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 Post subject: Album 51: Take It From the Top
PostPosted: Thu Dec 18, 2014 9:08 pm 
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We adore new things. New books, new clothes, new songs. Trying new cereals, finding new friends, planting new flowers. And it's goodbye your old favorite cereal, to trying to contact that "friend" who never replies anyway, and to your half-dead old flowers. It's part of what makes us human. We don't like to do nothing but go over and over the same old hunting grounds. Everything must grow, develop, move on. There is, though, an exception to this rule.

They are are called reboots, and people love to boot them.

Since the beginning of time, or at least the beginning of Star Trek, anyone with a favorite show they adore like everybody's business will treasure the old and complain of the new. If the show chugs steadily along, all will be more or less well. But if there is a break in the line, lookout. For then there is an old and a new. As soon as that happens, there is a comparison to be made. And they will make it. All at once, the old will be the golden standard (what happened to all those episodes they said they hated? Are they gone?) and the new will just not live up to that standard.

Odyssians are hardly exempt. We've complained literally since the internet was up. We started blogging and complaining. That's what it's for.

Jared and Dwayne? Ew. The Mulligans? Ew. The Washingtons? Ew.

You see where this is going. Album 51 has been despised for years. We went into the light, where we had our moment of truth, and the truth was: the sky's the limit, for Odyssey is the best small town. But then the show bombed. There was a relaunch, and it was awful. Of course. Those aio writers all lost their abilities. Simultaneously. Not permanently, naturally. Just long enough to complain about the relaunch, then they mysteriously got better again.

Forgive the sarcasm, but anyway. Creative Thinker, the creative creator of Just Another AIO Blog, (here known as Arnold the Rubber Ducky) sums up the complaints fairly well:

Quote:
....I will say it was actually the first AIO album that I anticipated before its' release, and I remember it well. I remember watching little videos about it before it came out: videos that introduced the Parker and Jones families, and then counting down to that fateful day when we would find out what happened when Connie pushed that red button. And I [...] remembered a lingering feeling of disappointment: AIO advertised something epic and unique, but it felt like they were just rehashing what they had done before.


How did aio advertise something epic? Critics of 51 tend to share that opinion. But where did it come from? The aforementioned video showed new pictures of the characters. Such as old-fashioned looking "Lumberjack Whit" and a cozy family-photo style pic of the Parkers. If anything, that hinted at a nice, basic album.

He continues:

Quote:
"Finish What You..." was embarrassingly similar to "The No Factor", "Clutter" seemed like "Treasures of the Heart" at first, until you realized it was actually a lot less original. "For the Birds" was unique enough for me to sort of appreciate it, but it will still remain ever in the shadow of "Pet Peeves". Even "The Inspiration Station" wasn't all it was cracked up to be, and that invention has gone nowhere since then. I didn't like any of the Emily episodes for obvious reasons, and "Target of the Week" was just a typical bully episode. That leaves "Grandma's Visit" and "The Jubilee Singers". "Grandma's Visit" was pleasant and unique enough, but it still felt like it was missing something, and wasn't enough to carry the whole album anyway. "The Jubilee Singers" is something of a masterpiece, and clearly the magnum opus of the album. However, the fact that it featured none of the new characters in the central storyline (it wouldn't of course, but still) worried me.


First off, if Grandma's Vist was alright and The Jubilee Singers was more or less a masterpiece, that's a third of the album! So it already seems odd to generalize the entire album as bad.

As to the others, were they that bad? Let's take just one example. Finish What You... is similar to The No Factor only superficially. In The No Facotor, Connie feels terrible because she let other people down and has to deal with the consequences of that, and in the midst of it, God is left by the wayside. Finish focuses on our talents. Choosing which ones to develop, sticking with them, and dividing our time between them and our lives. An entirely different storyline and takeaway, and a good one. It's not tip-top quality aio, nor to all tastes. But it's solid work.

So, this album disappointed partially because head-canons and expectations were unfulfilled, rather than quality. It has episodes more or less universally acknowledged to be pretty good like Jubilee Singers. And honestly, most of the episodes are fairly good.

It was a fitting beginning to the relaunch, and continued the tradition of quality audio drama. As AIO continues to do today.

But this article isn't quite done, because I haven't said, "Let's talk it up!" But now I've said.

