I apologize for not posting the last two days. I'm afraid blogging was not my highest priority. But, PF saved me yet again with a new Pound Foolish Wisdom. It's not Christmas-themed, but... eh, who cares? But before I get to PF's article, allow me to write a short introduction to it...
Magazine and website articles are often made to sway the reader's view on things. This is not the case with newspaper articles, as newspaper articles are boring little things that are "fair and balanced". I actually enjoy reading the newspaper, but not because I think it's great writing. Articles on the other hand, can be rich of information and opinionated at the same time, and that's what makes them so great.
And there are some articles that don't make a dent in the public's view on a certain subject. These articles are weak and void of meaning and good writing. I am embarrassed to say that I have written some articles such as this on this blog, mostly because I was in a rush, or I didn't really know what my opinion was on a particular subject. But either way, those kind of articles do nothing to sway anyone's opinion or even give information on something.
But there are other articles that do stir things up just a bit, and do change the someone's view on a subject just a bit. I believe I can safely say I have written a couple of these as well. These articles could be considered merely "good" or "average", as they're certainly not bad and certainly not fantastic.
And, finally, there are those articles that might cause an earthquake, metaphorically speaking of course. These articles are so brilliantly written that they can sway a reader's opinion on a particular subject, even if they give both sides of the argument. These articles can cause a good or bad effect, depending on what the writer's stance on an issue is. I can also safely say that I haven't written a single one of these kinds of articles. But I believe PF has.
Now, you may be wondering where this intro is going. It hasn't mentioned the article yet at all, and I apologize for that; I will get right to the point now. This article might be PF's best yet, though admittedly the Liz one could arguably be his best. I will tell you right now that this article is on Emily. For all you Emily-haters out there, prepare to have your view on Emily changed forever. Well, if you are a really stubborn Emily-hater, this article may not change your view completely, but it sure makes a good argument for the brilliance of Emily's character. So I will now present you with: an article that could cause an earthquake. (Metaphorically speaking, of course)
Pound Foolish Wisdom
Where AIO Characters Are Put Beneath the Microscope
In Defense of Goin’ Green
“Some characters…. Won’t do much, and they fade out of the strip. Others, like Snoopy, just take off, and will do anything. These are the characters that stay.”
Charles Schulz, the Peanuts Golden Collection
Such a character is Emily. She can do anything. She behaves terrifically, recklessly, then sadly and humbly regrets it. And, one of the most amazing moments of Emily is… she giggles lovingly with Buck… then, with a clearing of her throat, assumes a business manner of authority as she begins her case of Buck’s missing phone.
Some months ago, I made this remark (here it’s a bit shortened):
"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. 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.I cannot say it passionately enough. Thank you, AIO, for Emily Jones."
Mr. Thinker – err, that’s a pet name my friend “Suzylou” came up with for CreativeThinker101, aka “Alex Jefferson.” You know, the guy who runs this awesome blog. Anyhow, here’s a bit from an article he wrote, in which he used my remark to represent the side for Emily, and then tried to debunk it:
“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… And I wouldn't call Emily 'naturally talented'… 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.) And you said that Emily was rude, so how does that make her the best role-model?
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.”
Oh, did you notice he said she’s “not too horrible”? Isn’t Mr. Thinker so kind? Anyhow…
The debate, as all you Soda Shoppers know, rages on. Mostly, it has evolved into a ridiculous everlasting showdown of shamelessly absurd remarks and fake insults. On a whim, I formed the club E.R.K. on the Soda Shop. (the Emily RULES! Klub.) Which led to… well, mayhem, including a barrage of people starting their own “Emily Klubs” as they unsurprisingly came to be called, particularly the E.S.K. (Emily Stinks Klub) and both E.R.K. and E.S.K. now have their own separate, independent site! http://emilyrulesklub.wordpress.com/ http://emilystinks.webs.com/
Months later, E.R.K. and E.S.K. are still consistently towards the top of the first page of the Character forum.
The battle still rages and new miniature character wars, about Mitch and Camilla, are springing up, but so far nothing has challenged the Emily monstrosity that reigns continuously over the character section. But this is all just the tip of the iceberg. Just about every single big AIO blog has snapped at Emily, revised their opinion of Emily, and praised Emily, and condemned Emily to death. Everyone, for some reason, has something to say about Emily (!):
“In previous episodes, such as "Stage Fright" and "The Malted Milkball Falcon", she's been the bossy, know-it-all. I'm surprised she didn't flaunt her test results in front of everyone's faces or tell Matthew or Barrett they could be as smart as she was if only they worked a little harder. And yet, today's episode takes the stronger and more attractive sides of her personality--her dedication, her willingness to persevere--and combines it with a dash of much needed humility, giving someone I could easily empathize with for 25 minutes.”
