joy magnetism: There but for Grace

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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

There but for Grace

Magnet #543 - Oklahoma

Though this magnet, given to me by a friend, isn't quite fitting of the show, that's ok. Just be sure not to miss tonight's season finale for Saving Grace on TNT. Can I just say, if anyone had told me two years ago that Saving Grace would become one of my favorite shows, I would never have believed it.

From the pounding strains of the opening theme song by Everlast with Keefus Ciancia, through to the closing credits, this show holds me spellbound.

It's a rarity these days to see shows set in Middle America - Oklahoma City, to be exact. Like the folks on Friday Night Lights, you feel like you know this ragtag bunch of police detectives, whether you're watching them hanging out after hours together at the local bars, or pulling practical jokes of the Oklahoma vs. Texas football rivalry nature.

And, once again, for me, it's all about this bunch of characters, rather than the case they solve each week. Obviously, the star here is Grace. I've never, ever been a huge Holly Hunter fan, but she inhabits this role completely.

I told a friend of mine the other day that the reason I love watching this show, is because no matter what I do or how I behave in life, Grace Hanadarko always does something worse and behaves appallingly. She's a total train wreck, but somehow redeemable. And that makes me feel better. Is that bad? Oh, I know she's a fictional character, but you know how they say there's a kernel of truth buried in that there fiction.

But, it's more than that, really. I can never figure out if Grace is a character we're supposed to admire or hate, pray for or cheer on, or be completely appalled by. In the end, I think it's all of the above.

I saw somewhere - probably on someone's Facebook status - that Grace is when you think everything is falling apart and you realize something new is being created. But they make Grace so failingly human, that sometimes she's just painful to watch, and you wonder exactly what TV!God's redeeming there. It also makes you wonder what human failings Real!God gets to see in real life.

Mind you - I'm not the most religious of folks, and I really mocked the heck out of Saving Grace at the get-go, strictly because of the angel thing. I mean, Grace has Earl, her last-chance, hobo-ish angel trying to save her soul, whether she wants it or not.

To their credit, they haven't anvil'd the religious angle too much - a la Touched by an Angel, or worse, 7th Heaven. I think maybe the appeal here is that they show a grittier God, than the fluffy one that people usually portray.

So far, my favorite soul-searching moment was she was complaining to Earl, about how God makes us work so hard...and why doesn't God do more? And Earl replied, "Because Grace, if God did everything, what would you do?"

What, indeed?
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