Reviews for: September - October 2003 | November 2003 | January - March 2004 | April - May 2004
Jimmy Barclay's return is being heralded with very positive reviews. Though fans are a little uncertain about whether Jimmy would have gone quite so far "off the deep end," everyone seemed to enjoy hearing from Jimmy and George again. Their natural chemistry is getting high marks.
Connie herself is also getting a lot of pluses for her mature, yet still impulsive personality. Her "Stakeouts are boring" song is mentioned by several as a highlight.
Less positive is reaction to Felicia, Jimmy's new girlfriend. Many found her extremely annoying and her scenes much too long. Others thought she was very funny. Finally, many are hoping to hear from other Barclay family members.
I thought this ep was pretty good. I really liked how you brought the Barclays back. I would like to see more eps with them. I liked how this ep wasn't as predictable as all the others like this.
It's great to have Jimmy back. Even though he works for a bad newspaper and his life choices have been bad. Hopefully, things will get better in part 2. Did Connie say she could live in Washington, DC? Start a new life? Connie does a stakeout on Jimmy and find out what he's really up to. Great season opener.
After seven years, Jimmy (or rather, "Jim" to anyone who isn't Connie or George) is finally back on the show. But, Jimmy's changed a little. Not only does Jimmy have a goatee, he also has a ditzy girlfriend, and shady job, and a habit of lying to his friends and family in order not to embarrass himself.
The first thing I noticed is that Jimmy sounds much older, even older than when we heard them in the Pokenberry Christmas show. It's been awhile! In fact, one of the more interesting things about this show is something that I've always wondered about: What happens to those kids who we lose touch with? I was always guessing not all of them turned out to be perfect kids. To have Jimmy hit "rock bottom" the first time we re-meet him is kind of an interesting twist.
One of the only annoying things about this show was the endless scene with Jimmy's girlfriend. It seemed to drag, mostly to prove the point that she's quite the ditz and nowhere near the image of Jimmy's first real crush, Connie. On the other hand, once again, Connie shines. She takes a big-sister approach with Jimmy that may be a little heavy-handed, but seems to be what he needs. David Griffin does good as an older, somewhat flippant, Jimmy.
We'll see where this goes. On the whole, it's a good reunion episode. I would have liked to have heard how life was in Pokenberry Falls, though.
Wow. Who knew that Odyssey's favorite family could bare another problem, named Jimmy. Sure seems like Jimmy has slacked off for so long that he's in hot water. I can't believe that he spies on people just so he can report the wrong thing. I sure hope Connie and George can set him straight. Plus I had a feeling that the old friend would either be Jimmy or Eugene. Oh well... But remember keep listening!!
I thought this episode was cool and all (Jimmy was my favorite character of the old episodes), but I kinda wish that AIO would start making more episodes that are as good as the Novacom saga was.
I liked the episode. I think it is very sad how Jimmy has decided to live his life. I am glad that we got to catch up with him again...haven't heard from him in a while! I never expected he would live his life like that. I always thought since he was raised in a Christian family so well, that he would never get into trouble! I always thought he made very good decisions. I did like the episode, and I can't wait to hear Living in the Gray part 2!
If the second part of this episode is anything like the first then "Living in the Gray" will be one of the best shows y'all have done. I can't believe Jimmy is working for a tabloid! Boy, he's sure gone off the deep end since leaving Odyssey. He's going to need a major talk with George. Also, Connie's part in this episode was very well done! She is acting much more mature lately. Oh, and I loved her stakeout song! Ahh, can't wait to see what happens next!
Cool! I loved hearing from Jimmy. But cant picture him with a goatee.
Jimmy, Jimmy, Jimmy, what has
happened to you? The good Christian kid filled with imagination that wasn't
perfect but was always funny and a cool kid. Now he is lying and hanging out
with a ditz and not going to
to church. I know all will work out next week. The Christian thing sounds like Promise Keepers. I enjoyed Connie's detective work. (I wonder if shes still at Bourlands.) Good to hear Donna's in college in California. I wonder how Stewart and Mary are. Poor George doesn't know what his son's truly up to. Good ep. Not perfect, but enjoyable. Can't wait to next week.
Wow, this was a really good ep! I love how Jimmy didn't sound completely different then before. It seems to be a realistic twist for Jimmy to not be all perfect and everything.
Ah, Prodigal Jimmy Part Deux. Great episode.
Jimmy. Jimmy...Jim... The episode was great. I really liked it, and it wasn't anything Odyssey has done before. So, basically it's a perfect score episode.
Though, something did trouble me. Jimmy's character seemed a bit different, and I guess it was such a load to handle when they began describing him as the tall hairy, goatee-bearing man he had become. He was different.
But was the change good? On one hand, I'm a bit sad that the fun-loving Jimmy wasn't the exact same behavior as he was. (I mean, he was still fun and all, but just not exactly the same way.)
On the other hand, we have seen him grow up and mature. Or in this case, immature... We love seeing people grow up. It's fun. And it's interesting, too. So, I like where he's gotten himself to in life. It's an interesting situation that I can't wait to see how it turns out.
Connie moving to Washington? I don't think she will...But is there a possibility of Jimmy moving to Odyssey after all of this? It would be great. But if I think about it, I don't think he should. Let a great character remain a great character. Let him appear once in a while, but let him remain who he is.
All in all, great episode. It's good to see you again, Jimmy. (But shave off the goatee, will yah?)
I guess it was okay! It's just that I'm really confused at Connie's age...Jimmy's too! I thought Connie was like 18, but if Jimmy was out on his own like that well he has to be at least 18 and he was suppoesed to be younger that her! I'm so confused!
One of the Top Shows They've Done!!
Finally! This really makes the last few shows seem less than stellar...this show was great! Jimmy has grown up, that's a given and he's made less than perfect decisions and it's nice to see imperfections in characters because they come across more real. And Jimmy is a well-developed character from his Odyssey and brief Pokenberry days. I can't wait until next week to see what happens. I'm sure he will come through and get out of his mess that is his life right now. I mean he has to, cause they wont leave us thinking Jimmy still lives in a horrible situation. Will he move home with Mom and Dad? He's not in school and it looks like he lost his job. I doubt he would...hopefully he will go back to school. Then again, he could go to CCCC to get his grades good again.
Overall, great show. Jimmy still sounded like Jimmy and Connie is back to the Connie we grew to love. She's not all love-crazed and acting weird; she's back to being a caring, but still inpulsive young adult
Is it creepy to anyone that Jimmy is like Connie's age now? I love how time works in Odyssey! Jimmy grew up and Connie stayed in high school. Now he's on his own. He's gotta be like twenty now and Connie can't be that much older. Just weird.
I thought it was pretty cool, but I don't really like the fact that Jimmy was lying. But, on the other hand, like has already been said, he is older and different, so, I guess we'll see what he does next week.
I think it's weird, too [that Jimmy seems to be Connie's age]. But, Connie wasn't supposed to grow up! She can't go away! I don't think she's gonna move to Washington!
I loved [Connie's song]! The best part of the show! (Ok, so maybe not quite...)
I think I'll wait until next week before giving my flat-out feelings on this episode. So far, I wasn't impressed... but I think it's because of the plot in this story. I have a feeling that Jimmy will turn around again and make everything right in the next episode.
I highly doubt that Connie will move to Washington. I think that was more along the lines of scaring Jimmy of the idea of having her looking over his shoulder for the rest of his life there. Connie seems like the homebody type to me, especially with the California trip ("Connie") in mind.
I loved how Connie sounded like herself again... but that is another topic for next week. Also for Felisha...
Why do I think that we should hear from Donna now?
I loved this episode! Boy, I sure did miss Jimmy...gotta admit I did have a little crush on him in the past. (Come on, you did too!)
I liked it especially because Jimmy's life is kinda like mine right now and I think he is dealing with a lot of struggles that older Christians (ie, the twenty-somethings) deal with. It's cool and great writing too! I love this show, although part of me longs to get back to Odyssey. Hmmmm.....
There was no Mitch and Connie was cool! No mooning over anyone, decisive, and taking action that isn't completely headstrong or disastrous. I warned that Jimmy might be a little different, but I was not expecting this at all. His girl friend was so ditzy and empty-headed. She was extremely annoying. But by using her, AIO was able to emphasize how low Jimmy had gone. Yeah, I'd like to here from a sensible Donna who hasn't gone astray.
