"When Sunny Gets Blue"

A review by Jenni:

This has been a long, stressful week so I am really looking forward to sitting here with my chai and tiramisu and watching this... an episode I only remember for two things: the father is mentally ill and Andrew is in construction.  So it's practically a new episode to me!

What I love about this episode:

Well... they did an episode about mental illness in which they did *not* pin it on a demon.  That's definitely a good thing.  I'm glad they didn't do to schizophrenia what they did to dissociative identity disorder in "The Occupant."

I also enjoy an episode centered around music.  It's not exactly "Indigo Angel" but I'll take it.

I like how they present Simon's view of things during his hallucinations.  It gives you a sense of what he's struggling with.  I'm also very glad that it wasn't a case of Monica reaching out to him and then suddenly he's healed.  When that scene first started, I was worried it was going there but no.  They maintain a good sense of reality here.

Plot-wise, I'm not feeling this one as much as others but I do like how sensitively mental illness is depicted.  It particularly struck me when Mike was suggesting to his mom how Simon wound up in such a state.  Then again when Allison explains how it really happened.  It makes you appreciate that it could happen to any of us.  And then who is to say you wouldn't wind up wandering the streets, too?  So... you never know what it was that brought a person to homelessness.

I really wish the angels had gotten more time in this episode.  But since there's no point in dwelling on that... the time spent on the human characters allowed us to understand the motivations and emotions of all three family members.  I like that because mental illness impacts every person in a family.  I can understand Mike's anger, I can sympathize with Allison's painful decision, and, again, Simon is presented as someone just like any of us.  It really takes the stigma away.  Here's a successful lawyer with a nice family and mental illness still developed. 

I *love* what Andrew says about how Mike doesn't have Simon's disease and, therefore, can't see life as Simon sees it.  That's a good thing to remember about all illness.  You can't truly understand how it impacts the person who has it.  I'm not even sure two people with the same disease would completely get the other's feelings.

This is what's great about these forgotten episodes.  I'd totally forgotten that "Sunny" was still caring for Simon.  Wow.  What an epiphany for Mike.

"Your mind is sick and your body has followed its direction.  But your spirit... your spirit is safe with God.  There's no need to despair for He has a way to help you."  Monica speaks those words to Simon.  I think they're good ones to remember whether one's mentally ill or simply having a rough go of it.

"God is here and He is love.  You come from love.  From a place where you are completely safe, completely forgiven, and never, ever lost."  While the way Gloria is inserted into the revelation seems a lil rich to me, that is a great quote.

Aww...  Mike and Allison dancing and then Simon cutting in is the perfect ending.  Full circle.

What I didn't love about this episode:
It makes "The Occupant" seem even worse and more irresponsible than I already thought it was.

There is what seems to be a 10 minute period in which not a single angel is seen.  It freaks me out.

Gloria's insertion into the revelation irks me.  She lost sight of Monica for a few moments.  The other three angels have had much more significant experiences of abandonment.  This just seems like a forced way to get her into the scene.  Really I think my central problem with Gloria is that it seemed like the writers couldn't decide whether they wanted us to think of her as a child or an adult.  If a child, scenes like this work.  But then "The Blue Angel" becomes disgusting.  If an adult, "The Blue Angel" is acceptable but scenes like this grate.

Lingering questions:
I wonder how they determined which episodes got PSAs and which did not?  This one seems like it coulda used one but it didn't have one.

Parts that made me feel swoony:
Gah...  When Monica was talking about Mike I caught a glimpse of Andrew.  As a construction worker.  I am a cliche.  Oh... and then the camera actually focused on him.  He's so handsome.  But they cut an eye brow moment...

Oh... and he's wearing if not flannel then at least some sort of plaid.  Loveliness...  And he's a foreman!

How bad is it that my reaction when Simon left the cafe went something like this "Oh no!  He got hit!" followed immediately by "And now Andrew's wearing a hat!!!!  YAY!!!"  Gah...  And then I had to rewind to see Andrew in the hat again.

