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Reviews for
"Called On in Class"
[#539]


*All ratings are based on a 5 star scale unless otherwise noted.

 

Review by JoyElectric (Town Hall)

 

This was a really fun episode.

The narrative, intentionally disjointed was one of the most interesting ones in awhile. It's just how kids think.

I could go on and on about this show, but it's one that bears repeating. Of the positives: Marvin and Trent as friends. It cements the Washington family a little more into the world of Odyssey. Also, the ending was great, and kept it from sounding like he was narrating the episode.

Oh, and so I get it right: The Shepards are related to the DeWhites, and the DeWhites are releated to the McAllisters?? It's a small world after all....

 

 

Shadowpaw

Rating:

Visit the Soda Fountain for complete review.

Because Oneplace wasn't able to upload "Called on in Class" at it's regular time, I was left with an interesting situation. In the past, I always listen to the new episode late on Friday night and then write my review before I head to bed. That way, my opinion is available first thing Saturday morning for fans who are curious what I had to say. Due to this routine, my opinions in the past have always been uninfluenced by what others think... as I always write my review without a clue how the fans will react to the same episode. This time around however, things were a little different.

I went to bed early Saturday morning after spending most of the night getting some school work done. My computer was left running to record several hours of a radio station that carried AIO so I would be able to hear the episode first thing when I got up. And I did. After listening to the episode, I went online, curious if people felt the same way about the episode as I did and I was amazed to find the majority didn't. Well not so much amazed as perhaps disappointed that people didn't find the episode nearly as enjoyable as I did. It may even be hard to understand coming from the guy who hailed simple episodes over those "over the top" shows anyday in my review of "Stubborn Streaks". But no, I haven't changed my stance... it's just this show is a perfect example of a zany story that doesn't need to be realistic to be enjoyed.

After reading the reviews and discussing with other people their thoughts on the show, I was prompted with a dilemma. Do I avoid tainting my (cough) good name (cough) by agreeing with what other people had said about the episode? Or do I go against the grain and brand myself as a lunatic? Obviously, the answer was pretty clear to me... as it would be to anyone who's listened to Odyssey for as long as most of us have. So after listening to the episode one more time to ensure I wasn't mistaken, I set about writing a review for an episode I thoroughly enjoyed.

Many people are drawing obvious parallels to "Snow Day", in which Alex Jefferson narrates his adventure to deliver cookies to his grandmother. The episodes are similar in style, yet I didn't like "Snow Day" very much at all. What makes this episode work is that Trent's fear of public speaking is something a lot of people can relate to. He's articulate, well liked and not unpopular.. but the show isn't about his inability to speak in front of an audience, but his fear of speaking in front of that audience. "Snow Day" was about an adventure to deliver cookies to his grandmother, which not many people do on a regular basis. I know a lot of kids, me included, feared doing presentations in front of the class and it's great to take a look at that fear in a satirical light. Especially when it ties into Odyssey's past so well.

Remember way back in "The Ill Gotten Deed" when the McCalisters were informed that the land they were inheriting was known for it's flooding? Or even in "The Curse" when Eugene discovers that the McCalister family has a cursed history on days that Odyssey made great advances in communication? Well, this episode brings those floods and the curse on communication (albeit a tad loosely) and combines them for a rather interesting and welcome look at Odyssey's foundation. The characters are a little strange, sure, and it's more of a childlike view of his ancestors rather than being historically accurate, but it's a welcome nod to Odyssey's past.

And another nice touch is Marvin in the show. If we're to embrace the Washington Family even remotely similiar to the way we did The Barclays or the Jacobs, we need to see the members of the family properly integrated into the community. The Shepards failed... due in no small part to the fact Aubrey and Bethany were homeschooled and only interacted with the other kids outside of school. The Mulligans were miserable failures as they don't even live in the town of Odyssey. But here we have one of the Washington kids in class just being a kid and not having to be the focal point. His shared fear of public speaking was nice and he never once uttered the word "oink". It was just good to hear a kid being a kid in an otherwise bizarre episode. Even Brenda, whom we heard briefly before in "For Trying Out Loud", seems to be a strong addition to the cast. I'd like to hear more of her and this trio... rather than be forced to learn new people's names and recognize their voice every other week.