This episode was a blast from the past and I don't mean AIO's past but my past. I was in a similar situation when I was in the Air Force down in Florida. I had stopped going to church, started dating an unsaved girl, went to dance clubs with my unsaved friends and did other "unchristian" things that I won't get into. I rarely talked to my Dad during those four years. Why? Because I knew he wouldn't approve of my lifestyle and also I think deep down inside, I was ashamed of what I was doing. Maybe that's why I was able to turn things around.
I don't have a problem with Connie's age. When Jimmy was eight, Connie was around 14 or 15. Now, I see Connie as around 24 to 26 (she did almost get married, you know) and Jimmy around twenty, roughly the same age difference as before.
Also, I thought the "Start the car!!" scene was pretty cool. Reminded me of Raiders of the Lost Ark when Indy is being chased by the natives..."Start the engine!!".
I thoroughly enjoyed the episode. It had its faults, of course. It doesn't soar to the top of my "favorite episodes" list, which I say as if I have actually compiled one lately. But that being said, it was just a good episode.
Perhaps I'm biased because of my love of Washington, D.C. and my fascination with journalism, though. Then again, it's not as if young Barclay's job was exactly ... well, let's just say that he won't be displacing Joe Klein any time soon.
By the way, did not Jimmy's boss at the tabloid sound very familiar? Similar to, say, the tabloid publisher back in "The Other Woman"? Now, I'm not saying they're played by the same guy, although they could be (a similar voice has been on some BTV shows and as a few one or two line characters as well, but it could be a handful of actors), but it does seem that the folks at AIO have decided that tabloid editors are big, gruff-sounding men who like nothing better than to scream at people for not getting the wildest story imaginable.
Then again, that's probably about right.
Is Connie moving to Washington? If they're going to get her out of Odyssey, why not make her marry Mitch?
I got a kick out of Felicia, and Connie and Jimmy had some hilarious dialogue. I'm so happy we've got new episodes again!
Jimmy and Connie's adventures in the second half of the season premiere are drawing more praise. Once again, listeners enjoyed hearing a struggling, but repentant Jimmy and a more-mature Connie. The increased emotion of the show got high marks, as did the acting of all three main characters. Felicia continued to get more uncertain reviews.
Everyone agreed that it was great to hear from Jimmy, though many wondered about the other three Barclays. (Many noted that the show featured not even a mention of Stewart.) Others hoped that Jimmy would be back on the show soon.
I enjoyed this episode because it was very real. As has been mentioned, it applies to not just the younger kids but also the older ones. I appreciated that Jimmy's actions had consequences (there have been episodes in the recent past where characters [ie Mandy, Alex, those guys] have gotten away with way too much).
This was a good episode.
It was very good. It was great to hear from Jimmy, hope he is good and gets back to God.
[About Stewart not being mentioned] Good question...
The scene between Jimmy and his dad were nice, especially the "It's good for my resumé" bit. The "artificial limb" part made me crack a smile. And everything else was good.
I also liked how they wrapped up Connie's relationship with Mitch a bit in the episode. It kinda made Connie look not-so-wise too. I like it when they refer back to past shows..."The Prodigal Jimmy" bit might sound confusing to a newer listener, but a bonus to a long time fan.
One negative comment, but nothing that wrecks the heart of the show. One: That phone call from Felicia being in jail seemed kinda corny. He talked on the phone, and it would've been impossible for his ex-girlfriend to explain how she was in jail in the short amount of time he was letting her speak.
Great Ep! Marshal Younger, David Griffin...and the rest of the AIO cast and crew.
Where is Stewart? Hmmmmmm.
I like the way the episode spoke not only to the 8-12 target audience, but also the older listeners. The references to older episodes were also nice, though probably confusing to newer listeners.
Connie's continuing coments like "I like it here" and "I think I could really get used to a place like this" are making me nervous. Actually though, her marrying Jimmy and moving to DC might be a good way to phase her out of the show...
It was great to hear from the Barclays again. Maybe this means we will hear from other old long-lost characters in the future?
One thing I was wondering about: Most of us know that we heard Jimmy in one of the Plan B episodes (2, I think) as a taxi driver in Chicogo. While he tried to disguise his voice somewhat, it was obviously him. Does this mean that Jimmy actually lived in Chicago for a time, while his parents thought he was in a college in D.C.? He then heard that his father was coming to town, so he rushed to DC, getting a job as fast as he could, but the only thing he could find was one with a local tabloid. If all that is true, does that mean that Jimmy has something to do with Novacom/Arthur Dent? Possably that is why he is always so nervous and secritive. Maybe this is all leading up to another Novacom scandal?
As for Stewart, I doubt that leaving him out was on purpose...They barely mentioned Donna and Mrs. Barclay.
On the Felicia jail phone call, I got the impression that he had gone through that all before, so it would really have been enough for her just to say "I'm in jail," and he would have known what was going on.
Marriage is an important thing, and even though it wasn't the main focus of the episode, AIO did a wonderful job of capturing the meaning of marriage throughout the episode. In today's society, there are just too many marriages that aren't working out. Marriage in our society is a contract, not a covenant, when in reality, marriage is a covenant, not a legal document that can be broken. Hooray for AIO in that they were able to get that truth in, and also the fact that marriages can be rekindled.
The music in this episode, as well as part one, was very well mixed. I wasn't overwhelmed with music rather than speaking parts, and the speaking parts themselves were very well acted. David Griffen, the voice of Jimmy, never ceases to amaze me with his great acting. If only he could come back on the show every now and then, as well as the rest of his family! Now I say it's time for Donna and Mary Barclay to show up for a visit.
The portrayal of Connie's character wasn't ditsy, surprisingly. AIO has been patching up its mistakes with Connie's ditsy behavior in previous episodes, and thank goodness. Instead of ditsy, "goo goo" behavior, Connie has been more mature in her relationships with people. It was a perfect touch for her to be the one who is reminding Jimmy of his existing conscience and what is important.
All in all, parts one and two of this episode have been some of the best season openers I have heard in a long time. Other season openers in the past have not drawn me in as much as this one has, although that's probably due to the Barclays' reappearance.
So where do we start? Well, the beginning is usually the best place. How great is it to hear Chuck Bolte as George again? There's something magic in that man's voice. I don't know if it's the quiet chuckle between his lines, the timber of his vocal chords, or just the realism Chuck brings to the script... but everytime I hear George, I can't help but feel in awe of his abilities. Now some people might not share the same views as I do, but I listened to dozens upon dozens of auditions for Adventures in Odyssey with highly trained professionals asked to act out a scene between Mary and George in "Treasures of the Heart" where the two are cleaning out the attic. Not one of those actors came close to the performance Chuck Bolte gave, nor close to the performances Chuck has given time and time again on Odyssey. What makes the feat more amazing is that Chuck isn't an actor. When he first started out, he was simply the Executive Producer of Odyssey and has since moved onto other projects... but he certainly has a talent that he's used for the show, and because of it, any show with George Barclay is a good show. He brings something to his performance that really reaches out and grabs you as a listener... it's just a shame we don't hear more of him.
But what about Jimmy? David Griffin was a great actor. In fact, few child actors could really compare to the talent he had growing up. When he hit puberty, things changed a little... what was natural before became harder and harder to pull off as "real". Jimmy was still someone we loved and cared for, but there was something different about him. To put it simply: David struggled at times and just wasn't as good as he was in the past. Through no fault of his own really, but the range in his voice changed... which makes it harder to display different emotions, especially when all you have to use is your voice. But personally, I'd prefer to have Jimmy on the show in some form, than have no Jimmy at all. But what I didn't expect was to have Jimmy back in "Living in the Gray I & II" and actually be impressed with him. He was great! His emotional scene when telling Connie about his life was really touching, and David's come a long way since he hit the voice barrier many years ago. I certainly hope we can expect to hear from him in the future, fans would definitely be all for it.
Now, we've watched Jimmy grow up on Adventures in Odyssey from little bratty brother, to awkward adolescent, to well... we didn't know what he became until now. What long time fan of Adventures in Odyssey couldn't tell you that they feel like they knew Jimmy Barclay like the back of their hand? If polled before this episode, I'm sure most fans would have said that he was a successful pastor, paramedic, or teacher spreading his infectious charm and fun loving personality to those around him. But what a boring episode that would have made... so the writers ripped out everything we would have expected from Jimmy's new life, and turned his world upside down! A crummy job, a terrible girlfriend, no more church, no more God, no more home, and a life based on a thousand lies. What a shocker, but a very sad one at that. Who wants to listen to Jimmy in such dire circumstances? Well, we don't...
