"For Whom the Futuristic Wedding Bells Toll"
Written By: Shadowpaw
Wow that's a lot to take in. Mandy and Trent tie the knot when they grow up? Who saw that one coming?! It completely threw me for a loop at first, but after thinking about it, it makes a lot of sense and may not be as mind boggling as many people think. Let's look back. We remember that Jared was in school while Mandy was a baby in "Tornado!", and a few shows later she was in the same classes as him. We also gathered from "The Pushover" that Trent was 2 during the same period of time (though he went unnamed), and as of right now happens to be attending the same school as Jared... who we will assume is currently aged 14: the same age as Mandy in "True Calling". Well, since we discovered in "A Lamb's Tale" that Tamika is 10 coupled with the fact Marvin is older (and in the same classes as Trent), that would place Trent in the 11 - 13 age range. Therefore, while I was initially very bothered by the fact Mandy and Trent end up together, it's not as awkward to digest as I first believed. Several years difference may seem like decades to grade school kids, but since Mandy and Trent are already very close in age, it's a lot less disturbing at this stage of their lives. Besides, who can ignore the fact they're perfect for each other? They're both keeners, take extra classes for special credit, and (if you can forgive me for stepping out of role for a moment) sound really cute together. I'm actually really psyched about them being a couple!
Yeah, I'm a loser. But how cool is it that we get to know about their relationship before they do? While I have a feeling the staff won't delve deep into the topic (teen dating is is a sticky subject in Christian circles), I do look forward to foreshadowing and hints that will appear in the shows to come. I also commend the writers for taking this interesting step for the series... very rarely on any program do you get the payoff before the buildup, and I think it allows for a unique perspective for story lines to come. It also made for one terrific ending. Not only did I actually fear for a few moments that Mandy would marry Max, I was really angry! I suppose since we've spent years growing up with these characters, we view them (in some dark and twisted way) as close friends or relatives. The thought of someone close to you making such a terrible mistake (especially someone so pure as Mandy) is too disturbing to even entertain! Happily things ended on a even more shocking note, but one that I've very much warmed up to.
However, I've said more than enough on the subject by this point, which actually wasn't even central to the story. Thankfully the rest of the show was just as delightful as the end with a rather unique way of story telling: a futuristic journal reading. After shows like "Called on in Class", it's no surprise that Trent has an over active imagination and the cast of characters who visited him in his mind were hilarious. Unfortunately, Columbo is not a character I know a whole lot about, so his contributions to the show was more fluff than anything, but both Bill Crosby (Cosby) and Arnold Schwarzenbanger (Schwarzenegger) were hilarious. It may come as a shock to many of you that the same man who provided the voice for Arnold is more commonly known for his Wooton and Bennett Charles characters... talk about range! Now, if I were in a team meeting and heard someone pitch the idea of somehow incorporating those characters into a show, even as a result of Trent's imagination, I think I would have hard time buying it could work... but to my surprise it not only worked but was incredibly fun.
The three of them were also quite funny in the scenes where they appeared together, including during the credits which was a similar device as the one employed in "Sunday Morning Scramble". As I said then, I'm all in favor of anything that gets kids interested in what Chris has to say and this is a perfect way to encourage people to listen all the way through an episode. Of the three, Arnold was spot on and everything he said made me laugh, Bill was decent, and his guttural delivery and obsession with jell-o was a joy, and with what little I know of Columbo, he sounded like a fairly accurate impression.
The plot was also neat in that we were lead down one path (a story about a bully) and ended up in a completely different place (a story about love). But overall, this show was simply a change of pace from typical Odyssey without feeling too pretentious or zany and will always be remembered for it's ending.