"Voice of an Angel"

A review by Jenni:

Imagine, if you will, a shy teenage girl.  For some time she's been teased by her much cooler friends about her fascination with a certain TV AOD and the show from which he sprung.  Her friends, being much cooler, are far more taken in by the boys of NSync so the teenage girl never has anyone to talk to about her beloved show.  And then a miracle!  The NSync guys appear on the show!  The girl's friends at last consent to watch TBAA in order to see their beloved JC (or was it JD or JT?), Justin, Lance, Dude Who Later Appeared in My Big Fat Greek Wedding, and Other Guy!  The much anticipated episode, the fulfillment of the girl's hopes to get at least one friend hooked, airs and...  Monday rolls around.  The girl sits down at her lunch table (knowing all the while what's going to happen) and is promptly asked how often the Irish angel gets drunk and made to explain her attraction to a mime.  Oh the horror!

It took me years to be able to watch this episode and not cringe through out because of the above.  Actually... I still cringe.  While I'm totally over any mime-related embarrassment, I can't stand Monica in the bulk of this episode.  I don't think my friends ever watched another one.  I can't blame them.  This episode has its charms but a good introduction it is not!

Anyhow, I'm typing this as I write cause I had to hand-write during my week plus long computerless vacation and I'm sick of it so didn't want to jot notes.

What I love about this episode:

"Do you hear me complaining because God didn't make me a ballerina?"  Sometimes Tess' roughness gets to me.  But this is the perfect use for it.  Monica is acting like a whiny ingrate.  I can't sing, either.  I'd love to be able to sing but I'm not gonna pitch a fit about it. 

My personal feelings about TBAA's celestial time line aside, it is cool to see Monica and Tess so joyfully recall creation.  It's awesome to think that all the voices that would ever be sang out in that one moment.  Like we were all there in some way.

"God is not a vending machine where you stick in your prayer and pull out a prize!"  Tess' quote to Monica should be a bumper sticker!

"He's a loving God and He gives each of us everything we need.  Everything!"  Tess has really great dialogue early on in this episode.  Thank God cause otherwise I wouldn't even be able to watch these scenes because Monica's so grating.

"Not so fast, old chum."  What the what!?!  This is how an angry Monica greets Andrew.  Weird.  But it made me laugh so I like it.  Too bad it had to be proceeded by a petty, childish display of aggression.

"And now I'm a talking mime!"  Ha, Andrew's annoyance at himself does amuse me. 

It's good they gave us some background for Monica's hang-up with her singing.  The story of her singing along with the choir and then being embarrassed does give me some sympathy for her.  But just not enough.

"Yearning is such a terrible thing... to always want what you can't have..."  Hallelujah!  Monica actually forms a profound thought!  I think some Dyelanders might have views on that statement but they wouldn't be talking about singing!

I'm very glad Monica's put in jail and made to recognize that others, including children, have *actual* problems.  Monica's Father didn't give her the voice she wanted, Ivy's father hits her and trashes her things.  Only one of those complaints is legitimate.  Thankfully, Monica makes the connection.

"In God's world, little miracles happen all the time."  Good, normal, inspiring Monica is back.

"Someone does love you and want you."  Short and sweet statement from Monica to Alice about God.

This is a good episode for those people who think reuniting with the birth parent is always right for a child.  Here God sends an angel and has her NOT work towards a reunion.  Telling.

"You're His kid and He loves you so much!"  Another plainly spoken statement of God's love from Monica.

Hearing Alice sing and Monica speak "Panis Angelicus" is very moving.

What I didn't love about this episode:
Monica seems like an insane person right before the theme song.  It's really disturbing.  The fact that she walks off an assignment over her jealousy makes me not feel so bad for getting angry at her often.  This episode seems like a huge step backwards from "A Joyful Noise."