But that's something Odyssey does so well. You feel for these characters. Odyssey isn't about great epic story arcs, crazy Imagination Station adventures, or fun twists on bible stories. Sure these things make Odyssey a better show, but at the heart it's the characters who drive it. We tune in to find out what's going on with our favorite characters and watch them grow in their faith and as people. And when they leave the show, we miss them... like we do the Barclays. Though, just like in the real world, things aren't always perfect... we'd like to think the Barclay's lived happily ever after in Pokenberry Falls, but things don't always turn out that way. Now that Jimmy's returned for a brief two parter, we finally know what became of him.
I felt like I was listening to an extended version of "The Prodigal, Jimmy", and in fact, "Living in the Gray II" references that fact not once, but twice. Though fortunately that episode didn't stick Jimmy with an awful girlfriend. I mean, a bad girlfriend is one thing, but Felicia was a little over the top even for Odyssey. She was really annoying in her first scene, irritating in her second scene, and by an act of God was subdued with alcohol in her final scene... hopefully we'll never hear from her again. However, she was but one of only a couple drawbacks in an otherwise very enjoyable episode.
One nice little touch I noticed was that Jimmy refers to the streets of Washington having more stop lights than Pokenberry Falls. It subtly reminds the listener that the Barclay's lives don't revolve around their past in Odyssey. Pokenberry was just as much their home as Odyssey was, and that gives some fairly deep characters even more depth. It would have been nice to hear what other stuff happened in Pokenberry which lead Jimmy down the path he took, but a little mystery is always nice too.
And what's more? Jimmy finally put Connie in her place. I mean, I like her and everything, but she's been getting on my nerves ever since her and Mitch started seeing each other. Now that Mitch and her are finished, Connie can finally get back to the way she was... and Jimmy pushed her in the right direction with his stern lecture by sending her back to Odyssey to face her problems. On a side note, that song Connie sang on her stakeout was sure great... wasn't it?
I mentioned that Felicia was only one of a couple drawbacks... the other drawback would be the ending. And it's not so much a drawback as it is a personal preference. Considering how similar this episode was to "The Prodigal, Jimmy", it would have been nice to have a parallel scene here with George and his son having a heart to heart talk. That scene is still one of the greatest moments in Odyssey history based on the performances of the two actors and just the wonderful moment that it was. Now, I understand you don't want a repeat of the same scene... that wouldn't do at all. But the episode could have been that much better with a more emotional ending. One where Jimmy breaks down and tells his father that he's been lying to him, and have George hug him and then say they'll talk about it. As it is, we're left with a sense of only semi-closure. We know George and Jimmy are going to talk about it, but we don't know how George will react, nor what Jimmy will do afterward. But again, just a personal preference and perhaps had it been written that way, I would be complaining in this review that they replicated the same scene!
On a final note, the last thing that bugged me is the absence of Stewart Reed. George and Jimmy are in the episode, Mary and Donna are both mentioned, but Stewart seems to be ignored. Now, I often forget myself that Stewart is part of the family as he was only introduced at the end of the Barclay's storyline, but I'm sure Jimmy would at least ask George to say "hi" to his brother for him when they were saying goodbye at the airport.
But I digress. The episodes were really terrific and it's nice to be able to check in on the Barclays. Sure, Jimmy might not be in the best of circumstances... but it's an interesting story nonetheless, with Jimmy getting his life back on track by the end.
The fourth episode in the (usually) popular Twilife Zone series is garnering mostly positive reviews. Fans enjoyed hearing another Kids' Radio show and agreed that it was a good message. They also praised the acting of Hallie (Sarah Buskirk) and Joey (Corey Padnos). Many were excited because their ending was chosen, while others were a little disappointed because they voted for the losing ending.
Other thumbs up included hearing Chris as the mom in the show and the subtle transition as Joey became computer-like and Hallie more human. Other thumbs down included Whit's sometimes monotone narration and the similarity of the episode to the original "Twilife Zone" show.
One more thing: I voted for Ending B and it won...but now that I look over the script, I think that Ending A should have won because it sets the stage for a sequel. *hint hint*
Even after reading the script beforehand, it was impressive that I was so interested in hearing how this episode was going to go. I'm happy to say that this episode fires on all cylinders, and comes off as one of the best episodes post-Novacomand certainly one of the creepiest since Novacom.
Personally, my preferred ending did not get aired, but that didn't detract from the show.
This episode also deserves 2nd, and 3rd listens. Especally of interest is listening to conversations between Joey and Hallie. There are certain places where Joey becomes more mechanic in his speech, and vice versa. By the end, Hallie's voice is nearly human, as she is frantic about being disconnected. Hallie's voice actor deserves the End-of-Season award this timehands down. The male voice award should be given to Joey's voice actor as well. They both nailed their parts, as did Chris (it's always fun hearing her as a character on the show).
The only (and it's a very minor issue) thing with the epsiode is that Whit seemed a little monotone about the opening and ending. Whit never seemed to be the type to do those types of introductions, so choosing Whit seemed a little odd, since Connie or Wooton (and least in my opinion) would have made better choices for the Twilife Zone intros. Whit could have read the ending, but again, that's just backseat driving.
Anyway, good show! Everyone involved, give yourself a gold star!
Joy Electic, I have to agree with you on Paul Herlinger.
It was a lot like that episode with the talking chicken. Except this time it was...err...um...a talking computer. But still it had a good twist to it, enough to keep me from thinking about that other episode right off the bat.
This was a really cool episode. I loved the whole "computer becoming human / human becoming computer twist." The thing with the two friends was a bit to similar to "The Twilife Zone." It was nice to hear Chris doing the voice of the mom, and that was the same actor as Courtney doing the voice of Hallie.
I voted for ending A (which I thought at the time was better since it was more creepy and Twilight Zone-ish), but the other ending was fine and less "over the top."
One other thing is...while I don't mind the fantasy of a computer coming to life, etc., why do computers in AIO always have to have names like "The Super Duper Zowy Capowy 2,000,005 Deluxe"?
Anyway that's just a picky issue on an altogether well-done episode.
Unlike maybe most people, I like the fact that Whit hosts the episode. His voice doesn't have much expression when he talks, so it kinda makes it a bit more believable-interesting-creepish. Connie just sounded pathetic with her little messed up voice as if trying to be creepy. Whit had the creepy calmness type of thing going, if you know what I mean.
In some ways, I sorta wish that when the main character realizes something, and what he's doing is wrong, that there's more of an action scene, or a struggle. Like, it didn't take much for him to realise that he was reaching rock bottom with his relationship with his computer. When the computer began shutting windows and shutting up his mom, then they should've followed it up with him desperately trying to get out of the room, or him hacking off the computer's arms with a lamp...or whatever...just to add a bit more thrills. But, hey, it's a kids show...but something could've been done to have a more cutting-edge ending. But of course, you don't want to scare away kids from using there computers now, do you?
All in all, it was a pretty good ep. (It was Trent who played Joey, right?) These aren't things that I'm complaining about, simply things that could have been added which would've made me like it more.
Is it my imagination or did "Joey" soud a lot like Isaac Morton? I know the probablilty of them being the same actor is about as far-fetched as the episode, since when we last heard Isaac he was around 12 or 13 so by now he'd be in his 20s and his voice would most likely sound quite different.
I spent the entire ep trying
to figure out if he sounded more like Isaac or more like Sam. But there
were certian phrases that I was sure it was Isaac's voice.
1. Quite obviously,
Hallie is a take-off of HAL, the controlling computer of 2001: A Space
2. Did anyone pick up on the Terminator reference: a Cyberdyne computer?
3. The title "My Girl Hallie" is also a reference to the Cary Grant film My Girl Friday.
Bonus: While it was later expained that Hallie had an "arm" that served as a cupholder, at first I thought it was a tribute to the story of the woman who called tech support complaining that her "cupholder" broke off -- only to learn that it was her CD-ROM. So that may not count as a reference, but it could have been quite funny.
It was a nice idea to let fans vote on the ending they wanted for an episode. Not only did it give fans the chance to read a show months before it would air, but it also gave them an opportunity to impact the production of an episode. I mean, all fans jumped at the chance to vote on their favorite ending! Well, almost everyone. I must admit I never once read the scripts, nor did I even vote. Why? Well, to be honest, I've never got much enjoyment from reading Odyssey, it's what I hear that interests me. I just couldn't be bothered to sit down and wade through a script: I'm just not that much of a reader. So you can say I went into this episode without any idea what to expect.