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 Post subject: Re: 51: Take It From the Top
PostPosted: Fri Dec 19, 2014 3:59 pm 
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Grandma's Visit did have some problems with Spanish.... Never mind... It would take a Spanish speaker to understand.
51 in my opinion was eh. It really crashed in 52 in my opinion.
Jubilee Singers was a one of the kind. I hope they do more around those lines.

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 Post subject: Re: 51: Take It From the Top
PostPosted: Fri Dec 19, 2014 4:24 pm 
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It is interesting that everybody seems to like the J-singers even though they do not sing in a worldly way.


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 Post subject: Re: 51: Take It From the Top
PostPosted: Fri Dec 19, 2014 5:00 pm 
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Mr. Yorp wrote:
It is interesting that everybody seems to like the J-singers even though they do not sing in a worldly way.

What does the style of their singing have to do with it, and what is "a worldly way of singing?"


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 Post subject: Re: 51: Take It From the Top
PostPosted: Sat Dec 20, 2014 11:00 am 
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I believe that Mr. Yorp is being sarcastic and implying that the Soda Shoppers, since they don't strongly object to the word "gosh" and they don't consider Frozen and The Lego Movie to be homosexual instruments of the devil, aren't very "spiritual" and would therefore object to all gospel singers. I could be wrong, though.

And to PF: "Epic" was the wrong word for me to use. There's not really one single word that can describe how AIO advertised Album 51 in the days leading up to its release, perhaps because my expectations (and, I think, most other fans' expectations) for the album were riddled with contradictions: It was supposed to be back-to-basics, and yet revolutionary (another wrong word, but I'll explain that in a second), fresh, and yet vintage, slow-paced, and yet a whirlwind of activity. So perhaps a better word than "epic" would be "confusing".

The title was supposed to imply that AIO was trying to make an album that could effectively serve as an entry point for new fans. And perhaps that's the most interesting thing of all about Album 51: it wasn't even meant for long-time fans. It was supposed to overhaul all the old characters everybody knew and loved, it was supposed to challenge everyone's preconceived notions of just how much AIO could change so quick, and, unintentionally, it was supposed to throw in endless homages to previous episodes. But the new fans didn't know any of this: they didn't know about the old characters, they didn't know about the old theme song, and they didn't know about the old episodes. How could they? But this was an unnecessary thing for AIO to do. If a new AIO fan listened to Album 51 and then went back to Album 50, he would be far more confused than if he had started with almost any other album. Thus, it's not fair to the old fans, and it's not even effective with the new ones. But don't think that this doesn't go both ways too: when AIO endlessly brings back old characters, it confuses the new fans, and that's just as bad. AIO should make an effort to satisfy both the new fans and the old, and that's exactly what they did starting with Album 53.

I haven't heard "Finish What You..." in quite a long time, but I seem to recall that it did not focus much on talents, as you say. It focused on Olivia being overwhelmed by too many projects, and then proceeded to talk about her habit of quitting things she started. It's not exactly like "The No Factor" in its moral, but it's similar enough to raise a few eyebrows. One of the main reasons why "Jubilee Singers" seemed so good was that it was a break from all the new characters. And, since the new characters are mostly what I'm complaining about with this album, I don't even think we need to discuss "Jubilee".

The writers didn't lose their talents. It's interesting to note that the only old AIO writers who worked on the new shows with the new characters in Album 51 were Paul McCusker, Bob Hoose, and Marshall Younger. Bob Hoose isn't incapable of writing a quality episode, but it's true that he's not among the most celebrated AIO writers. Paul McCusker hadn't lost his talents, he just didn't quite nail it with the Matthew storyline in "The Inspiration Station". The Connie storyline was alright, actually, so I think that proves that he just didn't (actually, doesn't) know how to write for the Parker family. Marshall Younger tried just a little too hard to capture his former glory as the "King of Slice-of-Life Shows" with "Target of the Week", and it wound up being uninspired. The writing itself (as in the actual smoothness of the dialogue and not the plot) was up to his usual standard. Thus, I think that it was the new writers who didn't have much talent, and that Paul McCusker and Marshall Younger just had a bad day writing wise.

I would hate for you to think that I hate change in entertainment. I love the prospect of change, I love it when film makers, authors, and musicians decide to completely scrap what they were doing before and try something totally different. I think it's a bold and daring risk, but it's still a risk, which means that sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. I think that in the case of 51, everything was okay in the end, but the new writers, new characters, and trite episode ideas scared fans for a little while, and rightfully so.

