Reviewed: For the
Writers: Phil Walton, Paul McCusker
Director: Paul McCusker
Sound Designer: Jonathan Crowe
Rating (out of 5):
Camilla Parker desperately wants a pet, but her
family seems to suffer from the
"Parker Family Pet Curse." To prove her responsibility, Camilla
takes care of a baby blue jay. Meanwhile, Eugene has his own
run-in with some feathered foes – which leads to drastic action!
To some fans,
writing a review means using bulleted lists. To other fans, writing a review
involves lambasting a particular episode because it is so much more fun to
say negative remarks than positive things. I've noticed over the past few
years that reviews have become more cynical or sarcastic, often lacking the
right attitude. In fact, many people write their reviews under a specific
pseudonym which gives them the right to be as "open" and "honest" (aka
heartless) as they want to be without revealing their real names. But do
their definitions of "open" and "honest" maintain the right spirit that
should go into a review? I, for one, believe that many reviews lack the
integrity and credibility they should have. I'm a fan of knowing who
my reviewer really is before tomatoes go flying. I tend to read reviews from
fans who reveal their real names, those who know that what they say is
attached to their names. Many times, listeners will read reviews and decide
they agree with what's already been said by others, and then they use those ideas in their own
reviews. I guess we need to remember that in the 90's before internet was
popular, Odyssey fans didn't review the episodes as they aired on the radio.
They just enjoyed them for what they were. Back in the day, we used to have to walk
to school ... and it was uphill both ways!
I addressing this?
you might wonder. Thanks for asking because
For the Birds
went under some harsh criticism after it aired, mainly due to the fact that
Odyssey's flighted friends plan a strategic attack on Eugene and Wooton's hair.
The main criticism of the episode is that birds darting at Eugene's head is
completely unrealistic. On the contrary, this does happen in real life!
Particularly, crows have a tendency to swoop down towards people's heads when
they get too close to their nests and they feel threatened. Other times hair
color can factor in. Thirdly, the human to bird population ratio is sometimes such
that friction can result in attacks on humans. Two different populations are
co-existing together and sometimes they butt heads.
example, in 2005, a postal carrier was attacked by birds in Raleigh, North
Carolina. He wasn't just attacked once. He was attacked three times in different
locations in the city.
"I was ducking this way, then ducking that way,
trying to get away," Mr. Cooper says, recalling a few frenzied
seconds where beaks flashed like tiny daggers. "I had no idea what
was going on."
The Christian Science Monitor, June 2005
Similarly in 2008, a woman was attacked by a
seagull in the United Kingdom, and it wasn't pretty.
"The woman, who does not wish to be named, suffered
three puncture wounds and heavy bleeding in the attack at The
Esplanade, near the pier. . .The bird obviously thought this lady
was walking a little too close to one of its chicks. It was a
terrifying incident for her although it only lasted for a matter of
The Guardian, July 2008
At first, I heard
For the Birds
and was a bit skeptical about the realisticness of Eugene's
being attacked multiple times by birds in Odyssey. If you
run a quick Google search on "attacking birds," you will
quickly see that it is rare but does happen. It is more
common in certain regions. I'm convinced that the Odyssey
writers are smart enough to do their research before
introducing certain storylines to Adventures in Odyssey.
In the case of the unfriendly birds, I know that writers
Phil Walton and Paul McCusker learned something about
birds before introducing this fun story. I especially liked
that this episode is a tip-of-the-hat to Alfred Hitchcock's
The Birds. When birds attack, things get a little
messy. Eugene's haircut is not the end of the world, fans.
It'll grow back. Besides, he's getting a new look anyway.
Now is a perfect time to ditch the do. I will say, however,
that during the scene when Eugene is initially attacked by a
bird, Camilla just stands there and doesn't react as a kid
would act in that instance. She would probably get excited
and laugh, or perhaps start shouting to get rid of the bird,
or even run away from the scene. Camilla just keeps talking
to Eugene as if she's seen it many times before. Also, is it
realistic that Whit would agree to babysit a baby blue jay
and feed it every twenty minutes? Sure, Connie and Eugene
are there to help, but they have other things to do.
Regardless, Adventures in Odyssey has had its share
of unrealistic moments, but they ultimately define the show
and make it what it is today.
I've mentioned in past reviews that Olivia doesn't sound like a
kid because she is played by an adult. I'm not going to keep visiting this issue
as I said what needs to be said in the past. Some of the dialogue scenes are a
bit weak, which probably contribute to Olivia's overall portrayal. Yet, the
episode a fun addition to the series.
As for overall theme and lessons learned, I have seen complaints
that the lesson gets lost as a couple themes are mixed in (responsibility,
curses, dealing with death, etc.). I don't necessarily see a problem with
incorporating multiple messages into Odyssey episodes. The more the merrier, I'd
say! The truth is that lessons will be learned in an entertaining way. That,
coupled with outstanding sound design and music, makes for a great adventure in
For the Birds
is a nice addition to the series, with some unexpected twists along the way.
At first listen, people may question whether birds would attack
repetitively, but doing research is key to enjoying the show. And young kids
will enjoy the episode without the cynical glasses that we older fans tend
to approach episodes with. I give
For the Birds
3 and 1/2 out of 5 stars.
And Eugene, I'm sorry I ended some of my sentences with
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