Episode Reviewed: For Trying Out Loud (506)

Writer: Kathy Wierenga

Production Engineer: Alan Hurley

Original Airdate: 2/01/03

Rating (Out of 5 cones):


For Trying Out Loud

[Episode Info]

Episode Summary: Wooton tries to help Edwin Blackgaard with a play, while Edwin tries to keep his sanity. Liz tries to find something at school that she'll be good at.


Theme: Finding your place (1 Corinthians 12:11)

"Shakespeare, people don't attend the classic stage performance to see the people, they come to see me... A few well-selected actors may compliment my own talent quite well." [Edwin Blackgaard]


The Review

Over the years, Iíve enjoyed listening to Adventures in Odyssey episodes and keeping my ears wide open for interesting and creative ways that AIO produces episodes. For Trying Out Loud really jumped out at me as such an episode. This episode stands out among the rest in the Spring 2003 season for its different techniques of communicating good drama. As an older fan, Iíve become one of the types of people who judge a book by its cover, meaning when new AIO albums arrive in the bookstores, Iím there as soon as possible; however, when I get there I have a judgmental attitude towards the album. Iím the type who likes good cover arts and good uses for negative space on the back covers. And Iím also the type who judges the outer clamshell before I actually listen to the contents inside. Itís just a good thing the episodes in each album are better than the back covers of the albums, otherwise I would probably be too judgmental to purchase the albums. Even though For Trying Out Loud didnít necessarily have the most new and innovative storyline (weíll get to that later), it stands out among other episodes of the 2003 season.

Iíd like to start by commenting on the scene transitions. I found them to be very entertaining in that a character says a line and a character in the next scene repeats the same line to start a new scene. For instance, Liz, in this episode, said ďThat was the most miserable experience of my life,Ē and directly following, Edwin states, ďThat was the most miserable experience in my life.Ē I was very pleased with this aspect of the episode. It added comic relief to the episode. Oh wait, isnít there an album sitting on my bookshelf called something like that?

Another thing I liked was Liz Hortonís return. If she had been an immature, self-centered snob as she was in Slumber Party (saving a piece of pizza for herself instead of sharing it with others), I would have been irritated at AIOís decision to bring her back. However, I was very pleasantly surprised to find that I actually found a liking to Liz and could actually stand to listen to her speak. In previous episodes she had been an evil, selfish, pesky little brat. Now that sheís returned in For Trying Out Loud, she seems to have lost her bratty tone of voice, and the best part of it isÖ she cares about other people for once! The fact that she was willing to help her friend Ashley make it to the cheerleading squad, my heart just warmed all over. Maybe I had a fever. Who knows?

Oh, Ashley. Although I eventually liked her character towards the middle of the episode, her acting wasnít as convincing as I would have preferred. Other than that, she seems as if she may be of positive use to the AIO series in the days ahead. I did take notice of the fact that the actress was falling into her part and beginning to belong.

Even though Iím pleased with Lizís return, I would have preferred if she hadnít have sung her rendition of ďIím a Little Teapot.Ē It was, to tell you the truth, obnoxious. Good thing Edwin Blackgaard and Walter Shakespeare showed up for this episode, otherwise I might have avoided finishing this episode. Throughout the whole AIO saga (is it okay if I call it a saga?), Iíve taken note that Edwin Blackgaard is a prideful man and also is money-hungry. Although those arenít the most Christian attributes to have in life, it was good to hear more greediness throughout the episode.

Since I mentioned Edwin and Shakespeare I cannot go on until I talk about the music of the episode. Iím the kind of person who compares old episodes with new episodes. Iím an old-fashioned kind of guy. I liked the days of Odyssey when they used music clips theyíd written over and over, that way we know the tune and weíre familiar with from which episodes they come. I like that. Knowing the tunes actually helps me to feel as if Iím part of the story, the older days of Odyssey are peeking through, and I can enjoy the episodes more. The music was mostly brand-new in For Trying Out Loud, yes, but somehow, it was more of a connection to the old days of Odyssey. I prefer episodes that donít overdo the music. I like to hear the characters, not constant music in the background. Just look at the older episodes Ė fewer instances of music, more character interaction. Or perhaps Iím the only one who notices this?

Finally, we get to the role of Wooton. Iím not exactly sure what AIOís recent fixation with twinkies has been, but it fit in nicely (Actually, Kathy Wierenga is probably at fault, for she has mentioned twinkies two times, I believe. Both times in Green Eyes and Yellow Tulips and For Trying Out Loud.) Twinkies remind me of Wooton. He brings up these random facts all the time and youíre probably thinking, ďPardon me, could you repeat that?Ē I actually felt more friendly towards Wootonís character this time around. He even reminded me of Bernard in the episode My Fair Bernard. Just as Wooton created a mess on stage, so Bernard wreaked havoc on Edwinís play earlier in the series. This episode really paralleled My Fair Bernard a lot, but I wasnít really very concerned about that.

I was especially interested when I listened to the album version of this episode for the first time. You may be interested to know that Chris looks back to her days of auditioning for Adventures in Odyssey years ago and we get to hear some behind-the-scenes bloopers. Ah, the things AIO is doing in the recent episodes. It warms my heart. Or perhaps itís just a fever?


The Rating

All in all, For Trying Out Loud was very well done, music wasnít overdone, and all aspects of the show were pretty good. This episode receives 4 and Ĺ cones out of 5.

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