judith montgomery

Judith is walking briskly down the sidewalk, an abomination of a dress folded over her arm, when she sees the man about to destroy the world and the man about to save it.

People would say that Judith can see the future. She’d laugh if she heard it (to hear it, she’d have to tell them), because it’s not like that at all. She’s yet to find a future that’s come true a hundred percent no has she seen something that’s unstoppable.

They’re like threads. Hundreds and thousands of pale, fragile threads arcing out of people towards future destinations, future mistakes, future successes. Some are thicker than others but that doesn’t mean they’re more likely. Instead it means that there’ll be more people involved, a party, a get together, something like that. Maybe they’ll hire ten more people at work or maybe they’ll be going to a funeral soon.

She’s gotten so used to the spiderweb of futures she sees, she barely registers them anymore. She just walks down the street registering baby shower, shoe repair, flat tire, anniversary, trips on way to school, breaks a dish, etc.

She’s doing that today, in fact, right now in the present. She’s going dress shopping for her sister’s wedding (not the bridesmaid, she dodged that one). The colors are grey and silver and hardly any shop sells a dress like that so she’s had to go into the city.

Judith is walking briskly down the sidewalk, an abomination of a dress folded over her arm, when she sees the man about to destroy the world and the man about to save it.

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Were you, perhaps, looking for my brother Jude Paw? Impossible, old sport, quite impossible! I’m afraid he’s indisposed! Seems he’s got his head stuck in a fence post again, the poor chap! He’ll be there awhile!

But perhaps I, Judith Langdon Hubert Donahue-Montgomery Paw III, can be of assistance! Can I offer you a nice cup of tea? Perhaps today’s gazette? The blood of your enemies?

30 Days of Television -- Day 30

Day 01- A show that should have never been canceled
Day 02 - A show that you wish more people were watching
Day 03 - Your favorite new show ( aired this t.v season)
Day 04 - Your favorite show ever
Day 05 - A show you hate
Day 06 - Favorite episode of your favorite t.v show
Day 07 - Least favorite episode of your favorite t.v show
Day 08 - A show everyone should watch
Day 09 - Best scene ever
Day 10 - A show you thought you wouldn’t like but ended up loving
Day 11 - A show that disappointed you
Day 12 - An episode you’ve watched more than 5 times
Day 13 - Favorite childhood show
Day 14 - Favorite male character
Day 15 - Favorite female character
Day 16 - Your guilty pleasure show
Day 17 - Favorite mini series
Day 18 - Favorite title sequence
Day 19 - Best t.v show cast
Day 20 - Favorite kiss
Day 21 - Favorite ship
Day 22 - Favorite series finale
Day 23 - Most annoying character
Day 24 - Best quote
Day 25 - A show you plan on watching (old or new)
Day 26 - OMG WTF? Season finale
Day 27 - Best pilot episode
Day 28 - First t.v show obsession
Day 29 - Current t.v show obsession
Day 30 - Saddest character death

Day 30 – Saddest Character Death

Judith Montgomery in Joan of Arcadia “Friday Night”

*I didn’t make the pic set, so credit to whomever did.  I couldn’t seem to find the original post.*

Now, this category was a hard choice.  On the surface, I would have answered Buffy Summers’ death in “The Gift” because I sobbed for two hours in the bathroom after that episode originally aired and punched one of my best friends in the face for cracking a joke about her death the next day in class.  And when I first watched this episode, my emotional response was nowhere near as strong.  HOWEVER, this death has a more lasting effect on me years later.

Now, Joan of Arcadia is one of those rare shows that has a genuine emotional effect on me upon every re-watch.  I can’t seem to watch even the happy episodes without crying.  Joan Girardi is the one character I’ve ever seen on tv that truly reminds me of myself.  So, when she loses Judith every time I re-watch the show, I lose Judith too.

When I first saw this episode, I shared no tears at all.  I thought it was sad, but Judith had been a relatively recent addition to the show and not one of the original cast, so I didn’t think much of it.  Now though, years later, having lived in the world a bit more, I see so much of Joan’s emotions in my own.

Judith was one of those rare friends in Joan’s life.  One of those ones we feel lucky enough to find – she met Joan when they were both at “crazy camp,” and she became a bit of a rock for Joan to stand on.  They understood each other in a way that Joan’s “sane” friends did not, and so despite the short time they knew each other (comparatively) they were unbelievably close.  Eventually, I had a friendship like that too.  I met a friend at camp (we were co-counselors), and she was one of the only friends I’ve ever had that seemed to “get” me right from the off.  Most people when they meet me see me as odd or morbid or strange, but she just seemed to understand.  I’m not explaining this very well, but it’s a difficult idea to describe.  And, just as with Judith, my friend died very suddenly and without much explanation.

Whenever I see “Friday Night” now, I am no longer watching fictional characters, but instead seeing an enactment of something quite similar to what happened in my own life and in my own heart.  And it KILLS.ME.  Judith’s death makes Joan bitter and angry and distrustful of God for a VERY  long time.  And my friend’s death did the same to me.  Joan outright yells at God right after, and asks him what the point is of having him. 

And when Joan is talking to Adam (her boyfriend), she says quite simply, “But…I *loved* her."  And Adam’s response makes me cry buckets to this day.  "I know.  And I know it feels like that should matter, but…."  Because I knew that feeling so well.  I love so few people, and it made me so angry that God took one of those few people away so soon and for no reason.

And then God tells Joan to juggle.  An act that Judith had been encouraging Joan to learn for days before she died. It sounds almost cruel, and like Joan, I felt God was being deliberately mean and wondering what his point was.   And then God gives Joan a riddle.  "A man is carrying three boxes across a bridge, each weighing 5 pounds.  The bridge can only hold the man’s weight and ten extra pounds.  How does he get all the boxes across?"  And Joan knows the answer, pointless as it seems – he juggles.   To which God reminds her that all people are carrying more burdens than they can bear – their hopes, their dreams, their pain and despair and sorrow – and so they juggle. 

The story doesn’t end in the episode Friday Night for Joan.  She carries the burden of Judith’s death for the rest of that season.  She has problems going to Judith’s grave to say a real goodbye, and she dreams of Judith many times throughout the rest of the series.  Both situation of which I related to many years later.  (I still dream of my friend to this day, and it’s been over 5 years now.)  In some episodes, she appears to have made peace with her loss, and in others she still deals with bitterness and sadness.

One of Joan of Arcadia’s best strengths was in how amazingly realistic the story of Joan was in all aspects of teenage life.  And no story line better exemplifies that than in the painful story of her loss of her best friend Judith, which is both beautiful and painful to watch every single time.