Well, actually that's not true. I knew it involved a computer named Hallie, but what I was surprised to find was that it didn't deal with one computer... it was brought to life by two talking computers! That's right... Joey and Hallie, what a great couple. One is a computer, and the other sounds like he wants to become one! Corey Padnos slides into the role of the perfect robot naturally... considering he sounds like a robot most of the time anyway (as you may notice on multiple occasions in "It's All About Me"). I hate to be critical of a young actor, but his robotronic acting is a result of over annunciating and dropped line endings. Fortunately, the very nature of the episode allows for the machine voice to flourish... and it makes it quite comical once Joey becomes like Hallie. So things cancel each other out... and I loved listening to this robot version of Joey speaking with his robot buddy. Though it sadness me that even Whit seems to suffer the curse of the mechanical tongue in his closing wrap... the pacing was unbareable! And just on a side note, it's nice to see both our host Chris (who plays Mrs. Patrick) and her daughter Kelsey (who plays Mary) can be in the same episode together. Kelsey had a small part and it's hard to judge her talent from a small selection of lines, but she actually sounded kinda cute and could be a good addition to the cast... if she ever returns.
Ok, so what did I think of the actual content of the episode? You can get away with a lot when you write an episode that airs on Kids Radio or B-TV, because you can pen crazy ideas that turn out quite enjoyable. This episode takes a goofy concept, brings back the Twilife Zone format, and gives the listener a fun story with a surprisingly cool ending! Hallie's voice was wonderful as you can really understand why Joey might want to sit and talk with her all day. She may be a computer, but she's friendly and pleasant sounding... it sure beats sitting and conversing with the talking 'Mirror' in the Bible Room. And what about the message of the show? Well it's funny... an episode that utilizes technology to allow for fans worldwide to vote on it's ending, takes that same technology and forces it into submission. Irony in it's sweetest form. But obviously that's not the real message we're supposed to get out of the episode, as Whit says it perfectly in the wrap: when our relationships with objects become more important than our relationship with our friends or God, we've taken a wrong turn.
And on that note, I'll say the episode wasn't too bad considering the problems I may have had with it. But as far as robots go, I'd take Joey 2.0 over Animatronic Whit any day of the year. Oh what's that? Excuse me, my computer's calling. I'm sorry. I. Must. Go....
is no more.")
System.out.println("I am in control.")
The return of "average" episodes (in a good way!) is being hailed with the latest Odyssey episodeStubborn Streaks. Fans liked hearing a show about everyday people in Odyssey, especially involving the main characters like Bernard and Jack. They also liked hearing an update on Liz and Mandy's feud, even without resolution. And they liked hearing Jared again.
Some fans wondered why Whit wasn't in the show. Others felt it was a bit slow. But overall reaction was quite positive.
The Novacom era kids are still in Odyssey Middle School! (you would think that some of them would graduate, but then again...we remember Connie Kendall's history...) Mandy, Jared and Liz have been around since 1999! That's really long for an Odyssey kid. They might tie with Jimmy Barclay, Sam Johnston and Isaac Morton, but not Lucy Cunningham-Schultz. Lucy was on the show for all of eight years! She got married in 1993 (to the actor who played Jack Davis...) and stayed on the show until 1995. Whoa. That's like, historic. (Historic for Odyssey...) Maybe they will drop one-by-one out of the show. How sad.
Mandy wrote a pretty good play in "Mandy's Debut", I wonder what the play was about.
Jared seemed awfully tame in this episode. I was surprised that he took up the heavy responsibility of set design. Doesn't really seem his style. But then again, we all change with age.
Also, I think that tuna sandwiches are very boring without pickles.
Listen to this episode. (You know, I think that I'll say this about every episode that I review.) But I'll say it again: listen to this episode. It's great.
I hope that Liz and Mandy get back together. They were really great friends. I always like the episodes where they have Bernard and technology interacting together. The day he figures out how to run that cell phone will be a day to mark down in history.
~Bernard fighting with his cellphone.
~Jack making Liz change her mind about talking to Mandy.
~Bart Rathbone's intro (I think that other Odyssey characters should do this too. I'm getting rather tired of Chris...)
~The music!! My sister and I were clapping and almost dancing when, in the beginning of the episode, the Odyssey theme was played "country style"!!
All in all, a nicely-done four-star episode.
The only thing with the show is that it felt quite rushed. Bernard, of course, was supposed to be rush, but it made him seem out of character. At the "sudden realization" moment that he was cheapening his service seemed a little too forced. Bernard does his best when he's got someone to play off ofbe it (*sigh*) Eugene, Wooton, Connie, or the kids (as we'll see here in a few weeks). Jack's too calm to play off of, and Bart's just cheap and greedy, so it was a little hard to make him work.
BUT, I was pleased with the show. And, in a reversal, the kid's part of the show was more interesting than the adults!
It was classic Odyssey and I loved it.
It was like we shifted back to the time when Whit was gone to the Middle East, and Jack was behind the counter. The last time Bart, Tom, Bernard, and Jack were together in an episode was "Tom for Mayor" (with all four, I think), but then they had Liz, Jared, and Mandy too...which was cool.
Jared wasn't overdone or annoying in this one. Actually, he actually seemed pretty normal. His wise words were creepy coming from him (Almost seemed like Mrs. Friendship, part 2).
It's good that Jack was back behind the counter again. It's good to pop him into an episode every album...or else you lose track of him. But his character couldv'e been easily played by Whit too, but maybe it wouldn't have the same effect.
What was also cool was that all these different areas in town were all mentioned in one episode. It was if we went for a site-seeing tour with Bernard. And it was nice to hear Bart Rathbone in the intro once more.
A few things, though: Bernard's buying a new pickup truck? Bernard using big words? Bernard looking like a old angry man when washing windows? What was wrong with his old car? But you know, I sort've thought that this episode would be resolved by Bernard getting an assistant to help him out. I first thought it was Jared, but I guess that didn't match up.
About Liz's and Mandy's friendship, it was handled pretty nicely.
All in all, great ep. The season is heading off well...
Great ep! Glad to hear Jared, Mandy, Jack, Bart, Bernard, Liz!
This show is another classic. From Mandy and Liz's friendship trials to Bernard's window-washing business, there is nothing like old and new characters in pretty normal situations. Yes, this is a type of show that I'd like to hear more of.
Some of the negative things were a very short-lived Tom Riley in the show, a not-too-classic Bart Rathbone and it took a while to get into the show. But these are minor quibbles are really aren't even worth mentioning.
On the plus side, we got to hear a few characters we haven't heard from for awhile. Jared, Jack and Bernard were some of the bests, for me at least. I also liked some of the hidden humor and the references to people and places that haven't been referenced to in a while.
All in all, a job well done!
Well, you're in luck. This episode is for the nostalgic fan. It's got all the ingredients of what makes a normal slice of life episode a fun episode to listen to, with enough substance in the plot to satisfy even the most picky of fans. And who doesn't love hearing references to old characters like Fred Holstein, Joe Finneman, or even Sarah Pratchet, who likely won't be reappearing anytime soon. Not to mention Jack's hilarious new addition to the menu called a "LocNonStrawMal"... otherwise known as a "Locally Known Strawberry Malt"? Nathan Hoobler has a knack for reminding listeners that Odyssey is a living and breathing world of it's own, where beyond the radio a place exists and time marches on. It may sound odd, but by paying homage to past episodes, characters, and places, you get the feeling Odyssey isn't a static place... this world is a real world, where the stories we hear are but a small excerpt of a much larger book. It's clear this writer knows Odyssey like the back of his hand... and the episodes are that much richer because of it.
But one element that makes this episode great is something I once took for granted: Jack giving advice to Liz. Now, on the surface that isn't so uncommon... hundreds of episodes deal with one of the wise people in Odyssey giving advice to kids in need. And, I'll be the first to admit that when Jack and Jason first started running the show at Whit's End, I didn't care for either of them. I was brought up on Hal Smith's Whit and wasn't aware what the circumstances were for him leaving the show. But, as I've grown older, I realize what a great addition those two were to the cast. And now, hearing Jack behind the counter of Whit's End, I wish he had never left. I miss that kind gentle voice guiding the children to make the decisions on their own... but still doing what he's supposed to be doing, which in this case, dishing out ice cream and drinks.
