2004-2005 Review Summaries

Reviews for: October 2004 | November 2004 | December 2004 | January 2005 | February 2005 | April 2-16, 2005 | April 23-30, 2005 | May 2005

Welcome to the 2004-2005 Review Section. This is your chance to review the latest episode and interact with fans about the newest evelopments.

A note of about the ratings... All ratings are out of four unless otherwise noted.

558: A Glass Darkly

Episode Information

Consensus: Thumbs Up (12/17 positive reviews)

Reaction to "A Glass Darkly" is mixed. Most agree that it was an "average" slice of life show. The question is whether this "averageness" was a good thing.

Some felt that is was and gave the episode good marks for the "great lesson" and the "clever" way the two plots came together. Fans also noted the good Whit talk late in the episode and an ending that didn't tie everything up neatly. Also on the "plus" side were good scenes and performances from Bart and Wooton.

Others felt that the show was boring or even "annoying." Many didn't like that Dr. Hawthorne never really listened to Trent or that Rodney seemed to always get away with his crimes.

Review by Ben Armstrong, age 18

I found "A Glass Darkly" to be a phenomenal evaluation of trust in the midst of this dark world. I thought that it was amazing how a core concept of Christianity was made accessible to children. As I examine my own spiritual life, I discover that the greatest struggles in the spiritual life are the ones that are easily compatible with the environment of the child. This episode has helped me to fix my eyes upon Jesus in delight, for the biggest blessings in my life and the biggest impact that I make are both unnoticed. In heaven, God will reward us for the bees we've killed and not the altar calls we've answered. For our heavenly Father sees what is done in secret and will reward us.

Review by Elizabeth, age 13

Hmm, I don't think I would give this ep anything over 2 1/2.

Dr. Hawthorne was really annoying. Nobody could realistically judge that quickly. Even though it sounds as if Trent is a pretty good kid, Dr. Hawthorne is ready to believe on first sight, that Trent is doing something he shouldn't. He didn't even try to let anyone explain anything. I didn't like that characteristic in him. I never really liked Dr. Hawthorne, and after listening to this ep, I liked him even less.

Will anybody ever believe that Rodney is to blame for some things?! It seems like everybody will believe that a kid that is normally good, would all of a sudden do something bad. Nobody suspects Rodney of doing anything bad, even though he is the worst kid in Odyssey.

I think the funniest thing about this ep was Bart giving away Marvin's old vacuum cleaner and Marvin getting it back.

I hope to see more of the older characters like Jared and Connie. Trent and Marvin are ok, but they get tiresome after awhile. I thought this ep had a very good message. Hopefully we'll get more eps that are tad bit more interesting, but still have a great message.

Review by Ruthie, age 12

Great Episode! But I did find a blooper already! Wooton says that he changed his route and is now going through the pond, yet later in the show he says that "It feels like Christmas in July" and Whit replys "But it's January." I seriously don't think that Wooton would be going through the pond in January. But with the warm weather we've had in Ohio, I don't really know!

I thought the episode was really good!

Review by Bradford G, age 14

Maybe not quite as exciting for a new epsiode of 2005. I was expecting at first some kind of mystery epsiode. Though after hearing it, I'm glad Whit explained "A Glass Darkly," who knew that the answer was in the Bible! Maybe not a favorite, but still a good epsiode to hear and enjoy and learn how when things get tough, God can bring in a positive outcome, with our faith in him.

Review by Paul B

Trent vs Rodney. Trent gets blamed for a food fight, and messing with Dr. Hawthorne's car. But it was really Rodney. Trent prays to God for his music audition and something always happens. Wooton has some strange shortcuts on his mail route and turns a vacuum into some kind of riding vacuum. That Wooton...what will he think of next?

Review by Amadeo (Town Hall)

I found it to be quite an intriguing episode.

Review by Catspaw (Town Hall)

It was okay. It didn't stun me with its brilliance, but it did not bore me to tears. I liked Wooton's part, though I didn't realize that he was such a handyman, with the skill to fix up the vacuum cleaner. (Though he did fix his boss's car way back when...) Wooton's variations on his mail route brought another question to mind: I had never thought that Odyssey was in such a warm area that Wooton could swim through a pond in January.

I find myself disliking Mr. Hawthorne more than ever. He used to be harsh, but still eventually willing to listen to a student's case. When he said how he was such a lucky person after he told Principal Johnson that he was near a dead bee, I wanted to hit something! It wasn't his fault that he didn't know the whole story, but he sounded so arrogant!

This episode reminded me of my problems with Rodney—he threatened to break Trent's jaw, with no discernable censure. Whit knew that Rodney beat Trent up, and yet he did nothing. I don't like the potential message that viewers are getting via Rodney and his victims.

I found Bart's contest funny, because it was so Bart-like. It's interesting how employees at Whit's End seem to win so many unknown contests at the Electric Palace (Connie in "This is Chad Pearson?").

Overall, an enjoyable episode that I won't be drooling for in anticipation whenever the album comes out.

Review by Me (Town Hall)
Rating: (out of five)

While it had its strong points, I have to give this ep a 3. When I heard the title, I expected some sort of cool action-packed adventure. For some reason, this ep reminded me of "Changing Rodney."

The plot seemed to lack resolution. Naturally it makes sense due to the subject of the ep.

