THE ODYSSEY TIMES (Facts, notes, and quotes about Odyssey from this ep):
-I love, love, love this theme song for Family Portraits.
-Making new friends gets difficult as you get older. (i.e. Kindergarten- "Hey, wanna be friends? Sure!)
-So Chuck Bolte is playing George Poindexter the mailman. He's played two George's!
-Snow and rain might not stop him, but coffee and donuts sure do!" -Whit, referring to the mailman's motto
-Whit's monologue strolls are wonderful for me, since it's like we're walking and talking to Whit (a la Aaron Sorkin), but it could be seen as boring to visitors infrequent to Odyssey.
-On one block, there's Mrs. McAlister, Mr. Barnes, and the McKay house...any relation to Grady McKay and family? Bob McKay could be an uncle.
-Odyssey Chronicle...a competitor to the Odyssey Times.
-This is the only episode where I've heard of Odyssey Community College. Larry and Colleen Walker work in PR and are consulting for fundraising at OCC. It could be a smaller college than CCCC.
-"Most places we've lived; people have been so cold, distant. It's refreshing to know that there still are places where there are people who are actually interested in each other." - Larry Walker, not knowing that he's predicting the demise of physical conversations due to social media twenty years before
-First mention of Whit working at UPF...Whit humbly doesn't mention that he's the chairman of the board.
-Jenny passed away nine years before this episode and she and Whit were married for 33 years. If Odyssey time is the same as current time, she passed in 1978, and they got married in 1945.
-First mention of a school name: McCollum
-Hey, the mom, Colleen Walker, is Carol Bilger...who would go on to be the defining voice for Mary Barclay!
-Whit's End is a book place, coffee shop, and good place for conversation. The third would later be integrated in
-fortnight: two weeks
-Whit was born and lived the first few years in Scotland...he mentions the story that would later be told in Thank You God (Album 3: Heroes).
-KLAMATH FALLS, OREGON mention. This town was the inspiration to Odyssey for Phil Lollar.
-She likes going to Dodgers games? Well, that's one thing Sean and I don't have in common... (go Giants)
-FROM AIO WIKI: Shawn says that she could see all the way to the bottom of Crater Lake. Crater Lake is the deepest lake in the United States and its bottom cannot be seen.
-Uh, oh, Jimmy has a twin who sounds EXACTLY LIKE HIM named Bob. Mr. Whittaker, I think you have yourself your very own Parent Trap.
-"I thought that maybe the best way to help you was to let you think you were helping me."
Hey, it's the first example of Whit's mind games to help kids learn valuable truths!
-"You see, for some folks like Shawn, Odyssey is a start. For others, it's a finish. For everyone, it's at least a stopping place. But it's always a place for unforgettable experiences. That's a big part of what makes Odyssey so special." -Whit
After hearing another Family Portraits, it seems that the writers have established a pattern by this point. It starts with Whit talking to the audience, and then he comes across a problem. He helps solve the problem and helps a child learn a lesson. So far, this has happened in Whit's Visitor and now here.
The first episode tackled divorce, a very tricky topic, while this one deals with making new friends. The two episodes have wildly different feels, as Whit's Visitor ended on a melancholic tone while this episode had a happy ending. However, since the topic of divorce has many angles and is very interesting by itself, the lesson of making new friends is not as interesting unless placed in a good story. Since both stories had the same pattern, I can say now that it worked on Whit's Visitor and didn't work as well here. Sure, it's fascinating to hear more history and facts about the town; this was probably one purpose for this episode. However, the actual conflict is not as interesting as Davey Morrison's was in Whit's Visitor. SPOILER ALERT: The plotline is basically Whit meets parents, Whit talks history, parents talk history, daughter angrily storms out, Whit helps daughter learn to make new friends.
This episode doesn't use the typical conflict in most media. It uses the Kishōtenketsu structure, which relies on exposition and contrast to draw interest. Four acts occur: the introduction, development, twist, and reconciliation. This structure is used throughout Odyssey, and is often a great form of storytelling. However, it doesn't work as well here. The first two acts (intro and development) are interesting as we learn about the histories of Whit and Odyssey, but the actual conversation with Shawn in Act 3 is just that, a conversation, there's no reason to show how it connects or relates to the rest of the story. At least the moral is something we can all relate to, and that's the bottom line: that we take away something from what we just hear. It's not the episode I'd use to introduce new listeners to Odyssey, but it's something to hear if you're a long time fan and want to learn some more Odyssey/Whit history and mystery.
While this episode shows us more backstory of Whit and the town, the rest is slightly dull and unrelated to the rest of the plot. So this epi will get a 65/100, or a
EDIT - NOTE: No Stupid Questions is FP#4 and My Brother's Keeper is FP#6, , but since they're also Odyssey episodes, we'll come back to them. FP#5: You're Not Going to Believe This was later remade as #44: It Sure Seems Like It to Me, so we'll review both at the same time. I don't know how to listen to While Dad's Away, so the next review will be FP#8: The Letter. Please comment and let us know how this review went and what can be improved! Thanks!
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Listen to The New Kid in Town by typing in "gone" as Secret Word #4!
AIO Wiki: The New Kid in Town
*SIDENOTE* The link to CBM Camp has been fixed on our Camp What-a-nut post!