Today’s #throwbackthursday is devoted to Joan Of Arcadia, a 90s-style show that examines life, love, faith, friendship and what it all really means.
I always associate my favourite 90s teen shows with certain moments in my life. I discovered these glorious shows as a teenager and I believe I found each show when I needed it the most.
When I was 15, I discovered Joan Of Arcadia at the exact same time that my grandpa passed away. He had been in the hospital for a while and my parents and I spent a week in my grandparents’ small town a few hours away from Toronto. We knew it was coming but it was still very hard, of course. My grandpa has always been a super special part of my life. He always, always, always supported my writing dreams and I still have a card that he wrote me about some poems I sent him. He taught me about Dylan Thomas’ poetry and told the funniest stories. My personal favourite? When he spit on a wasp.
So that week when I was 15, I bought the first season DVD of Joan Of Arcadia, and it seemed like a pretty fitting show. Based on the Joan of Arc story, this drama follows teenager Joan, who discovers in the pilot that she can talk to God. Only he/she shows up in different forms every single time: a young kid, a cute teen boy, an elderly woman, a middle-aged man. Besides that, she’s dealing with her first love Adam, her friends, trying to fit in at school, and she’s struggling with her family’s greatest tragedy (her older brother, Kevin, is now in a wheelchair thanks to a car accident).
My grandpa was a spiritual person, and, of course, the major theme of this show is definitely spirtuality.There was a magical quality to that week, as if he was still in the house, as if he was still hanging out with us at meals and watching over us. I believe that he definitely knows what’s going on with me and my family. And Joan Of Arcadia is a magical show. It helped me and was super comforting at a time when I needed comforting the most.
My grandpa wrote smart short stories and brilliant essays and letters to the editor that were always published in a major Canadian newspaper. He and my grandma started a used bookstore… and, as my parents tell it, every time they visited the store, their own books mysteriously had ended up on the store shelves.
In my final year of university, I took a Religion in Pop Culture class and wrote a paper on Joan Of Arcadia. It’s still a show I watch every once in a while. It’s an old friend. It’s a reminder of a time in my life that was confusing and tough and ultimately pretty healing. It’s 11 years later and I still remember watching it on the tiny TV set in my grandparents’ living room. Now we have Netflix and now I’m in my 20s. But every time I watch an episode and watch the opening credits with Joan Osborne’s theme song “What If God Was One Of Us,” I remember being 15.
Have you seen Joan Of Arcadia?