I'm very sorry I didn't get to the past 4 reviews. I have no excuses, I just didn't do it. However, I will be continuing to review Album 56. Here is my review of Happy Hunting...
The combo of Wooton, Connie, Penny, Jacques Henri, and Whit is being used more and more frequently. From the relatively mediocre "A Penny Earned" and the classic "Childish Things", to the hectic rom-com "Something Old, Something New" and this new installment, the writers seem to think that these five characters mix well together. And they're 4/5 right. Kimmy Robertson and Katie Leigh have great chemistry and their characters now have an interesting friendship. Dan Hagen does an excellent job with Jacques Henri; he is perfect with Penny and has some great, humorous moments. And Whit is also great with Penny, pointing out the faults in her ideas while encouraging her in her journey through life. But the one character that I am starting to passionately despise is... Wooton. But I'll get to that later.
The episode begins with quite a funny scene taking place in the art gallery. As I said before, Penny and Jacques are pretty much polar opposites: Penny is the dreamy, immature artist who seems to take life and its various trials more seriously than her artistic work. Jacques is the sincere, French art dealer who always means business and seems to take his artistic endeavors more seriously than life and its various trials. So, when these two characters clash, it produces fascinatingly funny results. This is probably my favorite scene of the episode. It's certainly better than the scenes with that scoundrel Wooton. (Pardon my insulting, I am just becoming quite irked with post-hiatus Wooton in general.)
The story continues, and Penny is on another one of her now famous "quests". The same story format that was used in "Childish Things" is used here. I will explain the format below:
1. Penny starts to become bothered by something (i.e. body language, happiness) and so she researches it.
2. Penny trusts the research she has acquired and begins to do the things the research suggests, with disastrous results.
3. Penny gets in a fight with one of her friends (In Childish Things: Wooton/Jacques Henri. In Happy Hunting: Connie) over the thing that's bugging her and the research she did it on it, and she becomes discouraged.
4. Penny goes to Whit and Connie, who set her straight. She learns her lesson, and the episode ends.
I think this storyline works very well, but since we've already heard it in "Childish Things", I don't see any point in repeating it with this episode. I didn't see much in "Happy Hunting" that "Childish Things" didn't have. I would like to make it clear that this is a complaint, and it affects the episode's rating. (I only say this because you might be surprised by the rather low rating I give this episode.)
So I basically gave the whole storyline away up there. However, there are a few surprises along the way. As a homage to "Happy Smilers", one of the most strangely hysterical and touching episodes ever, Penny attends a happiness support group. This scene prompted a few chuckles from me, but ultimately wasn't anything hugely special and didn't achieve the big laughs "Happy Smilers" did. From me, at least. I realize some listeners were annoyed by "Happy Smilers", but I myself found it hilarious.
And now, for my big, long rant about Wooton...
My Issues With Wooton: A Mini-Article Extension of My Review of Happy Hunting
I would like to say that this is not a reaction to this episode in particular, but simply a reaction to post-hiatus Wooton. This episode was just kind of the "straw that broke the camel's back". And it cemented in my mind what I had been thinking for a while now: obnoxious Wooton needs to say bye-bye. I had always found Wooton to be a funny, likeable character. In episodes like "For Trying Out Loud" and "Tuesdays With Wooton", I would laugh my head off and think, "I wish I could be as funny as Wooton..." With post-hiatus Wooton, however, I roll my eyes and think, "I'm already funnier than that guy."
Now, I don't for a second believe this is Jess Harnell's fault. I saw that guy being interviewed at the live show, and he was as funny, if not funnier than pre-hiatus Wooton. I believe Jess is trying his best to make the character of Wooton funny and likeable. But you can't change obnoxious lines into funny ones. So basically what I'm saying is that, in truth, this is not Jess Harnell's fault. This is the writers' fault.
Wooton has changed from a hilarious mailman who is passionate about God to an obnoxious guy who tries to be funny but just doesn't have anything funny to say and who hardly ever mentions God or Christianity; and when God and Christianity is mentioned, he attempts to say something funny to break up the spiritual conversation. But maybe I'm being too cynical... However, Wooton's behavior lately is inexcusable. If you're yelling, "What the heck is this guy talking about? Wooton's still got the laugh factor!" then I'll give you some lines...
Barrett Jones: I lost a friend.
Wooton Bassett: Uh, did you check your locker?
Wooton Bassett: You know, I've always found that running along the top of a train gives me inspiration.
Ted Humpfries: About the verdict?
Wooton Bassett: Oh yeah, the verdict. That was a good call, and the jury foreman had good diction when he read it out. Very Shakespearean.
Wooton Bassett: The point is Olivia, that sometimes we have to
try to be understanding even if we don't understand what we're supposed
to be understanding about. Understand?
John Whittaker: So what do you think upset Penny?
Wooton Bassett: Well it had to be the lack of soda's at the vending machine in the court house.
Connie Kendall: So what are you gonna do with all these confused feelings while Penny figures things out?
Wooton Bassett: I'm gonna wait and silence my body language.
Connie Kendall: How are you gonna do that?
Wooton Bassett: Oh I'm thinking about wearing a space suit whenever I'm around her.
Wooton Bassett: Mrs. Mitch is a mis-match!?!?!
Matthew Parker: Hey, maybe Wooton knows.
Wooton Bassett: Wow! Well, I never did before, but there's a first time for everything. What is it?
John Whittaker: Paris, France?
Wooton Bassett: Actually, it was Paris, Arkansas.
If it looks like I copied most of the post-hiatus Wooton quotes from AIOwiki, that's what I did. But I think these quotes prove my point to some extent. If you laughed at any of these, you can disagree with me, but I don't think you can disagree with me about Wooton's spiritual attitude. I don't see any huge problem with not talking about God in regular discussion, but saying something funny and trying to change the subject when spiritual things are brought up is, in my opinion, a problem. Wooton did this in "The Green Ring Conspiracy" and a couple other episodes, if I remember...
So, forgive me for going on a mini-article rant. I just wanted to explain why Wooton annoyed me in this episode and all other post-hiatus one. I'm hoping he changes and the writers recognize his obnoxiousness, but I don't have my fingers crossed. I shall now get back to the review...
The episode ends with a moral that is simply this: seeking happiness is a noble endeavor, but it can also become self-indulgent and selfish. Truthfully, this sounds like a Brady Bunch moral, not an AIO moral. I don't feel like AIO elaborated on this enough. Self-indulgence and selfishness are only part of the problem for seeking your own happiness. Whit touched briefly on the spiritual side of this, saying that a relationship with God can help our happiness, but he didn't explain why or how this is. He also didn't take the opportunity to offer Penny Christ. However, as PF already talked about that in his review on his CC blog, (a very excellent post, by the way) I will not elaborate too much on that.
Ultimately, this is the worst episode of 56 so far, mostly because of three things: the repeated storyline that was used in "Childish Things", the obnoxiousness of Wooton, and the underdeveloped moral. Also, the scenes seemed much shorter than normal, as if the writers were rushing the plot by throwing a new scene at us every minute and a half. I have a couple positives with this episode: the first scene was good, Connie and Penny have good chemistry, there were a couple funny lines that didn't involve Wooton, but that's about it. Overall, this episode is quite disappointing, and I can give it no more than a rather pathetic 4 stars.
Happy Hunting Rating: 4/10
Thanks for reading this rather dismal review!
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Alex Jefferson, creator and operator of Just Another AIO Blog
Alex Jefferson, creator and operator of Just Another AIO Blog