Way to overreact about the burst balloon.  I rewound a few times and it doesn't look to me like Andrew deliberately popped it to punctuate Monica's bad singing.  He certainly didn't deserve to have his suspenders snapped.  As if whiny ingrate isn't bad enough, now we have a violent, whiny ingrate.  How is it that Monica can kick dirt on Andrew ("Only Connect") and snap his suspenders and no one voices any concern or objection?  I'm pretty sure if it was reversed, Andrew would be severely dealt with.  It's a major double-standard.  It's disturbing enough in humans but you'd think angels would be beyond it. 

As stated above, I feel for Monica.  Being publicly embarrassed is awful.  But for her to remain so bitter and biting towards Alice when signs have already been sent demonstrating that Alice is a very wounded child... that's rather disgusting.  It almost makes me angry at Andrew, too, for falling for it.  Yeah, it sucks that Monica has a bad voice.  But at least she has a loving, living Father and friends that adore her.  Alice has neither.  So, again, grow up.  I know we all have moments when we're ungrateful and selfish.  But this is just more of that from an angel than I can handle.

Tess kicks Andrew out of the police station and this bothers me.  Reasons are stated in the swoony section.

Ya know, I know I didn't always react so angrily to Monica.  Once upon a time, I looked up to her.  But by later TBAA episodes, she really bothered me more and more often.  And I don't know when it started.  Watching this, I wonder if it started here?  Monica says and does stuff in this episode that I just don't think I can forgive.  Rewatching this, it's extremely easy for me to believe that my younger self wrote her off right here.  I'm all for giving the angels drama and flaws.  But I can't stand seeing Monica whine and gripe and be hurtful even after knowing that there's a child in pain and in need. 

Lingering questions:
To me, it's very telling that Tess walks off two assignments due to anger and sadness brought on by racism and hatred.  Andrew walks off an assignment due to grief over a suicide and later anger at a bitter man.  Monica walks off an assignment because someone has the voice she wants.  Which of those is not like the other two?

Monica states that there's no pay as an angel which I believe.  But I have always wondered: how do they get their pocket change?  Like how do they pay for coffee and such?

Is it really believable that someone would be so drunk that they'd forget who a friend is and only remember them as the mime from earlier? 

Is it just me or does Roma Downey appear to be in front of green screen or something when she finds Alice with the drunk man?  Once she sits down, it looks normal but when she's standing it looks funny.

Parts that made me feel swoony:
Andrew looks really thin in that mime get-up.  Too thin.  Gah, I'm turning into Tess.  Good thing I can't break into the show, I'd be giving him a bag of trail mix myself.

OMG.  Andrew might as well tattoo "First Born Syndrome" on his forehead for the duration of this episode.  Tess sent him to watch over Monica but told him not to say anything?  That sort of transfer of responsibility, secretiveness is soooo part and parcel of the firstborn experience.  I feel for the guy.  I mean more than usual.

Forget what Monica says.  I think Andrew's a good and adorable mime.  And I know I'm totally unbiased...

I would just like it made known that no matter how drunk I was, I doubt I would forget Andrew.

Andrew's so adorable and consoling to drunk Monica.  He's a good person.  Much better than me.  When Monica goes off on "What about me?!?" I would have found it hard not to shoot back with "No, Monica, what about *me*???  Do you think I enjoy always being the responsible one?  Do you think I like always feeling like the third wheel?  Do you think I want to be this emotionally boxed in?  What about me?!?"  But he wouldn't.

I adore Andrew's reaction to the bar owner when he thinks he's harassing Monica.  Very casual, not flustered, and then the look on his face when he says "I'm also a mime"...  Gah, I love him.  Even the star on his cheek.

Andrew's very sweet when he brings Monica *plain* coffee, even if Tess snatches it away.

And then our poor boy is kicked out of the station, after diligently doing Tess' bidding.  Poor love.  Tess says herself that Monica hurt all the people who loved her so shouldn't Andrew have been included in this airing of grievances???

