"Where There's Another Will..."
Written By: Shadowpaw
The Barclay family was a nuclear unit that everyone could relate to. Jimmy and Donna were your typical brother and sister combination who argued about anything and everything, but really loved each other deep down inside. Over in the Jacob household, Robyn and Melanie, sisters in real life, also bickered back and forth. Their simple fights were real to listen to, and made them immediately accessible to listeners. Over the years, many families have come and gone but none have truly been embraced by fans. After today's episode, I think the Washington family is a group that I can grow to love.
When they were first introduced, I wanted to like them. I didn't want them to be like the Shepards who live on Tom's farm and rarely interact with the town, or the Mulligans who own their own zoo and introduce a new family member ever single show. I wanted them to be normal. It's funny, but the more interesting and different a family is, the more annoying they are to listen to because there's not much that we can relate to. I prefer an average household, with an average income, and an average number of family members. That way, they feel real and make their everyday adventures exciting to listen to. Very few people have owned a dozen different animals and had to stop their land from being flooded... but how many people have had to move to a different house? Simple storylines can be far more fulfilling then over the top (as I've said many times before). Today was no exception.
Though, on the other hand, the episode fit with the theme of my review: Average. It wasn't a terrible show, and with each and every listening I liked it more and more. But while Ed and Elaine are terrific, keeping their family together through hard times and actually sounding like real parents... I have a hard time buying into Marvin and Tamika. I just don't believe anything they say because it sounds like they're acting (and poorly acting at that). Whenever it comes to critiquing a show, I always find it hard to talk about the younger actor's ability to act. What right do I have to judge them? Especially when they are so young and have so much to learn. But when I think about child actors from 15 years ago, and how talented they were, and compare them to the more professional actors of today, I just find it ironic that the unprofessional actors were so much stronger. Sure, there are some exceptions (Alex, Mandy, Nathaniel and Sarah were all very strong), but overall the acting of the children of Odyssey has been a weak point over the last few years of the show. Though I would say that Xavier has been quite good in the shows he's been in.
I thought the story was great though. The 'Reverse Carnivale' idea was kinda neat, and I like that they checked in on Whit's End Connellsville. It's good to show the audience that it's still around, but not focus on it too much as it's extremely confusing to hear about both places. It was also nice to see the family struggle with the decision to move, as any family would, but ultimately accept it as the right thing to do. It wasn't the most original idea, but the way in which it was done was original and I like that. Though, one thing that didn't make sense to me was that from their old house it was a 45 minute drive to Connellsville but at their new place it's 15. For one thing, I've always believed that Connellsville was roughly 30 minutes away from Odyssey. What I didn't know was that a town the size of Odyssey is big enough to shave off 30 minutes by moving across town. I live in a city of nearly one million people, and to drive from the left most corner of the city to the bottom right takes less than an hour. I can't imagine a town with the population of Odyssey would be a 30 minute drive through town.
Still, as much as I had some problems with the acting and the time it takes to get to Connellsville, I still enjoyed the show and I do enjoy the Washington family as whole. They may never be the Barclays... but they are still better than dealing with farm animals on a weekly basis.