Joan of Arcadia

CBS (ended 2005)
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1,714 votes
  • show Description
  • Joan of Arcadia is a drama that follows a typical family facing atypical situations, not the least of which is their teenage daughter's conversations with God. A tough but soft-hearted police detective in Arcadia, Will Girardi (Joe Mantegna) dreams of providing a safe haven for his family and community. An outbreak of serious crime in his idyllic new town has challenged Girardi's desire for order, as have the ups and downs he faces with his family. Daughter Joan (Amber Tamblyn), an average teenager, has been acting a little strange. Most don't know that it has to do with the unusual way various people keep popping up, introducing themselves as God and then giving her specific directions to do things, such as get a job, join the debate team or volunteer with children. The appearances are hard for her to believe, even more so as she never knows who's going to turn up next. One minute it's a cute boy her own age, the next it's the lunch lady or a little girl. She'd been keeping it a secret from everyone, though she has finally revealed it to her artistic and generally sensitive boyfriend, Adam (Christopher Marquette), who believes she's been experiencing hallucinations. Rounding out the Girardi family are her art-teacher mother, Helen (Mary Steenburgen); her 16-year-old science-geek brother, Luke (Michael Welch), and her older, newspaper-writer brother, Kevin (Jason Ritter), a former high-school sports star who is in a wheelchair as a result of a car accident. Joan's unlikely new best friend is her publicly caustic and rebellious, but privately insightful and supportive classmate, Grace (Becky Wahlstrom). Unsure of what God wants--if God exists--and if she's even sane, Joan tentatively follows God's cryptic directives, all the while trying to retain a normal teenaged existence. Theme Song: "One of Us" Performed by Joan Osborne CBS Broadcast History: September 2003 - May 2005 --- Friday 8:00 pm Awards and Nominations: 2003 - Won - People's Choice Awards - Favorite New Dramatic Series 2003 - Won - American Film Institute - Top 10 TV Programs of the Year 2004 - Nominated - Golden Globes - Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series (Drama): Amber Tamblyn 2004 - Nominated - Golden Satellite Awards - Best Performance by an Actress in a Series (Drama): Amber Tamblyn 2004 - Won - Golden Satellite Awards - Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series (Drama): Mary Steenburgen 2004 - Won - Saturn Awards - Best Actress on TV: Amber Tamblyn 2004 - Nominated - SyFy Genre Awards - Best Young Actor: Amber Tamblyn and Michael Welch 2004 - Won - The Humanitas Prize - 60 Minute TV Category: Pilot episode 2004 - Nominated - The Humanitas Prize - 60 Minute TV Category: The Uncertainty Principle episode 2004 - Nominated - Television Critics Assn. - Outstanding New Program 2004 - Nominated - Teen Choice Awards - Best TV Show: Drama, TV Actress Drama: Amber Tamblyn, and Choice Fresh Face: Amber Tamblyn 2004 - Nominated - Emmy - Outstanding Drama Series; Outstanding Lead Actress in Drama Series: Amber Tamblyn; Outstanding Guest Actress in Drama Series: Louis Fletcher (Do The Math episode) 2004 - Nominated - Artios Awards - Dramatic Pilot Casting: Vicki Rosenberg 2004 - Won - The Family Television Awards - Best Drama Series and TV Actress: Amber Tamblynmoreless

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  • Episode Guide
  • S 2 : Ep 22

    Something Wicked This Way Comes

    Aired 4/22/05

  • S 2 : Ep 21

    Common Thread

    Aired 4/15/05

  • S 2 : Ep 20

    Spring Cleaning

    Aired 4/8/05

  • S 2 : Ep 19

    Trial and Error

    Aired 4/1/05

  • S 2 : Ep 18

    Secret Service

    Aired 3/4/05

  • Cast & Crew
  • Amber Tamblyn

    Joan Girardi

  • Joe Mantegna

    Will Girardi

  • Michael Welch

    Luke Girardi

  • Mary Steenburgen

    Helen Girardi

  • Christopher Marquette

    Adam Rove

  • Photos (12)
  • Top Contributor
  • Gislef

    User Score: 1056


  • Trivia & Quotes
  • Quotes (752)

    • Luke: 'Cause you know, everything is energy and energy can manifest itself into any form depending on its rate of vibration. Joan: So, God could like vibrate himself into the form of a really hot guy about my age.

