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

Sunday, December 16, 2012

AIO Article: Pound Foolish Wisdom #3 12/16/12

     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

#3:  Emily
     In Defense of Goin’

“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.”

Odyssey Thoughts
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.
     She’s Emily.
     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!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

JAAIOB 16 Days of Christmas: The Ideal AIO Christmas 12/12/12

     Ooh, I just noticed the date is 12/12/12!  This will be the last time in 89 years that the month, the day, and the year would all be the same, so I think this calls for a moment of silence in honor of those three beautiful 12s above you... *silence* 
     Okay, great.  After that completely random first paragraph, I shall get my post grounded back in reality with an AIO Christmas Article of... um, epic proportions...

     There have been many great AIO Christmas episodes: Gifts For Madge and Guy, Back To Bethlehem, Unto Us A Child Is Born, and Silent Night.  But I wonder... what would the perfect, the ideal AIO Christmas episode be?  In this article, I shall attempt to shape the ideal Christmas in AIO.  I will not include a plot, merely a theme, a cast of characters, and other information to make the perfect Christmas based on the success of past Christmas episodes.  I would like to give a challenge for all you readers: once I give you the info on the ideal Christmas episode, you can construct your own plot.  This doesn't have to be anything in-depth, just a basic plot that lines up with the info I have here.  If I get enough entries, I might even have a contest to see who has the best plot.  So comment below if you read this and write your plot!  And now, here is the info...

     Episode Title: (This is simply to give you a hint for what the plot should be, though it could be interpreted multiple ways) O, Christmas Three

     Characters: (In no particular order) Whit, Penny, Connie, Jay, Santa Claus, Eugene, Angel, Jason, Spencer Hicks

     Theme: True Christmas Spirit

     Writer(s): Paul McCusker, Nathan Hoobler

     Director: Nathan Hoobler

     Sound Designer: Chris Diehl

     Year: 2012

     Quality of Episode: 5 Stars

     Number of Parts: 2

     Music Composer: John Campbell

     Genre: Holiday/Drama/Comedy (It would have a bit of both)

     So, that's all the info I shall give.  Now it's up to you to write up a plot.  Just leave it in the comments...  For now, that's it.
     Thanks for reading!



Tuesday, December 11, 2012

JAAIOB 16 (Make that 15...) Days of Christmas: A Birthday Cake For Jesus 12/11/12

     I apologize for my negligence in posting yesterday; I realized last night when I was in bed I hadn't blogged, I'm afraid I forgot it.  However, I will be making a 15 Days of Christmas post today...

     My church is doing a special series on Christmas called, interestingly enough: Christmas Is Not Your Birthday.  It's produced some fascinating sermons, and they've been getting me thinking...  Someone should make a birthday cake for Jesus.  And a quick Google search tells me that someone has.  In fact, many people have.  Today I shall be showcasing some actual birthday cakes for Jesus.  There's obviously no need to make a birthday cake for the Lord of all, but it's a gesture that will bring everyone back to what Christmas is really about.  So, without further ado, I shall present the cakes.  (Jesus had better have a pretty big appetite! ;))

          Notes: Though it's not exactly a cake, this one is worth mentioning.  I'm honestly not sure what those blueberries are supposed to be, but the hearts after "Jesus" are very sweet... (No pun intended)


          Notes: This cake is quite amusing...  I wish I could count the candles, but the image is a bit too blurry...

          Notes: Hmm... Another great one.  I notice there appear to be 12 candles.  Does this symbolize anything?  Perhaps the 12 disciples?  If you think so or have another theory, post in the comments. 

          Notes: Very nice...  I notice there's a depiction of Bethlehem at the bottom.  I like that they put the manger.  It reminds everyone instantly of the Christmas Story.

          Notes: This might actually be my favorite of them all.  It shows a Christmas tree to the side and a snowflake above, but baby Jesus in his manger, is, of course, the centerpiece...



          Notes: This is another one of the best.  I like how Jesus is the only thing aside from the star that draws your attention, and the simplicity of the cake is brilliant and touching.