By the way, why was the title of this topic changed? I liked the little play on words you had going earlier.

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Last edited by ArnoldtheRubberDucky on Sun Dec 21, 2014 3:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: 51: Take It From the Top
PostPosted: Sat Dec 20, 2014 7:21 pm 
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I enjoyed the Jubilee singers as well. It is one one of my favorite episodes after album 50.

This album was my least favorite alter the reboot, even though it had a few good episods.

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 Post subject: Re: 51: Take It From the Top
PostPosted: Tue Dec 30, 2014 3:53 pm 
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ArnoldtheRubberDucky wrote:
If a new AIO fan listened to Album 51 and then went back to Album 50, he would be far more confused than if he had started with almost any other album. Thus, it's not fair to the old fans, and it's not even effective with the new ones. But don't think that this doesn't go both ways too: when AIO endlessly brings back old characters, it confuses the new fans, and that's just as bad. AIO should make an effort to satisfy both the new fans and the old, and that's exactly what they did starting with Album 53.


Why would they go back? As a kid, we simply take what AIO albums happen to be on the shelves. After all, if you're a new fan, chronology means little. Especially when you're a kid, and you just buy whichever albums have the most interesting covers and synopsis.

As for characters coming and going, that's unrelated to this album. For what it's worth though, for the above mentioned reason, characters come and go anyway, and not just in AIO. Kids get used to people delightedly greeting old friends who you don't know from Dr. Blackgaard. Every album seems to have a different set of characters ,but it doesn't faze you much.

ArnoldtheRubberDucky wrote:
I haven't heard "Finish What You..." in quite a long time, but I seem to recall that it did not focus much on talents, as you say. It focused on Olivia being overwhelmed by too many projects, and then proceeded to talk about her habit of quitting things she started. It's not exactly like "The No Factor" in its moral, but it's similar enough to raise a few eyebrows.

The word, "talent" was never mentioned. Which is part of the grace of it. It's simply implied. Olivia's projects that overwhelmed her are her talents. Namely music and drama. Thus, the episode follows her trying to divide her life between the different things she loves. Connie struggled with a to do list, Olivia struggles with herself. They are both over-committed, but Olivia is overwhelmed through trying to decide who she is and what skills to bring out in herself.

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 Post subject: Re: 51: Take It From the Top
PostPosted: Tue Dec 30, 2014 7:59 pm 
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Okay, I can agree with most of that, I think. I might try to refute some of it later, once I can get my ideas together. Your silence regarding the rest of my rather lengthy post indicates that you agree with it. I will admit that my argument about the new AIO fan was lacking.

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Last edited by ArnoldtheRubberDucky on Tue Dec 30, 2014 8:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: 51: Take It From the Top
PostPosted: Tue Dec 30, 2014 8:05 pm 
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Oops. As to the last parts of it, according to the wiki, there were only two new writers and they only worked on a couple episodes. Apart from that, just the old team.

And I forgot to say I definitely don't think you're prone to dislike new things in general. I apologize if I was snide. I tried to make it clear I only meant when one's most favorite show or something is relaunched. People seem to tend to dislike the newer episodes are new theatrical film.

If you ever refute some of it, I look forward to it.

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 Post subject: Re: 51: Take It From the Top
PostPosted: Tue Dec 30, 2014 8:07 pm 
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According to the wiki, there were three new writers, or at least three writers I had never heard of before: Kirby Atkins, Phil Walton, and Tim Hodge.

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 Post subject: Re: 51: Take It From the Top
PostPosted: Tue Dec 30, 2014 8:16 pm 
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Oops again, you're right. (Say, Tim Hodge works on Veggietales, ohmigosh!) Anyhoo, they worked on Game For a Msytery, For the Birds and Finish What You... All the shows are directed by the old team, and most are written by the old team.

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 Post subject: Re: 51: Take It From the Top
PostPosted: Tue Dec 30, 2014 8:24 pm 
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Don't forget When You're Right, You're Right, which was cowritten by Kirby Atkins. I don't believe who directed the shows should even be brought up, since it's extremely difficult to evaluate the quality of directing unless you are in the studio. I don't think that there's any "bad director" in AIO, and as far as I can tell, their main job is to work with the actors during recording.

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