Reviewed: A Penny
Writer: Paul McCusker
Director: Paul McCusker
Theme: Love always protects
Review Written by:
Ben Warren, Staff Writer
Rating (out of 5):
Penny Wise deals
with the aftermath of her role in the Green Ring
Conspiracy and plans for the future.
So many great things happened in
The Green Ring Conspiracy
that you were likely to forgive its weaker moments. It had action,
adventure, twists and turns, and it created a world in which characters
could grow and develop.
It gave new characters a real purpose and old characters a reason to
return. And because old characters were re-introduced alongside new, I was
too excited by the presence of alumni Jason Whittaker and Monty
Whittaker-Dowd to be bothered by newcomer Penny Wise.
A Penny Saved is a lot
The Benefit of the Doubt
which is a lot like
Welcome Home, Mr. Blackgaard.
All directly reference their preceding sagas, and serve as wrap-ups, of
sorts, answering lingering questions in order to return the series
to focusing on simpler situations/scenarios. After all, it would be
weird if nobody mentioned the events of
The Green Ring Conspiracy,
just as it would be weird if no one mentioned the time that everyone was
brainwashed, or that time when the mayoral candidate blew himself up
underneath Whit's End. For the sake of consistency and continuity, these
things must be acknowledged before moving on.
All three episodes I mentioned share a common theme. They each deal with the
guilt of their main characters; Penny Wise, like the Cabreras and Mr.
Blackgaard, feels responsible for what happened to the citizens of Odyssey.
Although, at least in Penny's case, I'm not exactly sure why. The issue I
have with A Penny Saved
is that it assumes that one of the great lingering issues of
The Green Ring Conspiracy
is that Penny would be disturbed by what her professor and mentor Dr. Trask
did. Honestly, this wasn't the question on the top of my list. How about
you? This isn't to say I'm not impressed that the Odyssey team wrapped up
this lingering question, I actually really am; however, at the end of last
season, Penny didn't exactly sound devastated by what happened. She sounded
annoyed and a little upset, but certainly not devastated. And certainly not
devastated enough to warrant her emotional reaction in today's episode.
Luckily, Paul McCusker wrote this,
and if he neglected to create sympathy for Penny last season, he creates it
here. I'll admit, it's quite easy to feel sorry for Penny. She reminds me of
some breed of dog, like a Basset Hound, that you feel sorry for because they
act and look so miserable. In the same way, Penny's character simply
consists of her feeling insecure about life, and I don't think the best way
to make listeners care about Penny is to have us feel sorry her. I would
prefer finding new characters cool, funny, or charming. And I find Penny
none of those.
It doesn't help that Whit's End is already crowded with so-called misfits. A
large number of main characters introduced throughout the years could be
labeled as either quirky or abnormal.
A Penny Saved, one of the
season's few adult-focused episodes, includes few of the normal sounding
adults we've grown up with. With the recent introduction of the slightly
cartoonish Andre Stoijka, Red Hollard, and now Penny, this new generation
needs characters with different personalities and, more importantly,
Regardless, I like the reason why Penny was introduced to the show,
and you see the benefits of her introduction quite clearly in this episode.
We always wondered why Connie was such a loner and had no one the same age
to really relate to. The same could be said of Wooton. The reality is that
Connie shouldn't be hanging around Eugene as intimately as she used to, and
likewise, Wooton shouldn't be hanging around children all the time. With
Penny around, Connie and Wooton now have a new friend; in turn, they share a
similar purpose, to nurture and take care of their new friend. I'm actually
also quite entertained by Wooton's infatuation with Penny; it reminds me of
Eugene's relationship with Katrina, and I look forward to hearing more about
what happens in that area.
However, the problem with Penny's personality, frankly, is that she doesn't
strike me as a different enough character for Adventures in Odyssey.
She is, at times, a female version of Wooton and/or simply a dumber version
of Connie. I wonder what would have happened if they attempted to make her a
little more different from any previous personalities we've seen on the
show. For instance, I wonder whether I'd care for this Wooton/Penny
relationship a little more if she turned out to be the complete opposite
from Wooton. Just a thought.
The truth is that Penny Wise has to be heavily scrutinized and dissected
because she's the center of attention in
A Penny Saved. If you
don't like Penny, then the episode might not impress you too much. If you
do, then pretty much everything about this episode works. As it is,
enough fans enjoy Penny. In the
Spring 2011 Avery
Awards, Kimmy Robertson was
awarded "Best Actress", while 22.8% fans agreed that she was "The Best New
Character". It's not a ridiculously high number, but it is significant
enough, I think.
Is the episode any good? Yes, it's a good one. McCusker injects his
signature sense of humor and enough quirky lines that adults will
appreciate: "I couldn't be happier with the verdict. Well, actually, I could
be, but, to do that would involve re-introducing punishments they used in
the Middle ages. [Laughs] Good times", or "You seem to leave without anyone
watching the counter, I mean, what kind of business is that?" or:
CONNIE: "I'm not attracted to guys with moral angst"
STUDENT: "What about moral ambiguity?"
CONNIE: "What do you mean by that?"
STUDENT: "It depends".
The dialogue is consistently good here. And although I wished Wooton's lines
didn't always end with a punchline, enough of those punchlines were clever
enough for me to be upset.
Also, Polehaus makes a welcome return as our favorite detective. I wonder,
considering all of the members of the Odyssey Police who have come and gone
on the show (Harley, Captain Quinn, Burke), he'll be able to last a little
longer. I was happy to hear from Ted Humphries, too, whose voice I like
quite a bit. I wonder whether both characters can escape their job duties
once in a while and become more prominent characters like Dale Jacobs was.
Every supporting character in today's show, including Professor Bruce and
the student, were excellent, and made the episode all the more special for
I'll admit there is nothing blow-your-mind special about
A Penny Saved. It
presents its theme only mildly well, and actually quite weakly compared to
last week's Wooton Knows Best.
That's fine by me though. A
Penny Saved is a simple, fun and quirky comedy. It may not reach the
Welcome Home, Mr. Blackgaard,
but it is significantly better than
The Benefit of the Doubt,
smoothly transitioning from
The Green Ring Conspiracy into upcoming Adventures in Odyssey
episodes and opening doors for more interesting scenarios. And while I have
issues with its protagonist, she can still win me over. With no end in sight
for Adventures in Odyssey, Penny has plenty of time...
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