1×04 The Boat

….. by TeeJay


“Adam calls everyone dude.” In fact, he does. Just like he says words like “cha” and “unchallenged”—and it’s totally cute. Grace tells him to stop with the ‘dude’, “It’s totally pre-millennium.” He asks, “Uh, wait, what’s the new ‘dude’?” “Try saying ‘yo’ at the end of the sentence,” Grace suggests. “We’re stinkin’ rich, yo,” he says to Joan as she goes through the wallet that has lots of bills in it which she just picked up from the floor.

When Joan is in their garage, trying to fit that boat together than God told her to build, she’s in despair. It’s not working. It’s crap. Then there’s a familiar voice. “Jane?” She says, “Go away, Adam.” “How’d you know it was me, yo?” A little unnerved, she says, “You’re the only one who calls me Jane.” Yeah, and why does he do that?

And Joan is standing there, looking at the (and let’s be frank) piece of crap that was supposed to become a boat, moaning about how she lost her boat-making mojo because of Mr. Price. And then Adam tells her the story of how Mr. Price stole his uncanny gift of being able to play any instrument he wanted. And because it’s Adam, he tells her, “I like your beautiful boat,” before he leaves. (It’s worth mentioning that Adam does a pretty good imitation of Mr. Price in there somewhere. Too funny!)

Later, in the bookstore where Joan works, Adam helps her find information on how to make a real boat out of that piece of crap. And he asks her why it’s so important to her. She tells him, “It’s complicated.” And he’s offended. “I’m not stupid, Jane. You know, I understand a lot of things that other people don’t get.” And Joan is crumbling. Can she tell him? “The reason that I do some of the things I do, it’s kind of a… a secret…” Just then, Mrs. Landing-God (or OldLady-God) interrupts, calling for help in the large print section. And Joan was that close to telling him.

Mrs. Landing-God tells Joan that Adam already has enough burdens to carry. And that she should take on some of his burdens, and not vice versa. When Joan returns to where Adam is still standing with a book in hand, he asks her what she was about to tell him that was kind of a secret. But Joan now knows it’s not the time and place to tell him, so she avoids the question and rather unsubtly tells him to leave. You can just see the disappointment in his face. He thought she would trust him. Joan is left standing in the bookstore, confused and wondering what burdens Adam might be carrying.

Trivia (by TeeJay):
Does Adam really not know Joan’s real name and calls her Jane instead? No. We were enlightened about that on the episode commentary for episode 1×12 Jump. This is from the author’s and producer’s own lips:

In the beginning, Adam was a different character. Adam pretends to be in another world where he doesn’t need to answer questions or say anything meaningful. And we used the idea that Adam was doing this to protect himself. We find out why in this episode. And he called her Jane when he first met her as part of the dodge, but he just always continued to do it. Then when he became angry at her, he actually called her by her name, and it was somehow so very insulting. Because what it did was that it just shut a door between the two, there was no affection there. With the result that when he calls her Jane again, it’s kinda touching.

There’s a deleted scene in this episode as well that you get to see on the Joan of Arcadia S1 DVDs that features Chris, but the scene is mainly about Joan and her obsession with boat-making.