Trent getting in trouble with Dr. Hawthorne reminds me of some teachers I have had. I think it is good that we finally seem to have a resident "bad" teacher.

It was great to have the Rathbones in another ep (when is it not?).

Trent with glasses? I don't think so!

Review by Jonathan (Town Hall)
Rating: (out of five)

For most of Odyssey's history, slice of life episodes have been a mainstay. It's one of the things that has made the series so endearing. This is one of those episodes, it was very average. For an average ep, there's a lot to cover.

First, Rodney. One the one hand, he sounded more like himself, but was still annoying. Personally, I just don't think he can be himself without the Bones of Rath.

Second, Dr. Hawthorne. When he was introduced way back in Faster Than a Speeding Ticket, I liked him. But here he was just plain annoying.

Third, the lesson. With a name like A Glass Darkly, I wasn't expecting an average episode. The whole thing seemed odd considering the verse.

There were things I enjoyed of course. Bart was classic, as usual. As was Wooton. And while I've stressed the episode's average state, that's not a bad thing. Like I said, that's a majority of AIO's episodes. Another thing I liked was the ending when Hawthorne called himself lucky. I couldn't help but think how neat it would be if Rodney, Hawthorne, and Trent knew the whole story.

Catspaw also brought up something good; is January really warm enough to have open water for Wooton to swim through?

My biggest fear with this ep being average is all of the episodes this season being like this. The next album will be full of them. One or two may stand out, but that's it.

Review by Mandy Straussberg (Town Hall)

I really liked it. Way better than the last few episodes have been. I loved the last scene with Dr. Hawthorne and how it brought home Whit's point. It really awed me.

Review by rosie (Town Hall)

The teacher not listening thing had the potential to really drive me insane and make me grit my teath, or cry, or hit something. But I was detached enough to handle it.

I think the message was really, really awesome. Something I needed to hear: When you have absolutely no idea what's going on, God does. When life is totally the pits and you can't see anything beyond hopelessness, that's not all there is. *sigh* Good ep.

Review by Bmuntz (Town Hall)

Trent is a idiot. He should of talked to his parents who could of talked to the principal and he could of talked to Dr. Hawthorne.

Review by Kanimoto (Town Hall)

I agree with Jonathan. Dr. Hawthorne is very annoying. This was a not-so-good ep!!! What is it with AIO and kids who don't speak up for them selves?

Review by Bennett Charles (Town Hall)

Hmm...I'm surprised by the lack of good reviews for this episode.


First off, the characters; I've said it before, I enjoy episodes where characters pop in unexpectedly. It's a nice surprise when there's a character you enjoy that ends up appearing.

Dr. Hawthorne seemed to be a favorite for discussion. I liked him back in "Faster than a Speeding Ticket," and I liked him today. Between deciding whether Mrs. Nietchew should be the teacher, or him, I'd definitely pick the latter. Besides, would this episode really have the same affect with Mrs. Nietchew? I don't think so.

Rodney was a great improvement in this episode. Yes, he was still playing the same devious characer. However, this time, he was much more threatening in his acts. Grabbing Trent by the shirt, and threatening violent acts to fall upon him...that was good.

Whit had mixed reviews from me. I found that his advice was good and his character fit in nicely at certain parts. Though it's not a negative fact; I find that he's pushed around by Bart quite a bit. Shouldn't he stand to him...I mean, he's teaching kids that? But, on the other hand, it was different and so I'm okay with it.

Another point I'd like to make about him is his reaction to Trent's black eye. What was with that? He sounded completely un-caring. It was if he saw it everyday. If I were him, I'd pick up the phone immediatly and call Bart and say, "Look, mister, bug me, but keep your freaky son away from my customers!"

Wooton has a creative mind and so it didn't surprise me that he built a sweet vacuum cleaner. Though, I'm guessing that Whit was originally the one who made the transformation, but the writers switched it so that he wouldn't be including himself as the perfect good guy again.

I'm getting use to Marvin's new voice. It's funny, though, because both actors bring completely different characters to the show. Before, we had little low-self esteemed Marvin who was afraid of Rodney. But now, we have big-bad/rule breaker/food-fighter Marvin whose fighting back against Rodney. Do I mind? Well, kinda, but it's not a huge problem. Trent was all right, as usual.

The Story:

I thought the story was probably one of the most complicated slice of life episodes Odyssey has ever made. Like, seriously here, I didn't know how in the world both stories fitted together until the very end. It was extremely clever and had a very nice lesson in the end. Sometimes I find myself trusting God to obey my requests; when that's not how I should be trusting him. I should be leaving it up to him. It's like Whit said..."'We rarely see the end-results."

Anyways, I thought the story was delivered perfectly. It was so nice that we actually got to hear how God acted instead of never finding out. And it was also nice that Trent never found out. Hehe...sucker...

In Conclusion; aside from a few character problems (which are more like observations then negative comments), I thought this episode was pretty much perfect. (I don't think I liked the food-fight very much, though) It was smart, funny, and extremely well-written.

I felt they really packed a lot of information in a 25 minute program. (Unlike Potential Possiblities where you felt you listened to a 10 minute show once it was finished.)

Review by happysmiler (Town Hall)
Rating: (out of five)

I will agree that the episode itself wasn't the best I've ever heard. There were indeed a couple of things that could have been a lot better. However, I really enjoyed the lesson this ep taught. That alone was worth a lot to me, since AIO has been lacking good lessons, in my opinion.