     There are a few more, but you get the idea...  I hope this was a nice, gentle, delicious reminder of what Christmas is really about.  Tomorrow I shall have an AIO Christmas article, to fulfill my promise of giving you AIO-related Christmas posts.
     Thanks for reading!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

JAAIOB's 16 Days of Christmas: The Kickoff Interview 12/9/12

     I thought that, though I'll be doing some deep, scholarly Christmas articles later, I should kickoff the JAAIOB event with something fun.  So, I will be doing something that has nothing to do with AIO, and it won't have much to do with God either.  However, I'm hoping this will ease everyone into the 16 Days of Christmas.  So, I shall be doing a fictional interview with... Santa Claus.  Here it is:

     AJ: So... Santa Claus.  How are you today?

     SC: Well, I've been hibernating for the 25th.  I haven't eaten anything in a month, and I've been sleepin' a lot too.  All that milk and cookies is hard on my body, so I devised a fasting plan.  However, I do get a bit hungry occasionally.  It's especially horrible when I dream about the gingerbread man...  That's why I only come out of the North Pole for... interviews and such.

     AJ: I see.  Well, for the first actual interview question, I would like to ask you: When exactly did you start giving gifts to children everywhere?

     SC: Well, as I recall, in the year 1861, Abe Lincoln and I were playin' checkers together.  I was in my late 200s back then, so I was practically a freshman in the game of life.  *chuckle*  But Abe wanted to do something special for Christmas for the USA.  And do you know what he decided to do?

     AJ: No, I don't.  Please tell us, Mr. Claus.

     SC: He decided to declare war on them Southern states!  *hysterical laughter from Santa, but only a blank stare from Alex*  Well, he didn't declare war on them on December 25th, but it was close enough.  So anyway, the country didn't really want to be involved in a war, so Abe realized he hadn't exactly picked the best Christmas present.  So he came to me and asked me to fix things.  I told him I could break into people's houses and go down their chimney and then throw presents down their fireplace, so that's what I did.  The police didn't like it very much, but the kids loved their gifts.  So I've been doin' it ever since.

     AJ: That's quite an amazing story.  However, I do believe there was more to Mr. Lincoln's declaration of war than a Christmas present.  But anyway, let's continue with the interview.  My next question is: Do your deranged Eskimo elves really make all the toys themselves, or do you have a deal with another company?

     SC: Well, we used to have a deal with the Hostess snack cakes Company, but they shipped us so many pastries for free that they finally went out of business.  So now, we have to make all our pastries ourselves.

     AJ: Interesting.  Next question: There are some rumors going on that you are not real.  Would you like to address these?

     SC: Well, it's all hogwash!  I'm as real as... as... as -

     AJ: The Easter Bunny?

     SC: O course not!  That guy was tryin' to steal my thunder.  He's just a hairy college dropout in a bunny costume.  And as for them rumors, they're all spread by celebrity magazines!  You can't trust them anymore than you can trust... me.

     AJ: Ahh... now we're getting somewhere!  Are you admitting to being an untrustworthy, 400-year old fugitive from the law?

     SC: No.

      AJ: Okay.  Well, we only have time for one more question.  This final question is: do you ever receive any gifts for Christmas?

     SC: The only gifts I get on Christmas morning are a buncha raindeer poop, a stomachache from all the cookies, blisters from cracking that reindeer whip, a stiff neck from going down that chimney, and some sappy little letters from rich kids in New York!

     AJ: I'm sorry.  But, not sorry enough to do anything about it, as I'm afraid we have to go.  Thank you for talking with us, Santa, and we hope you'll join us next time in JAAIOB's 25 Days of Christmas!

     I hope you enjoyed that.  Tomorrow's article will be a bit more realistic and serious, but, until then, I'm Alex Jefferson, and this is... JAAIOB's 16 Days of Christmas!
     Thanks for reading!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Weekly Review: The Lost Riddle 12/8/12

     I realize I should be reviewing The Holy Hoopster, but because I have downloaded The Holy Hoopster but haven't downloaded The Lost Riddle, I will have to review The Lost Riddle before the 16 Days of Christmas starts.  By the way, I would like to thank Wooton Basset for designing the new Christmas logo!  But now, here's my review...