Now, we've had a lot of episodes in the past couple of years where some wild and zany things happen and a lesson is learned in a rather goofy way. Those are fun once in a while, but they just don't feel real. It's nice hearing a simple story where people go about their daily lives and nothing extraordinary occurs. You still get that great lesson and an enjoyable episode, but don't wince at things that may make you embarrased to call yourself an AIO fan. Simplicity is different from being boring. You can have a simple episode that is extremely exciting, and you can have a wild and complicated plot that is anything but. This is why I feel many of the slice of life episodes in the past year have been less than stellar: the episodes went over the top in an attempt to make them more enjoyable, which resulted in average plot lines with too many comical characters. Odyssey's success is built on realism. Sure, we have the Imagination Station and the Room of Consequence among other things that just aren't physically possible in our world, but it's the real situations the characters find themselves in that we can relate to.
And this is what this episode pulls off. So what makes this episode simple, yet enjoyable? Liz and Mandy in a fight over Seth. Ok, I personally think it's a stupid fight and Seth is a terrible, awful character... possibly worse than Danny Schmidt and I don't just throw that name around. But it's something that does really happen, girls fighting over a guy (I mean it happened to me all the time :o)), and not something that can easily be resolved. So here we are, several episodes after their big fight and they're still at odds. Liz sees a play of Mandy's she needs to review and thinks it's terrible. But does she write a bad review where people will think she's getting revenge? Or does she write a good review? We can all relate. And thus, we care what will happen to the characters. And for Jared fans, isn't it great to hear him actually doing the right thing for once? He sure has grown as a character... and I don't just mean his voice. But on that note, I certainly feel he fits right in with the cast regardless of how old he sounds. Mandy, Liz and Jared have all been around Odyssey long enough that it's only natural for him to be at that point in his life. I certainly have no issues with him popping his head in every now and then, especially considering how many fans he has.
So how about Bernard and his numerous jobs? Bernard is a great character when used correctly, and I think (besides the B-TV shows of course) that "Bassett Hounds" is the only time he's been used correctly in the past few years. Until now. It was great hearing Bernard not being used only as a device to make people laugh, but as a character who needs to learn a lesson. And if you can't have Eugene giving 'ol cousin Bernie a hard time, than at least you have Bart Rathbone dishing out the insults. When you have characters who have been around as long as these guys have, things just seem to flow so naturally. Great scenes between those two, and Jack and Bernard as well.
So far, this has been a very strong start to the season.
OnePlace didn't post a link to this weekend's ep, so many web listeners haven't submitted reviews yet. However, early response to the latest Odyssey is incredibly divided; it's certainly the most divided this season and among the "top three" for diverse fan opinion in the last few years. Many fans compare it to "Snow Day," and the reviews are similar to that show, if not even more divided. The two extreme reviews come from two Odyssey webmasters, Shadowpaw (The Soda Fountain) and Jacob Isom and they epitomize the opinion other fans presented.
Fans who liked (or in many cases, loved) the show noted its incredible creativity, the depth of character, the wackiness factor, and how all of this was used for a very relatable problem. They also note that the music and sound effects of the show are top-notch and the acting is very good.
Fans who disliked (or in some cases, hated) the show thought it was boring and the narrative was slow-moving because it was often interrupted by imagination. Many didn't like hearing Trent's creative imagination and felt that a spiritual lesson should have been presented in the dramatic part of the show.
Between the two, the fans who liked the show are the ones who are right.
A few things in the ep. that
stood out to me and made me grin were"
1. The governor in Trent's flashback scene: "That was positively stinky! I'm calling the national guard!"
2. The slow motion scenewhen marvin walks by trent's desk,gives him a thumbs up and says "gooooooo ggggeet 'em"then Trent stating that he couldn't understand him.
3. The reference to the tunnel hidden under the paper mache toilet.
It's sad that in the world of AIO, we the fans are divided. We either love an ep or we hate it (or we are passive and undecided). I still have hope that this season will turn out good and things can get back to normal. But what's "normal" in the world of Odyssey?
Trent has a cute voice (like Isaac, but not as nasal), a wacky imagination, and he hates giving oral reports! We have a lot in common!
The narrative, intentionally disjointed, was one of the most interesting ones in awhile. It's just how kids think
I could go on and on about this show, but it's one that bears repeating. Of the positives: Marvin and Trent as friends. It cements the Washington family a little more into the world of Odyssey. Also, the ending was great, and kept it from sounding like he was narrating the episode.
Oh, and so I get it right: The Shepards are related to the DeWhites, and the DeWhites are releated to the McAllisters?? It's a small world after all....
1. It didnt feel realistic. The characters seemed more like caricaturessitcom kids, if you will. Fear of speaking to a group is something nearly every child can identify with, but I think listeners will find it hard to identify with Trent. Hes too articulate for us to believe he actually struggles with public speaking.
2. The format worked against the premise of the story. Trents narration seemed awfully slick and flowery for, what, an 11-year-old? How many kids do you know that would say All eyes suddenly turned to look at me with an oily glare? Either Trent is a creative writing prodigy (which would cast doubt on his stated fear of communicating to an audience) or he can afford an adult creative writer to ghostwrite his thoughts.
On the other hand, what if a reminiscing adult had instead done the narration, a la The Wonder Years? The mature-sounding writing would have been more believable coming from an adult.
3. Despite the fantasy sequences and historical flashbacks, not very much actually happens in this episode. The narrative device and plodding pace reminded me ofam I alone here?the infamous Snow Day. As well, I dont think the characters were strong enough to carry the whole episode. Even a cameo appearance by a longtime regularWhit, Connie, Bart, anybodywould have added some interest.
4. The lesson was what? Learn to face up to your fears? Take a step of confidence? Fine, but facing your fears isnt necessarily the same as overcoming them. Realistically, would mulling over an ancestors life experiences instill confidence in most kids facing very real fears in the here and now? More importantly, where was the spiritual dimensiona desperate prayer to God for courage, perhaps, or a scripture verse to remind Trent that God is with him? This is Adventures in Odyssey, after all.
But it was original. It really was. The entire story was good and different, and unlike others, it kept me into the show. I especially liked the sound quality. And this especially really helped develop characters like Trent and Marvin. And, I didn't mind Marvin one bit. For one moment...he sounded like a Jimmy character. Trent actually fitted the part quite well. So, I liked it. I don't want Odyssey to produce too many of these episodes, but I enjoyed it very much.
Good job Odyssey.
I went to bed early Saturday morning after spending most of the night getting some school work done. My computer was left running to record several hours of a radio station that carried AIO so I would be able to hear the episode first thing when I got up. And I did. After listening to the episode, I went online, curious if people felt the same way about the episode as I did and I was amazed to find the majority didn't. Well not so much amazed as perhaps disappointed that people didn't find the episode nearly as enjoyable as I did. It may even be hard to understand coming from the guy who hailed simple episodes over those "over the top" shows anyday in my review of "Stubborn Streaks". But no, I haven't changed my stance... it's just this show is a perfect example of a zany story that doesn't need to be realistic to be enjoyed.
After reading the reviews and discussing with other people their thoughts on the show, I was prompted with a dilemma. Do I avoid tainting my (cough) good name (cough) by agreeing with what other people had said about the episode? Or do I go against the grain and brand myself as a lunatic? Obviously, the answer was pretty clear to me... as it would be to anyone who's listened to Odyssey for as long as most of us have. So after listening to the episode one more time to ensure I wasn't mistaken, I set about writing a review for an episode I thoroughly enjoyed.
Many people are drawing obvious parallels to "Snow Day," in which Alex Jefferson narrates his adventure to deliver cookies to his grandmother. The episodes are similar in style, yet I didn't like "Snow Day" very much at all. What makes this episode work is that Trent's fear of public speaking is something a lot of people can relate to. He's articulate, well liked and not unpopular.. but the show isn't about his inability to speak in front of an audience, but his fear of speaking in front of that audience. "Snow Day" was about an adventure to deliver cookies to his grandmother, which not many people do on a regular basis. I know a lot of kids, me included, feared doing presentations in front of the class and it's great to take a look at that fear in a satirical light. Especially when it ties into Odyssey's past so well.
Remember way back in "The Ill Gotten Deed" when the McCalisters were informed that the land they were inheriting was known for it's flooding? Or even in "The Curse" when Eugene discovers that the McCalister family has a cursed history on days that Odyssey made great advances in communication? Well, this episode brings those floods and the curse on communication (albeit a tad loosely) and combines them for a rather interesting and welcome look at Odyssey's foundation. The characters are a little strange, sure, and it's more of a childlike view of his ancestors rather than being historically accurate, but it's a welcome nod to Odyssey's past.
