|The Barclay family run into some problems when their car breaks down on their way to Florida. However, their problems soon turn into yet another adventure.
Written By: Chandler
We are introduced to the Barclays in this episode as the family leaves Odyssey on vacation. Jimmy narrates some adventures as he writes in his journal. Hearing the show from the kid's perspective is enjoyable. Jimmy's "kid" comments throughout are classic.
Jimmy starts by describing some events that lead up to departure. The best part, of course, is George's attempt to "fix" the car. The crossed wiring that occurs (the radio, horn, etc.) is rather unrealistic but makes for a funny scene. In the background, you can hear the radio announcer say that Dr. James Dobson's Focus on the Family broadcast will be coming up. If you listen real carefully, you can hear the radio station's call letters--KFOF (which must come from Focus on the Family).
When the Barclay's are finally ready to leave, Donna doesn't want to go. That is the first of many times where she is resistant to family vacations. Not even a half-hour down the road, the kids start bickering. Ah yes, brings back memories of past vacations my family took. And the singing--been there, done that. I enjoy the scene where the Barclay's hit something with the car and George goes to investigate. Hearing Jimmy's "boy" reaction as compared to Donna's "girl" reaction is classic. But both kids are disappointed to discover that it's only a piece of tire rubber.
As they are driving, Jimmy spots a man walking along the side of the road and suggests that they give him a ride. George says that it's too dangerous to pick up hitchhikers and says he wouldn't expect anyone to pick him up if his car breaks down. Just then, the car dies. Personally, I think that was just a little too fast to have that happen. I don't care for Donna's whole spiel about the "ax-murderer." The line about him putting people in plastic sandwich bags is unnecessary. I also think the emphasis on George's inability to fix cars is overdone. The earlier scene with his attempts to do-it-yourself was funny, but this is a little too much like the typical "men are stupid so the women have to help them out" message found in many TV shows.
The so-called "ax-murderer" turns out to be a friendly service station owner named Chester who tells George that they'll have to walk a few miles into town to get a tow truck. In a bookend to the earlier scene, George asks whether they should consider hitchhiking. Chester laughs and says that one never knows what kind of lunatic might pick them up.
The Barclays end up staying at Chester's house for the weekend while the car gets repaired. George and Mary like Chester and his wife, Grace, and Jimmy hits it off with their son, Ted. That leaves a miserable Donna. She doesn't want to be on the vacation, she doesn't like being stuck in the small town, and she doesn't have batteries for her walkman.
When the family goes to a church picnic and Donna refuses to participate, Jimmy gets out "Whit's Boredom Buster." After quite awhile, Donna solves the puzzle. Her attitude changes and she agrees to take part in the tug-of-war. To Jimmy's delight, Donna falls into the mud puddle right in the middle of the game! Fortunately, Donna takes it well and decides that she really can have a good vacation after all.
This episode introduces Odyssey's favorite family: The Barclays.
The show Donna is watching on TV is "I Dream of Jeannie" - Episode 103: "Invisible House For Sale."
In this two-part episode, Mary Barclay is played by Maggie Malloy (the actress who plays Connie Kendall's mom). Also, these two episodes mark the only time so far when George Barclay was not voiced by Chuck Bolte.
Listen closely while George is fiddling with the car--the announcer on the radio talks about being minutes away from hearing from Dr. James Dobson.
When battries go dead in a portible cassette player the cassette dosen't just stop playing all of a sudden. The casette slowly comes to a stop.
If you listen to carefully when George accidentally turns on the radio, you can hear the announcer say that Focus on the Family is coming up and the station's call letters are KFOF.
The Barclays' first names are a reference to Frank Capra's film "It's a Wonderful Life." The character of George Bailey was played by Jimmy Stewart, and Mary Bailey was played by Donna Reed - thus, George, Jimmy, Mary, and Donna.