"The Violin Lesson"
A review by Jenni:
Love... this... episode.
I believe I first saw this episode the night it originally ran. I
can remember sitting in my grandparents' bedroom and just
sobbing. I'm fairly confident it made me a devout TBAA fan.
And between this and "The Journalist"... I was gone on Andrew.
What I love about this
As stated above, I really love
this episode as a whole. But here are some of the specific
aspects I most love:
Jordan's defense of his match-making attempts really made me
think. Cause I've been the subject of elder relations'
match-making schemes and they kinda annoy me. But, ya know, I
believe it when Jordan says all that he was trying to do was help Tony
be happy and find the joy he found in having children. I just
wish people realized that what made them happy isn't what's
us all happy.
This episode has a couple great lines for shipper-combating.
First, when Jordan asks Monica about her love life she says she's "very
career-oriented." Later, when Monica tells Tess of this, the
supervisor fumes that she needs to tell Jordan "you are NOT
available." Sorry, shippers.
So many scenes in this episode are difficult to watch. It seems
weird to put them in a section about what I love. But as much as
I hate seeing Jordan walk away after Tony tells him he's gay and has
AIDS... I'm proud of TBAA for doing this episode and showing
that. I hope it gave comfort to people who may have experienced
the abandonment and anger and intolerance Tony did here.
I love that Tess announces Tony's impending birth to Jordan. An
angel heralding a child is a big deal. That TBAA chose to have
Tess do that for Tony is only the beginning of their loving, tolerant,
uplifting handling of homosexuality.
I think Willa is an amazing character. I feel so terrible for her
trying to grieve and help her son on top of dealing with a stubborn,
cruel-seeming husband. But she handles it all with such grace and
doesn't let Jordan's decisions keep her from her son. Her line "I
couldn't have loved you more but I could have loved you better" has
stuck with me for a long time. I think it's important to remember
not simply to love people but to love them well.
The scene between Tess and Tony in the hospice: perfection. When
Tony says he would tell an angel to "tell God I'm sorry for turning out
the way I did," it's so distressing and yet I'm sure so many people
have thought it. Tess comes back with the best response: "In
God's eyes you're His beautiful child." She then stresses to Tony
that God didn't expect him to be anyone other than who he is. She
assures him that "what you've heard were words of someone else, words
of hate and confusion." It's an absolutely beautiful scene that
I'd personally like to force the folks at Westboro Baptist Church and
their like to watch in a loop for days on end.
I'm struck by the way Tony's reaction to the morphine seems to die away
when he sees Andrew. I hope angels can bring peace like that.
Despite my utter horror at seeing much of the exchange between Andrew
and Tess, I do love that Tess pulls Andrew to her and into a hug when
Another great line, this time from Monica: "Nothing that is made by God
I remember bursting into tears when the violin's blemish turns into a
Christmas tree the first time I saw this. Same thing happened
again tonight. Lovely little element.
I didn't love about this
I think it's a little
weird that Monica bursts into Tony's room only about one second after
she knocks. He hasn't even told her to come in when she starts
opening the door! Privacy, please!
Not happy with Tess' handling of Andrew. I think it's a lil bit
of a simplification to describe him as an "angel with a bad
attitude." Would she rather he be cheery like "Aww shucks, Tess,
that Mr. DuBois there just isn't being very nice. Maybe I can
give him cookies and milk, smile and wink and sing a lil ditty about
love and all will be well!" Andrew's right to be distressed and
angry! It's a distressing and maddening situation!
And I really don't approve of Tess comparing Andrew's judgment of
Jordan with Jordan's judgment of Tony. Jordan is judging Tony
simply for being who he is. Andrew is judging decisions Jordan
made and actions he took. Heck yeah we should do that! What
would the world come to if we just tolerated everything? Need we
wait until someone becomes violent before we call them out for being
homophobic or racist or sexist or whatnot? I don't see any
difference between Andrew confronting Jordan and Tess confronting the
pimp in "The Homecoming" or her interaction with Doris in
"Deconstructing Harry." She was decrying actions in both, not
people. So was Andrew.
Tess asks Andrew "What's wrong with you, Angel Boy?" What does
she think is wrong with him!?! How does it not occur to her that
maybe Andrew's saddened and angered by Jordan's disowning Tony?
Let's think about how many parents Andrew has stood by when their
children have been ripped away from them by violence or disease.
Don't you think it might be a little hard for someone who has seen a
mother cling to her child's lifeless body or a father get the call
saying that his child has died to then see someone willfully walk away
from their child? What's with wrong *you,* Tess?
Why do they delete the PSAs off the DVD versions? I thought this
originally had Roma giving a number for information about AIDS.
Maybe the number has changed but it woulda been good to put something
informative there. Or just leave it so those of us that saw the
original versions aren't left to ponder if we're just not remembering
Parts that made me feel
Okay, so I was totally concerned about Tony during this scene but... in
Andrew's first scene he's wearing a beige sweater. And I love
AODs in beige sweaters.
Andrew sitting on some stairs... again. You can pretty much
assume that if Andrew is seated on stairs in any scene, I am
swooning. But this scene... It breaks my heart when he
tells Monica about Carlos and his family being so happy building the
snowman. And then he tells her he took Carlos Home that
morning. He just looks so sad and so faraway. I want to hug
him. Which brings me to...
reaches for Monica's hand while he's telling her this.
It's very sweet but begs the question: if your friend was talking about
someone's death and seemed upset, wouldn't you reach out to them?
Especially if they were someone like Andrew who is really comfortable
with being touched? Monica eventually sets a hand on his shoulder
for all of a second but... sheesh. I think I'm a fairly
physically reserved person but even I woulda been a lil more
touchy-feely than that! And not just cause of the crush that will
Andrew saying he doesn't want to go into the hospice until he has to...
seriously, he's trying to make me run into the television to go help
Tess can think what she wants but I love that Andrew confronts
Jordan. Not only do I think he was morally right in doing so
but... he's pretty attractive when he sounds so forceful and
righteously indignant. But then all my swooniness over his
strength dies away after Jordan crashes the violin and Andrew walks
out, looking devastated. Then I just want to hug him...
I love that Andrew assures Tony that his "memory will live in their
hearts forever." I think it's great that Andrew is there to help
people through the dying process. That he also assures them that
their families will get through the loss... amazing and compassionate.
Here's a fantastic way to make yourself even more of a mess whilst
watching this episode. Although it would depend on your
beliefs. Watching Jordan rail against Tony all I could think was
that he had this son (born on Christmas day) and he was turning his
back on the little time he had left with him. Which then made me
really think about Christmas. Christmas is a huge, joyous
celebration of Jesus' birth into our world and human life but it also
marks the day God began to lose His son. Not completely,
obviously. But the day Jesus was born was the beginning of a
mission that would lead to His death. Juxtaposing someone giving
up their son for the greater good with some guy choosing to turn away
from his son cause of his own intolerance... pretty emotional
stuff. Then the two stories kinda converge for me when Tony dies
on Christmas, thus being removed from the world his father continued to
inhabit. And years before, in being born on Christmas, Jesus was
removed from the World His Father continued to inhabit so that
eventually all us Tonys and Jordans could find peace in that
World. I wonder if any of this occurred to Jordan and that's why
he walked out on the reading of the Gospel account of Jesus' birth?
I just can't imagine disowning my child... And not even over
they did, just something they are...
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