Joan of Arcadia

Season 1 Episode 19

Do the Math

Aired Friday 8:00 PM Apr 02, 2004 on CBS
out of 10
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Episode Summary

Do the Math
God tells Joan to take piano lessons; Joan helps her piano teacher deal with her past; Joan learns a painful secret Will and Helen have been keeping from the family; Iris becomes suspicious of Adam and Joan closeness.

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  • Another fine episode of Joan of Arcadia in which God asks Joan to take piano lessons, leading to Will dealing with his half-brother and Joan's relationship with Adam reaching a point of revelation.moreless

    "Why is she doing this?" - Kevin

    "I've learned with your sister that it's best not to ask. She might try to explain." - Helen

    God tells Joan to take piano lessons from a miserly old lady in return for house work as payment. During the course of learning and cleaning, Joan discovers an old LP by the lady performing a rendition of a classical piece by Bach. It turns out that even though the woman performed well on the album, she had trouble transferring the piece into a live setting, giving up on performing altogether. The discovery, however, seems to be the right sort of encouragement for the woman, since at the end of the episode, she is shown playing the piece on the piano. There is no more resolution to this main storyline besides Joan walking away with a smile, so I was left wanting just one more quick conversation with the woman.

    While Joan is looking for old piano lesson books in the closet, she and Grace find old photos and a letter referencing a Will Gerardi. Will turns out to be Joan's fathers half-brother, who is father had after leaving him and his mother. Joe Montanya is a wonderful and powerful actor, and it is a shame he isn't currently on a regular show. His dramatic presence in this episode, between the contained feelings about his half-brother to his explosion at the kitchen table, he really made me sad. His side story here was amazingly acted.

    As for Joan and Adam, it seems like they are ready to give each other a chance again. I am happy with this outcome because they are right for each other, but I can see why Joan is hesitant due to being influenced by God. It will be interesting to see the next episode and how this works out with Iris.

    All in all, this was a very good episode, carried by the commanding acting of Montanya. While the main plot was bit unresolved in my eyes, I still think it served its purpose of producing the "good ripples" for Joan, Adam, and Will.moreless
Russ Tamblyn

Russ Tamblyn

Dog Walker God

Guest Star

Brandon Zankich

Brandon Zankich


Guest Star

Mitch Longley

Mitch Longley

Barry 'The Bear' Caldwell

Guest Star

Christopher Marquette

Christopher Marquette

Adam Rove

Recurring Role

Misti Traya

Misti Traya


Recurring Role

Becky Wahlstrom

Becky Wahlstrom

Grace Polk

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (3)

    • Trivia: Will mentions that he has a sister, in addition to his half-brother Richard.

    • In the last scene, the same person (people?) in the background walk by twice while Joan and Dog Walker God are talking.

    • Joan was playing the piano (loudly) in another room when Kevin and Helen were discussing the insurance and the second opinion from a doctor that Kevin doesn't want to discuss, but when she comes to the doctor she seems to know all about "secret doctors" and all. There doesn't seem to be any way she would know about their conversation or could have heard about it earlier.

  • QUOTES (21)

    • Piano Tuner God: Music can't be true if some of the notes are silent.
      Joan: You're like an endless pop quiz. Music is a metaphor for life, for people... because pretty much everyone I know is missing a few notes.

    • Piano Tuner God: Plato said music is the essence of order and leads to all that is good, true and beautiful.
      Joan: Okay, so now you're quoting Mickey Mouse's Dog.

    • [About their father]
      Joan: I'm pretty sure his hammer's broken and how can he play music without all his notes? So you have to help me find Richard.
      Luke: There was so little of that that I understood.

    • Adam: Hey, you're crying.
      Joan: Don't worry, it's not because of you... but I'm sure you were in there somewhere.

    • Joan: (about Adam's 70s shirt) He looks like an escapee from a VH1 Special.

    • Joan: (about Eva) She's sour on the inside. Maybe it's all the Scotch.
      Adam: Or, you know, maybe... bad ripples?

    • Joan: Don't you have a Hebrew class you should be at?
      Grace: Yeah. Why do you think I'm here?

    • Joan: I mean, how can (Adam) let Iris pick out his clothes?
      Grace: She probably does it after they make out - you know, when he has no will of his own.

