Episode 5.12: Enter Prince Charming
Writer: Raymond Storey
Director: Stephen Surjik
Special Guest Star: Stockard Channing as Viola Elliot
With: Jim Mezon as John Elliot, David Fox as Clive Pettibone, Jaimz Woolvett as Booth Elliot and Marilyn Lightstone as Muriel Stacey
Original CBC Airdate: March 20, 1994
Time Frame: Winter 1908-1909
Synopsis: John Elliot becomes the new minister of Avonlea, but his style of preaching challenges the towns conventional expectations. The reverand's son, Booth, becomes interested in Sara and introduces her to rag time music. Sara deceives Hetty and goes to an Acadian celebration with Booth.
Highlights/Analysis: Janet becomes president of the Presbyterian church women and greets the new reverand and his wife, John and Viola Elliot. Janet becomes friends with Viola and is introduced to eastern philosophy. Sara is given the task of showing the Elliot's son Booth around town and believes that he is only ten years old. To her surprise, Sara finds that Booth is really an adolescent in a scene which resulted in her getting a bucket of paint dumped on her head. Booth introduces Sara to cajun music and cake walking, which only acts to alarm Hetty. Booth causes further waves with the town when he plays a jazzy version of 'When the Saints Come Marching In' during a church ensemble. Booth invites Sara to an acadian dance. Sara pretends to be sick in order to attend the dance with Booth. The next day, Sara admits that she deceived her aunt and asks her not to interfear with her involvement with Booth. Hetty, having previously learned her lessons of smothering Sara (3.2: But When She Was Bad... She Was Horrid), promises her niece that she will allow her to spend time with Booth.
Criticism: Booth is really annoying and not even in a way that would make him interesting. The writer for the former 'Australland Avonlea' website made the hilarious comment that Booth had the romantic chemistry of a brother. He has also been occasionally called the 'shaggy dog' among Avonlea fans for his mop top hair. The biggest problem however is that there was no place else to go with Sara Stanley. This would be the final season where Sara was prominantly featured and the character that swooned the most about romantic relationships, didn't have one (Zak Morgan doesn't count). In the first season, Sara was the character that the series revolved around. The arrival of Gus Pike and his pending relationship with Felicity shifted the entire direction of the series away from Sara. Perhaps the Story Girl's goody two shoes personality wouldn't have been as interesting or created as many memorable moments as Felicity's brazenly sharp tongued character could create in a relationship. Whatever the case, Booth was rushed in as a last ditch effort to give Sara a romance before she left Avonlea. Obviously, Booth means very little to Sara because she doesn't even mention his name when she returns in the next season and discusses her future plans, none of which concern the shaggy dog (6.4: Comings and Goings).
What happened to Reverand Fitsimmons? Why do all of Avonlea's reverands mysteriously disappear?
Doesn't Elbert know how to jam with that accordian?
I wonder how old that woman was at the "to do?"
"Godless social dancing, that's what!" -Ullele Bugle
"The fastest way to destroy a spirit is through conventional thinking." -Viola Elliot
Sap Meter: 0 Flirting and a kiss between Booth and Sara, but it's hardly sentimental.
Notes: (1) Sarah Polley asked to be written out of the series after this season. In an article for 'Maclean's' in 1997, Polley expressed her dismay about having to make contractual obligations to the series at a very young age. She also mentioned her disenchantment toward the series. "I wasn't involved in the show mentally or emotionally," she commented, "...It was not the kind of thing I would watch. And the last couple of years I didn't really want to be there." (2) Sarah Polley would make two more appearances after this season as a special guest star in 'Comings and Goings' and the final episode, 'So Dear To My Heart'. (3) Jaimz Woolvett's (a.k.a. Booth Elliot) most memorable role may have been as the Schofield Kid in the Clint Eastwood western thriller 'Unforgiven (1992).' The character actually reminded me of Booth, but his role was more tolerable because Eastwood was there to remind us how obnoxious he was.