeps AODs that are that self-absorbed and classless around???

I do not get Tess being dubious about a slumber party at Sam's age.  I didn't realize there was a cut-off.  I know my friends and I had them well into high school and even a lil bit into college.  We probly still would with more time.  Tess had reason to be dubious, certainly.  But not cause of Sam's age in my book.

Now for my major gripe about this episode which basically requires I reconstruct an entire scene.  So... Sam falls into the ditch where her mother died.  Andrew appears to her and assures her her mother died quickly and that it was her time.  He goes onto say that it doesn't need to be Sam's time if she has the will to live.  He then encourages her to write a letter.  I assume because it would give her something to focus on and keep her mind active.  Not to mention it could be comforting.  Then Andrew goes back into invisible mode.  Tess appears.  She tells Andrew he was a little close to crossing the line on free will by telling Sam about the will to live.
Andrew defends himself saying that he's an old caseworker.  Moving on...

Tess: If you're going to stand around and do nothing then I'm going to proceed as if you're not here.
Andrew: Okay, okay, now who's crossing the line?  What happened to free will?
Tess: There's nothing wrong with keeping free will warm while you're waiting on it to kick in.

What are we to make of that?  To me it comes across as if Tess is saying "You're not allowed to talk about the will to live, Andrew.  It's a violation of free will.  I, however, can.  Because I'm Tess."

Must be nice to have one's own set of rules...  This really irritates me because it reminds me of times I've felt as if people wanted me to play two different, conflicting roles at the same time.  Or when people expect others to follow one set of rules while they can feel free to disregard them.  I grit my teeth through this whole scene.  Because, ya know, I bet Andrew would love to break the rules sometimes and just save and help everyone.  But he can't.  And Tess should darn well know that by now.  This may just be the angriest I get at Tess in the whole 9 years.  Okay, maybe in "The Violin Lesson" I get pretty riled.

I know this isn't at all restricted to TBAA but I wish people didn't always vilify darkness.  Monica tells Jon he shouldn't glorify darkness.  I know she means evil and pessimism, etc.  But I think darkness can be lovely and spiritual.  One of the most moving church services I went to referred to God as "O Holy Darkness."  I thought it was great.  God is in the darkness as much as in the light.

Lingering questions:
Do people still do pages like they do in this?  How did that work?  It was like they were calling an operator who then relayed the page to a phone.  But you couldn't page phone to phone "back in the day"?

Parts that made me feel swoony:
I'm actually more thoughtful than swoony here.  I'm thinking, again, of what Monica says about how she doesn't understand holding onto things that hurt.  I think that statement right there may inadvertently say *a lot* about the Andrew and Monica relationship.  Because I think Andrew does hold onto things that hurt and maybe Monica just can't cope with that.  So she can't cope with him...

Andrew is such a completely adorable dork during his first scene.  He looks like a goofball.  Especially when he does the loopty loop with the umbrella.  I love it.  Now, if we coulda got Season 9 Andrew to dance with an umbrella it woulda been a real accomplishment!

Sticking with that scene, I can remember having a hard time believing Andrew could possibly like Jon's raging, "God is dead" type music.  And then I found myself, one day, singing along with a song whose chorus basically involves shouting "the devil's got a holda me" over and over.  I like the song...  So I do understand liking a song for it's sound, not the lyrics.  So, Andrew, listen to whatever ya like and I'll support you and think you're adorable no matter what random household object you dance with.  I will then envy said object.  Also...  "God is Dead" did have a pretty rockin' intro...

I'm glad Andrew's wardrobe got more diverse.  Don't get me wrong.  He looks very cute in his beige scarf but his clothes in this, TOTGA, and "Til We Meet Again" just seem so similar.  Bring on the flannel and jeans!  But who am I kidding?  I'll take Andrew however he is.

As much as I'm irritated by the Tess and Andrew scene in the ditch, it is nice to see Andrew stand up to Tess and defend himself.  He's pretty attractive when he's being assertive.  Not that he isn't always...  Okay, maybe just 99.9% of the time.

Random thoughts:
Tess calls Andrew Mr. Halo Boy in this episode.  Just wanted that noted somewhere!

I got a chuckle out of Jon defending his music by saying "It's the 90s.  It's despair."  Right.  Maybe it's just me but the 90s seem awesomely fun compared to now. 

The Mateos' cell phones look way more like cell phones of today than Rocky's in "The Journalist" does.  I have no idea why I always notice the phones...

Strangely, I think this may have been the first depiction I ever saw of someone snorting cocaine.  On TBAA.  Ha.

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