Friday, September 16, 2016

Everwood "Foreverwood" Review

The CW famously cancelled the low-rated Everwood for the ancient 7th Heaven. Then President Dawn Ostroff thought 7th Heaven would provide a boost to the new network, but it didn’t. 7th Heaven lasted another season before ending again. Rina Mimoun, Greg Berlanti, and the rest of the Everwood staff wrote an episode that worked as a season and series finale. The last minutes of the episodes were the only scenes swapped out for happier, more conclusive scenes. Hannah’s college choice would’ve been a cliffhanger, but in the finale she chose Colorado and Bright Abbott, and Madison returned to upheave Ephram’s stable life, but, because of the cancellation, Amy and Ephram ended the series together.

“Foreverwood” basically concerns itself with loose ends and relationship resolution., i.e. “Who will end up with who?” Low stakes for a show that began with a dead wife, a possibly mad grieving husband, a town without its center, and a broken family. My favorite piece of closure belongs to Harold and Edna. The two sparred from episode one on about this and that, rooted in Harold’s unresolved feelings about his father’s absence from his life and her guilt about her absence from his life because of the war. Her choosing to spend the rest of her life with her son and daughter-in-law, with a little baby to boot, given to them by the plot devices introduced a few episodes earlier, was the sweetest way to end their story.

Andy didn’t propose until the finale’s penultimate scene despite Jake “freeing” Nina at the end of part one. Before his proposal, Andy flew to New York and traveled to Julia’s grave to bid a final goodbye to her, to apologize for becoming the man she always deserved after her death, in a speech that captured the essential themes of Everwood: pain, suffering, tragedy, the important things in life such as going to sleep with the knowledge you were the best friend and parent you could be that day. Nina said yes, of course, because it was the finale of a family drama, and because they belonged together. She was a partner to him long before they realized it was romantic.

Delia got the horse promised to her by Andy in the “Pilot”, his way of buying her vote for the move to Everwood, as seen in the "Pilot". Andy gave his children two speeches. His speech to Ephram was about the importance of being happy on his own, and reminding him that one cannot rely on another to fill an empty spot, to provide happiness, to fill a hole. My mother always told me: "A person should add to your life." His speech to Delia is better: it touches on their bond, of the inevitable rough spots ahead as she grows and changes, of his constant and consistent role in her life as her father who will always listen to her and always remember. Delia helped carry him through those early Everwood days when Ephram hated him, when the town thought he was mad. Delia reached out and grabbed his hand when he danced with Julia’s shade, his memory of her, at the Fall Thaw. Her unconditional love for him lifted his spirits in a time he felt lost and alone. Ephram refused to take that love of hers from him during the nonsense at the end of season three. Lovely stuff.

Other odds and ends were taken care of during the episode. Jake summarized his arc in his goodbye speech to Nina. Harold and Andy shared a last scene together full of recalls and callbacks. The Abbott family spent more time together than they had all season. You know, typical finale fare.

Of course, Ephram and Amy ended the episode. They spent the season apart, aside from their hookup in “Getting to Know You”, because of the old axiom that it’s better for the audience to want two characters together than it is for the those two characters to be together. It’s not dissimilar from Dawson’s Creek’s fifth season for Pacey and Joey. The writers got around their intense relationship and bond by not bothering with it. They didn’t want them together. No good reason existed to keep Ephram and Amy apart except for the reasons that keep every couple apart in a multi-season show: the drama of it. The montage of their deep bond throughout the series in the penultimate act makes the heart sing, especially those season one scenes. Everwood fans famously rented a Ferris wheel in hopes of saving the show from its cancellation because Amy rented a Ferris wheel and saved her soulmate from sailing away with another soul.

No, Everwood wasn’t the same show it was when it premiered by the end. I loved it less, but its last season still had those special Everwood gems unique to the spirit of the show. The first two seasons, but season one especially, bring me back to a nostalgic place and a nostalgic time in my life when I was a teenager, in high school, dreaming of my Amys and Josephine Potters. I don’t associate the final two seasons with a time and a place because I had moved past it as a marker in my life and as something I related things and happenings in my life to. I never planned to write about season two, three, or four when I re-watched and wrote reviews for my first summer re-watch in 2011, but I wanted to finish what I started. I wrote about season one because in March of that year, 2011, like the town of Everwood, like Andy and his children, I lost the center (or one half of the center, for I still have my Mom) of my life, my father, and it was one way for me to make sense of life without him. I related with this tender story about loss and hope differently that year. It understood me and my loss.

Everwood, in a way, is like an old friend I can turn to when I feel low.

Final Thoughts:

-Yes, indeedy, I began my Everwood posts five years ago. I wrote a post about the series finale in December 2011 because I thought I wouldn’t write any more reviews. It’s a quite lazy and thrown together post. I wrote about season two in 2012. I covered season three in an abbreviated format, due to my dislike of the season, at the end of 2015 and into 2016. I thank anyone that read any of my Everwood reviews over the years. Once upon a time, a healthy few stopped by The Foot to read some of those posts. I like knowing the show still has meaning for people.

-I would’ve preferred a different ending for the various relationships having re-watched it again and having aged. TV finales primarily cater to the fans’ wishes, but they often place the characters in the same small, comfy, insulated space they’ve been. Amy used to dream of Princeton. Ephram used to dream of Julliard. Their reasons for remaining in Everwood were different and understandable. Amy stayed for her mom. Ephram resolved his musical ambition and reconciled it with his desire to be a family man and a good husband wonderfully in “The Land of Confusion.” Bright explained exactly why Hannah experiencing new things in Notre Dame would be great and positive. I liked Stephanie as Ephram’s next girlfriend. She lacked the dramatic qualities and baggage of both Amy and Madison. In the end, our characters chose the familiar and safest option. That’s great and happy for those of us who loved and may’ve vicariously lived through Amy/Ephram during a brief spell between age 16 and 17, as well as for the Bright/Hannah folks, but it’s also a bit of a bummer.

-Josh Reims & Anna Fricke wrote the first part. Bethany Rooney directed it, her only episode of Everwood. I wonder how that came about. Rina Mimoun & David Hudgins wrote the second part. Perry Lang directed it.

No comments:

About The Foot

My photo
Originally, I titled the blog Jacob's Foot after the giant foot that Jacob inhabited in LOST. That ended. It became TV With The Foot in 2010. I wrote about a lot of TV.