Reviews written by registered user
|2 reviews in total|
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
As I was a great fan of JOA, I eagerly tuned in to see this series' take on talking to God. What a disappointment! The storyline became more unbelievable with every passing minute. Controversial, potentially "shocking" situations were piled one upon another, with the clumsy execution and dialog reminiscent of the daytime "soaps" of the 1950s and 60s, albeit with more modern themes (homosexuality, both male and female, adulterous clergy, etc.) until reality was completely abandoned. Daniel and his troubled family have enough problems for at least THREE such programs. Consider: Daniel is a drug addict, his wife is an alcoholic, his daughter is a drug dealer, his biological son is a troubled gay man, his adopted Chinese son is a sex addict with a particularly nasty personality, his brother-in-law is a thief of church funds, his sister-in-law indulges in three way sex with her husband and his secretary and then rediscovers she's a Lesbian who is now in love with said secretary, his mother has Altzheimer's disease, and his father (a Bishop) is having an affair with the woman Bishop of his diocese. Whew!! Oh, and by the way, his Catholic priest buddy (Daniel's an Episcopal priest) has mob connections which come in useful in tracking down that pesky missing brother-in-law and the church funds he appropriated. In between all this over-the-top melodrama, Daniel sees and speaks with a Jesus who looks like He just stepped out of a Renaissance painting, white robes and all, and talks just like a cast member of "Friends". Do yourself a favor and rent the two seasons of "Joan of Arcadia" available on DVD, a series whose flawed characters, excellent acting and dialog, and believable dramatic story lines are superior in every way to this junk.
Many people enjoy poking fun at all the 50s-60s family comedies such as
"Ozzie and Harriet", "Leave it to Beaver" and our own "Donna Reed Show"
citing how unreal and "perfect" they were.
Well, I suppose they were, however, none were intended to be taken as documentaries. They were there to entertain, and along the way, perhaps sneak in some moral to their stories, a facet sadly lacking from todays TV crop of "family" comedies. I submit that ALL television families lack realism just by virtue of their BEING television families. "Roseanne" and her ilk are no more real than the Donnas and Junes or yesteryear. And, I'd much prefer living next the Stones than I would the Connors.
Also, to those of us who were the only child, or members of a family who yelled instead of discussing, such programs provided surrogate siblings and a look at rational parenting. Being an only child, I sort of bonded with these video families who came to visit once a week, and felt better for it.
For those who've never seen it, "The Donna Reed Show" presented the Stone family: Donna, former nurse, now a typical suburban wife of the era, her husband, Alex, a pediatrician whose office was in their home, at least for the first 7 seasons, their teenage daughter Mary, whose life revolved around school dances, boys, and fashion and who could be a bit self-absorbed and selfish (no perfection there) and their younger son, Jeff, who got into minor trouble at school occasionally (once he was even suspended! - hardly perfection there, either), enjoyed sports, and driving Mary to distraction as younger brothers are wont to do. During the last couple of seasons, Mary had gone off to college, and the Stones adopted pre-teen daughter Tricia, who was the sister of Jeff in real life as well as "reel" life. Alex was played by Carl Betz, Mary by Shelley Fabares, Jeff by Paul Petersen, and Tricia by Patty Petersen.
The program ran for eight seasons 1958-66, on ABC and was enjoyable enough, though hardly as "perfect" as it seemed on the surface. Parents Donna and Alex were involved in their children's lives and usually patient and understanding with them, reasoning through problems, though Alex sometimes raised his voice to a very un50s type bellow. As a child, I watched every week, and had a slight crush on Mary, and would recommend the show to those not completely jaded by our "modern" age.