April 24, 2005

Finally, Satan!

So what do we want from a third season of "Joan of Arcadia"? The last episode of season two laid out some options. Do we want Joan to go all Buffy? Do we want Helen to become our Arcadian Arquette? Me, I just want more Glynis.

But I must say I adore the new devil character. Remember in first season when we all thought the principal was going to turn out to be Satan? Now, Satan -- Ryan Hunter -- has finally arrived, and this is a well-written, well-acted character. The actor is handsome in a disturbing way -- like Eddie Haskell on steroids. He murmurs things to people as he slips by and you just think: snake! The things he says are aptly expressed objections to the rule of God -- offers of freedom. He makes a lot of sense -- that's what's so frightening to Joan:
We don't have to be bossed around by some love-starved, egocentric diety. I didn't ask to be born, but now that I'm here, it's all up to me. I like it that way. My life is a gift? Okay. Thanks. You can't ask for it back.

Joan asks God for help. At least Joan of Arc had an army. She's all alone. God points out her nerdy brother and four geeky friends, who are, at that moment, studying physics and throwing food at each other. I try to think of a movie/literary allusion that just beyond my grasp. The hero needs to fight, and he goes about getting some pretty unpromising looking people to join his group. Am I just thinking about Jesus getting the disciples together? Robin Hood? The Wizard of Oz?

UPDATE: A commenter points out that the situation at the end of "Joan" is not so much the one of going about assembling a motley crew (and "Lord of the Rings" would be another great example of that), it's about looking at the group you've already got and seeing how bad your chances are.

14 comments:

Gerry said...

It is not that she collects that group of misfits, but rather that it is pointed out this is what she has.

Winger: "We work on it the rest of the night, we get it together. We can do this, right?"

Ziskey: "There's no way in hell we can do it!"

Ann Althouse said...

Gerry, good point. I've never seen "Stripes" myself, so that couldn't have been what I was trying to think of, but there must be a lot of military (or maybe Western) movies where someone looks at their group of misfits and think I'm screwed. Seems like a movie cliché, but I can't think of any movies I've seen with it.

Gerry said...

You've never seen Stripes? That means you've missed out on the immortal exchange:

Winger: "C'mon, it's Czechoslovakia. We zip in, we pick 'em up, we zip right out again. We're not going to Moscow. It's Czechoslovakia. It's like we're going into Wisconsin!"

Ziskey: "I got the **** kicked out of me in Wisconsin once."

Abraham said...

Hmmm...The Running Man? Return of the Jedi? The Hobbit/Lord of the Rings?

Ann Althouse said...

An emailer writes:

"How about the Odyssey, if it's not too highbrow? Odysseus, disguised as a beggar, gets hold of his old bow and a few arrows, along with a favorable position, but has to fight 108 young healthy suitors, all with swords and thick wooden tables to hide behind. His only companions are his son Telemachus, the swineherd Eumaios, and the cowherd Philoitios. Of the three, only Telemachus has a sword, because the other two are slaves. They do all manage to get some arms and armor out of the storeroom partway through the fight, but so do the suitors."

That's got a very "Kill Bill: Volume 1" feel to it.

Alcibiades said...

But doesn't Odysseus also have Athena on his side. Kind of weights the odds there. Plus, he's Odysseus.

Ann Althouse said...

Alcibiades: In "Joan of Arcadia," Joan has God on her side, so that would make it a good comparison. Joan even says to the devil character, "I have God on my side." The devil retorts "I have the cops, the newspaper, and the school board."

Timothy K. Morris said...

Mostly, I just want it to be renewed for a 3rd season. And I was absolutely delighted when "Sympathy For The Devil" came up as Ryan's theme in the penultimate episode. Coy? Us? We don't need no stinkin' coy!

Movie allusion -- "Rio Bravo," "The Cowboys," at least half the John Wayne westerns ever made.

Old Patriot said...

I agree that there are plenty of prior stories that rely somewhat on this theme. It's ancient - Remember the story of Gideon in Judges, Chapter 7? My dad was a member of the 9th Artillery Bn surrounded along with the 101st at Bastogne. They shoved cooks, mechanics, and clerks into the line. Even our "Minutemen" at Lexington and Concord were in much the same situation. I would be surprised if there weren't thousands of examples in literature you could call upon, if you had the time to really search them out.

Fred Ochsenhirt said...

Oh come on, I can't the only one who thought season three was shaping up to be Buffy of Arcadia (or is it Joan the Devil Slayer?). And that is a compliment.

Ann Althouse said...

Fred: what does "oh, come on" refer to? The main post says what you seem to think no one is saying.

Sigivald said...

The Hidden Fortress? (aka Star Wars)

Ann Althouse said...

Sigivald: That makes me able to think of "Seven Samurai" (and "The Magnificent Seven").

Chan S. said...

Galaxy Quest.