Medium Does Valentine's Day Right

You know, it's bad enough if you're one of those people -- like yours truly -- who can't stand Valentine's Day, can't stand being told that nothing you do, romance-wise, is right unless it conforms to the commercial expectations of greeting-card manufacturers, purveyors of blood diamonds, and makers of crap chocolates. (I pity any man who actually believed those Russell Stover ads this year -- does chocolate get any more disgusting?) You know: You demonstrate your love by buying junk that no one really needs but that all your neighbors will be using to gauge just how much you love or are loved.

Which is ridiculous: stuff ain't love. And TV fiction typically only reinforces the advertising. Except ... last night's episode of Medium got the whole real-love and deep-down-passion thing precisely right. I've written before about how the relationship between Patricia Arquette's Allison and Jake Weber's Joe is the most convincing marriage on TV, and Joe inadvertantly gave Allison two of the most wonderful Valentine gifts in this episode ... and they were nothing anyone could buy.

It was like this: Allison's body had been taken over by the spirit of a dead woman -- taken over, seemingly, permanently, unlike how her dreams and visions typically take over only in a very transitory way. So even though Allison was physically present, her heart and soul and spirit were not, and Joe was missing her keenly. After about a day of having the snooty, bitchy not-Allison around, and not knowing if and when real Allison might be back, Joe called her cell phone just to hear her voice on the greeting, and he left her a poignant where-are-you message. And of course the dead woman's spirit did eventually vacate her temporary home, and Allison herself came back, and though we didn't see the expression on her face when she listened to his voicemail, we can well imagine it. Because we saw the expression when Joe suddenly realized that his Allison was back: he was so relieved that he burst into tears.

That's what women want to see -- how a man feels. That's much better than a box of chocolates.

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MaryAnn Johanson

author of The Totally Geeky Guide to The Princess Bride

minder of FlickFilosopher.com