Writers: Kathy Buchanan
Director: Nathan Hoobler
Review Written by:
Ben Warren, Staff Writer
Rating (out of 5):
Odyssey Middle School's "Opposite Day"
inspires Olivia to become friends with a girl who is nothing like her.
Meanwhile, Barrett becomes obsessed with getting as many online friends as
I have decided that writing lengthy reviews about episodes I
didn't find particularly exciting isn't worth the time. And
is exactly that: unexciting. But then again, why shouldn't it be? I realize
that I'm way beyond the target audience of this episode. And as much as
Focus on the Family would like to focus on the entire family with
each episode, this one was obviously packaged for the young, female,
public-grade-school-attending listener, and you know what, I'm OK with that.
You have a good ear if you didn't once get confused between the female
voices in today's show. While Amber, Olivia and Priscilla don't sound
identical, it sometimes took me that extra half-second to realize who was
saying what. I've been lending out old Adventures in Odyssey
cassettes to a friend making her way through the series for the first time.
And when she listened to
A Worker Approved,
she mentioned how unique and easily distinguishable Robyn Jacob's voice was.
That got me to wish how their were more voices like hers nowadays. I don't
want unrealistic voices. Rather, I want voices where I can easily imagine
the character behind them. Since day one, the choice of actresses now
have seemed uninspired. While I'm sure we will grow accustomed to hearing
them over a period of time, I still wish their voices didn't give my
concentration skills such a workout.
On a more positive note, I wasn't sure whether it was the performances or
the writing that made me so easily sympathize with both Olivia and
Amber--despite finding them completely ridiculous, irrational and somewhat
annoying. But I found myself having an easy time empathizing with them and
understanding where each was coming from. Not to be overly pessimistic, but
Olivia's attitude is one a lot of Christians have; we falsely assume we need
to act nicely to everyone we encounter despite how we really feel about them
inside. But the Bible calls us to genuinely "love your neighbor as
yourself" and as Whit says "friends are friends because they accept each
other for who they are". Olivia's experience reminded me of someone I used
to know a few years ago. This guy had a "best friend" who wasn't really his
best friend at all; he made sure he let everyone know they were only friends
because no one else wanted to be. Whatever good feelings he received from
performing this "good" deed were destroyed by also having an unwilling
heart. Like Olivia, he never really enjoyed hanging around his "friend" at
all, despite pretending to. Many of us feel a nice sense of Christian
accomplishment when reaching out a hand to someone who needs our friendship,
but I think the best thing we can do is to not only be there for them for
just one day, but everyday. Without a willing heart, we are merely living an
At first, I detested Amber for how absolutely clueless she was; any normal
person would have gotten the hint that Olivia wasn't remotely interested in
hanging out with her. Halfway through the episode, I even mumbled to myself
cruelly, "Well, now we know why Danielle moved away...". But Corrie Shenigo,
who plays Amber, does a surprisingly good job at creating sympathy for her
character despite how aggravating she could be. I can understand how feeling
lonely may create a type of desperation; we begin to ignore common sense and
accept any kind of companionship, even false relationships. Looking at it
that way, I thought the way Amber was behaving was quite believable.
Speaking of which, is loneliness the reason why you're casually "creeping"
on Facebook right now? Is this the same reason why you're currently on the
TOO message boards instead of calling that friend you haven't spoken to in
two years? Not only did the
subplot involving Barrett compliment the overarching storyline well, but it
was also the most interesting part of the show. I'm not sure how many
children are into Facebook right now, but there is no doubt that this new
way of interacting with others is greatly influencing our society. Those of
us attending university know the full benefits of using social networks; we
end up learning more about someone by browsing their Facebook page than we
would by going out and shaking their hand. Just as it was shown that
Barrett's involvement with Club Kid-Chat was destroying his own
relationships, websites such as Facebook are impairing our ability to
overcome natural social phobias at a young age. Yes, many listeners may
think Barrett's obsession went a little overboard; but I honestly think he
was just vocalizing how a lot of us think nowadays. Like Barrett, how many
of us had suddenly thought of a clever saying in the middle of the day, and
immediately turned to Facebook to communicate it to others? How many of us
have wondered why our number of "friends" went down by one or two? I
certainly have. Barrett's storyline is an important one for the 500 million
active users on Facebook right now, and I appreciate Adventures in
Odyssey for choosing to tackle this issue.
There are a few nitpicky issues with
that the listener shouldn't dwell on too much. If they did, it would only
destroy their ability to fully enjoy this episode. For instance, you
shouldn't spend time considering how unfunny and unnecessary Wooton Bassett
was in today's show. You also shouldn't spend time considering what kind of
gifted-school these kids are attending where its students enjoy searching
for geological artifacts and discussing DSP algorithms in their spare time.
And try not to think about how strange it is that Wooton has a Club Kid-Chat
account too. And, of course, the biggest question of all: Is Susan VanHorn
related to Charles VanHorn? Who knows...But, like I said, don't let these
small issues bother you too much.
Not every episode needs to be overly complex and radically genius with
Avery-award worthy performances.
reminds us that it never hurts to keep an episode light and simple as long
as it has something relevant to say...and this one certainly did. I realize
the acting and dialogue in today's show immediately calls for a younger
audience, but this episode manages also to strike a chord in older listeners
by successfully tackling an issue spanning all ages: friendship. And if
you've spent more time on the Adventures in Odyssey message boards
today then around real, breathing human beings, then this one's for you.
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