7th Heaven has to be the most saccharine, didactic, and unrealistic show ever—in other words, it’s perfect for The Very Special Blog. To be honest, I usually cannot stand this show, so there is a good chance that I will never post about it ever again. Yet every now and again the stars align and I get interested in an episode. Here is a math equation for why I am sitting here and watching this show right now:
Barry Watson (handsome and much too authentic for this melodramatic crap) + parents reacting to joint as if it is PCP blunt + Family dog holding said joint in mouth for “profound” emotional effect =
A great way to spend a weeknight.
Matt (Barry Watson) gets a joint from a friend at school. This guy just kinda says something like, “Hey buddy, sorry you can’t hang out with me and the guys tonight, so here’s a joint, Bye.” Matt’s a “good” kid but he hangs on to it anyway because all teenagers are tempted by the forbidden fruit of rebellion, or something like that. When he comes home from school, the joing falls out of his pocket, and the family dog, Happy, picks it up. She does not devour it but simple holds it gently until the patriarch of the Camden family can come home and dislodge it from her mouth whilst casually greeting her. Dog as plot device. We are off to a good start.
The Reverend Camden joins the family in the kitchen, eager to begin the witch hunt. He’s playing his own private game of Clue as he suspiciously eyes all of his children. Has Happy been outside today? No. Mary’s eyes are red from allergies (she claims). But she is not the one devouring cookies. Was it Lucy in the hall with the marijuana?
The reverend is certain that the culprit is eldest son Matt, but –like any good mother—his wife attempts to convince him to consider accusing all of their other children as well. Finally, they decide to let their kids invite friends over, so that they can interrogate them as well. In the meantime, the matriarch of the family stashes the joint in her dresser.
In a shocking twist, Lucy discovers the joint while borrowing clothes from her mother’s dresser. Of course, she assumes that her mother is a pothead. Meanwhile, the reverend gives all the kids a good talking too with some real facts about marijuana, such as junkies with “needles in their arms” all started off with someone giving them a joint at a party.
In another shocking twist, the reverend’s wife reveals that she smoked pot as a kid. It’s been decades, but he gives her the cold shoulder because she defied his expectations before he met her.
“How could you just drop a bomb on me like that and then serve eight people and a dog a meatloaf like nothing happened,” he asks her. At this point, you must be wondering, how this could escalate anymore. Well, let me tell you.
The reverend proceeds to ask everyone at the dinner if they think that Lucy’s new friend–who rides a moped and likes reggae music–uses drugs. Then, in an effort to figure out how other parents handle this looming drug issue, the reverend asks Mary’s boyfriend, Wilson, what his father would do if he suspected he was on drugs. Wilson replies that his father periodically drug tests him because he lost all trust in his son when he became a teen father at sixteen. So you know, if you happen to get your girlfriend pregnant in high school, you are probably also a drug user. And if you are incredibly responsible and care for your child even though you are still a teenager…you’re probably still using drugs. Also, can we just take a second and look at Wilson’s backstory? He is eighteen years old, widowed, and father of a two year-old. How did his teen wife die? Was it in childbirth? It would be in childbirth wouldn’t it…
“Some mistakes are like jumping out of a plane.” Wilson says, “Once you do it you can never take it back. It stays with you forever.” So just in case this was not clear to all of you– parenting a tiny human that needs your constant attention and support for the next eighteen years is just as significant as experimenting once with a non-addictive drug.
Finally, it’s time to drive the point home with one of the most terrible stories I have ever witnessed in a sitcom. Matt’s mom confront him directly (such a novel idea) and tells him that she is concerned because she used to smoke pot when she was a teen. She tells him that one of her friends drove home stoned and was killed because he did not stop in time for a red light. Don’t drive under the influence is always a good lesson, and she actually manages to redeem the plot by genuinely relating to her son—except that everything that surrounds this conversation is so ridiculous that it makes it hard to be affected by this heart to heart.
And I say that especially because of the next part, in which the reverend decides that it is best to tell everyone that he will drug test them in order to find out who the druggie is. He then proceeds to shame Matt into admitting in front of the entire family that he brought a joint home from school. This includes shocking eleven year-old Simon into believing that his brother is a total burnout and loser. So even though Matt never smoked the joint, he has been totally vilified—even accused of not being able to keep a job because of his (presumed) drug habit. But by the end of the episode, the only person who has ever done drugs in the Camden family is the mother…twenty-five years earlier…
Very Special Lesson: I just feel like there was a much more reasonable way to handle this. Like what just even happened right now.