- Alas, Poor Scrappy: Judith
- Author Tract: The show in general is very pro-cop (natural, given that Joan's father is the chief of police), but the episode "Drive, He Said" is particularly notable because it dismisses the idea of pervasive police racism, framing Kevin as "harsh" when he critiques police policy to Will's face (Will takes this as a personal accusation that he is a racist) and implying that Kevin's boss, a black woman, has been cherry-picking statistics to support an anti-police slant in her journalism.
- Critical Research Failure: The episode "St Joan" frequently refers to the "British" winning the Battle of Agincourt in 1415 and being driven out by Joan of Arc. For once, this should be "English", given that no-one started referring to them as British until at least two centuries later and England and Scotland were very much separate countries at the time. (Given that the point of the episode is that the history teacher Mr. Dreisbach has lost his passion for the subject and is just going through the motions, this may be deliberate. But it probably isn't.)
- Glurge: You could make a drinking game for every time two people in the show tearfully hug in slow motion.
- Hollywood Genetics: Luke doesn't look like he's related to the rest of the Girardi family at all.
- Heartwarming Moments: Usually at least one an episode.
- Ho Yay:
- Luke and Friedman.
- Also a Les Yay between Joan and Judith.
- The Horseshoe Effect: Grace was an Ensemble Dark Horse of the show's fans on both the far-left and far-right of the political spectrum. Her rants against the "media conglomerates" and the neoliberal status quo made her a Fan Favorite of two groups that would never admit they had anything in common.
- Moment of Awesome: Quite a few. To give one example, when Helen shreds Vice Principal Price for telling Joan she has no academic future.Helen: See, I get that you are disappointed in your own life, I don't blame you, but this girl hasn't abandoned her dreams yet, and so to try to steal that from her, to try to rob someone of their future, I'm pretty sure you go to Hell for that. Tell her you were wrong.
- And he does.
- Rescued from the Scrappy Heap: Judith starts out annoying, arrogant, callous, more than a little jealous of Joan's other friends, incredibly irresponsible, and there are even hints that she might be trying to steal Adam away from Joan (or Joan away from Adam, for that matter). However, as episodes go on it is revealed that she is actually a very loyal and caring person when properly motivated. Key moments in her evolution include her blocking the bulldozer to keep it from destroying Joan's garden, her telling Adam how much she values Joan while they're building his kinetic sculpture, and her behavior surrounding Joan and Adam's first official date, which it is strongly implied she planned in its entirety. And then, in a Tear Jerker moment, she is murdered.
- Retroactive Recognition:
- Seasonal Rot: If the second season had continued in the same spirit as the first season, there might have been enough viewers for a third season.
- Second Season Downfall
- Tear Jerker: Judith's death.
- The Woobie:
- Luke is very often neglected by his family in favor of Kevin and Joan, a fact he comments on frequently. His parents even forgot his birthday dinner, instead inviting Will's boss.
- Joan, Grace, Adam, and Friedman can all float into this territory once in a while, whereas Judith probably would as well if her problems weren't to a certain extent caused by herself.
YMMV / Joan of Arcadia