"Forgiving More...or Less" features one of the most painfully awkward moments in Adventures in Odyssey history. The moment is awkward because John Avery Whittaker, my childhood hero and role model, says one of the most embarrassing jokes I've ever heard: "Big Scoop? I've got one here for the Ice Cream! Har. Har". Surely Camilla could have laughed. Someone could have laughed. Do we really want Whit to be portrayed as a bumbling, out of touch, geezer? If I remember correctly, the Whit I grew up with was a relatively funny guy who knew how to say a clever joke. Sigh. I suppose even role models say bad jokes, too.
Red Hollard's next episode should be titled "Red Hollard goes to the Doctor" where he gets his throat checked out. Is there a frog in there? Is he a heavy smoker? Is he played by Nick Nolte? Whatever he is, I wonder whether he's being set-up as the show's newest storyteller. Bernard Walton was obviously better at it. After all, Bernard's stories also magically featured actors and sound effects. Red Hollard's story, likewise, could have benefited from having the dialogue acted out while Red narrated. I know I should be able to follow a simple story; however, I wonder whether it might have helped Steve Eastin--despite doing a nice job--tell a more captivating tale.
Thematically, "Forgiving More...or Less" took an interesting route. I like how the show began with three unrelated story threads (Red Hollard's story/Matthew and Camilla break the oscilloscope/Camilla is told to do dishes) and then tied everything neatly together in the Parker living room at the end. After the first few scenes, I was afraid the episode was going to feel as bloated as last week's "Anger Mismanagement"; and while it certainly felt like it at first, everything was wrapped up so smoothly I can't complain.
Today's show follows a 20 year old tradition in which kids misinterpret a biblical verse or theme and then continue for the rest of the episode practicing it out of context. Listeners knows all too well what they're doing wrong--and not just listeners above the target audience. So we wait, and wait, until the main character figures it out. It's not always the most exciting way to explain a theme, but it works. We've seen Donna misinterpret a verse about prayer in "And when you pray", Marvin and Tamika misinterpret Matthew 19:24 in "The Poor Rich Guy", and Tamika misinterpret the true meaning of honesty in ''And that's the Truth'''. You could probably think of a few more. Thankfully, Camilla only starts misunderstanding the meaning of forgiveness 12 minutes into the show, giving us other interesting things to think about.
I find myself appreciating Camilla more and more. I wonder how annoying this episode would have been had she not been the lead character. Out of all the young actors on Adventures in Odyssey, she is certainly one the cutest. I'm not talking about her voice but about her assertiveness and totally clever, unexpected lines: "He ran out of toes to truck?" and "Why didn't his insurance take care of it?'' I remember not being able to differentiate between the Parker kids when I first met them in ''The Inspiration Station'', but their personalities have certainly grown and evolved well.
We hadn't heard the whole Parker family together since the disagreeable "An Agreeable Nanny". It was nice to hear the kids all working on a project together. Although I'd like to hear them hang out without bickering, the actors do it in a way that isn't as annoying as the Washington kids sounded. Furthermore, I'd like to see the Parker parents have real conversations with their children, talking to them because they like to talk to them, and not simply because they need to teach them a lesson or ask them to do the dishes. Regardless, despite a few bumps along the way, the Parker family seem to be on the right track, and I'm already enjoying their presence on Adventures in Odyssey far more than I ever enjoyed the Washington family.
All in all, "Forgiving More...Or Less" is your average Adventures in Odyssey episode. That's not a bad thing. Calling an episode ''average'' means Adventures in Odyssey did everything you expected it to do. It may not add much to the series, but you've now spent 25 quality minutes and are now a little wiser. And for whatever I didn't like about this episode, I easily forgave it.