Well, it's the beginning of a new month, and my blog is still alive! Sorry I didn't post yesterday. I wanted to, but I couldn't. Anyway, a new U.S.S. Response will be out today, and I'm writing my AIC and hopefully the Webster ceremony will be a huge success tomorrow. But for now, sit back and enjoy a nice, longer than normal review from me!
This will be a little introductory paragraph before I start the review. When this episode first aired a year ago, I listened to it once and then never again. I don't know why I did that, as I thoroughly enjoyed this episode.I didn't really remember all that much of it, so I was really excited to listen to it today. I noticed things that I hadn't noticed the first time, as I was listening from a critique standpoint. But, as always, I also just wanted to sit back and enjoy the episode instead of taking notes on everything they did wrong. And I did. I'm also going for longer reviews, so expect more like this in the future. Anyway, here is my actual review:
Isn't competition hilarious? That may seem like an odd statement, but competition really can be pretty amusing. (Example: It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World. That is a hilarious movie and you may know it from It Happened At Four Corners) This episode is really no exception. I don't believe I was rolling on the floor, but several of Jay's lines made me chuckle, and I actually am not amused very easily. (Except by my brother)
The episode kicks off with a hint of competition. Honestly, I was just a bit disappointed when I heard Jay was pairing up with Matthew and Barret was pairing up with Priscilla. I thought it might be nice for Barret and Jay to attempt to overcome their differences and work together. It might have yielded hilarious results. But, since the theme of the episode is Competition, I guess it makes more sense to split the ultimate rivals up into two teams.
I would like to take just a moment to talk about Barret and Priscilla. With Barret and Priscilla's relationship (crush) coming up in quite a few episodes lately, I'm enjoying it more and more. I used to be repulsed in When You're Right, You're Right and Stage Fright, but now I'm seeing the great story opportunities AIO could open p with this sometimes funny, sometimes obnoxious crush. I have more thoughts on that on a topic on SS.
In this episode, I was quite amused by Priscilla's constant observations of Barret's facial expressions. But I was also confuse. I thought that Barret liked Priscilla more than Priscilla liked Barret, from the episode When You're Right, You're Right. This episode, in a way, proved my thoughts wrong. I suppose Barret was too focused on the competition to flirt with Priscilla like he does in many of their other episodes, and I don't necessarily want him to flirt with her, as flirting scenes can be very awkward for the listener, I was just surprised that Priscilla was the one flirting this time.
I also noticed something else, something pretty minor, but still interesting. Jay apparently only wanted to beat Barret and go to Water World, but I noticed that he didn't know at first that he would be going to Water World. Did that sentence just make sense? Perhaps I should phrase it differently. When Jay arrived at Whit's End or wherever they were in the opening scene, he asked what they would win and was surprised to see Barret. If Jay had wanted to compete simply for the sake of musical knowledge, he would have read the book. But he didn't know that Barret was coming, that the prize was a pass to Water World, or even that they would be competing. So I wonder.... why did he sign up for the scavenger hunt? Oh, I can just dismiss it, I suppose. This whole paragraph is probably pretty stupid. It's just something I noticed.
Barret and Matthew sure do know a lot about music, don't they? The first time I listened to this episode, I was just shocked by all the musical trivia. It was amazing and odd that Barret and Matthew knew so much, but I suppose they read the book of Obscure Music Trivia. This whole episode was a treat for music lovers, and as usual, Dave Arnold did his research.
The clues progress, and the race becomes more interesting. When Jay suggested to take all the clues from the statue, I thought he would. It would be good for the plot to narrow the competitors down to just Jay, Barret, Matthew, and Priscilla, since they were the only ones shown competing, but I guess it also would have made Jay seem unlikable, and some of the funny lines from him would have lost their humor.
I think the montage that showed the four children guessing the various clues was brilliant. It was a stroke of genius from Chris Diehl and Dave Arnold, as it featured so many, many sounds, all brilliantly engineered by Christopher Diehl. Diehl has truly rose from being a new sound designer in 2007 and 2008 to being an asset to the Odyssey crew, perhaps being the best sound designer that Odyssey has ever had.
Finally, in the epically climatic finale to the episode, (pardon my sarcasm, but I'm in a sarcastic mood) Barret sweetly gives money to a deceivingly poor little girl. This was the lesson of the episode, and a highlight, at least for me. And when I found out she wasn't poor, it didn't matter to me. It was the thought that counted.
But wait! A gumball costs a penny? What time period are these characters living in? Gumballs cost 25 cents! Oh, well. Anyway, Jay gets a victory gumball and loses the competition, and everything is alright in the end. I didn't feel that Barret and Priscilla had to win to make the episode satisfying, but I still liked that they did, unlike when Mellisa Syphers came in Wooton Knows Best.
The episode wraps up on a nice note. From Jay's amusing rendition of 'Hail to the Chief' to the many fascinating, funny, informative, and even touching scenes in this episode, it was truly a 54 highlight, for its sound design, its meticulous attention to detail, its fun characters, and its element of competition! 4 stars all the way!
The Amazing Loser Rating: 8/10
Thanks for reading, and don't forget about the last U.S.S. Response!
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