Big Red Boat

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Title: Big Red Boat
Creator: Seah & Margie
Date: 2004
Format: Digital
Length: 3:39
Music: "Big Red Boat" by Grey Eye Glances
Fandom: Joan of Arcadia
Footage: Joan of Arcadia
URL: vid online here
title card for "Big Red Boat

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Big Red Boat is a Joan of Arcadia vid by Seah & Margie. It premiered at Vividcon 2004. The song is about a woman who promises her friend to build a big red boat in her backyard and sail away. The TV show, Joan of Arcadia, is about a young teenage girl who sees and talks to God on a daily basis. Each time God wears a different face, and one day she is told to build a boat in her basement which in turns, helps others deal with difficult moments in their lives. For many fans, who had never seen the show, the song choice helped them absorb the vid's meaning while simultaneously recruiting them into a new TV show.

Vidder's Summary: "This boat's a boat that's built for two."

One viewer describes the vid as: "An upbeat, hopeful JoA video about doing your thing, that makes me as happy every time I see it."[1]

"when I go walking,
i hear them talking all over town
they say I’m gone, i’ve lost my mind
well maybe i have,
and maybe that’s the point now
i’m building a big red boat
building a big red boat
with full intentions to set sail
and one day i’ll leave this all behind
and with your help, i’m certain not to fail
tell me are you still with me?" ~ lyrics


  • "Perfect show ender. Bouncy and cute and wonderful and now I want to watch the show."[2]
  • "But the Joan vid I really loved was Big Red Boat, and I'm sure I'm not the only one who was heartbroken the next morning when tzikeh pointed out the song wasn't available for general distribution. This is pretty much quintessential Joan, and quintessential Joan: bouncy, charming, energetic, and loving. And this was a really lovely example of reified metaphor: Joan is building a literal boat, but the metaphoric meaning of the boat in the show is that she's building connections among people--and the song is using the metaphor of the boat in the exact same way. I could tell from audience reaction that this was working as a recruiter vid, and I couldn't be more be delighted by that -- but as someone who already watches the show, I was equally delighted by the way the vid encapsulated the show's most central themes and conveyed its spirit and style. I was worried that the opening and closing--which both focused on Joan's interactions with the various embodiments of God--might make the vid seem incomprehensible and chaotic to people unfamiliar with the show, but the audience seemed engaged from the very beginning; I think maybe similar movements and actions in the clip choices conveyed a feeling that these clips were connected rather than random? --but I'll have to rewatch to be sure. This was definitely the case at the end; I'd never realized so many of the God incarnations waved good-bye with the same cheerful little movement."[3]
  • "Because Joan at her best is joy and so is this song. The metaphor of the song is the same as the metaphor of the show – how’d that happen? Well, excellent song selection by the vidders, obviously. I miss Joan!"[4]
  • "A great show-closer—and particularly refreshing after a vidshow that tended towards the dark and dramatic. fan eunice commented in Vid Review that just the *music* for this one made her want to smile, I reaction that I wholeheartedly share. I was most struck by vid's deft handling of metaphor; coffeeandink articulated this in Vid Review: the boat on the show and in the song are *both* metaphorical, and metaphorical in the same way, as well as (in the show's case, at least) literal. [info]melina123RN observed that the song's energy suits the show very well (which, I'd add, the speeded-up clips highlighted), and astolat added that the gospel/spiritual vocal line at the beginning is an element particuarly appropriate to the show; somebody else pointed out that the main singer's voice even sounds like Joan. elynross pointed out that this is a great example of a vid that's accessible to non-fans but is loaded with additional meaning for the viewers who *are* fans; this appears to be one of Seah and Margie's specialties (I'm thinking specifically of "Kryptonite" and "Haunted"). And, of course, what better way to close a show than with God waving goodbye?"[5]
  • "I wanted to tell you I really thought that BRB was fun - I showed it to my 6 year old last night because I thought she would like the song. She now points at random people on screen and asks if they are God. And why does God look like so many people? And where is God right now? So on the one hand, that was fun, on the other, OMG what was I thinking *headdesk*."[6]


  1. ^ Katta's Fanvid Recs.
  2. ^ Vividcon Report Part the First: Panels by cereta.
  3. ^ Vividcon Premieres Show - Initial notes - 1 by thuviaptarth;WebCite.
  4. ^ rivkat's Vid Recs dated August 3, 2006; WebCite.
  5. ^ Premiere Vid Show,, 2nd Half by heresluck.
  6. ^ comment in LJ post announcing the vid, dated August 19, 2004; WebCite.