Episode Reviewed: The Toy Man (505)

Writer: Marshal Younger

Production Engineer: Alan Hurley

Original Airdate: 1/25/03

Rating (Out of 5 cones):


The Toy Man

[Episode Info]

Episode Summary: Ed Washington and family think about making a radical lifestyle change and have to consider the sacrifices that they'll have to make.


Theme: Sacrifice; making tough choices (Philippians 3:8)

"I'm inspired when I play with them [toys], not when I have to consider 80 pages of research before I come up with an idea. Maybe I am a dinosaur. [Ed Washington]


The Review

The title alone had its problems. I wasn't too keen on the fact that we'd be listening to an episode about toys, but that really couldn't be helped since the episode had already finished production.


The episode started out okay enough, but when Ed Washington walked into Whit's End as a well-known man to the characters and a to-be-learned-about to the listeners, I knew we were headed for trouble. Just as Wooton was introduced, so the Washington family was as well. In Welcoming Wooton, the writer of the episode assumed that we knew who Wooton was, assuming that we'd be alright with his being allowed to watch the shop for a few hours. I wasn't alright with it. I was angry. I wanted to smack my junk tape against my dresser! Now in The Toy Man, Ed Washington (and others in his family) were introduced, Whit placed the responsibility of Whit's End on his shoulders, and proceeded to walk away. That makes me mad. That makes me want to smack my junk tape against my dresser! I'm the kind of fan who must get to know a character before he or she is allowed to handle kids at Whit's End. And Wooton and Ed aren't ready. On the other hand, Connie and Eugene were both working at Whit's End in their first episodes, however, it was different with them. Whit and anyone else in Odyssey didn't know either of them. That way when he did hire them, he would be getting to know them along with the listeners. Now that's how I prefer it to be.


The first time I heard this episode my concentration level wasn't staying at the proper level. The storyline just wasn't capturing me and I was disappointed with the show overall. Yet now that I've had time to "cool off," the episode has grown on me a little bit. Just a little bit though. I still don't like this episode as much as I'd like to.


I'm okay with the introducing of new characters, but when AIO introduces an entire family and doesn't exactly tell us anything about them, I get mad. I couldn't even begin to start naming all the kids in the Washington family if I wanted to. With the Barclays, I knew them all after one episode. I've listened to The Toy Man more than several times now and I'm still not grasping the family members' names. Also I wasn't pleased with the actors in the family to begin with, so that decreased the desire to know their names. Maybe they'll grow on me? In order to do that, Marvin's actor will have to start acting better and the kids will have to be more down-to-earth.


I didn't really like the "toy" aspect to the episode to begin with, and I certainly began losing interest when Ed Washington showed his inventions to the kids at Whit's End. All those electronic noises got on my nerves. In real life, most toys don't sound like that. Most toys are quiet and don't require batteries. I think that they overdid the electronic nature of the toys. What ever happened to girls playing with dolls and boys playing with G.I. Joe's? However, I did like the whole theme of parents and children doing things together.


Getting into the technical jargon, I thought the sound design was very well done. Just take away about 5-10 electronic sound effects and I'd be more content. The acting was pretty good between Ed and Elaine Washington, Whit and Ed, and Ed and his employees. Music was average.


Did I sound like I was complaining too much? The Toy Man hasn't really made it to my top 100 list.



The Rating

Not my favorite, but I'll clap for its good moral. That's all that really matters now, right? I give The Toy Man 2 and 1/2 cones out of 5.

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