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7th Heaven: Rated ‘T’ for ‘Twee’

Season 11, Episode 1: “Turn, Turn, Turn”

Welcome Back, “7th Heaven”, also known as the only show on television that dares not name its season-opening plot device. Lost? I was too, dear readers. The thing with this episode is that watching it for a second time, everything falls into place and actually makes a sort of “7th Heaven”y type of sense. First viewing? Not so much. I’ll try to steer you through.

Ah, there’s nothing quite like that special brand of twee incidental music… two bars of flittering mandolin and gentle percussion is all it takes to sweep us back into the kitchen at Chez Camden. Annie is doing what TV moms do best, doling out boy advice over the phone. Ruthie is in Scotland and Annie is advising her not to accept roses from a boy she barely knows. I don’t really know how she ended up there, but it’s probably a career deathknell for Mackenzie Rosman – doesn’t she know that in order to leave this show and get work in movies, you have to do it as scandalously as possible? Did big-sister Jessica Biel and her saucy lad-mag photoshoot/gym toilet-papering-juvie-hall plot teach her nothing? Anyway, the phonecall really only serves to bring us slightly up to date and reveal that a good nine months must have passed since the tweely implausible series-ender, which saw every currently paired-off spawn of the family expecting twins. The powers that be probably didn’t think the true fans were that desperate for their Monday night schlockfest and figured a baby bonanza was the only fitting way to end the show for good. Oh, I pity the fools.

The good Reverend comes in just late enough to miss speaking with his daughter. The following conversation ensues:

Rev: Hey, let me talk to Ruthie!
Annie: ‘Kay, Ruthie, thanks, bye.
Rev: Why don’t I get to talk to our children?
Annie: Because I am the Mom and only Moms can parent effectively – haven’t you ever watched television? Anyway, I’ll fill you in. Blah blah blah, Matt is busy with the boys, blah blah blah, Sarah has a cold, blah blah blah. Mary is having a great time teaching and oh, did I tell you she might coach basketball?

This one might be a point for the Rev: “No, you didn’t mention that! But you know, maybe if I ever actually saw our children or talked to one of them myself…” He loses that point because it occurs to me that he could, you know, pick up a phone or arrange a visit by himself instead of letting The Chattypants Express run over his few opportunities to communicate with the young’uns. Ignoring his sarcasm, Annie fills him in about Sandy, Simon’s baby-having ex-girlfriend – namely that her babydaddy is visiting for the weekend. Rev posits that it’s a good thing… right? Annie appears to be wringing her hands and makes a “how shall I put this” face, trailing off with, “Well, he has this crazy idea…”

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