Album 27: The Search for Whit

345: B-TV: Compassion
344: Letting Go
348: With a Little Help from My Friends
349: Blessings in Disguise
350: The Time of Our Lives
351: What Are You Gonna Do with Your Life?
352: Memories of Jerry
354: Blind Justice
353: A Question About Tasha
355: The Search for Whit, Part 1
356: The Search for Whit, Part 2
357: The Search for Whit, Part 3 


Another wonderful collection of AIO comes in the form of The Search for Whit, the final album in what I call the "golden age of AIO".  Every episode is wonderful in this collection and adds to each of its characters.

About half of the episodes of the album are "regular" episodes or ones which involve regular kids doing regular things.  The other half are "big" exciting episodes which will push the series forward.  Both types episode have always been necessary to the series and these are some of the best of both.

The album begins with another great BTV episode (I especially liked the sketch of Marty the shoemaker.   It was very inspirational and thoughtful.) and a final visit with Zach in Letting Go.  We finally see Zach is maturing more in this one.  He actually is able to hold his temper and try to accept his situation.  But it also shows what an emotional and difficult ordeal the situation would be.  (The only thing I didn't like about the episode was the "too perfect" tape of Zach's father.   It was just a little too contrived.)  With a Little Help from My Friends was another good episode showing a different angle on a familiar topic.  In school, they have always told us about peer pressure and how bad it is.  Now we finally see in this episode that it can be a good thing if used in the right way (the way Connie used it on Blair).  I also liked how this episode, consistent with how AIO has been for years, shows adults as having flaws.  Parents are not always perfect.  One annoyance in this episode are the stereotyped teenagers.  Connie would ever dream of having friends like that?  Please.  Blessings in Disguise is a very well done episode, strongly written and with occasional humor from Glenn.  Best line: "She was probably on one of her space missions." "I never said that!" "That's the kind of thing she would get into, knowing her."

The Time of Our Lives and What Are You Gonna Do with Your Life? both emphasize the importance of how we spend our time.  The Time of Our Lives seems a bit light on first glance, with its wonderful TV parodies and its comical format, but the message is very strong.  How we spend our time will affect our life.  We need to be careful that we don't "waste our lives".  What Are You Gonna Do with Your Life? came, for me, at a time when I was deciding which college I would attend.  It was a thoughtful, poignant episode that came a great time for me.  Connie seemed to have been neglected for a while in the whole scheme of things and was often left out of all of the excitement (she even says so herself in Love is in the Air, and later in The One About Trust).  This episode puts her back in the main stream of the series.

Memories of Jerry is mainly a flashback episode.  It's a touching one, but also one that makes a very strong political message that Focus on the Family and AIO have always held: that the Vietnam War was not something that you should try to escape at all costs and may even have been a very valid fight.  The episode deals realistically with these issues and captures the spirit of the times well.  In what could have been a complicated episode, AIO simplifies the issues just enough to consider them reasonably.   Blind Justice is another one of those episodes that allows you to solve the mystery along with the characters and also presents a very valid point about fairness.   Eugene and Bernard are a duo that can nearly always be counted on to bring an episode to success.  It's an entertaining episode that comes through strongly in the end.  Both Blind Justice and Memories of Jerry really don't have that much to do with the current storyline of Odyssey, but they are nice side trips anyway.

A Question About Tasha confronts a very important issue in one of the best emtional AIOs ever.  Alan Young's preformance in his later scenes is some of the best in all of the series.  The scene where Jack and Connie talk about Jack's wife is among the best of all AIO and one that I find continually affecting me. 

Finally, one of the best AIO stories ever is The Search for Whit.  This episode excels in every single area.  It is copiously researched: all kinds of information about Bible Times, archeology, and the Middle East is presented intelligently and clearly.   In the end, it is explained wonderfully and we understand what a perfectly crafted ploy it was.  It is interesting: We were very curious about the episode from the beginning when we heard Whit's message.  It is humorous: Eugene and Jason have some of their best lines yet (including "I think I just found a clue." "In the bathroom?" "I do some of my best work there.").  It is fast-paced: We move from scene to scene quickly, but we always know where the story is.  It is precisely written and entertaining for the entire length, but has a very strong message as well, especially brought to light by Whit's speech.  Speaking of Whit, that's another great thing about this episode.  WHIT IS BACK! We finally hear that voice we have waited so long to hear!

Favorite Episode: The Search for Whit

Rating: 4 stars

Read the Soda Fountain Review


The pre-release version of this album is shown at left.

This is the first album to be named after an episode.  This trend lasted for two albums.


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