The title of my review reflects a pivotal scene in the series finale of Touched By An Angel. Monica has served nine years as an angel case worker. Being evaluated for promotion to supervisor, she's given her toughest assignment in a small town where before Easter most children had died in a school explosion. Talking with the pastor of the local church subsequently abandoned by everyone, she tearfully describes the holiday in the above quote. The pastor replies that "all of us are stuck here on Saturday, aren't we?"
The paradox about the series is that despite literally presenting the existence of God and His helpers, the show was watched faithfully by nonbelievers. Each week the angels were dispatched in human form as a nurse, or a teacher, or a carpenter, or a friendly neighbor to assist in an illness, poverty, loneliness. Invariably the angel as human would fail to resolve the problem so they would finally reveal their true nature by glowing, and inform the suffering person that God loves them. At this point, numerous viewers broke into tears.
It's been said that life is tough and then you die. Thus countless people desperately want to believe in a loving God that will reward them in Heaven. The show dispensed with theological downsides, namely questioning why a loving Being would allow hardship before reaching that Heaven. Each week one was so wrapped up in the realistic portrayals of suffering that one was enraptured by the happy conclusion.
Cynics hated the sugary treatment and even some believers thought it too simplistic, especially the suicide episodes. A person pointing a gun to their head or standing over a cliff was asked by a glowing angel to put down the gun or step back from the cliff because God wanted them to live. Viewers protested that a friend or relative had killed themselves so where was their angel? The writers answered with a story where a man puts his gun down, so the joyous angel departs, except afterward hears a gunshot. Both the angel and the man's family are angry at God, but they learn the lesson that people possess free will and not even God can change their behavior.
The finale was all the more blunt, precisely playing upon the emotions of long time viewers trying to handle the show ending its weekly uplift. In this two part episode held over two nights, we were given time to absorb the fact that due to her promotion, Monica was going to be separated from her beloved teacher Tess. Consequently, she'd face the same grief as the viewers. That was the ultimate secret of the show - tapping into and sharing one's deepest feelings. True, clever preachers do that, but viewers felt the writers and actors on the show sincerely believed in their message.
Sadly, the finale mirrored life too well. Monica and Tess are indeed gone. Perhaps you have experienced brief encounters with people who appear "angelic" - such as a benevolent stranger offering a kind word or deed. But they disappear and you are left only with memories.
To refresh those memories, I repeatedly watch the finale on DVD. As with all good art, it provides an escape from life's Fridays and Saturdays. If you are fortunate enough to actually experience Sundays, consider yourself truly blessed, that is, touched by an angel.
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