Ben Warren in a review of Emily’s first title-episode, Emily the Genius
“… disliking Emily Jones (She grows on me)…”
The Josh and Ally Company, Out of Control in Odyssey
“…to me, Emily Jones has been the most annoying new character. This episode made me change my mind about her. She was embarrassed by all the attention she was getting for being a "genius" and then when she was told that she wasn't, she brushed it off and took the advanced placement test anyway. I really admire that in a person.”
So, why all the controversy? Just what exactly makes people get so insanely and irreversibly opinionated about Emily, with others lost in the middle unsure what to think?
Before we answer that question, we must understand Emily herself.
How mysterious Emily is. She falls in love and giggles, then clears her throat and calmly sets about piecing together clues and investigating. She bosses Matthew around, yet values him as her best friend and closest companion. She is everlastingly confident, yet doubts herself.
Mr. Thinker complains she is “too complex.” SS moderator T.S. suggest we cannot understand her, cannot see where she is going, cannot piece together who she is or what God may wish for her.
Nor can she. She is soul searching. Wandering. Are we meant to understand Emily? Or is she to be mysterious, (an interesting idea, since then, her cases could be seen as a metaphor for her own being.) However, before we assume Emily to be impenetrable, let’s take a careful look at her. That’s my job with these, after all.
One of the most basic, everyone-knows-this elements of making a character is there has to be something they want. They have to desire something. After all, it’s what we want that so often determines our destinies, and what we sometimes must sadly abandon when called in the opposite direction. So, what does Emily want?
1. She wants love.
We know that from Buck and the lengths she went to maintain Matthew’s friendship. She goes about trying to make her peace with Matthew, desperately.
Emily Hater Interruption: “But she blackmailed him!”
Yes, but that’s the point. She did things she knew were unkind to get what was important to her heart. That’s how badly she wanted it. Now, I’ll conveniently move on.
2. She wants meaning.
As I said, T.S. once was wisely pointed out: “She is… like pieces of gravel or sand. I know that God must have a plan for her, that these pieces, however small, fit together to form a creation of determination and flame for God, but I cannot see how the pieces fit to form that being. I wonder whether Emily knows that that being could one day exist.”
It’s true. She doesn’t know who she is. But she wants to. She needs significance. All she does can be seen as striving for significance. Every case, every time assertion of her opinion over another’s, every argument and bossy remark. Every time she asserts herself. She wants to have direction. Purpose.
Emily Hater Interruption: “But all that means is she’s bossy! She’s out to control everyone! She’s overbearing to Matthew! She’s a BRAT! Argh.”
No it doesn’t. Emily is seeking who she wants to be. She is trying to have an impact on the world. Her forcefulness shows her desire to head in particular direction. In her heart, she wants to make a difference. If you think she’s doing it the wrong way, fine. The point is she’s trying.
3. She want to be heard
She wants this so badly. She just can’t contain herself. Her own emotions and thoughts explode out of her. Her energy has to get out. She knows her opinions have worth and shouldn’t be ignored.
Emily Hater Interruption: “I think they should be ignored!”
I’ll ignore that.
4. She wants to love
Maybe tonight, true love will show-owww, under the mistletoe… sorry. Ahem. You may be rolling your eyes right now, but it’s true. Emily wants to show love to people. She doesn’t just do things for her own benefit. In fact, to quote myself (ahem) we “People accuse her of doing things for her own benefit, yet we never see her doing a deed that only she benefits from.”
Emily Hater: “Yes we do! Who else benefits from all her griping!? Huh?”
She thinks she’s right. She’s trying to fit the world into her view of perfect. Yes, mostly she just can’t shut up. But she does care about others.
So, there’s Emily in a nutshell. She’s wandering. She doesn’t know who she is. She’s a growing, changing girl. Emily wants love, importance, other people to pay attention and know what she thinks, and she wants to love.
Does that seem all that unlikable to you?
If you really just can’t like Emily, then you just can’t. But maybe we just can’t get passed what at first seems brattishness and her “annoying” voice. Maybe we haven’t really tried to care about Emily. Maybe… dare we admit it… we’re not really listening to her?
Emily is all a woman should be. Her rudeness is one of her ways of being strong. We aren’t meant to constrain ourselves. Emily dares to show us this.
In closing… how can I resist? Emily RULES!
“She stinks! She stinks! You hear me!? STINKS I tell you!”
Oh, shut up.
My view on Emily was, in truth, not completely changed after reading this article. I still think she has an obnoxious voice and attitude, but I can see her more clearly now. I suppose that's the point of "putting AIO characters beneath the microscope": so you can see them clearer. So that's it.
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