Andrew's such a good boss... letting Mike take the day off.  But I wish he'd said "And why don't I go with you?  You'll need all the support you can get."  So then we coulda seen more of Andrew...

Even in the shadows he's beautiful... 

I'm glad he *does* end up being with Mike in his time of need.  And I'm glad that he prods Mike to really examine whether or not his mom is as heartless as he thinks.  Lovely Andrew... 

I bet John Dye liked that this episode depicted at least some of the reality of being homeless since he felt so strongly about outreach to those in need.

Random thoughts:

Music: There's jazz music playing in the cyber cafe when Monica and Mike are checking for gas lines.  Ramsey Lewis Trio is put on as they talk.  Something from the album "The In Crowd."  When Mike returns to the cafe, he and Monica listen to his dad's obviously fictional band.  You hear snippets of it, too, when Simon has his hallucinations and plays.  Who knows who it really is.  During Allison's flashback, Simon's band is playing "The Way You Look Tonight."  Later they play the eponymous "When Sunny Gets Blue."  Allison sings it to Simon in the hospital and he then plays it on the sax.  Then Tess begins to sing it.

What a difference a decade makes...  Mike's mom wants him to go to college and get a real job.  Nowadays she'd just be super psyched he had a job. 

Took me a while but I finally figured out what I recognize John Savage from: Hair.  For a guy with such a massive resume, I've really not seen hardly anything of his. 

Random trivia: Simon's band is Simon K. and the Chattanooga Express.

Scenes Hallmark cut:
- Crud.  They cut some of Andrew's part in the opening scene.  Shortly after the camera first goes to him, he announces that it's lunch time.  He has to tap Mike on the shoulder cause with his head phones in, he doesn't hear.  Then he raises his eye brow and tilts his head a bit, indicating Tess.  That's when the camera pans to her for the first time.  In the THC version, Gloria and Monica just seem to spot her.  But really Andrew alerted them to her presence.  True, it's not a substantial cut but still...

- That may have been it.  But I'm so out of it this week that I should probly recheck at a later date.

Further on down the road...
Really tired but was coaxed outta turning in early in order to see Andrew being all studly with the construction gig.  Priorities!  Okay, and also because I wanted to see if John got the episode list menu pic on Disc 3.  He did!  Yay,

I can always tell it's an Andrew scarce episode when I'm tempted to turn it off and go write... cause then I can have an Andrew scene whenever I want!  :-)  But I don't because I do genuinely like the show.  And I am really glad that TBAA spotlighted mental illness in a more useful way than happened in the Gregory episode.  I can't remember the name now and I'm really okay with that.

I do like how they spliced what Mike and the two angels see with what Simon is experiencing, thinking he's playing his saxophone.

Oh good.  Monica is using her gift again.  They did remember it a bit more than I realized they did.  I'm trying to remember if it survived into S9.  I'm thinking it mighta looked a lil bizarre to Mike, though, when Monica was standing there with her eyes closed.

Mike defends his father staying the same way I did with our dog, Josh.  "If you won't let him stay here then fine!  I'll move out!"  It worked.  ;-)

Ya know, this episode is really intense and even frightening at points.  I hope this isn't one people watched with their kids. 

It's really tragic to think of all those years Allison spent watching over her husband and unable to do anything.

Sigh...  Andrew's such a lovely boss.  And I love what he says about how Mike can't understand Simon because he doesn't have the disease.  I know even I sometimes struggle to remember that we can never really know what forces are at work within people that make something we take for granted very, very difficult.

I'm still not thrilled by Gloria's "I understand you!"  Yep... cause getting separated from your friend for thirty seconds is *totally* like battling schizophrenia for years upon years.  Gloria just plain didn't need to be in that scene.

I do like the bookends of Simon cutting in for his and Allison's first dance and then again at the end.  Aww.

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