Well everyone, my new page: The U.S.S. Response, will be out tomorrow. Just keep reading! And now, for my AIO Article about the 'New' Children of Odyssey.
Today, I will be reviewing and discussing the new AIO kids, from Olivia to Jay.
Olivia Parker: When Olivia was introduced in 'The Inspiration Station', she was a whiny, annoying, average pre-teen girl. This isn't a really bad thing, but while I liked Matthew and Camilla, Olivia came off as fake, childish, and annoying. It didn't help that the actress was a 41-year old by the name of Hope Levy. Album 52 made Olivia just as, if not more, annoying. I still didn't like her personality. Olivia didn't appear in Album 53. Then, all of a sudden, the Album 54 season started and Olivia had a new voice. Kelly Stables is a very good actress, and I loved her as Jill Segler in the Kidsboro episodes and The Truth Chronicles. Though the actress is an adult, she was born to play kid parts, unlike Hope Levy. It sounds natural, and Olivia's personality changed. She seemed more mature than the Hope Levy Olivia was, and she got better lines and better situations. And, finally, when 'Mistaken For Good' aired, I was loving the new Olivia. She has now become, in my opinion, AIO's best female kid character of the new era.
Matthew Parker: Ah, Matthew. He's like a toned-down version of Nelson. He's like Eugene in his curiosity and love for gadgets, but, unlike Nelson, he doesn't seem to be quite as smart. This isn't to say that Matthew is dumb, it's just that he doesn't have that intellectualness (not a word, I know) that Eugene and even Nelson have. And that makes him a better character than Nelson. He's not completely stereotyped. He's not a kid version of Eugene. In 'The Inspiration Station', it seemed obvious that Matthew would be the most-loved Parker. But, actually, because of Kelly Stables, Olivia is my favorite Parker. But Matthew still has a special place in my heart. Zach Callison is quite a good actor considering he's only in his early teens. I've enjoyed his performance in all the episodes he's in, possibly with the exception of 'The Mystery of the Clock Tower'. Matthew really bugged me in that one. In Something Old, Something New, Matthew shines. He and Emily are a good pair, and he's given good lines, though he doesn't play a huge part. Overall, Matthew is a good addition to the Parker family, though he may not be the best.
Camilla Parker: The AIO writers seem to have forgotten about Camilla. The only two episodes where she has really been a major character are 'For the Birds' and 'Forgiving... More or Less'. I'm afraid that she might fade out, considering she was only in two episodes in Album 52 (An Agreeable Nanny, Grandma's Christmas Visit) and only in one in Album 54. (Forging... More or Less) Once again, AIO found a talented young actress when they found Sydney Shiotoni. (Or however you spell it!) She has that kid-like quality that we've been missing for the past five years. In episodes like 'An Agreeable Nanny', the acting by Sydney was good, but she wasn't given good enough lines. For the Birds was the best Camilla episode. Watching her go through getting a bird and watching it die was interesting. Camilla might be a better character if she was in more episodes. But still, I enjoy her character, though it is still delicate and undeveloped.
Emily Jones: Okay, okay. It's time for Emily's review. Oh boy. Some of you Soda Shoppers might know that Emily is not my favorite character. I am going to quote the SS user Pound Foolish to show a different angle than mine:
"I'm a bit sad as I find that so many AIO Soda Shop Board Members look
down on Emily. She is charming and wonderful. The very things so many
despise about her are the things that make her amazing: her passion, her
boldness, her incredible natural talent for knowledge and deduction,
her forcefulness, yes, even her rudeness. Can we frown on her for being
unusually naturally talented? Would you slap Mozart on the wrist and say
it's ridiculous to be composing music as a little child? Emily is all
that a woman should be, and possibly the best role-model of all the
female characters in the show today. YES, she is forceful. YES, she
outspoken. YES, she speaks her mind. And that is what a female should
be. Women need to know that there's a power in them, that they can speak
out, that they can be whoever they want to be. Emily is the best of the
new child characters, and will always have a special place in my heart.
I cannot say it passionately enough. Thank you, AIO, for Emily Jones."
Sorry Pound, but I think your hearing aid needs to be adjusted. (No offense, if you're reading this! :) Emily is by no means the best of the new child characters; that honor would be reserved for another. But we'll get to that later. And I wouldn't call Emily 'naturally talented'. Having a small sense of deduction does not mean you are at the same level as Mozart. And in episodes like 'Game For A Mystery' and 'Stage Fright', she almost seems to just stumble upon the solution without doing a whole lot to solve the case. And she even got the wrong culprit in 'The Malted Milkball Falcon'. For someone who's a naturally talented detective, that's bad. (But maybe you weren't referring to Emily's so-called 'skills' as a detective, Pound Foolish. If you weren't, and you're reading this, comment!) And you said that Emily was rude, so how does that make her the best role-model? But this is turning into a review of PF's comment. Let's get to Emily's character.