Review by jm91 (Town Hall)
Rating: (out of five)

It was okay. I agree that Dr. Hawthorne is annoying. At least Wooton was in, though. That made it way more interesting.

Review by EugeneFan (Eugene Forever)
Rating: (out of five)

Click here to see the full review.

With this episode, we begin another new season. For the most part, "A Glass Darkly" was a well-done slice-of-life episode and an enjoyable 'average' season premiere.

In "A Glass Darkly" we hear that Trent DeWhite has the rare opportunity to audition for a music group he really wants to join. Then, all kinds of bad things happen to Trent and get in the way of his chance to attend the audition. First, Trent is blamed for a food fight which Rodney started, and Dr. Hawthorne give Trent after-school detention. Then, Trent is blamed for tampering with Dr. Hawthorne's car, which was also Rodney's doing. Trent thought that he would have to miss the audition in order to serve his detention, and he is very upset. Whit compares Trent's situation to a situation with Marvin. Marvin's vacuum was broken, but Wooton fixed it and turned it into something better. Whit said that God could do the same with Trent's situation. Later, Dr. Hawthorne had to miss school on the day of Trent's detention, due to an allergic reaction to a bee sting.

This episode was about trusting God. Whit said that God can take any bad situation and turn it into a good one, but we must trust that he will do so. I was happy to hear Whit once again giving advice to the kids. This is something that he stopped doing for a while, but he has begun to give advice again in several recent episodes.

In my opinion, the vacuum comparison was a clever way to teach the episode's lesson. However, I was mildly unhappy that Wooton was compared to God again. This isn't the first time Wooton has been compared to God in the past few seasons, and I don't think it is a good idea for this to happen very often. As I said, I was only mildly bothered by this.

Another minor complaint about Wooton is his general behavior in this episode. I don't mind hearing him act slightly silly, but I thought his silly behavior was overdone in "A Glass Darkly". I hope he is toned down slightly in future episodes.

Once again, Rodney was used as the show's bully. His character is beginning to get stale, and I wish he would be replaced with a new bully. Also, I noticed many similarities between this episode and "Changing Rodney". Other people almost always seem to get blamed for Rodney's actions. I hope Rodney gets punished one day, because it isn't realistic for him to get away with so many crimes; I know this is a feeling that I share with other fans as well.

All of the actors did a fine job in this episode, I thought. I am beginning to get used to the new actor who is now playing Marvin. I found very few acting flaws in this show.

My rating for this episode is a 3 out of 5 stars. "A Glass Darkly" wasn't the most dramatic season premiere of all time, but other than a few character complaints, I was very pleased with hearing this slice-of-life episode.

559: The Coolest Dog

Episode Information

Consensus: Thumbs Up (14/18 positive reviews)

Aside from a few very negative reviews, the second episode of the season is getting a lot of positive feedback. Most fans liked the unique approach to the episode and the "different" feel to the production. Performances were also complimented, with the kids getting a lot of high marks. Wooton, however, takes the cake, with many saying that he carried the show.

Rob Jorgensen's sound design got several notices, with some noting how "real" the show felt. Many also said that they were glad that the ending wasn't a cliché—the band didn't suddenly get better.

Review by Ruthie, age 12

I was wonderfull! Wooton was really the Icing on the cake for this episode! It was the in the catagory of BTV:Behind the Scenes! And even though I play the piano and the drums, I don't feel like it's my nose! (It's more like an extention of my fingers!)

AIO really outdid themselves this time! But I do have one question: Is this the only episode that we hear basically NONE of the introduction?

I really enjoyed it also because the kickoff episode "A Glass Darkly" did not meet my expectations for the new season (I was ready to punch Dr. Hawthorne a few times!) but this episode REALLY went beyond what I thought!

Review by Sheri, age 14

It put me to sleep! There was like only three people in the whole episode. And what was with the beep every few minutes?!

Review by Jennifer, age 13

I thought it was okay, and the reason is because it was all on camera. I like hearing things happen live in Odyssey. Wooton was pretty good on the saxophone! He surprised me.

Review by Nathan Ehnis, age 16

Okay, I count four people in the whole show...strike one. That beeeeeep got kinda annoying after awhile...struke two. And the story had no point...strike three.

Review by Elizabeth, age 13

Sorry, but this is the worst ep I have ever listened to. It would ruin AIO's reputation.

The whole story was boring. It was about Marvin wanting to start a band. That would have been fine, but somebody had the idea of a video documentary. There is only one word to describe this ep..."boring."

Marvin and Tamika sound like, almost exactly the same. Are they played by the same actor? Either way, they shouldn't appear in a lot of scenes together.

The only person that was actually funny was Wooton. As usual.

Now, about Trent, he was okay, but... he was boring. And maybe a bit too overdramatic.

Anyway, I hope that this ep is not played again. It bored me to tears.

Sorry AIO, this ep was NOT good. :(

Review by rosie (Town Hall)

It was nice....

Review by Jonathan (Town Hall)
Rating: (out of five)

I liked it. It was one of the "slice of life" eps I will enjoy hearing again in the future.

One thing that I liked was the unique approach. Every time (or nearly every time) AIO does something truly unique ("Real Time," for example), the ep is that much more enjoyable to listen to.

Wooten of course was fun, as were all the kids. I suppose this won't matter in the long term, but Marvin, Trent and Wooton seem a bit overused this year (which isn't necessarily a bad thing).

