1989 Reviews

56: By Faith, Noah

Episode Information

Review by Michael:

This is probably the corniest Bible episode AIO produced in the early years. Although some of the jokes made are funny, they get tiring really fast. Even Noah admits this when he says "this is getting awfully ridiculous". My sediments exactly. I was also disappointed in the beginning where Bobby is trapped in the burning house. Although the illustration is good, Whit never states if Bobby is saved or not. I would love to know. However, I would still say that this introduction is far better than any other AIO Bible story during this time. This episode is decent, but I wouldn't have included it in the classics albums.

Rating: 2 stars (out of five)

Review by Nathan Hoobler:

A simple Bible story (albeit a grand one) is the setting for many Odyssey stories.   This one is a basically average telling of the Noah story.  The "humor" does not work particularly well in this telling, although the idea of Noah not having permits to build the ark is rather original.  The frame story is, like many early Odyssey episodes, only there for the purpose of being able to tell the inside story and is thus rather boring and of little consequence.  Overall, an average telling of a story with a poor frame.

Rating: 2 stars

57: The Prodigal, Jimmy

Episode Information

Review by Michael:

This was a good modern day example of the prodigal son. The buildup to the climax could have been told better and more in tune to what the Bible says happened - the prodigal son demanded his inheritance - Jimmy doesn't demand such a thing. The ending was good but again, the events leading up to the ending could have been much better and in tune to what the Bible says happened. All in all, a decent episode, albeit, a good one by the standards of AIO then, but still needed to be told better.

Rating: 3 stars (out of five)

Review by Nathan Hoobler:

As an earlier AIO episode, this one did a good job of adapting a Bible story to modern day, telling that story, and then telling the Bible story. There was the old verbal ballet of "what do you think I’m thinking", etc., but in general, the episode was original. Howie and Mook seemed decent impressions of children's desires (friends who can teach them and have fun) and fears (losing their money to older kids).  The only problems were the age-old formula (kid does bad, gets forgiven), and the lack of excitement.

Rating: 2 1/2 stars

65: Bad Company

Episode Information

Review by Michael:

This is an average AIO episode, much like the rest during this time period. Nothing really special happens in this episode. The solution at the end is good but predictable. While Donna's adventure is told well and sticks to the theme of choosing friends wisely, Connie's adventure has very little to do with the theme of the episode (ironically, I enjoyed listening to Connie more than Donna). I did enjoy the opening on broadcast version where Chris is matched up with "the perfect friend". This is one of those many episodes that you can forget that it ever happened.

Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5

66: The Imagination Station, Part 1
67: The Imagination Station, Part 2

Episode Information

Review by SC Woody:

This is the first episode featuring the ImaginationStation, and that alone makes it noteworthy. But not only does it introduce a new invention well, it also has a good story and is altogether well done.  Digger Digwillow is one of those annoying-but-funny characters. His perceptive skepticism gives me a laugh. ("Anything can happen!", "Hmm.. what kind of anything"). The story stays close to the Biblical account while also expanding in a believable way. The ending, where Digger becomes a Christian is touching. Incidentally, this was my first ever Odyssey audio story I heard, and is enjoyable even without any knowledge of Adventures in Odyssey. This is one that gets on my top ten of favorites.

Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5

73: A Bite of Applesauce

Episode Information

Review by Audrey:

A Bite of Applesauce is one of AIO’s best episodes yet. When I heard the skit between Chris and Dr. Schnizelbonker, I knew that the episode would have something to do with the story of Adam and Eve. This episode by itself didn’t keep me on the edge of my seat, but at the end when Eugene and Connie, got fired did, because as fate would have it, I was listening to this episode on a Friday....I wouldn’t hear anything about what happened until Monday (and I will say that the three days wait was the longest wait of my life.)

I think I saw this episode ( the first time) from a different angle than other listeners who listened to it their first time. The reason is because I started listening to the series with the episode “Bernard and Esther”, Part One. So I had listened all the way through the last episode of the series, to the beginning and then heard this one. Because of that I knew that Eugene and Connie would eventually come back to work at Whit’s End. The part that I didn’t know was when. I was almost into the Blackgaard saga (the first time) before I really knew all of the characters so I didn’t know if Whit re-hired them or if it was Jason and Jack after Whit left.

A Bite of Applesauce and most of the episodes that followed kept me on the edge of my seat. It is these types of episodes that I enjoy the most.

Overall this episode was very well done.

Rating: 4 1/2 stars (out of five)

Review by Anthony Strand:

Aside from being the start of the eight episode arc that eventually leads to Dr. Blackgaard's introduction, this episode is arguably the first Connie/Eugene classic. The first episode where they both play a major role was 62: Let This Mind Be in You. But they both had their plotline in that episode(Connie trying to be like Whit, Eugene repainting the Bible Room), they both share a storyline in this show, and it more or less establishes their basic and sometimes adversarial friendship.

But on to the actual review. As Nathan points out in the notes of this episode, this show is essentially a modern day retelling of Adam and Eve, so I won't get in to that.

