Joan of Arcadia

Season 1 Episode 21

Vanity, Thy Name Is Human

Aired Friday 8:00 PM May 07, 2004 on CBS
out of 10
User Rating
57 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Vanity, Thy Name Is Human
Joan takes a cosmetics class, per God's request, and Kevin doesn't react well to crossing paths with the last girlfriend he dated before his disabling accident... Glynis' flattering makeover attracts a great deal of positive attention at school, which only adds to Joan's disappointment when Adam fails to notice her own new look. Meanwhile, Kevin, who remains bitter with the belief that he had been dumped by Beth because he had become a paraplegic, harshly rebuffs her efforts to make peace with him.moreless

Who was the Episode MVP ?

No results found.
No results found.
No results found.
  • God tells Joan to take a make-up class that is really about make-up. Adam doesn't seem to be noticing her changes. Will busts a Russian teenage prostitution ring and Kevin sees his old girlfriend from right before the accident.moreless

    While at the supermarket, the kids encounter Beth, Kevin's girlfriend from around the time of the accident. He makes sure to act really cold towards her even though she is civil. The next morning at breakfast, Joan reveals the meeting and Kevin becomes further angry. Also, Helen had painted through the night, creating a piece that everyone expect for Will finds good. On the way to school, Joan meets up with God and He tells her to take a "make-up class", to which she says she hasn't missed any classes recently. In chemistry class, however, it is revealed by the teacher there is a cosmological class being given for extra credit. As this turns out to be the "make-up class", Joan joins, as does Friedman and Glynis. Elsewhere, Helen's art gallery friend sees her painting and promises here a showing if she could produce more. Will busts up a prostitution ring involving Russian teenagers. When he comes home to tell Helen, she becomes angry that what he does is simplistic but he can't "get" her painting. The next day at school, Joan and Glynis are both turning heads for the way they look, though Adam and Luke both don't seem to really notice. Joan then comes to revelation that she doesn't need to preen herself and gives up on the make-up. Back at home, Beth visits Helen as she is trying to paint. Kevin arrives home and tells her to leave, but not before making some snide remarks. Joan reveals to Kevin that had been coming to the hospital when he was injured, which he didn't know. When he confronts Beth about it, it turns out that he had dumped her the night of the accident, but didn't remember doing so. He apologizes for everything he had done because he didn't know that little fact. When Adam doesn't notice that Joan has gone rank and without make-up, she becomes frustrated that he is trying to hard to look like he is not trying. Later, he shows up to her house to explain that he is just as shallow as she is due to his recent movie collection. Will and Helen work out their storyline when Helen decides to torch the painting since it was too much not like her. Also, Luke and Glynis call it quits since Luke no longer likes the same girl he started out with.

    Overall, this seems like more of a downer episode despite the resolutions at the end with Joan/Adam and Helen/Will. We are still left withe Kevin and Luke being at odds. I am sure this will work into the season finale somehow. I liked Joan's storyline, because I remember feeling/being the same way she was in school after the realization that looks don't matter (ie. I am not the best looking person, haha). I think I liked Kevin's storyline the best because I feel he is such a good dramatic actor, as much as he is a comedic one as well. I am also glad Luke and Glynis are done ... bring on Luke and Grace!moreless
Mark Totty

Mark Totty

Dt. Carlisle

Guest Star

Joel Murray

Joel Murray

Balloon Sculptor God

Guest Star

Erin Chambers

Erin Chambers

Cheerleader God

Guest Star

Becky Wahlstrom

Becky Wahlstrom

Grace Polk

Recurring Role

Aaron Himelstein

Aaron Himelstein


Recurring Role

Elaine Hendrix

Elaine Hendrix

Ms. Lischak

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (4)

    • Beth refers to going to nearby Fordham College. Fordham University (which has a subset called Fordham College) is located in NY City in the Bronx, which is nowhere near Maryland, where Arcadia is located. It's certainly too far away for a daily commute, which Beth indicates she is doing.

    • In another odd sequencing glitch. Joan has her "revelation" in make-up class, and then seemingly the next day, only a couple of scenes later apparently the same day after she gets home, she smells. Isn't that kind of quick if it's on the same day?

    • The timing's a little off. Will apparently gets his arrest on the same day as Joan's first make-up class (it occurs before we see her in class). But then it's the next day (for Joan - she's wearing different clothing) and her second class, and after that Will and Helen are talking about the arrest and that it's Will's big news. If it were such big news, wouldn't he have mentioned it the previous day?

    • When Will enters the house and busts in, when he confronts the older guy neither one of them say anything, but the closed captioning claims they're saying "Where's your warrant?" and "You're looking at it."

  • QUOTES (17)

  • NOTES (6)

    • Injoke: Glynis refers to Christina Aguilera during makeup class. The actress that plays Glynis, Mageina Tovah appeared in Christina Aguilera's 'Beautiful' video.

    • Guest star Shelley Long is best known for playing Diane Chambers on Cheers from 1982 to 1987; her costar was Ted Danson, husband of Mary Steenburgen.

    • Shelley Long and Christopher Marquette were billed as Special Guest Stars.

    • Music featured in this episode included:
      "Lime Sherbert" by Jeff Lingle
      "Wetter Than Water" by Jeff Lingle
      "Chained At The Wrist" by Young Circle
      "Oh Yeah Oh Yeah" by Wilfred N & The Grown Men
      "I Hate Your Lipstick" by Veal
      "Put Me In A Photograph" by Army Of Freshman
      "Drifting Off" by Q-Burns Abstract Message
      "Last Of Him" by Joe Deveau
      "Fall Away" by David Wilcox

    • Barbara Hall also worked with this episode's writer, Robert Girardi, on Judging Amy--she possibly got the inspiration for Joan's family name from him.

    • New Gods: Balloon Sculptor God and Cheerleader God.


    • Grace: You'll know when it's over. There'll be a big, embarrassing party with rubber chicken and old Jews dancing to Donna Summer.
      Donna Summer is a Grammy award winning singer/songwriter, most known for a string of hits beginning in the disco era and stretching into the early 1980s. With 130 million records sold, she is one of the best-selling female singers of all time, and still holds the record for having three successive double-albums hit #1. Her most well known songs include "Love to Love You, Baby", "Hot Stuff", "Bad Girls", and "She Works Hard for the Money".

    • Joan: Like Erykah Badu.

      Joan is commenting to Friedman on his hair. Singer Erykah Badu's hair is very large, much like Friedmans.

    • Helen: At least I didn't cut off my ear.

      At that time in his life, Vincent van Gogh (1853-90) was very good friends will the well known artist, Paul Gauguin (1848-1903). One day, Gauguin painted a portrait of van Gogh, who was not pleased with the final product. Later, they argued at a café and van Gogh threatened Gauguin with a straight razor. Gauguin stared him down, until van Gogh slunk away. That night, van Gogh sliced off his left ear lobe, wrapped it in a handkerchief, and presented it to a prostitute. [Source: The Annotated Mona Lisa by Carol Strickland, 1992]

    • Will: I have Spidey Sense, remember?
      Referring to the character Marvel comic book and movie character, Spiderman. His so-called "Spidey Sense" gave him premonitional warning of approaching danger.