Overall, a good ep; 4/5 stars.

Review by happysmiler (Town Hall)
Rating: (out of five)

I thought it was a fun episode. It was definitely different, and I thought the idea of a band was pretty fun, too. Wooton is great, and I like any episode that has him in it. Pretty strenge combination of instruments, but that only made it all the more interesting.

Review by bmuntz (Town Hall)

I liked the ending. To often, there is an ending where everyone likes it and they're a hit. But here, they were a bust but still their friendship lasted. It's a winner for worst sound design and best. Woton was great and you really got to feel like it was a real documentary.

Review by Arwen (Town Hall)

It was pretty good. Some of it was a little corny, but it was fun. I love just about any episode with Wooton.

Interesting thought: There were only four voices heard on today's show. I think that's a pretty low number... hmmm... maybe not... never mind.

Review by Bennett Charles (Town Hall)

...I didn't hate this episode, to begin with. In fact; I'll mention the things I did find well done:

-The beginning
-The use of Marvin.
-The continuation of Trent's Chamber Society problem.
-Wooton's opinions in the background (very funny)
-The originality

Unfortunatly ... this episode was the one I looked forward to the most. My imagination went wild with storyline ideas, and for some reason, they all included an episode about Marvin wanting in on Nick and Xavier's "10-W-40" garage band, but them not wanting him. And so, Marvin decides to create his own band with Trent, however, they stink, and Xavier decides to have compassion and gives him a chance. There? Now, wouldn't that have been a much better storyline? I hopes for this great episode with musical talent and great tunes was destroyed.

I mean, of course, the acting was great, and the diologue was superb on Wooton's part—and even Marvin was developped top-notch as a character...but there was barely a story. Nothing happened. They began, they stank, the end. There wasn't even a climax. Oh, sure, Trent got upset and left the band and—I didn't feel a thing inside of me. The whole thing was just dull.

However, on my first negative review in quite a while, I must say that I'm somewhat excited to hear this band in the future. We will definitely like them when they've grown up and become talented. There will probably be one or two episodes with this band again...

Review by MellowBoy (Town Hall)
Rating: (out of five)

I found it funny that the two instruments featured in the ep (drums and cello) are the instruments that I play.

Review by jarem11 (Town Hall)
Rating: (out of five)

It was nice.

Review by Catspaw (Town Hall)

A great slice-of-life episode! I liked the use of Wooton in this episode, and it was nice to have a realistic storyline. Even though I was ready to hit Marvin with the pan that he referred to in his song at the end, his jerkiness was not rewarded, much to my relief. I enjoyed it more than I thought I was going to, actually. I would have found the Spanish jokes funnier if I knew any Spanish—they were totally lost on me until I read Shadowpaw's review, which explained it. I can't think of any specific reason why I liked it so much, but I really enjoyed listening to it.

Wooton's "Camptown Races" song was so funny! It's the only song that he can play on both the piano and the saxophone! He does do a good job of it, and it was fun!

Review by Me (Town Hall)

It was an overall solid ep. I really liked the way beeps were used to transition between scenes instead of the usual music. Nice creativity (although I seriously doubt that Wooton would lay down bars and tone every time he hit record (the camera probably didn't have the feature)).

The only problem I had with it was a personal thing. Hearing small indie bands being made fun of always embarrases / angers me. This is only because I know a number of people who are in such bands, and are actually very good (I could post examples). I'll get used to the ep eventually.

Overall, very good.

Review by Kanimoto (Town Hall)

Positively cool! I'm a sucker for any episode centered around music.

Review by Shadowpaw (The Soda Fountain)
Rating: (out of five)

Click here to see the full review.

It seems we've been treated to one or two wacky/gimmick episodes every other season since the conclusion of the Novacom saga. In Spring 2003 we had "B-TV: Behind the Scenes," which was a backstage pass to the production of Bernard's television show, as well as "Hindsight", a story told backwards using the Room of Consequence. In Winter 2004, we had "Called on in Class", which was an adventure in the mind of Trent deWhite. This year, so far, we've heard "The Coolest Dog", a rock-umentary inspired by the movie This is Spinal Tap that follows Marvin and Trent as they struggle to establish themselves as a band.

As a matter of fact, the episode was originally titled "Spinal Trent", though before you go out and rent the movie that this episode was based on, I must mention it's rated R in the United States and most people would find some of it's content objectional. With that said, the episode is only very loosely based on the film and after you consider it's a comedy told from the perspective of a camera, well, that's where the similarities end. The show stands up very well on it's own.

The cast was terrific. The new Marvin, while portrayed differently than our old Marvin, was great in this role... and his jazz rendition at the end of the episode was very cool, even if it did run a little long (I get it... he's a "Sorry Man"). Trent was great, too. While I'll never shake the over-polished quality of his voice, he's a very talented actor and a strong character for the show. Tamika wasn't in the show much, but she wasn't bad, and Wooton... well Wooton carried the entire show on his back. His commentary was hilarious and without him the show just wouldn't have worked. On paper, his character comes across as over the top and unrealistic, but somehow, Jess Harnell pulls out time and time again a performance that makes Wooton feel like a real person... as a result, Wooton is one of my favorite AIO characters of all-time.