And another nice touch is Marvin in the show. If we're to embrace the Washington Family even remotely similiar to the way we did The Barclays or the Jacobs, we need to see the members of the family properly integrated into the community. The Shepards failed... due in no small part to the fact Aubrey and Bethany were homeschooled and only interacted with the other kids outside of school. The Mulligans were miserable failures as they don't even live in the town of Odyssey. But here we have one of the Washington kids in class just being a kid and not having to be the focal point. His shared fear of public speaking was nice and he never once uttered the word "oink". It was just good to hear a kid being a kid in an otherwise bizarre episode. Even Brenda, whom we heard briefly before in "For Trying Out Loud", seems to be a strong addition to the cast. I'd like to hear more of her and this trio... rather than be forced to learn new people's names and recognize their voice every other week.
However, while all these points I made are valid reasons for me liking the episode... the crux is the unique style this episode is told in. We take a trip into the mind of Trent DeWhite and hear what's going on in his head. Considering he's the younger brother of Jared, the fact he has a wild imagination should come as no surprise to anyone. Though rather than aliens and conspiraces filling his mind, he's got the fear of speaking in front of his class. He's a smart kid, as evidenced by "It's All About Me" (and notice his original report was going to be the "Skeletal System"?), and likely has no problem putting words down or paper or speaking with his friends. But to actually talk in front of the class is an entirely different story. Even I got afraid speaking in front of my class and I was heavily into drama at my school. The things he imagined are all quite wild, but not entirely out of the realm of possibility. Obviously the Governor isn't going to sit in on his class, Trent and Marvin aren't going to tunnel out of the bathroom, and he's not going to forget his pants. But as none of these events really occured, it's really a moot point. It's all in his imagination. Though as revealed in the twist at the end, the entire time he was reading to the class. His presentation was about the fear of public speaking.
However, everything was brought to life with the terrific sound design. It was an extremely immersive experience, with top notch production elements across the board. Music, voice tracks, and background ambience all combined to create the best production so far this season. I don't know if 10 seconds went by without some new effect being introduced. And I very well could be alone on this... but the scene with Trent approaching the desk, finally being forced to present, had my heart pumping. Todd Busteed and his team were able to take such a simple scene from the script, and turn it into an incredibly dramatic moment. Kudos to everyone involved.
So that's all I have to say. My score may seem high to some, but I feel it's well worth the rating. Check it out for yourself, and let me know what you think. Fans can agree to disagree! :o)
The storyline itself was a bit warmed over, a slice of old chocolate pie on top of a shiny, clean plate. I was not amused by any of the events in the episode as the main character, Trent, talked about his fear of being "called on in class." His overwhelming banter and Lawrence Hodges imaginings were absolutely obnoxious, leaving an unhappy listener at the end of the show. Lawrence Hodges had a more compact and gifted imagination, one that amused the listener rather than driving the listener crazy. Trent DeWhite's imagination was more conniving, pointless, and just a time-filler for the episode. I don't think I have had to tackle a review in such a negative aspect in, let's see, probably years. Not since Snow Day, and even then, there were some good things presented in that episode. This far surpasses the pointlessness of Snow Day, removing it from the "bad episodes vault" and placing Called On in Class in its place. As you can see, I am not pleased with this episode.
When I listen to a new episode of Adventures in Odyssey, I am generally quiet, willing to soak the drama into my mind. This time, however, my mind was racing with thoughts of anger and boredom. Usually I think only about the episode as it airs, wondering what will happen next. This time, however, I actually drifted away from the episode and told my brother that "This is shameful!" My brother agreed.
The repetitive flashbacks to the story of Trent's relation to the McAllister's was the most obnoxious aspect of the episode. In The Ill-Gotten Deed, AIO tackled the idea of how the town of Odyssey came to be, but this time I could not pay attention. The characters' voices were meant to be entertaining, but instead they angered me. I am not a happy camper. I have never had to write a review in which I have become so worked up about. The whole idea of Trent's imagination taking over him during class is overused. The idea of zoning out and then returning back to "class" every few minutes was both irritating for the listener and clichéd at most. I heard the teaser for the episode before it aired and I immediately had an "Oh no, I can see where this is leading" thought.
The only thing I can be positive about in this episode is the sound design and music. While the episode was written and put together in such bad form, the music and sound effects were very professional. It's just sad to me that the episode had to be so dumb.
I have never had to apologize in an episode review, and this is a first. I apologize for my negativity, but it really could not be helped this time. I do support Focus on the Family's Adventures in Odyssey program, but I do not want to hear a Saturday morning cartoon. I am tuning in to hear Adventures in Odyssey, a family radio drama that helps the listener to forget all the troubles going on in life and focus on God. I support FOTF and AIO completely, but when a bad episode arrives, I have to speak the truth. Knowing this, Called On in Class must receive a solid half-star rating.
"The Girl in the Sink" is getting a much less diverse reaction than last week's show. Nearly all reviews are praising the show and many are pointing to it as another example that Odyssey is back to normal. Fans liked the tale about a possible angels in Bernard's past and liked the simple idea of Bernard telling a story. Universally praised was the acting of Ezekiel and young Bernard.
Many reviewers, however, felt the story was too close to the movie and book "The Green Mile." Others thought "old" Bernard's acting could use some work. Finally, the most debated part of the show was the lesson. Some felt it was muddled and confusing, while others are defending it as a good and clear moral.
The plot of the story is nothing hugely spectacular, but it is solid and straightforward. There were no distracting dating relationships and no ridiculousness (ie last week's "Called on in Class"), but simply what AIO does best: a good ol' yarn.
The main high point for me was the scene where Ezekiel tells young Bernard how he lost his daughter through his alcoholism BUT how he realized forgivess in Jesus Christ. It was a wonderful gospel message that contrasts with the rather vague morality that has been creeping in AIO shows, particularly "Silver Lining." I wish the days of "The Time has Come" (one of my personal favorites) would return.
Also, Bernard drew an application at the end that was wonderfully rubber-meets-the-road: Quit spending too much time speculating on angels and start seeing where God can use you to touch others.
Way to go, AIO!
I really don't see what is so fuzzy and vague [about angels]. Tamika wanted to know if angels still worked today, because someone needed help. It's a common child question. Bernard gave her an intentionally vague story about a man who used his talents for God's glory. So, instead of answering her questions if angels help people, he challenges her to not wait around for others to do what she could be doing. Was he an angel? Does it matter? Tamika asked one thing, but needed to know something else.
Otherwise, I liked the episode. Since there's some controversy about the origin of the story, I'll hold off on that part. Otherwise, something I really liked was how Bernard was complaining about kid's impatience and never ending questionsand then we jump back to him and he was just like that as a kid. It was well-acted, and the sound design was good too. I especially liked Bernard's reluctance to hug a girl until he was 25.
Secondly, the acting was most uninspired. I couldn't really feel with the characters, I even got bored in the rescue scene! Everyone in the show had not much character, except for Tamika and Bernard.
I didn't really learn anything new from this episode and I found the storyline rather weak.
Ah, yes, we're up to the storyline bit now. I actually rather enjoyed the outer storyline, the storyline with Tamika and Bernard. Tamika wasn't bad, just didn't have much character. Bernard had too many grumbles. I remember a time where episodes with Bernard didn't have to have a new one-liner from Bernard. Now he has to say something funny in every show. This episode just overdid it. I enjoyed most of them at first but found them growingly more annoying. Still, we could create a page of quotes from Bernard from this episode.
The inner story was a different story. Though I did enjoy hearing young Bernard quote a Bernard quote, the rest of the stoyline was something not to be remembered. The show didn't really go anywhere and it was too predictable. The thing about Mary-Beth being missing was just boring and I didn't really enjoy the rescue either. It seemed short in storyline, but it lasted for a full twenty-four minutes. This episode seems a bit of a filler, but it was still passable.
This season has been full of ups and downs, highs and lows. I've enjoyed two of the shows and dissed a further three of them. There has been a lot of characters heard and lots of different genres covered. I cannot wait to hear what will happen next in the string of AIO shows. I'm sure something will surprise me.
Positives: good acting, Bernard had some good one-liners, good moral.
Negatives: similarities to The Green Mile, fuzzy angel tie-in.
Quite honestly, I have to say that this episodes weakest point was its adoption of The Green Mile elements. I can appreciate paying tribute to stories by incorporating elements creatively into a new story, but parts of this episode (as Shadowpaw already alluded to) border on plagiarism. A better example of that kind of creativity this season would be "My Girl Hallie."
In this show, the moment I realized (early on) that one of the characters would be a large, mysterious, deep-voiced African American gentleman, my mind immediately went to The Green Mile; and once the story began feeding into that work, I could only think of the far superior John Coffey character. Every reference suddenly became a rip-off.
