Episode Reviewed: Grandma's Visit (662)
Writers: Bob Hoose

Director: Bob Hoose
Sound Designer: Christopher Diehl
Music: John Campbell
Theme: The importance of family
Original Airdate: 4/24/10

Rating (out of 5):


 

Episode Summary

The Parker family is in for a bumpy ride. It all starts when their grandmother (or Abuelita) comes to tell them that their Aunt Rosalita has decide to elope...next week...in Odyssey...at their house! Then relative after relative arrives to stay with the family. Where will the chaos end?
 

 

The Review
It always makes me wonder when someone reviews an Adventures in Odyssey episode and claims that it is too mature for the 8 to 12 target audience. I read one or two reviews which expressed concerns that Grandma's Visit was a little too mature for kids to be listening to. I would beg to differ in that AIO caters to a much larger audience than just the 8 to 12 year-olds range. I mean, we've seen a variety of topics addressed on the show. Take Pamela Has a Problem, for instance. The episode presents the story of a girl who is considering having an abortion. Consider also that Castles & Cauldrons addresses the occult. The Mortal Coil questions life after death. The Mysterious Stranger focuses on the consequences of greed, attempted murder, and deception. The Case of the Secret Room also focuses on the darkness of murder and lies. A Name, Not a Number is a story of espionage and spies. The Perfect Witness focuses on the kidnapping of one of Odyssey's recurring kid characters. A Touch of Healing is also very mature and is very adult-friendly. Likewise, A Question About Tasha is very mature for the intended audience. And how about The Right Choice? If I'm remembering correctly, if someone who didn't know about Adventures in Odyssey turned their dial to this episode, they would have no idea that it is geared for kids. The Other Woman, For Whom the Wedding Bells Toll, The Painting, The Triangle, Plan B: Missing in Action, The Black Veil, Living in the Gray, and A New Era could also be considered too mature for the target age group for AIO.

Sufficed to say, the Odyssey team isn't afraid to go where they can reach as many audiences as possible without compromising the show's impact, themes, and lessons. And I would venture to say that the topic of eloping is much more of a side note than anything in Grandma's Visit. The episode is set in a very humorous context, which entertains younger listeners and appeals to older listeners as well, who appreciate the small details that would pass by younger listeners.

Speaking of the small details, this episode is full of them and indicates that writer Bob Hoose spent some time thinking through everything as he wrote. Details such as the scene when David Parker cries out in the background because of a spider, or Lucia's cell phone ringtone (it could be argued that the cell phone sound effect was Christopher Diehl's influence). Also, David Parker's reference to the episode Clutter when he mentions they could turn on the sprinklers to get the mariachi band to go away. The devil is in the details, and they work wonders at defining episodes and giving them personality.

I especially noticed that Grandma's Visit is full of Spanish heritage, with Spanish dialogue sprinkled throughout the episode. In previous episodes, a translator was always present to let listeners know what someone is saying. This episode only reveals what needs to be translated, and it feels very normal. The rich heritage and authenticity of the Spanish dialogue makes things feel more natural. It didn't feel like a Spanish language lesson for the listeners.

On the other hand, actor Andre Stojka still needs to bring his voice to a lower register to sound more like both Hal Smith (Whit #1) and Paul Herlinger (Whit #2). A certain level of choppiness is there as well, which the first two actors didn't use in their speech. It's good to see he's trying out new ice cream concoctions as well. And boy, the menu items at Whit's End get fancier and fancier as the series continues.

John Campbell pulled through again with a unique score for this episode, with superb sound design by Christopher Diehl. As always, combining Odyssey's many talented writers, directors, sound designers, and musician astounds us fans.

 

Rating


Overall, this episode delivers a very unique, humorous story that will be enjoyed by fans for years to come. With its querky humor and eccentric Lucia, or Abuelita (voiced by actress Lucki Weeting), Grandma's Visit easily earns 4 and 1/2 out of 5 stars.
 

 

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