Though while Wooton's character was key to this show working, there was a more important factor that could have broken the episode: the audio. I take great pride in declaring this was the most unprofessional AIO episode ever produced... and since this show was from the perspective of a camera controlled by Wooton, that's the biggest compliment I can give. While most fans likely noticed the rustling of microphones and the blaring "beep" every time the scene changed, it's the subtleties in the production that really made it work... Wooton's voice for one. When he's filming the gang, his voice sounds like it's coming from behind the camera. It's muffled and far off, but it's subtle enough that it doesn't distract the listeners. Because it's done so well, it's something that is taken for granted, but creating that effect is much harder than recording the show like usual. There's also the zoom sound... when Wooton discovers the zoom feature, you can actually hear the camera's zoom go in and out... it's a hard task to maintain the camera feel for an entire episode but I never felt like I wasn't listening from the camera perspective... Rob Jorgensen is simply a wizard.

The story was good too. It wasn't cliched and it wasn't sappy... the band didn't become amazing and Tamika wasn't able to save the day. I was worried that things would come together at Aubrey's birthday party or that Wooton would pull some stunt that would make their band a hit. Instead, they stunk... and they knew it. Had they not, it would be like Marvin was rewarded for being stubborn and cocky and he certainly wouldn't have learned a lesson. Kudos to the writers for going the route they did, it was a more realistic ending than we typically get and made for a stronger moral.

And for you non-Spanish folks out there, "The Cool Dogs" translates to "Los Perros Frescos" while "The Fresh Pears" is "Las Peras Frescas"... so the in-show jokes made a lot of sense, considering just how similar the two phrases truly are. I include this fact for no other reason but that I went and researched the words... so if you already knew this, feel free to feel smarter than me :o). Anyway, it was a very good slice-of-life show and another solid episode.

Review by EugeneFan (Eugene Forever)
Rating: (out of five)

Click here to see the full review.

I thought this was a very well-done episode. Even though it wasn't your traditional slice-of-life AIO episode, it was very creative and enjoyable to hear.

"The Coolest Dog" is entirely a documentary of Marvin's new band, being filmed by Wooton. In the episode, the listener hears everything that happens, as if listening to the documentary. Through this, we learn that Marvin's band consists of Marvin playing the drums and Trent playing the cello; the "band" sounds awful. Marvin and Trent are asked to play at Aubrey's birthday party. During the days leading up to the party, the band doesn't get any better. Marvin finally allows Tamika in the band as a keyboard player. When it comes time for the concert, Marvin keeps asking Wooton (who is running the sound) to turn up the volume on the drums, and Tamika asks for the keyboard to be turned up. Finally, the loud volume causes a blown fuse. Marvin goes home sad and angry, but he realizes that he was being a jerk and he apologizes to Tamika and Trent in a musical fashion.

I am displeased with the way Marvin is beginning to act. His personality is not the same as it once was. Marvin seems to be going through a major personality change in a short period of time, similar to the change Liz went through. However, while Liz went from being rude and bossy to nice and friendly, it is the opposite for Marvin. Marvin started out as a nice and mild-mannered character, but he seems to be turning into an arrogant and unfriendly person. His immaturity disturbed me. But, I was happy to hear Marvin's humbleness in the end of the episode.

While I was displeased with Marvin's actions in this episode, I was very pleased with Wooton's use as a character. I said in my review of "A Glass Darkly" that I thought Wooton was overly silly in that episode. It was not the case in "The Coolest Dog". Wooton brought comedy to the episode, and I liked it better due to Wooton's character.

Even though this episode wasn't in the same format we are used to hearing on AIO, I thought this approach was creative. Also, I was very pleased with the sound design in this episode. The documentary sounded very realistic, and the sound designer did an excellent job making this happen.

Only four main characters appeared in this episode, but the three actors and one actress all did an excellent job portraying their characters. As was the case last week, I didn't find any problems at all as far as the acting was concerned.

"The Coolest Dog" was very well-written story, and the final product turned out very well. I give the episode 3.5 out of 5 stars.

560: The Present Long Ago

Episode Information

Consensus: Thumbs Up (24/26 positive reviews)

****Spoiler Warning!****

Practically nothing but positive reviews are streaming in for the most talked about episode in some time—"The Present Long Ago." Fans are enthusiastically greeting the show, calling the perspective interesting, the performances great, and comedy hilarious.

Other plusses were the spot-on impressions and spoofs of several actors. The parody of Arnold is drawing a lot of praise. Listeners also liked the well-portrayed Biblical lesson.

But the most talked about part of the episode (by far) is the very ending. Some don't believe it and don't think it could happen. Others thought it was a great surprise. What do you think? Visit the Town Hall and voice your opinion!

Review by Jake Bernier

This ep was funny. I liked the thing with Arnold Schwartzenbanger and Bill Crosby.

Review by Cody Michener, age 10

It was great. I love Odyssey episodes.

Review by Elin, age 15

Mandy and Trent? Every feeling revolts! Overall not a bad episode but the TV stars were a bit overdone.

Review by Jason

Okay, here's the deal. The episode was funny and great from beginning to end. The fact that so many people commented on the age difference boggles my mind. It is not that strange for people to marry younger. Four years is not that much, people! Anyways, the episode was by far my favorite this season.s

Review by Elizabeth, age 13

I think this show was very well done. It was a very funny ep.