     AIO seems to be obsessed with the theme of forgiveness in mysteries.  Of course, with 700+ episodes in the AIO canon, there are bound to be some recurring themes, and I don't have a problem with that at all, but what I do have a problem with is five episodes all in the same genre with the same theme.  The theme of forgiveness has repeated itself throughout AIO mysteries, starting with the classic What Happened To the Silver Streak?  This episode was looking to be a boring, predictable "don't jump to conclusions" detective show, but then everything changed with a twist ending I don't think anyone saw coming.  This episode had the theme of forgiveness, but it's not the only mystery to have this theme.  The Painting, Buried Sin, Call Me If You Care, and now, The Lost Riddle all explore forgiveness.  And the funny thing is, with the exception of What Happened To the Silver Streak?, all of these episodes are dealing with the same type of forgiveness, and the latter four are all dealing with forgiveness in pretty much the same way.  Allow me to elaborate just a bit before launching into my review of The Lost Riddle...
     The Painting, Buried Sin, Call Me If You Care, and The Lost Riddle all start pretty normally.  In the first, Jack and Joanne receive several paintings from Whit.  In Buried Sin, Eugene, Jared and Dwayne are digging around in the backyard of Whit's End.  In the third, Connie is whining about her Dad and her new phone.  And in The Lost Riddle, Emily and Matthew are waltzing around the schoolyard, checking their lockers.  The episodes progress, and a character finds something.  (Examples: a painting, possibly an original: a time capsule with a gun: a strange phone message: a piece of paper that turns out to be a riddle)  Next, the characters take the clue to someone and investigate.  They find out about a person who might need to forgive someone.  In a climatic finish, they find that person and that person and another person have a heartfelt forgiving scene.
     This pattern repeats itself for literally all four episodes, and it's getting to be annoying.  AIO switches the pattern up just a bit with The Painting and Call Me If You Care by adding some new twists, but the overall story structure is the same.  And the fact that all four episodes are mysteries is even more repetitive.  Didn't it ever cross the writers' minds when writing The Lost Riddle that the storyline was just a bit reminiscent of Buried Sin or The Painting, or Call Me If You Care?  I think The Painting was by far the best episode of Album 29, because back then, it was original.  And Buried Sin and Call Me If You Care stood out as good episodes as well, though by the time Call Me If You Care came around, the storyline was getting a little familiar.  But this is just ridiculous.  You may notice that for this album, I've been complaining about reminiscence to past episodes quite a bit.  Well, I simply believe AIO is repeating their roots a lot.  And this is not exactly a good thing.  AIO should progress without copying what they did 10 years ago.  But this isn't really a review anymore, it's just a big long article about The Lost Riddle being redundant.  And all that said, there are still many pros to The Lost Riddle, and overall it's quite better than Happy Hunting.  So I shall finally get to the review part.
     Emily is getting more tolerable with each episode she's featured in.  Great Expectations was overall a good episode, and this one truly is as well.  Emily's voice is no longer irking me, and I really have no character issues with her anymore.  I still don't find her as interesting as Barret or Jay, but she's not as bad as I was making her out to be.  And with this episode, she's back to her ol' detective self again.  I like this, actually, and I look forward to more episodes with Emily in her 'detective' role.  But this episode is a bit more serious; Emily is not just solving relatively trivial school cases anymore, she's unearthing a case from decades past.  I like this as well...
     I also believe the addition of Dale Jacobs was wise.  Phil Lollar has such a great voice, and was such an asset to AIO in the past, his characters only bring back the old Odyssey.  And learning more about Dale's past only lengthens his AIOwiki page and makes him more of an endearing character than ever.  And I think that this episode and The Labyrinth are showing Dale's mysterious side very nicely.  I just hope he won't run off and join the FBI or become the next Jason Whittaker...
     The plot of this episode progresses almost like a children's mystery series book, with clues, riddles, new character introductions, and a finale where a character tells us a story at the end.  I think the AIO team used some very nice plot devices, like the classic watermark and lemon juice clues.  I just wish the plot hadn't been so similar to the episodes mentioned above...
     And the final confession scene is typical of AIO, with the dramatic music in the background where the guy tells his tale and asks for Dale's forgiveness.  I thought it was handled well, and they got the perfect actor to play Kenny Rutherford.
     As usual, the sound effects, production quality, and music were all top-notch, as well as the acting and character development.  So, overall, The Lost Riddle would have been a great episode.  But... it's not.  I can't award it a 8/10 or even a 7/10 rating because of the huge issue with the plot that I explained in detail above.  So, with a heavy heart, I must award this mystery drama a relatively low score.  Album 56's 4 weakest episodes are Happy Hunting, The Lost Riddle, Groundhog Jay, and Push the Red Button, and the bummer is that these 4 pretty much come in succession, so the latter half of 56 is overall pretty weak.

