Jon Curry as Alvin York in Sergeant York
Townsend Coleman as Jason Whittaker in The Labyrinth
Phil Lollar as Dale Jacobs in The Labyrinth
Whit Hertford as Jay Smouse in Mistaken for Good
Will Ryan as Eugene Meltsner in Child's Play
My Reaction: Jason Whittaker is a very popular character, so it was no surprise to me that he won. However, I felt that there were two other nominees who should've won. Townsend Coleman has done a great job through the years playing a character who was always conflicted between the serene world of Odyssey and the "world of secret agents, mysteries, spies." (Malachi's Message, Album 32: Hidden Treasures) At the end of part 3, Jason says that he's tired of the labyrinth of lies and deception and is ready to go home, but the setup to that point doesn't bring it up to the level of the payoff. The last two scenes are terrific, as we witness the sadness of revenge and the redemption we get from talking to God and communicating about our faith with fellow believers. If Coleman had somehow conveyed through the first two parts the weariness of living out the lie, he would have been the perfect candidate (so I'm very anxious to hear Home Again this fall). I felt that both Jon Curry and Whit Hertford did that to their characters on their respective episodes. Jay was conflicted with morality while Sgt. York was conflicted with his beliefs, and I thought the actors' performances mirrored those conflicts well.
Georgia Dolenz as Sue in The Labyrinth
Renee Dorian as Gracie Williams in Sgt. York
Katie Leigh as Connie Kendall in Something Old, Something New
Audrey Wasilewski as Katrina Meltsner in To Mend or Repair
Linda Porter as Helen Wilson in Mistaken for Good
My Reaction: I thought Sue was a great foil for Jason in London (my sister would STRONGLY disagree), but although Katie Leigh has like, twenty million Odyssey awards, I felt she deserved another one this season. The comedic sides of Connie were expressed in part one as she tried to put together the wedding brochure and the dramatic sides were expressed as she dealed with Mitch's return in part two. Both were executed wonderfully.
Best Minor Character
Joy and Kyle in Child's Play
Red Hollard in Sergeant York
Jacques Henri in Something Old, Something New
Mrs. Kramer in To Mend or Repair
Mycroft Thugg in The Labyrinth
My Reaction: All five nominees represent different branches of comedy. Joy and Kyle represent childish hijinks; Red Hollard with folksy, clumsy, Southern comedy; Jacques Henri with the comedy of a foreigner speaking English; Mrs. Kramer with droll, sarcastic comedy; and Mycroft Thugg with British comedy. I enjoy droll, sarcastic comedy (i.e. Parks and Recreation), but apparently the voters like British comedy. For my personal taste, I thought Mrs. Kramer was scene-stealing in the two episodes she was in, and the funniest part of the whole season. Bring Mitzi McCall back, Odyssey team! We'll forget Mrs. Sutton and Mrs. Kramer can be a foil for Whit. This category was a matter of taste, and the rest of the fans have a different taste than I do (in this category anyway, but see Best Line).
Best Sound Design
Winner: Sergeant York
My Reaction: Good call. This episode took sound design in Odyssey to new heights, and it was exhilarating to listen to.
"One Hundred Things I Hate" by Mrs. Kramer in To Mend or Repair
Jay Smouse's Morning Announcements in Mistaken for Good
Mycroft Thugg's explanation of his name in The Labyrinth
Red Hollard's description of Alvin York in Sergeant York
Joy's questions in Child's Play
My Reaction: Thanks, voters, for recognizing the hilarious Mitzi McCall! The best line should go to the line that is the most memorable, and that line fits the bill as well as being hilarious. Although I felt there were even funnier lines, it was still my favorite of the nominees.
Vance King in Mistaken for Good
Jay Smouse in Mistaken for Good
Mr. Grote in The Labyrinth
Reggie Fingers in The Labyrinth
Maureen in Something Old, Something New
My Reaction: Frankly, Reggie Fingers was a typical villain, and there was nothing really special about him. Maureen was only a villain to the Connie/Mitch shippers, and technically, she might've even been a hero to some of the fans who wanted Mitch to end the relationship. Vance was a good villain, but he wasn't really memorable. Jay and Mr. Grote were interesting villains. Jay was a great antihero as he tried to discern the morality of snagging money from an old lady. Mr. Grote had an amazing voice, and his last scene is a scene that I will not forget when thinking about Odyssey in 2012 for a long time. In fact, ever since The Labyrinth, I've seen Ron Yuan (the actor portraying Mr. Grote) on many TV shows, including NCIS: Los Angeles (one of Ally's top shows), Touch, and Awake. I'm hoping Mr. Grote returns; he's a great villain that could do well in another saga like the Blackgaard Chronicles or Novacom Saga.
EDIT: Best Episode
Winner: The Labyrinth
My Reaction: The Avery Awards are similar to any event with fan-based voting, such as the People's Choice Awards, Kids' Choice Awards, and Teens' Choice Awards. Compare the winner of Choice Movie Drama and Comedy for the Teens' Choice Awards (The Lucky One and 21 Jump Street) to the nominees for Best Picture at this year's Oscars (The Artist, The Descendants, The Help, Hugo, The Tree of Life, War Horse, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, Moneyball, Midnight in Paris). Fan awards tend to favor spectacle and visuals over nuanced performances. Now, while there aren't visuals in Odyssey, except the imagination, the winners of the Averys will usually be the big, exciting episode of the season (Case in point: The Jubilee Singers, The Mystery of the Clock Tower). Unbecoming Jay was the funniest episode of Album 54, which earned its attention. While I enjoyed The Labyrinth, certain things didn't seem to click. For me, the first two parts were merely okay, and then the third part was incredible. The first two parts had humor that distracted from the action or simply wasn't needed (I had similar feelings about The Green Ring Conspiracy; but does Jason really have to make a wisecrack every five seconds?) and some plot threads that didn't go anywhere (the worm). There were certain parts that were incredible (see previous reactions), but the episode as a whole didn't deserve the award, in my opinion. Sgt. York was a fantastic historical story written and directed by Dave Arnold, and four parts was just right for me. It told a good story and shared an important message.
RUNNERS-UP: Something Old, Something New was a fantastic dramedy, seamlessly blending together comedy, mystery, romance, and drama. For the first time, I enjoyed myself on a Jones/Parker detective adventure, Kimmy Robertson was hilarious as Penny interacting with everyone (I especially loved scenes with her and Matthew/Emily), and Connie finally got some well-needed character development and closure. I can only describe it as a beautiful episode, but the same goes for To Mend or Repair, which also blended comedy (Barrett, Priscilla, Jay, Mrs. Kramer) and drama (Eugene and Katrina) well. I voted for Something... because the humor was crisper in the end.
Thanks for reading this long-winded post! Feel free to sound off with your comments and questions in the comments section below! Later this week, we'll go over FP3: The New Kid in Town.