I thought it was cool how the grandmother turned out to be Mandy. Actually, I was sort of expecting that. However, I was not expecting Trent to be the grandfather! It was actually kind of weird to hear that Mandy was married to Trent. Mandy is supposed to be like, Jared's age.

I love Trent's imaginary characters! The Arnold character was by far the best. In this ep, Trent is definitely more interesting.

I must admit, I had no idea what the kid, Max, was doing. Actually, I thought he was trying to make a minature volcano for a school project. The giant chicken thing was hilarious.

I hope to see a lot more ep's like this. Good job, AIO! :-)

Review by Beth

I really like this episode!

Review by Aewen

Overall I liked this story. At first I thought that the fact that this "Grandma" was telling the story from 60 years in the future was a little weird. I still thought so at the end, but it did end up making sense, so it turned out all right. It was rather disconcerting to know that the writers "know" what is going to happen in the future, but it was a creative approach that we haven't seen before, so that made it interesting.

Also, in the beginning I liked how the "Grandma" had the computer "looking over her shoulder." It kind of got me wondering what else would be happening in the future...

This episode had me laughing at points, such as when Arnold Schwartzenbanger was on and anwered Trent's question about being politician; also when he said" he'll be back." For some reason I didn't like the fact that they totally made fun of these actors; I mean it was clear who they really meant even if they didn't say their "real" names and even though they were just in Trent's imagination. For some reason it became too much at the end.

But overall, the story was a unique idea with good acting and reasonable production quality. There. There's my review. Yay!

Review by Jennifer, age 13

"The Present Long Ago" was one of the most uniqe episodes I have ever listened to. That's all I can say.

Review by Rob

Mandy and Trent can't get married, it just doesn't add up...Jared is Mandy's age, and Trent is his little brother. In "The Pushover", Trent (unless Jared has two little brothers) is two. And I never liked the character of Trent too well either. It was an okay ep, but I don't think I'd listen to it again.

Review by Nathan, age 16

Very thought provoking. Who would of guessed Mandy and Jared would be related! I loved the whole Arnold thing.

Review by Paul

This future episode of Odyssey was great. We hear Mandy tell her grandson a story from a place called Odyssey a long time ago. With some funny imaginary friends, Trent gets help with his bully trouble. They gave him bad advice on how to deal with a bully...who ends up being nothing of the sort.The jokes about Arnold geting into politics, Bill Cosby and his pudding pops were great. We also learn that sometime in Odyssey's future Mandy and Trent get married. I hope there's more future episodes of Odyssey. This show was great.

Review by Sheri, age 14

It was the best episode this season. But when are we going to hear more episodes about people besides Trent?!

Review by Gonkz

I was pretty happy with this episode! :-)

Review by Jonathan (Town Hall)
Rating: (out of five)

Once again AIO has done an innovative episode with, in my opinion, great success.

I love it when I can laugh out loud during an episode. Arnold's politics line had me laughing pretty good, as did other lines.

What I didn't like I noticed about halfway through the ep. It seems as if the AIO team is trying to re-create the Odyssey of old, and it's obvious. Recently Liz has started reporting with the Odyssey Owl (Lucy). We now have someone with an overactive imagination, Trent (Lawrence). While this could be a good thing, the team is going to have to be careful how they handle it, IMO.

But enough of that, back to the good stuff.

Another thing I liked (or adored would be a better word after so many eps of the opposite nature) was that they did a "romantic" episode without it being sappy, or any of the characters acting like total fools (like Connie did through most of the C&M storyline). I appreciated that because it makes the characters sound more "real" rather then soap opera buffoons.

I won't give anything away here, but the ending is a real shocker. I had a good idea of who this "grandma" was from the beginning, but the ending still surprised me. The ending also opened the door for a whole host of storylines and episodes, something that hasn't happened since Novacom (or for this certain situation should I say the not since the introduction of Katrina?).

One last thing, the two characters we are suprised about haven't appeared in an episode together until now (unless I missed something, I did some research at the AIOHQ).

Overall, a very enjoyable episode. I'll give it 4/5 stars (simply because I have trouble giving anything a perfect rating when it first comes out).

Review by happysmiler (Town Hall)
Rating: (out of five)

I loved this episode! Wow! It is one of is the best I've heard in a while! First of all, the idea to take present characters in the show and tell what will happen in the future, was, in my opinion, a great idea! I loved the whole thing with Arnold Schwarzenegger! The politics line also made me laugh out loud! The whole show was very funny. I loved the line with "I'm in your imagination - I can only be as smart as you are." LOL! And I also loved the whole thing with the grandma and grandpa! I would have never guessed! It think it's great! I definitely give this ep 5/5 stars!

Review by Bmuntz (Town Hall)
Rating: (out of five)

They did not have Yoda. After Arnold who was great I was waiting for Yoda to tell him to use the force and a lightsaber.

I agree that they are [trying to recreate Lawrence] but Trent and Lawrence have very different types of overactive imagination. Lawerence has space aliens and crazy stuff. Trent's are funny and they have to do with his real life not some made up life.

The ending shocked me as well but I think I like it but I am not sure. 4/5 stars and great ep.

Review by Mandy Straussberg (Town Hall)

I liked the episode for the most part. I knew from the very beginning (without a doubt) that the grandma was... well, who she was.

I detest the idea of her marrying that specific person, though. I hate him and she's my favorite character. Besides that, isn't he like four years younger than her (or around that)?