     The Lost Riddle Rating: 6/10

     Thanks for reading, and prepare yourself for the festivities starting tomorrow!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Weekly Feature 12/2/12

     This isn't really a feature, more like a massive news segment giving a preview of what we'll be doing at JAAIOB for the next couple months in what I would like to call, "JAAIOB'S Big Epic Revival".  I'm actually going to try to get back to blogging at least every other day, so expect more frequent posts. Anyway, here's the news...

     The first big thing I have planned is JAAIOB's 16 Days of Christmas.  On ABC, they have a 25 Days of Christmas thing where they play Christmas movies in stuff, so that's kind of my inspiration.  But this will be much bigger than Christmas movies.  Each day will be a very special post or article involving AIO, God, and the Christmas season in general.  I'll try not to make them all long articles, as that's not what the Christmas season is about, of course.  This will be JAAIOB's biggest event since the "big surprise" a while back.  I am also going to hope to get Wooton Bassett to design a great logo for the event, but no promises.  The event will start on December 9th, so in one week, and it will last till December 24th, where all the stuff we've done for the past 16 days will come together with one epic Christmas finale.  I'm also hoping to get a Christmas podcast during this time as one of the 16 things for this Christmas, so JAAIOP listeners can get excited.

     The next thing I have planned, almost as big as the 16 Days of Christmas, is something similar to the Websters that I like to call The AJ Awards.  (AJ stands for "Alex Jefferson". I know, I'm conceited.)  These will be like the Avery awards, except more in-depth.  I will not have fans vote on these like I do with the Websters, but instead I will choose the awards myself.  The categories will include Best Screenplay: Comedy, Best Screenplay: Drama/Action-Adventure, Best Overall Episode, Best Supporting Actor/Actress, Best Leading Actor, Best Leading Actress, Best Sound Effects, Best Music, and a few more!  I will hold these soon after Album 56 is done airing, so probably in early January.  I don't want to hold the award ceremony (which will be a little less glamorous than the Websters) during the 16 Days of Christmas, as it doesn't pertain to the Christmas season.  But this will still be a very exciting event for JAAIOB.

     I'm also planning a change in the podcast for Episode 4, after the Christmas Special.  I would like to get actual guests for The AIO Show at least, probably AIO fans at first, but then I might move into AIO cast and crew if the podcast becomes popular.  I'm not planning on releasing Episode 4 till February, so I don't need to start searching for guests for another month or so.

     The U.S.S. Response will be making a return as well in the near future, (probably in either January or February) but it will be different.  I've been thinking of possibly making a CC Response (Campbell County) or maybe even a ToO Response (Town of Odyssey).  However, I can only do all three if I have help with at least one of them.  So if any of you SSers would like to submit an occasional Response, I would love to have your help.  If no one would be willing to do this, I shall not add a CC Response or ToO Response.  However, I would still understand if you couldn't help...

     The Webster Awards will also be making a return pretty soon, probably in April.  I need to get a lot of things organized, and since this ceremony is so far away, I'm not revealing the nominees till January.  I will have a better and more clear voting system this time, and I will try to get more audio speeches.  It will be much bigger and better than last year, so expect the unexpected.

     As a final sidenote, I realize I missed AIO's 25th Anniversary.  But in truth, I didn't.  The "big article" I told you about in an earlier post will be a lengthy celebration of AIO in honor of its 25th Anniversary.  This will be a little late, coming out in January or February, but I have not doubt you will all enjoy it.

     So, for the next week, I'll be preparing for all of these things.  Therefore, you probably won't hear from me again until next Sunday when the epic 16 Days of Christmas starts.  But I felt I should just reveal to you some of my future plans.  Until then, I'm Alex Jefferson, and this is... JAAIOB News!  (JAAIOB News will not be a regular thing, I just had so many plans in the works, I thought I could load them all into one feature.)
     Thanks for reading!


Saturday, December 1, 2012

Weekly Review: Happy Hunting 12/1/12

     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!