Good gravy.  He looks very fetching in that leather jacket and with his hair that way.  And his concern for children always makes me love him more.

ETA: Whoa.  Wait.  With the cut scene it seems as if Andrew is only in this episode because Tess sent him as a spy.  In other words, he put all that make-up on JUST for Monica's and Tess' sake.  I just assumed the mime gig was an assignment but no.  I hope he got heaps of gratitude from Tess later.  Gah, he's so sweet in his scene with her. 

Random thoughts:
Music: NSync performs "God Must Have Spent a Little More Time on You."  You can hear the choir as Monica and Tess talk at the start but whether they're singing the same piece through out or different ones, I dunno.  I don't know what it is at any rate.  Charlotte Church sings "42nd Street" along with her musical bear (with a delightful reprise from Drunk Man).  There's some background music, accordion maybe, in Harold Square.  Roma Downey has Monica singing "Danny Boy" twice in this.  That's something.  Charlotte Church sings "Panis Angelicus" for the contest and at the chorale performance with the choir.  Three ladies at the karaoke place sing "I Will Survive."

The intro, before we see the NSync guys, reminds me of Godspell.

So here we learn that both Monica and Tess were around for the creation of the heavens.  This is where TBAA and I part ways.  Cause a later episode has Monica as around 5,000 and since I don't literally interpret the Bible, I just can't get on the "the Earth is around 5,000 years old!" band wagon.  It's one reason Andrew's age will never be revealed on JABB.  I'd feel compelled to align it with a belief system I don't share.

I think someone with TBAA really loved teddy bears.  Here we get a new Mr. Beans with Harold Bear.

I'm very suggestible.  I decided I needed chewing gum while watching this.

Alice, upon seeing Harold Square, captures why I don't think I should ever visit the Holy Land.  Sometimes you build things up so much in your head that the reality is a painful shock.

Ivy's braids make me nostalgic.  I wasn't Goth but I had those sometimes.

I think I burned a lotta calories with this episode.  Monica made me so ticked off I had to run.  Which, come to think of it, might be something she could consider taking up to deal with her own anger... instead of hurting Andrew.  And being whiny.

Scenes Hallmark cut:
-After Monica flees her assignment, she runs outside and the NSync boys reprise "God Must Have..."  She runs away from them.  Hopefully they didn't take it personally.  The scene that follows is her arriving back in Harold Square and meeting Drunk Man which THC keeps.
-They cut Monica telling the bartender that she's the worst singer ever (he informs her she has a lot of competition with that).  He fixes her a drink and gives it to her.  She takes the first sip and declares it better than a latte.  As she then proceeds to down it, he tells her it's Irish Coffee and laughs when she immediately asks for another.  It then cuts to...
-They cut "No spit!"  I was quite irritated with this as I remembered this moment quite well.  Anyhow, it goes back to Tess in the bus stop in the rain.  Andrew shows up and Tess demands to know where he's been and what that is on his face.  He explains that she told him to keep an eye on Monica so he went incognito.  Tess, plenty fussy here, replies that he can come out of cognito and starts wiping at his face with a hanky.  Andrew protests with "Ow, ow, ow!"  Tess licks the hanky and moves towards him and Andrew winces and says "No, no, no.  Not with spit!"  Tess relents and asks where Monica is.  Andrew replies that he thought she was with Tess.  Tess explains that she was and then starts to tear up and says she can't be everywhere at once.  Andrew gently says her name and then tells her not to get so upset, that he's sure Monica is okay.  Tess, all out crying now, says she's not because Monica quit her assignment.  This prompts a "She what!?" from Andrew.  Tess laments that her baby is out there on her own and then Andrew sets his hand on her shoulder and tells her "Shhh.  Hey, hey, hey, now you listen to me.  You dry those tears and you stay here.  I'll find Monica."  Tess says he better cause if Monica doesn't "wake up and start smelling the coffee only God knows what's gonna happen."  Could this guy *be* any more of a first born?!?  Cut to Monica drunk at the bar.