I'm certain that's not how it was meant, but the stories are just too close. I hope AIO never again comes this close to intentionally (as I can't imagine it being unintentionally) borrowing from someone else's source material for a non-spoof show. If it had been a spoof (which would be weird considering the material), that's one thing. Spoofs can be very creative and original. "Hidden in My Heart" is still one of my all-time favorite episodes. Then again, some spoofs have been done very poorly, also, so I don't intend to say that all spoofs warrant the use of external AIO material.
But I think what bugs me the most is that this is supposed to be a "real-life" story, and a great deal of it is borrowed from someone else's work of fiction. It's that much worse that no credit is given the actual work itself or its author.
I'm not crazy about The Green Mile, so it isn't so much for its sake that I'm ranting a bit here. It's really for AIOI think the episodes can be much more creative than this. Kids at first may not get it, but that doesn't change the borrowing fact. Besides, it isn't as though something really creative was done with The Green Mile materialif it had, that might be a different story. But the material was simply transplanted into an otherwise very basic "rescue-the-girl" story and a not-so-clear morality tale.
All things considered, the characters voice-acting was well done, but they didn't seem to have much to work with as far as original story. So I can only give this episode 2 out of 4.
"Would someone please slap me."
"You have to know, Mary Beth, that I wasn't planning on hugging a girl until I was 25. This is a sacrifice."
Compared to last weeks, it was very good.
I don't see what people mean when they say the message wasn't clear...sometimes God dosen't need to send an angel, he'll just send a human with a willing heart. That was a message, and a very good one I must add.
It was confirmed, in a rather emotional scene, that Ezikel is not an angel. The disappearance can have sevreal explanations. He bolted, not wanting recoginition, is chief among them.
Honestly? This was an awsome eposode! It gets five stars, easy.
About the confusion of the theme bit that people have been talking about, I must say that I can half agree and half not-agree. You see, sometimes in an episode, the listeners get a different impact, or perspective, of what Odyssey is trying to communicate. In this episode, we see that God doesn't always send angels but actually uses people. What was trying to be communicated at the end of the episode was that not to wait for angels to come and do things yourself (or something like that). I just think that the situation with Tamika at the beginning wasn't a very strong situation that would get Bernard into getting to telling the story. That's basically my negitive opinion of the show.
Bernard's actual story was terrific. It brought out emotions in me. And I wasn't expecting to have from one of Bernard's stories.
After hearing the actor of Ezekial play in "The American Revelation," his voice became a favorite of mine. It was the type of voice that just brings out so much emotions. I was glad to hear him again in a even better role...a giant of a man.
The kids who played in this episode were also good. Normally, it ruins the entire episode if the kid can't act like a Sumo Wrestler on a clothesline. Like, if Bernard's actor (which I was very worried about) hadn't been good, it could've ruin Bernard's actual character in real life. I didn't mind Tamika much, cause she was all right. She might've sounded a tad older then the other episode, but overall not bad. Except it was hard to tell when she interrupted the story. It sounded as if she was actually in the story. I got confused for half a second.
A few more things; where did this episode take place? Was it Odyssey? I was sure that it was mentioned somewhere that Bernard grew up in Odyssey, maybe I'm wrong. But I'd sure like to know.
And finally, my favorite two lines in the episode were the one about Bart's greasy hair and;
Tamika: "So it was
Bernard who died!"
Bernard: "What?! No. No, I didn't die. I'm standing right here in front of you."
Overall, good episode.
Shadowpaw: as for your review stating he was mad, he was annoyed having to fill in for Whit, and he indicated he wouldn't do such again, thus, his aggravation is understandable, but not commendable.
This episode was funnier than most of Bernard's childhood stories because this child-Bernard had most of Bernard's characteristics today. He said the same kind of Bernardisms, and even washed windows well ("Call it a gift.") I hope that Bernard stays on the show forever. His IMDb link says that his birthday is December 17, 1931. So that would make him...um...seventy-three years old. (This year being 2004.) May God grant him many more AIO-filled years.
Don't you ever wonder if angels really do come to help people? Now we've all listened to "Malachi's Message" a couple billion times...and what do you think? They can't really come and dish out heavenly telegrams telling you what you're supposed to do with your life, because all that God's ever wanted to reveal to us is found in the Bible. There was a story that I heard once about a missionary couple who was scared of being attacked by vicious cannibals in the night. They prayed for God's protection, and nothing happened to them. Many years later one of the cannibals that they had converted told them what happened on that night. The warriors were about to attack the house but they were stopped because there were huge and illuminated warriors standing around the house, which could only be angels. I guess that if God did send his angels, they would be to protect you. It's kind of hard to understand.
Tamika's character has changed since her big part in "The Mystery at Tin Flat". Is it for the better, or for the worse?
This was a very nice episode. A little bit of action, a little bit of sympathy and feeling, small bits of humor delicately infused through the flowing melody of the storyline. A very nice episode. And I can't wait for another story with Bernard next week.
They also did a poor job of explaining who Ezekiel really was... they have him mysteriously vanish (rather anti-climactically I might add), just before getting the award and barely explain his past. He also heals a bird, which leads young Bernard to believe he is in fact an angel. Fine, but old Bernard insists he was just making himself useful for God. It's a conflicting message: He is an angel, and he isn't. At least "Malachi's Message I, II, & III" was perfectly clear on the matter and despite mysterious happenings, didn't leave the audience confused at the conclusion. Even in "Someone to Watch Over Me", where Nagle (rearranged to spell Angel), helps Jimmy... you know what he's supposed to be. It's not spelled out to the audience, but it's there. There's also "Timmy's Cabin", which contains a wink to the audience when it's implied that the John Chapman who saves Timmy's Cabin is really Johnny Appleseed. It's not dealing with angels, but it's a wonderful ending where you think "wow". No such thoughts here at the end... I was just left scratching my head trying to figure out what exactly I was supposed to take away from the episode.
But the main thing I didn't like? Well, I'm a bit miffed how similar this episode is to one of my favorite books: "The Green Mile". For those who haven't seen the movie or read the book (and I imagine quite a few of you haven't), I'll quickly outline some of the elements that are shared by the movie and this episode. One of the main plots of "The Green Mile" is about a man named John Coffey who is falsely accused of killing two twin girls in a small farm town. The man is eight feet tall, black, incredibly strong, soft spoken and kind at heart. Now, if that's where the similarities ended I wouldn't be so concerned. However, there's more. The antagonist of the story is a fellow by the name of Percy, a prison guard whom you absolutely loath and who also happens to have no respect for anyone or anything. On day at the prison, another inmate's pet mouse is scurrying about the hallway. Being the malicious guy he is, Percy slams his foot down on the poor mouse and leaves it for dead. So what does John do? He takes the mouse into his hands and mysteriously heals the creature. The mouse scampers away and lives a very long life as a result. Percy is very angry by this and storms away. Similarly in "The Girl in the Sink", Ezekiel whispers a prayer into the ear of a dying bird who happens to have been shot by a character named Percy, and then releases him into the air. As a result, Percy storms away. I don't mind paying homage to another story, but the similarities seem more like a stroke of unoriginality than anything else. While listening to the episode I thought to myself "I've heard this before." And with each passing scene, it seemed to be a direct take off of things from "The Green Mile". There was even an angry mob made of the townspeople who go searching for the little girls' kidnapper. Are all of these things coincidences? Perhaps... but as John Avery Whittaker would tell you: there's no such thing as a coincidence.
And what's with Bernard? Did Maude file for divorce or something? Not only does he sound depressed for most of the episode, but he even snaps at Tamika for cutting him off. Sure Bernard would get a bit peeved when Artie or the Jacobs' girls would interrupt, but there was a slight laughter in his voice as he questioned what kids were learning these days. This time however, I would have been afraid to hear a story from a grumpy old janitor who angrily told me "I'm getting to it! Why do you kids need everything in 30 seconds!" Unfortunately, while some of the fingers could be pointed at the writers, I think the larger share of the blame has to go to Dave Madden. God bless his soul, but I think his age is finally catching up with him. There were many times throughout this episode (and it's happened several times in each of his last half a dozen shows or so), where he sounds irritated with everyone and everything. Bernard's character used to be the endearing old grump... unfortunately, it seems more and more like he's just an old grump. I still have fond memories of Bernard and don't want to see him off the show, but I surely hope his energy level rises in his next outing. Maybe somebody should take Bernard's advice... slap him! It may just wake him up a bit. :o)
So did I like anything about this episode? Yes, it wasn't the worst episode I've heard and it was still kinda fun to listen to despite it's short comings. I just happen to have a lot to say about the aspects I didn't like. The kid who played young Bernard was terrific. He reminded me a lot of Timmy Riley in "Greater Love", minus the accent, and has a great voice. To top things off, he's a believable character and a strong actor. I hope the team can incorporate him into future episodes as a new character. Percy was also good.
