Monday, September 3, 2012

FP#9: A Different Kind of Peer Pressure

Happy Labor Day! Be sure to check out the results of the 1st AIO Websters at! I'm hard at work editing my church's Get in the Show music video, but we'll try to get out a post or something soon. In the meantime, enjoy!

THE ODYSSEY TIMES (Facts, notes, and quotes about Odyssey from this ep):
-Earl Boen's first appearance on Odyssey!
-The Hudsons are at the mall, though we can't be sure that it's in Odyssey.
-The not-so-popular girl doesn't want to hang out with the nerd? Uh oh, any moment now, we're gonna get someone singing something from High School Musical.
-Odyssey has Eskimo pies! I actually have no idea what they are, though I've heard of them.
-The crowd decides what the average teen does. Nowadays, the media is trying to determine what the average teen buys, plus hipster culture has been established. While certain schools still struggle with stereotypes and cliques, other schools have different struggles; this school illustrates the first kind of school.
-Jerry Winters, who sounds like a hick, is played by Jack Angel, who would later play Homer Fremont, another hick, in Honor Thy Parents and George Washington/John Adams in The Day Independence Came.
-Discrimination in the workplace continues today in all forms.
-Thank goodness Rich Hudson's drowning his sorrows in coffee and pie instead of another intoxicating beverage.
-Was the term "nerd" invented in the 1980s? 'Cause nowadays, nerds are an integral part of hipster culture. Oh, and there's more categories of nerds now, like this one.
-"Right is right, and wrong is wrong." -Whit, and a subtle mention to absolute truth
-yuppie: "young, urban, professional," a term invented in the mid-1980s
-"Your bill? Oh, right. No charge for the counseling? No, that's on the house." -Richard Hudson and Whit
-Conformists Anonymous would start another chapter in With a Little Help From My Friends (Album 27: The Search for Whit).
-Whit will later make that Romans 12:2 reference again in a later episode. I don't remember the exact one.


Well, we've come to the last of the Family Portraits to review (the rest are Odyssey episodes and will be reviewed in the near future). This last one is a lot shorter than all the other ones, and that might explain why the reconciliation, or the conclusion, felt so abrupt.

Earl Boen and Hal Smith were terrific as Richard Hudson and John Whittaker, respectively, but I could not say the same about the rest of the cast. Blair's yelling started to border on irritating and I'm not sure if she was supposed to come across as likable at all. I was disappointed that she was only in one scene (even though she was loud in her only scene); I felt that there needed to be a conclusion with her in it. 

It's interesting that this episode has the "customer comes to Whit's End and gets advice from Whit behind the counter" motif, but this is the first one where the adult goes for advice. Later, George Barclay and Ed Washington would also go and get advice. 

I was saddened that this episode could have gone deeper into discussing discrimination with the Richard Hudson incident, but instead stayed only on conformity. With a Little Help From My Friends, a episode loosely inspired by this one, focused on conformity and peer pressure as well, but the stories suited that theme. This "portrait" stayed on the surface, but could have aimed to swim into deeper waters; it didn't reach its full potential as an episode.

AIO Wiki notes that "In the opening wraparound of this episode, Dr. Dobson and Mike  Trout talk about some of the negative mail...about...Family Portraits. One letter did not inclusion of the teen/parent arguments in the program and another thought the programs sounded like they were from the 1950s." Well, it seems like Focus took those criticisms and geared Odyssey toward 8-12 year olds and made the shows seem timeless. But it's "portraits" like Whit's Visitor, The Letter, and even this one that make you wish for something that teens can listen to that specifically is geared toward them. Ben Warren writes in his post about the possibility of a spinoff:

"Way back before Adventures in Odyssey aired, Dr. Dobson, President of Focus on the          Family, was vocal about the importance of counteracting negative programming by providing alternate, biblically-based entertainment. Sadly, 25 years after Adventures in Odyssey began, Focus on the Family still hasn't provided that successful alternative for teenagers. I'm not sure why they haven't. Teenagers are members of a family too--and the most difficult, dumbest ones...the reality teenagers are dealing with choices we are allowing "Glee," "Degrassi," "90210," and "Gossip Girl" have the first and last say. Providing entertainment with good morals is not only a great idea, but one long overdue."

Well said, Mr. Warren, though I wish I could have indented your quote. I know we're just getting out of a recession, but an audience would be there before the show even began, and that's a testament to an already great show that has been produced for 25 years. I'll be posting my spinoff idea eventually and bring another candle to the spinoff discussion.

Back to the "portrait." While having some quality acting and writing, Peer Pressure conforms to many acting and writing cliches that weaken its overall message, with a shortened timespan that reduces the impact of its conclusion. I give this episode an 82/100, or a


Listen to A Different Kind of Peer Pressure by typing in "again" as Secret Word #6!
AIO Wiki: A Different Kind of Peer Pressure

That concludes our Family Portraits review series! Hopefully, you enjoyed going through the beginnings of Adventures in Odyssey. If you ever find a way to listen to While Dad's Away and/or In Memory of Herman, let us know and we'll review them! Starting after the next SMSS, we'll begin to review the Adventures in Odyssey audio series, beginning with Whit's Flop.


  1. I told you before, but to listen to those two Portraits, go to "Free AIO". Great review, guys, and I loved Odyssey Nerd. Oh, and Eskimo pies, if I remember correctly, are basically Klondike bars.

    1. Sadly, they're not available. WHAT WOULD YOU DO...FOR A ESKIMO PIE? Ehhh...doesn't have the same ring as Klondike bar. Thanks for commenting!