Further on down the road...
Well, here's a good thing about "The Occupant": I dislike it so much that I hated the idea of going into a new week with it still in my head.  So I'm going for a rare two episodes in one weekend spree!

Busy NYC streets always make me want to start singing "Preeeeepare yeee..." cause of the Godspell thing

"All the voices that would ever be..."  Tess references them being at Creation.  I like that.  I believe in some sort of pre-existence though I've not ironed out the details of what exactly I believe.  Maybe we existed in the mind of God.

While I think "Netherlands" was the point of no return, I really do think this is when I started to check out of the Monica show.  Monica's just plain annoying at the start of this.  "My voice"???  So sorry you don't have the voice to praise God like you'd like.  Ya know, God... the Father you get to see.  The Father who speaks audibly to you.  The Father whose Home you get to return to regularly.  Alice is a full-on brat but what sort of person begrudges an orphan one of the few really great things she has when that person doesn't just have a present father but *the* Father???

Andrew... thank goodness.  He shows up just when I start to get worked up.  Sigh... lovely even as a mime.

And then Monica does the nearly unforgivable...  She snaps Andrew's suspenders.  What a wacko.  I had to go get a Krispy Kreme just to make myself feel better.  Okay, really I just wanted the doughnut.  ;-)

Is there something wrong with me that I don't feel at all sympathetic to Monica and just feel like she's being petty?  Are we supposed to sympathize with her?  Maybe (irony of ironies) it's just excessively jealous of me to feel this way.  But the difference is I don't want Monica's place in Heaven.  I don't feel like Monica should give her Home up so I can be there.  I just want to have that sort of closeness, too.  In *our* Home.  Not *my* home.  *Our* home.  All of us.  So yeah... I can't even reason myself into feeling sorry for her and her desire for "my voice."  Monica is not an orphan whose gift I feel I should have instead.

He's just plain cute as a button.  So... did Andrew choose to be a mime?  Like was it a case of "I need to watch over Monica.  How can I easily do that?  Hmm...  Ooh mime!  Fun!"  Maybe Andrew secretly wants to be a mime.  :-)  Gah, really he is such a firstborn in this episode.  Watching over the baby, comforting the "mommy" when the baby makes her feel bad.  It's a wonder we don't all go insane.

Seriously... how can Monica be so loaded that she doesn't recognize Andrew and yet is still mobile?  Does that make sense?  I've never been drunk so dunno.  But I think I'd have to have full amnesia to forget Andrew... 

Haha.  I so love the look on Andrew's face when he tells the incredulous bartender that he's a mime AND angel.  He saves this episode for me.

Sigh... poor love tries to comfort Monica and Tess only to have the latter snap at him and kick him out.  Did it occur to Tess that maybe Andrew had something he'd like to get off his chest, too?  Apparently not... 

I just find it really galling that Monica's revelation, while beautiful at points, draws a comparison between Monica's yearning for a beautiful singing voice and Alice's for a father.  If Monica's need for a singing voice is on par with the need for a parent... she seriously needs to re-examine her priorities.

I know my comments in this section are largely negative.  But I can enjoy this episode.  It's not unusual for me to really like a show that has a character that I can't stand.  So it's easy to like a show featuring a character who I sometimes find really annoying.  The difference between this and "The Occupant" is that the elements in this that I most dislike are character-based.  The elements in "The Occupant" I most dislike are issue-based.  Likely no one is going to be majorly impacted by being ticked off at Monica.  But getting screwy ideas about demon possession and mental health... yeah, that could do a number on someone.  So in closing... this is a much better episode for me to start the week on.  :-)

Back to the Episode Guide

(The photographs used on this page are from "Touched by an Angel" and owned by CBS Productions, Caroline Productions, and Moon Water Productions. They are not being used to seek profit.)