Review by alwaysHis324 (Town Hall)
Rating: (out of five)

I loved it. One of the best episodes in a long time. Hilarious!!! Arnold, Bill, Columbo... and Mandy and Trent. Too cute.

I gave it a five. This might just become one of my favorite episodes.

Silliness and sweetness aside, it had a real lesson, rooted in scripture. Perfect all the way around! Go Odyssey team!

Review by Arwen (Town Hall)

I just finished listening to it. I don't know how to rate it. It was definately unique.

I figured that it was the future as soon as Mandy opened the diary. I also figured that it was Mandy. It was actually a really great episode. They did a good job of a futuristic flashback episode.

Jared's sister-in-law...poor Mandy!

Review by Mellow Boy (Town Hall)

Oh, I am so mad! Come on, Mandy. You can go for better then Trent. Now its going to be weird hearing them in eps. The ending ruined it!

Review by DrBlackgaard (Town Hall)

I’m finding my review for this episode to be much like the last; mixed and confusing. By looks of it, this is one of the most talked about episodes in a while.

When I first heard the teaser (which I rarely do to keep from spoiling it), I came to the conclusion, like so many others, that it was Mandy. Afterall, the voice was rather a comforting and cute, matching it up with Mandy at once. That was no big surprise to many people.

To be honest, however, I was a little disappointed when I first began to listen to the episode. In my mind, Odyssey is not a fictional place. And that’s how it is to most people. Oh, for sure, we KNOW it doesn’t exist, right? But that thought that it’s real is still in the back of our minds. I doubt it’ll ever leave us. But the fact that the episode can escape time and look to the future gives the series proof that it is indeed just a radio series.
My next point is still about the first scene. I find it funny to point out that the computer in the background sounded almost identical to the voice of Hallie. Scary? Kinda. Looks like Hallie managed to take over the world.

As for the actual story; I thought it to be the complete opposite as last weeks. For "The Coolest Dogs," I found that the beginning was good and it never went anywhere. In this episode, however, I felt that it never had a start to begin with. Don’t get me wrong, the idea was good. Bullying can come in different forms, and this was just a unique way of feeling pressured to do something. But, didn Max’s threat sound threatening enough? If that were to happen to me, I wouldn’t exactly spend the whole day worrying about it.. Did anyone else feel like Max was actually worth putting into a worrisome mood? This was partly due to a writer’s mistake.

Having a narrator in this episode really helped in developing people’s characters. It gave two really good views on who Max and Trent were, especially Max. He was always a character who wandered around not having an official purpose. This way, we knew exactly what kind of person he was..."a supplier." Max’s new look was refreshing and less annoying, and reminded me a lot of Curt Stevens. Of course, we shouldn’t be expecting to hear him very soon since his voice broke…but it’s a nice one-time thing.

Trent’s three imaginary friends were very funny. It was a nice refreshing twist to the show. Arnold was definatly the best out of the three (at least it wasn’t Ricky McLean, right?). My entire life, I always wished there could be an Arnold-like character on the show. Too bad Chris gave the impression that we would never hear from them again. The impersonations were quite good for each of them, and I was quite impressed. It was the first time I quoted the episode to my siblings downstairs, “Whoa! When you flexed, I felt a breeze!” I laughed for a minute and a half with that one.

Was anyone really surprised that Max wasn’t doing what Trent though he was. I wasn’t. I mean, perhaps I would’ve if their were a bit more information given to us.

The theme was very good; I liked how the included the imaginary friends with the memory voice. Where can we get the power of Arnold, the heart of Bill, and the reasoning of Colimbo? Mr. Whittaker! No, it was the Bible. And that was nice…I expected him to go see Whit when he replied, "I have my sources." And I’m sure many others were expecting that, too.

...Overall, I enjoyed this episode very much. It was original and talked about by many. This is (to me) Bob Hoose’s 4th straight success.

Review by Katr888 (Town Hall)

Kind of cool way to do an ep. The politics thing was funny.

Review by Neo3DGfx (Town Hall)
Rating: (out of five)

Ok, this is so weird.

I have been think about Cognitive Impression Modeling, Blackaard's Revenge, the Imagination Station, and the future of Odyssey, over the last couple weeks. Creepy. I personally thought the ending was still a suprise. (Waiting for somebody to wake up.)

First of all, it is shown from the retrospective. An Odyssey character looking back from the future. I would have given this episode a 6/5 if it wasn't for all the silly comedy. Don't get me wrong, I think it would have been OK in almost any other type of regular episode.

But The Present Long Ago is something else. It opens up doors I would have thought closed forever in AIO. I want to see more from the sub-genre, but not as comedy.

I personally belive that I wasn't done laughing at the "modern" spoofs when Chris came on. Who, other than geeks, in 2075 is going to know of Colombo? It just ruins the believability of the episode.

Anyways, keep up the good work.

Review by Me (Town Hall)
Rating: (out of five)

It was rather interesting. Arnold was hilarious. The biggest problem was the Trent/Mandy pairing. I think they could work together if Trent had a few less character problems and a less annoying voice. Can't think of more right now except that Max was finally not annoying!

Review by Shadowpaw (The Soda Fountain)
Rating: (out of five)

Click here to see the full review.