    • Joan: Are you being snippy with me? God is snippy.
      Cute Boy God: Let me explain something to you, Joan. It goes like this. I don't look like this. I don't look like anything you'd recognize. You can't see me. I don't sound like this. I don't sound like anything you'd recognize. You see, I'm beyond your experience. I take this form because you're comfortable with it. It makes sense to you and if I'm snippy, it's because you understand snippy. You get it?|
      Joan: Sort of.
      Cute Boy God: Good. 'Cause I'm really not snippy. I've got a great personality. You'd like me.

    • Cute Boy God: How about you believe me if I agree to overlook that promise you didn't keep? Joan: What promise? Cute Boy God: Let's see, that you'd study hard, stop talking back, clean your room and even go to church, if I recall, if I let your brother live. Joan: How did you know about that? Cut Boy God: Omniscience. Look it up. Joan: So you let my brother live, and now you're here to collect? Cute Boy God: No. I don't bargain. That would be cruel.

    • Joan: There's a pervert in the yard!! Luke: ..and a pervert appears in the yard.

    • Joan: Who are you? Cute Boy God: I've known you since before you were born, Joan. Joan: I'm going to ask you one more time. Cute Boy God: I'm God. Joan: You're what? Cute Boy God: God. Joan: Don't to me again.

    • Joan: What about my hair? Luke: It's on your head.

    • Luke: As the great physicist Faraday once said, 'Nothing is too wonderful to be true.'

    • Luke: So, what you do is that you shoot these photons at this piece of paper... (he's interrupted by Joan) and a pervert appears in the yard.

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    Notes (207)

    • In the writers draft version of the pilot script, the Girardi family was called the Delaney family.

    • This is the only episode of the entire series in which neither Chris Marquette (Adam Rove) nor Becky Wahlstrom (Grace Polk) appear.

    • David Burke (Father Ken Mallory) is the only actor, besides the regulars, to appear in both this episode and the finale, "Something Wicked This Way Comes".

    • Show creator Barbara Hall wrote a list of guidelines for the writers, which she called "The Ten Commandments of Joan of Arcadia". These "commandments" are: * 1. God cannot directly intervene. * 2. Good and evil exist. * 3. God can never identify one religion as being right. * 4. The job of every human being is to fulfill his or her true nature. * 5. Everyone is allowed to say "no" to God, including Joan. * 6. God is not bound by time. This is a human concept. * 7. God is not a person and does not possess a human personality. * 8. God talks to everyone all the time in different ways. * 9. God's plan is what is good for us, not what is good for him. * 10. God's purpose for talking to Joan, and everyone, is to get her (us) to recognize the interconnectedness of all things - i.e., you cannot hurt a person without hurting yourself; all of your actions have consequences; God can be found in the smallest actions; God expects us to learn and grow from all our experiences. However, the exact nature of God is a mystery, and the mystery can never be solved.

    • (According to the Pilot script) Joan is 16 years old at the beginning of the series.

    • (According to the Pilot script) Cute Boy God says that Will Girardi was born Sept. 4th, 1957 in Chicago and joined the police force in 1980.

    • The pilot was reshot. When God reveals himself to Joan they're in the school hallway but in the previews this scene took place outside in front of the school steps. As a matter of fact the school they ended up using is completely different than the one shown in the previews. Also, Kris Lemche's hair is a lot shorter than it was in the previews.

    • The unaired version of the pilot was quite a lot different. First of all it was about 15 minutes shorter, there were fewer scenes and nearly all of the scenes were reshot with various changes in dialogue and setting.