However, while all these points I made are valid reasons for me liking the episode... the crux is the unique style this episode is told in. We take a trip into the mind of Trent deWhite and hear what's going on in his head. Considering he's the younger brother of Jared, the fact he has a wild imagination should come as no surprise to anyone. Though rather than aliens and conspiraces filling his mind, he's got the fear of speaking in front of his class. He's a smart kid, as evidenced by "It's All About Me" (and notice his original report was going to be the "Skeletal System"?), and likely has no problem putting words down or paper or speaking with his friends. But to actually talk in front of the class is an entirely different story. Even I got afraid speaking in front of my class and I was heavily into drama at my school. The things he imagined are all quite wild, but not entirely out of the realm of possibility. Obviously the Governor isn't going to sit in on his class, Trent and Marvin aren't going to tunnel out of the bathroom, and he's not going to forget his pants. But as none of these events really occured, it's really a moot point. It's all in his imagination. Though as revealed in the twist at the end, the entire time he was reading to the class. His presentation was about the fear of public speaking.

However, everything was brought to life with the terrific sound design. It was an extremely immersive experience, with top notch production elements across the board. Music, voice tracks, and background ambience all combined to create the best production so far this season. I don't know if 10 seconds went by without some new effect being introduced. And I very well could be alone on this... but the scene with Trent approaching the desk, finally being forced to present, had my heart pumping. Todd Busteed and his team were able to take such a simple scene from the script, and turn it into an incredibly dramatic moment. Kudos to everyone involved.

So that's all I have to say. My score may seem high to some, but I feel it's well worth the rating. Check it out for yourself, and let me know what you think. Fans can agree to disagree! :o)

 

Steev75 (Town Hall)

 

Bob Hoose is undeniably a gifted writer, but his style just didn’t do justice to this episode. I found “Called on in Class” disappointing for several reasons:

1. It didn’t feel realistic. The characters seemed more like caricatures—sitcom kids, if you will. Fear of speaking to a group is something nearly every child can identify with, but I think listeners will find it hard to identify with Trent. He’s too articulate for us to believe he actually struggles with public speaking.

2. The format worked against the premise of the story. Trent’s narration seemed awfully slick and flowery for, what, an 11-year-old? How many kids do you know that would say “All eyes suddenly turned to look at me with an oily glare?” Either Trent is a creative writing prodigy (which would cast doubt on his stated fear of communicating to an audience) or he can afford an adult creative writer to ghostwrite his thoughts.

On the other hand, what if a reminiscing adult had instead done the narration, a la “The Wonder Years”? The mature-sounding writing would have been more believable coming from an adult.

3. Despite the fantasy sequences and “historical” flashbacks, not very much actually happens in this episode. The narrative device and plodding pace reminded me of—am I alone here?—the infamous “Snow Day.” As well, I don’t think the characters were strong enough to carry the whole episode. Even a cameo appearance by a longtime regular—Whit, Connie, Bart, anybody—would have added some interest.

4. The “lesson” was…what? Learn to face up to your fears? Take a step of confidence? Fine, but facing your fears isn’t necessarily the same as overcoming them. Realistically, would mulling over an ancestor’s life experiences instill confidence in most kids facing very real fears in the here and now? More importantly, where was the spiritual dimension—a desperate prayer to God for courage, perhaps, or a scripture verse to remind Trent that God is with him? This is Adventures in Odyssey, after all.

 

 

Mandy Straussberg (Town Hall)

Rating:

 

I gave the episode two stars. I found it extremely boring. It just seemed to drag on at such a slow pace, I almost fell asleep. Definitely not up to Odyssey standards.

 

 

Arwen (Town Hall)

 

I thought is was a good ep. Not the best I've heard, but certainly not the worst, either.

 

 

Rachel T. (Town Hall)

 

I agree with Mandy, it was boring and seemed to drag. It didn't really have a profound lesson or biblical reference. I'm hoping they get better this season.

 

 

Bennett Charles (Town Hall)

 

You know, I won't be as hard as others on this episode. I agree a lot with Shadowpaw.
Okay so, it was a bit like the disney show of "Recess," and I don't usually don't enjoy hyper eps, or even Bob Hooses eps that much. It's just his style.

But it was original. It really was. The entire story was good and different, and unlike others, it kept me into the show.
I especially liked the sound quality. And this especially really helped develop characters like Trent and Marvin. And, I didn't mind Marvin one bit. For one moment...he sounded like a Jimmy character. Trent actually fitted the part quite well. So, I liked it. I don't want Odyssey to produce too many of these episodes, but I enjoyed it very much.

 

 

James M (Town Hall)

Rating:

 

My main Complaint: In the end of program, Chris listed Townsend Coleman. Of course he is Jason, and Jason did not appear. And he rarely appears anymore, so my thought is, if Townsend Coleman is there, use him as Jason. Jason could have helped teach lesson here and could have been used very well. It may have been better.
It was ok. 3 stars. not great. I didn't hate it. maybe 2 1/2.