My final note isn't so much a comment, but a question. Is "Hildy" a codename for police dispatches? I only ask because Hildy was the name of the police dispatcher in this episode, and that's also the name of the police dispatcher in "Hold Up!". I thought maybe it's just a term they use for dispatch... though my research into the matter didn't show that was the case. Perhaps I just didn't look hard enough.
To summarize: The production was top notch, the acting was terrific for all the actors inside of Bernard's story, and it was a well flowing show. It just had some story elements I felt were unoriginal, and a rather confusing message about the angel (or lack of one) involved. Still not a terrible show, just one that didn't have everything going in it's favor.
It's been awhile since we've heard a full-blown "Bible story" on Odyssey and fans are greeting "Bernard and Saul" positively. Most liked the classic "Bernard story" feel and enjoyed the characters and actors. A highlight mentioned by many reviewers is the song about David and Saul.
The main complaints to the show are general to Bible stories...that it's not especially exciting if you already know the story. Some also wished that the characters could have had the same voices as previous tellings of the story.
The Bible is full of these "charismatic" incidents where God intervenes, and it's cool to see Odyssey used as an outlet for people to discuss these topics.
I enjoyed it. Bernard is a great storyteller. Trent is cool I like the way he acts, his voice sounds kinda like Alex. Tom Riley made a good Samuel. Whit doesnt come on much this season, and everyone else does a good job "filling in." I enjoyed the story.
I liked when Trent was interupting with Goliath and Bernard was like "Whos telling this story you or me?" and Trent was like the moral is "don't throw spears at harpists" and Bernard said he was just being silly.
I didn't know the story of Saul that well, so I appreciated the classtime. I just thought he was some guy who threw a spear at David...and...yeah, I didn't know the story that well at all. Better go read that.
I don't have much to complain about. Usually in these "Bible Telling" Stories, I enjoy picking on the kid's acting since theres nothing else to complain about, But I won't be enjoying much today. Trent is a pretty decent character.
At first, I was positive that this would continue the "Liz and Mandy" saga (funny how that sounds). But I was glad that they decided to do it with Trent. I hate it when they invent a character, then simply have him in one or two roles and then dump him. I like kids being jammed up all at once and being so developped, that by the time they get rid of the kid, you say; "Oof! It's been fun!" That's why I thought the last few episodes have had quite the variety of kids, and have gone through every single new kid. (besides Max and Ashley, but they at least mentioned Ashley).
One thing: The bell. And I think someone else mentioned on this point too. In the past I've complained that the bell seems to coincidentally only ring when someone who has to do with the basic plot arrives. Quite the coincidence. So this time when it rang, I said to myself; "Here comes Ashley!" But Ashley did not cometh. And so it rang again; and once again I said to myself; "Here comes Ashley!" But she still didn't come. By the end of the episode, I was sure missing Ashley. And I felt that a gang of characters that came through the door decided to hide behind one of the tables to spring up near the end of the story to scare Bernard. Maybe it was supposed to be a surprised plot-twist ending. It's not a complaint...it's just pretty interesting. From now on, let's have that bell be used for only remarkable coincidences.
Overall, good ep. Odyssey has been doing good.
I liked this episode. Bernard is a great story teller, and I like Trent, too. At first I didn't like Trent too much, because I liked Jared better, but he keeps getting better and better.
I liked the part where Trent interupted with the David and Goliath story, and I also liked the song that the women sang. It's cool how they made a song out of the "David killed ten thousands" thing. Great idea.
I also loved Trent's "morals
of the story":
Cut off the bad guy's head when God says to.
Don't throw spears at harpists.
I was pretty surprised. Bernard hasn't told any Bible stories in a while. It was definately a very good episode.
Before I continue, I just wanted to clear up some things for fans who haven't heard "Isaac the True Friend" as it's not available in an album. There is a reason for this: it stinks. In fact, it's a perfect example of production values gone out the window. If you haven't heard this episode... don't! The episode ranks in the bottom 3 in each of the categories for music, acting, sound design, sound quality and overall horribleness. The only redeeming quality of the episode is the script isn't that bad, and it introduces Sam Johnson to Odyssey via a tricky Imagination Station adventure. A sharp contrast to "The Shepard and the Giant" which is an old, but still beloved episode. So where does this latest addition fall? Right square in the middle.
"Bernard and Saul" brings back Samuel, who was first heard in the original "The Shepard and the Giant". In a nice touch, Walker Edmiston once again reprises the voice for the role... though unfortunately while the episode may have featured the same actor... it was certainly not the same voice. Which is similar to what occurred in "Blackgaard's Revenge I & II" (where he reprised his role of Abraham Lincoln from "Lincoln I & II"). Here, Samuel is slower, lower, and more particular in his way of speaking while the original Samuel was a high pitched goofy fellow with a slight accent. Obviously for such a minor character the voice change isn't that big of a deal, but if you're going to go through the trouble of bringing in the same actor (and only have him play the one character), it's a bit disappointing he wasn't the same way we remember him... especially considering it occurs at exactly the same time frame.
Speaking of which, Walker Edmiston played the original Saul yet didn't reprise his role here. And in "Isaac the True Friend", Saul was played by Hal Smith, while here he's played by Pete Reneday. Each of these characterizations are wildly different takes of the same character... which is interesting, but certainly shatters any illusion one might have that these three episodes are seamless continuations of the other. Even David was cast differently each time with Will Ryan, Gary Bayer and now Gary Reed performing the various disjointed versions of the hero.
Does this hurt the episode? No, not really. I'm just pointing out these facts because it fascinates me... and I hope you as a reader find these points interesting as well. Especially considering that a few of the scenes in the previous shows parallel those found in "Bernard and Saul". Thankfully through the use of Trent's retelling of David and Goliath, the story found a way to quickly accelerate past the points we already know and arrive at the other end of the spectrum. Though we do get to hear one particular scene almost word for word taken from "Isaac the True Friend". It features Saul throwing his spear at David after the crowd around him begins singing him praises. Curious how that original scene sounded? Take a listen. Pretty close 'eh?
Bernard was much more pleasant in this episode then he was in "The Girl in the Sink" and didn't sound like a complete grump through most of the show. And Trent was very good: no robotronic acting here! I also liked the mention of Ashley Jenkins... it's clearer and clearer each week that there's a new generation of kids hanging out in Odyssey and we're getting to know them better each week. But what is up with that Whit's End door? This most have been the most busy the shop has ever been as almost everytime the story cut to Bernard and Trent, somebody was opening the door. "Jingle", "jingle", "jingle". I was literally going insane. Obviously people come and go, and that's probably how it would sound if it were real life... but I think it should be toned down a bit. That jingle is usually reserved for the introduction of a new character into a scene, so the moment you hear it you typically get excited and wonder "Who's just come in?" There are occasions in past episodes where the bell jingles just for your average extra that we never hear, but this episode seemed to overuse it quite a bit. Maybe I'm just having one of those days were I focused on something small and just got irritated by it.... but I decided to make a note of it anyway, in case someone else feels the same way I did.
Oh and how about that song? I thought it was great! Very ancient, very catchy, very lovely. The Official Site claims it's an original song composed by Carol Eidson and scored by John Doryk. I listened to that scene several times to hear the song repeatedly... it's just too bad it got cluttered with all the voices.
So finally, my actual opinion of the episode? I'll put it this way: For what it was supposed to be, it was very well done in the writing, production, lesson, and acting department. But I must concede something... I just don't find this particular Biblical story all that interesting. In fact, I don't find many of the Old Testament stories all that entertaining. Likely because I've heard the stories so many times and they're no longer fresh, but I honestly can't figure out why they aren't that interesting to me. "The Imagination Station I & II", "Bernard and Joseph I & II", and "Bernard and Esther I & II" are really the only three Biblical retellings that I truly love. The rest aren't bad, but neither are they my cup of tea. I guess it's like my gripe about "The Girl in the Sink": if it's not the first time I've heard the story, then a good episode just isn't as good. Come to think of it, those three episodes I mentioned were very likely the first time I had ever heard those stories. So in the end, this was a strong show that I just didn't find as fulfilling as I would have liked. But then again... it's not all about me. :o)