|Eugene swaps vehicles with Bernard so he can move his belongings into his new house but gets into an accident. After Bernard blows up at him, he gets into an accident with Eugene's vehicle and tries to cover it up.
"Simplicity is the Best Policy"
Written By: Shadowpaw
The last good slice-of-life show staring Eugene Meltsner was "Poor Loser" which aired a little over seven years ago. That's not to say there haven't been good slice-of-life shows since then, but none starred Eugene and they certainly aren't nearly as memorable as that episode. With the triumphant return of nearly everyone's favorite character, the quality of Adventures in Odyssey has immediately gone up a notch and it is truly amazing how important Eugene's character is to the series. It's appropriate that the writers have chosen to re-introduce him into the every day aspects of life with a simple yet charming episode in which Eugene once again butts heads with Bernard Walton. Like "Poor Loser", this episode has a very simple story that is driven by personalities, not the plot. Entertaining characters are what have made Adventures in Odyssey such a popular show for so many years and having Eugene back, the most complex and interesting of the AIO cast of characters, can only be an improvement for a series that has been inconsistent over the past several years.
Which leads me to my next point. Despite being on the air for nearly eighteen years, there have been a number of original episode ideas that are still being produced. This is one of them. Sure we've heard Eugene and Bernard bicker over the years, which is nothing new, but the idea that Bernard gets angry with Eugene for something that really wasn't Eugene's fault and then does something even worse is. The fact Bernard tries to cover it makes it all the more hilarious and everything just gets more and more interesting as both characters try to make up for what they have done. But the focus isn't really on the situations, which unfortunately is often the case with recent AIO episodes. The attention is devoted to Eugene and Bernard's reaction to everything that happens. That is what makes this episode so delightful and that is why so many people enjoyed it. I've said it before and I will say it again: simple every day occurrences is what Adventures in Odyssey used to be about. If the goal (and it should be) is to return AIO to the timeless series it once was, this episode is a perfect guideline in achieving it. There's no childish humor that irritates older fans, the people (not the plot) are the focus of the show, and there is an everyday moral lesson to be learned. Of course, having Eugene back helps a great deal too!
However, some things did bug me. The repetition of past lines pulled me out of the show when I first listened and while taking notes for my review, that was the only thing I wrote down in the "Cons" category. In a program where we have no visual aides to guide us, we rely solely on our hearing. If we hear something that we've heard in the past, we remember it and we are drawn out of the enjoyment of the show. This episode had at least three lines that were similar to lines used in past episodes and while they appropriately fit their characters, I imagine unique lines could have been thought up to help differentiate this show from others. I also thought it was strange the way the phone perspectives were handled in this episode. In nearly every episode, if a character is talking on the phone you either hear the person on the other end of the line or you don't. This convention will be used for that entire episode. In this episode, you do not hear Honest Erwin when Bernard is on his cell phone, but you do hear Leon Wankel over the phone later on. The reason for this is obvious, as both Leon Wankel and Honest Erwin are voiced by Bob Hoose (and the characterizations are nearly identical), but from a technical standpoint, it stuck out like a sore thumb.
However, in the end, everything about this episode worked out well. The plot was simple but entertaining, the characters were terrific, and (let's be honest) it had Eugene. I look forward to more Eugene shows of a similar quality in the months and years to come!
Bernard: How could you do this, Eugene?!? Should I have spoken in words you understand? Like: Kindly refrain from utilating my vehicle.
Eugene-"That truck survived a California earthquake!?I doubt I could do much worse!?
- Abbey Magger