This quote is taken from my
Fast As I Can
likewise, had multiple story-lines that don't quite fit together. They may work,
thematically; however, the episode feels too cluttered and doesn't know what it
should be focusing on. Quality is more important than quantity; I'd rather hear
one really good story than three mediocre ones.
Writer: Kathy Buchanan
Director: Dave Arnold
Theme: Love is not easily angered
Scripture: 1 Corinthians 13:5
Review Written by:
Ben Warren, Staff Writer
Rating (out of 5):
abounds as David suggests Grandma Lucia try a
test run of her salon business in his living
room, and Olivia discovers Valarie stealing the
media spotlight for a big parade.
If I wanted to hear three unrelated short stories,
I would have gone back to albums 33 and
34 and played three split episodes one after
the other. That might have given me the same satisfaction as listening to
Anger Mismanagement, an
uneven episode that never fully justifies its existence. This episode
essentially consists of three B-plots, and my mind wandered in and out of each
The opening scene introduces us to Olivia Parker's story where she communicates
how angry she is at Valerie Swanson for taking the spotlight away from Amber.
When and where did this all happen, you wonder? I'm not too sure really. This
important set-up has taken place before the episode began and thus summarized
quite quickly for the listener in the opening scene. As a listener, I felt
confused. What had happened to the first part of this story? Why are we dropped
the middle of a story, and Amber, the person responsible for the "hard work"
nowhere to be found? I guess she wasn't worth including in the episode.
After a conversation with Whit summarizing her frustrations, what do you think
Olivia's next step is? Meeting up with Wooton Bassett, of course! That's how
most kids in Odyssey solve their problems these days. These Wooton scenes are
sprinkled throughout the remainder of the episode and I'm not quite sure I
understood their relevance. I guess
Anger Mismanagement was
trying to be like For the Fun of
It; a girl can learn about Wooton's perfect and selfless lifestyle by
spending the day with him, and then see the error of their ways and change
themselves. I suppose I just didn't care. Would it not have better to merely
add to Olivia's main conflict, develop it further, instead of brushing it
aside and introducing another story in hopes of using it to resolve the
conflict of first? In an earlier review, I called Wooton "egotistical". That
insult still fits. I saw no reason why he needed to be here.
Luckily, the episode had better moments. While Olivia's ordeal failed to
captivate me, the show's third story gave me something worth listening to. Mr.
Parker gets pushed around by both his wife and Grandma Lucia and then misses his
football game. Now, this is all quite simple, and a little silly, but also very
amusing. Mr. Parker, with his somewhat dry humor and awesome father-knows-best
wisdom, is officially one of the best new characters on Adventures in Odyssey;
there was good energy that came from his scenes with his wife and mother-in-law.
And those scenes were the highlight of the episode.
My second favorite part of Anger
Mismanagement is the brief
interaction between Whit and Olivia at the beginning of the episode. If you
don't remember that scene, go back and listen to it again, because there's some
good, classic AIO stuff there. Whit tells Olivia, "It's not the anger itself
that's a sin. It's how how you choose to behave in response to your anger". It's
a topic I hadn't thought about much before, and Whit's words stayed with me
after listening to the show...as they should.
Despite those nicer moments, the episode never quite comes together, and never
feels like the full-fledged episode fans are entitled to after purchasing an
Adventures in Odyssey album.
Sometimes large amounts of characters and plots can be weaved
together well, and have even become classics as a result (Do
Or Diet, A Lamb's Tale)
but it doesn't always work. For instance, episode such as
could have been much better if they hadn't had competing storylines.
Thankfully, most of these post-hiatus episodes have concentrated on
carefully developing only one story-line per episode, with the occasional
sub-plot that compliments, instead of takes away from, the larger story.
I'd be skeptical about anyone who claims they know how to write an Adventures
in Odyssey episode better than its amazing writers. To be clear, I do not
know how to write an Adventures in Odyssey episode. However, I'll just
offer my opinion of how I think
Anger Mismanagement could have worked. The show's main problem is that we
never see Olivia Parker interact with her own family throughout the entire
episode. Instead of interacting with Wooton, could she not have simply become
involved with the situation at home and learnt a lesson about controlling anger
from "watching" the parent's situation? This simple interaction would have cut
away the need for Wooton to be in the show; and with one story line gone, the
show would have had more time to include a clearer, lengthier set-up (i.e. Amber
is shown working hard on the float with Olivia), and a clear conflict would have
arisen (i.e. Olivia then discovers Valerie's treacherous lies, and must learn
how to control her anger while working on the float), and a nice complementary
B-plot could have entertained us between Olivia's scenes (i.e. meanwhile, Mr.
Parker helps Grandma Lucia with her hairdressing business). The result would
have been a tighter, sleeker and possibly even more interesting episode.
As is it, Olivia, Amber, and Valerie get pushed aside so that Wooton can have
his time in the sun. We hear Olivia mumble and grumble about Valerie for the
remainder of the episode, but she's not really doing anything. She has no story.
She has no real conflict. Our protagonist is not even attempting to solve her
own problems. Anger Mismanagement
simply forgets the problem for a while and then--hey look!--it's Wooton! I
understand that the point of the episode was to show how wallowing in her anger
ultimately took her away from the pleasures of the working on the float;
however, I kept thinking there must have been a more interesting way of
In the end Anger Mismanagement
is an example of mismanaging Wooton. It fails to realize family-centric shows
can be excellent while focusing strictly on family members themselves. Throwing
in Wooton for comic relief, and in order to entertain us, is forgetting all the
great episodes that were created using solely Barclay and Jacobs family members.
They didn't need Wooton to make their episode successful; all they needed to do
was to show families with good, natural chemistry.
Anger Mismanagement, despite
a solid B-plot, starts off promising but ultimately feels bloated. Whit
summarizes my thoughts nicely at the end: "I have a feeling this is all
connected somehow, but I have no idea how." I share his confusion.
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