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    Trivia (117)

    • Trivia: The fictional town of Arcadia is set in the state of Maryland.

    • In the same scene with Joan and Kevin, the tattoo on Amber's leg is clearly visible when Kevin pulls Joan off the sofa.

    • After Joan throws a glass of water in the face of Kevin, she holds the glass in her right hand. Kevin start tickling her and then the camera shot is made from behind Joan. At that point she does not have the glass in her hand any more. Then the camera shot is changed again from behind Kevin and Joan has the glass in her hand again.

    • Given we later find out in "Just Say No" that Helen was raped by someone crawling in to her window (in college), both she and Will seem awfully calm about Joan seeing a pervert outside her window here.

    • Adam tells Grace and Joan that the chemical equation for cellulose (twigs) is C6 H12 O6 but that is the chemical equation for sugar. Adam was close for cellulose, it's a polymer made up of glucose (sugar) molecules. The right molecular formula is (C6H10O5)n.

    • God's plan as he explains it doesn't make sense. Will met Adam as he got home from his party. Then Will went to bed and Roebuck shows up with his report a few hours later that same night. But God says his plan was that Will would be nice with Adam's father the night janitor because their kids were friends, which would lead to Roebuck's brother-in-law who would encourage Roebuck to get the report to Will. How did all that happen between when Will got home and met Adam, and a few hours later when Roebuck showed up? Seems like at least a day would have gone by for all that to happen, and it didn't.

    • In this episode Grace and Adam appear to not know much about each other, but we later find out they have been best friends since pre-school.

    • In the scene where Joan and Grace share a sandwich. Grace's sandwich at first has no lettuce, but in the next scene it does.

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    Allusions (112)

    • TV Movie The movie that is on TV when Joan is trying to find God through it, in the beginning of the episode, is 1939 Frank Capra's Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, starring Jimmy Stewart and Claude Raines.

    • Adam: Cha, fo shizzle, my nizzle.
      Adam's unusual quote is from an unusual speech pattern created by Snoop Dogg, one of the premiere music rappers of the time. It was popularized on his MTV show, Doggy Fizzle Televizzle. It's also pretty bad form for a white guy to use the term "nizzle", it being a variant on the "N" word. White people are supposed to use bizzle or sizzle (brother or sister) instead.

    • Grace: And Rain Man's back to underpants. Grace is comparing Adam to Dustin Hoffman's autistic character, Raymond Babbitt, in the movie Rain Man.

    • Joan: Oh, like you don't know. 'Cain, where's your brother?'. Very passive-aggressive... In the Bible (Genesis 4), Cain and Able are the first and second sons of Adam and Eve, respectively. After God took an offering from Able but rejected Cain's, Cain slew his brother Able in an argument. Shortly thereafter, God met up with Cain and asked him this question. This is whence from comes the classic response, by Cain to God, "Am I my brothers' keeper?" as though he didn't know either.

    • Joan: I can also take the blue pill. Reference to how Neo is "awakened" in the 1999 movie The Matrix.

    • God: Last time I asked someone to build a boat it turned out to be something big like, you know, saving the world. This refers to the Biblical story of Noah and the flood, found in Genesis 6:8-8:17

    • Will: The Green Goblin figured out what car was mine... Villain from the Spiderman comic books and the main villain in the first movie. Pretty much appropos of nothing we see here except the letters are kinda in green.

    • Helen: I get to know who're you're talking to on the internet. Dr. Phil is very clear on this point.
      Helen is referring to The Dr. Phil Show, at the time a very popular "advice" television talk show.

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  • Fan Reviews (116)
  • The Ultimate Movie Review! -- @tss5078

    By Tss50782625, Aug 10, 2014

  • Please bring it back

    By winkyblink, Sep 13, 2013

  • Unnime

    By TiagoNobre1, Aug 18, 2012

  • Another Great Show before its time

    By mindmalfunction, May 29, 2012

  • Sequel to the last episode

    By hduck1, Jan 03, 2012