 

 

"Frank" Anonymous (Frank's Breakfast Inn)

 

Visit Frank's Breakfast Inn for complete review.

 
Right now, as I'm typing out this review, I'm listening to this episode...for the first time. It's somewhat hard. Typing and listening.
 
My first impression is that it is very fast moving and kinda confusing. Trent likes to reflect back to weird events about his rather annoying grandfather who has some sort of strange metal disorder when it comes to public speaking. (but then overcomes his dilemma by having fourteen children that created an audience for him to practice in front of.) And the whole episode is narrated by Trent, the things that are happening and all the reels that are playing in the theatre of his imagination. It's like "Story Time with Mr. Trent!". Fun and silly, wacky and quaky! (Emphasis on "quaky".) Although it probably reminded us all of "Snow Day", which some of us fans aren't too thrilled with.
 
I guess that the moral of the story is...well...Trent gave it to us. He had overcome his fear of public speaking, and now he can give some handy advice to the rest of his class. (Being an expert on learning lessons.) Chris doesn't even have to do her little spiel in the wrap-arounds. That was something new.
 
And the CPR incident reminded me of a movie that I very strongly dislike.
 
It would be fun to make a papier-mâché toilet though. 
 
If Trent is having that much trouble, he should practice more, talk to Whit about it, (the sensible and AIO way to do it....) or just buckle down and do it. There's really no other way to overcome a fear like this. It is strange for Odyssey to let a boy's emotions overwhelm the entire episode.
 
I can see why a lot of you show some dislike for this episode. It reminds me of one of those dumb little Saturday morning cartoons, (not that I watch them...) and I hope that Odyssey will never develop that sort of reputation. I guess AIO can't please everyone. For the fun-loving, little kid, it's probably great! (Better than all the romantic drama we have been seeing....) If you're older, please remember that AIO wants to appeal to a large demographic, so therefore deal with your hatred. (or other strong emotion.)
 
Here is my opinion: The humor and storyline was somewhat immature, I must confess that at first I didn't really like the episode. But now I do. And I'll treat it like "Whit's Flop"; the episode isn't all that great, but I commend AIO for addressing this particular issue.
 
Thank you for reading my opinion. My reviews are never very long...sorry. If you like long, then go to the AIOSF or The Odyssey Scoop, which both have exhaustingly long reviews. (How can they think of all that stuff to write about?)
 
Favorite quote: "Just remember my slogan: Mrs. Meitchew can teach you!" (How do you spell her name anyway? Meechoo...Miechu...Meatchew...)
 
 
Gimp80995 (Town Hall)
 
I enjoyed it. When Trent started the narrarating, I had a flashback to "Snow Day" and was worried about how the ep would go. But it was actually pretty good.
 
'Tis amazing at how long it's taken me to notice the time warp going on here...........in "The Pushover" Jared's little brother (who I don't think had a name in that ep) was "almost two". Now, 6 1/2 yrs later or so, Jared and Trent appear to be in the same school.....or Jared is in highschool and Trent is in Jr. High. so in 6 1/2 yrs, Trent has aged aproximately 10 yrs. Though it has occured to me that Jared could actually be a highschooler with no "timewarp" since he was probably in 5th or 6th grade the last time we regularly heard him, so now it wouldn't be too far-fetched for him to be in 11th or 12th grade.
 
Anyway, I got a little off topic there...........all in all I thought it was a really good ep.
 
 
happysmiler (Town Hall)
 
I thought that this ep was pretty good. I can do identify with Trent. (Remember on chat you guys, *Jiang Zemin*) I thought that it was told in a funny way, and I like to know that I'm not the only one who is horrified of oral reports. (*help*) But, I do have to say this wasn't the best I've ever heard. Could have been better, but it was still good.
 
 
MXracer
Rating:
 
I thought it was quite dull I almost couldn't listen to the ending! I am just thankful that AIO is still producing episodes! :-)
 
 
Priceless
Rating:
 
I liked this episode a lot, it's humor and creativity were cute and I liked Trent DeWhite. Many other AIO fans didn't like this ep, but I did. Called on in Class is a good show to listen to. I give it 4 stars out of 5.
 
 
Elizabeth
Rating:
 
This episode was really confusing because he would think about one thing after another. This episode was so stupid and boring! It kept dragging on! Finally I had to turn it off!

 

 

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