This episode seems very simple on first listen, but in the big scheme of things its importance is overwhelming. First of all, it introduces the computer room in Whit's End, which will later play important parts in numerous episodes. In that same vein, it also introduces Applesauce, which is apparently Dr. Blackgaard's reason for coming to Odyssey in the first place. But Beyond all that, it is the first to tell of Whit's involvement with the government, and it really only hints at that.

While those things might make this episode important, it's Connie and Eugene who make it great. Every scene they have together is great. Especially the second one in the computer room, where they are trying to figure out the password. The chemistry between them is really there.

Rating: 3 1/2 stars (out of four)

Nathan's Rating: 3 1/2 stars

74: Connie Goes to Camp, Part 1
75: Connie Goes to Camp, Part 2

Episode Information

Review by Anthony Strand:

This episode is something of a mixed bag. It has some great moments and some rather boring ones as well.

Among the great ones are any of the scenes with Jack, Jimmy, and Oscar all together. This was the only time we heard them all together and they all compliment each other nicely. Fred Zachary is also great in these scenes, maybe the best he ever was. Allison's part was also interesting to me, but that's maybe because I have spent many years as a TV freak myself.

The not-so-great parts included the whole Lucy and Jill are rebellious thing. Personally, I thought it would have been better to have had Donna, Robyn, and Lucy against the guys with Allison as an alternate. You know, get all six regular kids in there. But I suppose they needed another story to fill out the hour. The camping scenes weren't that great, either, but they were better thanthe Lucy/Jill thing. Not that either of these were horrible, they just weren't that great.

Overall, not bad, but easily the weakest of the arc.

Rating: 2 1/2 stars (out of four) (Contributed by Anthony Strand)

76: Eugene's Dilemma

Episode Information

Review by Anthony Strand:

Eugene's Dilemma is the flip side of Connie Goes to Camp. It tells what Eugene was doing during the same time period. While not perfect, it is definitely solid and entertaining throughout, an improvement from the hit and miss Connie Goes to Camp. It is interesting to note that while Connie has five episodes named after her(4: Connie Comes To Town; 51 & 52: Connie, Parts 1 & 2; and 74 & 75: Connie Goes to Camp, Parts 1 & 2), this is the only episode named after Eugene.

Moving on, this show is the first time we get to hear Richard Maxwell in all his glory. His only previous appearance had been in An Encounter with Mrs. Hooper, and he only had one short scene. But here, he is Richard as we would later know him -- sly, scheming, and generally dishonest. While not his best work, he certainly does shine.

This was the first show focusing exclusively on Eugene, and he does a wonderful job. This show was really where we, as the fans, really began to realize just how great of an actor Will Ryan is. Listen to this episode. Does that sound like David Harley to you?

The one thing I really didn't like about this episode was Nicky. He just didn't seem like a child genius to me. I also disliked Mr. Grayson's stuttering.

But I think my favorite part of this episode is the way Eugene insists Nicky call him Eugene, while at the same time, he refuses to call Mr. Whittaker "Whit".

Overall, a solidly entertaining show.

Rating: 3 stars (out of four)

82: Heatwave

Episode Information

Review by Anthony Strand:

This is one of my favorite episodes involving the kids of Odyssey, second only to Front Page News. And I think one of the reasons I like it so much is because while many of the episodes around it are heavier, this one (along with the three before it), is a welcome break from Blackgaard. Jack Davis has undoubtedly his best lines here, and it ranks with Oscar's finest as well. Among the best bits in the episode are the Bad Joke Buzzer and the What Do You Want To Do? pieces.

The whole show has something of a vaudeville feel to it. All of the exchanges between Jack and Oscar sound like they could have been done by Groucho and Chico Marx.

This episode is also noteworthy because it introduces the Wonderworld treehouse, which has since played important parts in numerous episodes, including 252: The Bad Hair Day, 144: Someone to Watch Over Me, and especially, well, 204: Wonderworld.

The only real problem I have with this episode, besides Digger, who I find terribly annoying, was the end, which was a little to sappy for my liking.  But besides that, a great comedy.

Rating: 3 1/2 stars (out of four) (Contributed by Anthony Strand)

87: Elijah, Part 1
88: Elijah, Part 2

Episode Information

Review by Michael:

This Bible episode in my mind is the best Bible story ever told by AIO. I enjoyed the music, the characters, and the story itself immensely. The episode starts off with regular Whit's End scene, quickly moving into the Bible story with a few twists along the way. Jack's confrontation with Elijah could have been more exciting and could have used more action. Robyn and Queen Jezebel were great but it needed a more Biblical basis to make it more believable. I also did not care for how the writers used the secret prophets. It did not really contribute all that much to the storyline. But all in all, "Elijah 1 & 2" was told creatively and it was fun to listen to.

Rating: 4 stars out of five.

97: Monty's Christmas

Episode Information

Review by SCWoody:

This episode is one of the Odyssey Christmas episodes. In it Monty and Jana keep on getting into arguments over Monty's dad, Jana and him being divorced. This episode is good, but not relevant to me personally. It's an episode that is more helpful for listeners in some circumstances than others.
Rating: 3 stars out of 5