Emily is very complex. She is stubborn, bossy, ambitious, perceptive, helpful, and a normal girl all at the same time. I like that AIO has an incredibly complex character, and I like that we get to see a lot of different sides of Emily. But her voice is rather annoying, and all that complexity gets to be too much. And so, Emily is my least favorite AIO kid character, though she's not too horrible.
Barret Jones: Barret is better than Emily. He's musically gifted, he's easily frightened, he's a good friend, and, to top it all off, he's played by a talented actor and his voice isn't annoying! When Barret first came, he seemed like Olivia: an annoying, obsessed, pre-teen boy. But he's changed a little since then. He's become more caring, more complex, and more likeable and relateable. When Andy Pessoa's voice changed, I thought Barret had switched actors. It sounded totally different, and better. And though he was annoying in Opposite Day, he was hilarious, even if we were laughing at him. But, as I said in my review of 'Seeing Red', having us laugh at main characters doesn't exactly make them likeable. But still, I enjoyed Barret in Opposite Day. When Album 54 came around, I really started to enjoy Barret, particularly in 'The Amazing Loser' and 'Unbecoming Jay'. 'To Mend or Repair' showed him being a good friend. I enjoyed Barret particularly in that episode. He really shined. And so, while Barret may not be the best new kid, he still has a place in my list of good AIO kids.
Priscilla Peterson: Priscilla started off as a random girl who Barret had a crush on. However, she soon evolved into quite a character. We saw her next in 'Stage Fright', where she wasn't too major of a character. I was bugged by Priscilla in her early days. In fact, you'll notice that I was bugged by almost every new AIO kid in the early days. But once again, in Album 54, Priscilla improved. The actress seemed more into the part, and she was put in some interesting situations. In 'To Mend or Repair', Gatlin Green's voice changed. I don't know how old she is, but I'm guessing about 14, 15, 16, around that age. She sounded quite old and mature in 'To Mend or Repair'. And that's not a bad thing. I hope we hear more from Priscilla in days to come, as she has turned into a good foil for Barret and a good girl character for the show.
Jay Smouse: Jay Smouse is the best new Odyssey kid. Period. Exclamation mark! He's the last kid I'll be reviewing. That's right, I save the best for last. Jay started out as being Vance King's annoying buddy. (Wow, all of these characters were annoying in the beginning!) He evolved into a bully of sorts. He seemed to be an annoying little boy at times. But in Album 53, Jay had some of his best moments. He was funny, caring, and mischievous. I love his relationship with his uncle, and I really, really hope we see some more interaction with Wally. This might be a bit of an exaggeration, but I think he's one of the best AIO kids of all time. He's half bully, half nice guy. He has emotional edge, and he's given good, funny lines. Whit Hertford does a terrific job, and I can't think of any better AIO bully. 'Mistaken For Good', believe it or not, was my favorite episode of Album 55. I voted it Best Episode in The Avery Awards. It's probably the most underrated episode ever. I absolutely love it! I would list it in my Top Ten Best AIO Episodes Ever. It's emotional, funny, and some scenes can really make you cry. (I didn't cry, but I probably could've if I was in the right mood.) Jay is a golden nugget of a kid in the midst of bullies like Vance. I love him, and so do the fans. Thank you AIO, for Jay Smouse. (Yep, that was a Pound Foolish quote.)
Did you like the article? Then comment! Seriously, I don't ask you to comment for nothing. I'd really like you to comment once you're done reading this so I can know you read it! And look for the U.S.S. Response sometime soon!
Thanks for reading!
Welcome to Just Another AIO Blog, a site that is dedicated to the popular radio drama Adventures in Odyssey. We provide news, reviews on the latest episodes, articles, features, and we also are home to Adventures in Connellsville, a unique look at the town next to Odyssey through book form, We also provide a U.S.S. Response page that gets updated every other day. This page provides a response to recent comments on The Soda Shop Message Boards. And just recently, we started a unique Adventures in Odyssey podcast: called JAAIOP, or Just Another AIO Podcast. Feel free to post comments or subscribe to this site by email or with Google Friend Connect. Thank you!
Alex Jefferson, creator and operator of Just Another AIO Blog
Alex Jefferson, creator and operator of Just Another AIO Blog