    • Teacher: Then show us that the square of the hypotenuse is equal to the sum of the sides squared.
      Joan:........I can add fractions.

    • Joan: I just think you should let "A" be Adam, OK "I"?

    • Adam: I was just scared, Jane. Got kinda hurt before, and I thought about you, and being scared didn't matter that much.

    • Luke: (after Joan calls Richard) You're going to be sleeping with the fishes.

    • Luke: Joan, you remember watching The Godfather with Dad? He thinks it's a documentary. You do not mess around with Italians and their families.

    • Joan: My parents, lying to my face. What's so hard about telling the truth?
      Adam: I don't think we'll ever understand 'em. (taking Joan's hand) Let's never be like that.
      Joan: What if it just happens? Like skin getting all wrinkly.
      Adam: We won't let it.

    • Joan: (to Adam) It's just one other thing that's wildly out of control! Us! Or at least me, the human wrecking ball!

    • Joan: Yeah, well you can raise people from the dead, so just wave your hand and fix this stupid thing.
      Piano Tuner God: If you want special effects rent Lord of the Rings.

    • Kevin: Why is she doing this?
      Helen: With your sister I've learned not to ask. I'm afraid she'll explain.

    • Joan: Wow, that was great!
      Eva: No one likes a suck-up.

    • Joan: (to Grace) Aww! Vomit, how cute.

    • Joan: If you don't help me, I gonna tell Mom you and Glynis are knockin' boots, and she's going to give you the sex lecture every day for months.
      Luke: That would be spurious, manipulative fiction and...
      Joan: (in a Southern drawl) Luke, when two people love each other very much...
      Luke: Okay, I'll do it!

    • Joan: Do you realize the ratio of whole numbers that governs harmony is like the same ratio that governs all of geometry?
      Luke: Of course.
      Joan: Well you can't play eensie weensie spider... Dork

  • NOTES (6)

    • When Luke makes the comment to Joan about Will thinking the "Godfather was a documentary and not a movie" because he's Italian. It could possibly be an inside joke... Joe Montegna was in the Godfather, the third one to be exact.

    • For her work in this episode Louise Fletcher received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series.

    • Rob Morrow, who previously worked with Barbara Hall on Northern Exposure, is the second NE alumni to appear on this show - previously, Diane Delano appeared in "Double Dutch."

    • Christopher Marquette was billed as a Special Guest Star.

    • Music featured in this episode included:
      "Toccata (Fugue) from Bach Piano Partita No.6 in E minor" by Lang Lang
      "Alright" by Superchick
      "Wake Up" by Billy & The Lost Boys
      "Itsy Bitsy Spider" by Susie Tallman
      "Constellation" by The Lovelies
      "Discipline of Rain" by Peter Himmelman
      "Collide" by Howie Day

    • New God: Piano Tuner God.


    • Piano Tuner God: Plato said music is the essence of order and leads to all that is good, true and beautiful.
      Joan: Okay, so now you're quoting Mickey Mouse's Dog.
      Joan mistakes the philosopher Plato for Mickey Mouse's dog Pluto. Plato was a Greek philosopher and mathematician who contributed to Western thought through his numerous writings which are still studied today, mostly in the field of philosophy.

    • Piano Tuner God: If you want special effects rent Lord of the Rings.

      This is in reference to The Lord of the Rings trilogy, known for its extravagant display of special effects. The movies were released in December of 2001, 2002, and 2003. The trilogy, directed, written and produced by Peter Jackson, was adapted to film from J.R.R. Tolkein's famed books. The last installment of the trilogy, The Lord of the Rings The Return of the King, alone was nominated for 11 Academy Awards and won them all, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Special Effects, Best Score and Best Song, among others.

    • Grace: Didn't you ever see that movie, Queen of Outer Space with Zsa Zsa Gabor?

      A real turkey of a '58 flick, probably most famous for starring Zsa Zsa Gabor of car-speeding/police-slapping fame. Although Ms. Gabor doesn't play the title role - it's actress Laurie Mitchell who plays the disfigured, masked Queen. Zsa Zsa is Talleah, the one who inevitably falls for the charms of the hunky Earth astronaut. "Queen" is one of those 50's flicks where the women have wiped out all their men and are determined to go it on their own, until an Earth man shows up and sways them with his good looks and romantic ways.