Wow that's a lot to take in. Mandy and Trent tie the knot when the grow up? Who saw that one coming?! It completely threw me for a loop at first, but after thinking about it, it makes a lot of sense and may not be as mind boggling as many people think. Let's look back. We remember that Jared was in school while Mandy was a baby in "Tornado!", and a few shows later she was in the same classes as him. We also gathered from "The Pushover" that Trent was 2 during the same period of time (though he went unnamed), and as of right now happens to be attending the same school as Jared... who we will assume is currently aged 14: the same age as Mandy in "True Calling". Well, since we discovered in "A Lamb's Tale" that Tamika is 10 coupled with the fact Marvin is older (and in the same classes as Trent), that would place Trent in the 11 - 13 age range. Therefore, while I was initially very bothered by the fact Mandy and Trent end up together, it's not as awkward to digest as I first believed. Several years difference may seem like decades to grade school kids, but since Mandy and Trent are already very close in age, it's a lot less disturbing at this stage of their lives. Besides, who can ignore the fact they're perfect for each other? They're both keeners, take extra classes for special credit, and (if you can forgive me for stepping out of role for a moment) sound really cute together. I'm actually really psyched about them being a couple!

Yeah, I'm a loser. But how cool is it that we get to know about their relationship before they do? While I have a feeling the staff won't delve deep into the topic (teen dating is is a sticky subject in Christian circles), I do look forward to foreshadowing and hints that will appear in the shows to come. I also commend the writers for taking this interesting step for the series... very rarely on any program do you get the payoff before the buildup, and I think it allows for a unique perspective for story lines to come. It also made for one terrific ending. Not only did I actually fear for a few moments that Mandy would marry Max, I was really angry! I suppose since we've spent years growing up with these characters, we view them (in some dark and twisted way) as close friends or relatives. The thought of someone close to you making such a terrible mistake (especially someone so pure as Mandy) is too disturbing to even entertain! Happily things ended on a even more shocking note, but one that I've very much warmed up to.

However, I've said more than enough on the subject by this point, which actually wasn't even central to the story. Thankfully the rest of the show was just as delightful as the end with a rather unique way of story telling: a futuristic journal reading. After shows like "Called on in Class," it's no surprise that Trent has an over active imagination and the cast of characters who visited him in his mind were hilarious. Unfortunately, Columbo is not a character I know a whole lot about, so his contributions to the show were more fluff than anything, but both Bill Crosby (Cosby) and Arnold Schwarzenbanger (Schwarzenegger) were hilarious. It may come as a shock to many of you that the same man who provided the voice for Arnold is more commonly known for his Wooton and Bennett Charles characters... talk about range! Now, if I were in a team meeting and heard someone pitch the idea of somehow incorporating those characters into a show, even as a result of Trent's imagination, I think I would have hard time buying it could work... but to my surprise it not only worked but was incredibly fun.

The three of them were also quite funny in the scenes where they appeared together, including during the credits which was a simliar device as the one employeed in "Sunday Morning Scramble." As I said then, I'm all in favor of anything that gets kids interested in what Chris has to say and this is a perfect way to encourage people to listen all the way through an episode. Of the three, Arnold was spot on and everything he said made me laugh, Bill was decent, and his guttural delivery and obsession with jell-o was a joy, and with what little I know of Columbo, he sounded like a fairly accurate impression.

The plot was also neat in that we were lead down one path (a story about a bully) and ended up in a completely different place (a story about love). But overall, this show was simply a change of pace from typical Odyssey without feeling too pretentious or zany and will always be remembered for it's ending.

Review by EugeneFan (Eugene Forever)
Rating: (out of five)

Click here to see the full review.

The AIO team once again presented us with an episode written in a unique and creative way. I enjoyed listening to this episode, and I liked it better than either of the two previous episodes this season.

"The Present Long Ago" gives the listeners a peek into the future of Odyssey. We hear from Mandy Straussberg and her grandson, 60 years into the future. We learn that a Valentine's Day experience in middle school was the beginning of Mandy's relationship with Trent DeWhite, which eventually led to marriage. This futuristic approach was unique to AIO, and I thought it made for a very enjoyable episode.

While I very much enjoyed the futuristic approach in this episode, I don't think it would be a good idea to do the same thing in very many episodes. This type of episode is enjoyable once, but it would make the series unrealistic if AIO had peeks into the future very often.

Another creative element of the show that added more flavor to it was the "famous people" in Trent's imagination. The lines from these characters made me smile, and they were another example of how imaginative Trent is.

I was surprised when Mandy revealed in the final scene of the episode that her husband was Trent. I hadn't expected Mandy to fall in love with Trent, but after hearing the episode, I realized that they would be a good couple. Though they don't interact on a regular basis, the two have several things in common. I definitely don't think Max would have been an appropriate candidate to marry Mandy, though I couldn't help feeling sorry for him - seeing as he obviously had a crush on Many.

The actors and actresses all did very well in this episode, as they have been doing recently. However, I noticed a significant difference in the voice of Max.

All of the music in this episode fit the futuristic theme very well. The musician did an excellent job composing music that was very appropriate for the episode.

I was very pleased with the theme that was mentioned in this episode. When Trent was going through a struggle, he went to God for guidance. This theme wasn't revealed until late in the episode, but it pleased me that this episode had a clear, Biblical theme.

So, after saying nothing negative about this episode, I will give my rating. This episode deserves 4 out of 5 stars, in my opinion. The creative approaches that AIO is exploring this season are making this season interesting, and this episode was excellent.

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