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Friday, January 14, 2011

Mr. Bassett

Wooton, from what I've seen and heard, is by far Odyssey's most popular character, kid or adult (since he's kind of a mix). And I think, even though he's only been around for nine years, he has the most episodes with his name in it. I could be wrong though. I wish I could have listened to all of his episodes before writing this review so I could be better prepared. But we have this policy at our house that each night a different child picks the CD for the night, and because there are seven children in the house, usually I only pick once a week. So I've only been able to listen to Welcoming Wooton and Tuesday's with Wooton. Hopefully I can review from the rest from memory.

Well, from his very first episode that I listened to last night, Wooton is introduced to be a "neat freak", "toy geek", Whit's End's regular mailman, and a quirky, odd man who all the kids love. We also learn that he loves fresh licorice, he had an childhood that he doesn't like talking about, he's lived in Alaska, he's obsessed with Powerboy, and he's a Christian who isn't afraid of it. He even applies things in Powerboy to the Christian life. I think that's the first hint about his true connections to Powerboy. And another hint comes later in the show when he tells Whit that he doesn't really need the money his mailman job was getting him. Anyway, in Welcoming Wooton, within the first ten minutes, Wooton has lost his job, and Whit tries to help him get it back and then find a new one. Wooton ends up resigning from the job Whit gave him after the first day because he can't be as "speedy" as he'd need to be for Speedy Package Express because he loves people too much. It's part of his personality that he has to stop and talk to everyone he comes in contact with. I love that about him, and it's a quality that Christians need to work on in today's world--caring enough about people we know or meet to be willing to stop what we're doing and help them. In fact, Wooton cares so much that he even goes to fulfill a commitment to the man who fired him, and fixes his car! This changes Mr. Rose's heart, and he works it out so Wooton gets his job back.

And so from since that first episode, Wooton is Odyssey's favorite mailman. And he's always been played by Jess Harnell, a man with amazing talent. I can't really express how much talent this guy has with just words; you'd have to hear it for yourself. If you weren't around to hear it back then, the Official Podcast did an interview with him a long while back. You can go here to listen to it. It's amazing all the voices that man can do!

After the Novacom saga is over, Wooton appears in quite a few episodes here and there at Whit's End or at the BTV studio or on his mail route. But there are a couple episodes like For the Fun of It and Bassett Hounds where the whole episode is centered on Wooton and members of his family. Both of those episodes are some of my favorites probably just because of all of Wooton's hilarious dialogue. And then there's Do or Diet that almost every Odyssey fan loves because of the hilarious place it puts Whit, Wooton, and Bernard in--being trained by Connie to lose ten pounds in a small amount of time. Throughout all these episodes, Wooton's character is developed a lot, and he begins to win a place in the hearts of most Odyssey fans.

The next episode we see Wooton in is Tuesdays with Wooton. Album 44 was either my second or third album ever, so this is one of the first episodes I ever heard after that Special 10 CD Set. This is also the second episode Grady McKay was ever in. This story has a really great plot, and it's one of my favorites, but in it, we see a few problems with Wooton. Even after he learns that Grady has been stealing mail, he keeps rewarding him with more comic books, and doesn't discipline him any more than a small threat (if you can call it that) that stealing mail is a federal offense. And even when he learns that Grady still kept all of the issues he stole from the Hamptons, he doesn't get mad at him. And while there is some good to his not losing his temper, and being patient and merciful to Grady, I think he still needed to be punished at least a little bit. On a lighter note, we also see a little more into Wooton's connections with Powerboy in this show. He's able to get Grady some comics before they hit stores, he can get double issues, he can pinpoint exact issue numbers when certain events happen, and he has an amazing knowledge of the characters. Hmm...

From here on, until Album 50, a big chunk of Wooton's episodes are with the McKays, where he acts as a father to Grady and Samantha. The relationship seems to go a little too far in Like Father, Like Wooton (yet another episode with his name in it), where Grady brings Wooton to the carnival, and tells everyone that Wooton's his dad. Wooton is slow to catch on, but when he does, he becomes the fatherly mentor again, like Whit, to Grady, and tells him that he feels honored that he'd want him to be his dad, but that he needs to make it right. And Wooton continues to be a mentor to Grady throughout many shows that they're in together, and they become really good friends.

But that friendship nearly comes to an end in Wooing Wooton when Grady throws his Bible in the trash because of Wooton's Christianity. In this episode we see how grounded Wooton is in his principles when his dad tries to get him to marry an unbelieving woman who is just like him, as a business arrangment. Wooton badly disappoints his father when he refuses to go back on what he believes to marry Victoria. Grady sees how hostile Wooton's dad is to him and Christianity, and he decides that that's not going to happen with him and his mom.

But finally, in The Highest Stakes, after a lot of action with his real father, Grady decides that he's ready to become a Christian. He asks Wooton to help him, and he "prays the prayer" and gets saved. Many have said that it seemed like Wooton did a poor job of giving the Gospel to Grady in this particular episode. They say that he didn't put much, if any, emphasis on sin, but rather what Jesus was going to do for Grady. But I think a fair arguement to that is that Grady had gone to Sunday School and church for weeks and months before this time, and had probably heard it many times with Mr. Whittaker as his teacher. But I do think that Odyssey needs to do a better job with explaining salvation, especially since there are youngish children listening who may get the wrong impression if they're not told the right things.

In Album 50, Wooton almost leaves town for a year when his authorship of Powerboy is discovered, and it is going to disqualify the town of Odyssey from the Best Small Town in America contest. But Odyssey shows its great love for Wooton when Connie gathers hundreds of people to file a petition that Wooton needs to stay in Odyssey, even if it means that Odyssey would be disqualified from the contest. Wooton is thrilled that he doesn't have to leave, and that's the last place we see him in before the hiatus.

So far in the new seasons, we haven't seen Wooton in his mailman office much at all, except in Fast As I Can. He's mostly been tagging along with the other characters like in Target of the Week, For the Birds, and Opposite Day. But he did get his own episode with Wooton's Broken Pencil Show, which I loved! He was back to his usual, quirky self and was making me laugh again.

I hope he gets to play a part in the new season, which is building up to be an awesome, very intriguing album. Thank you for reading! Please comment!

P.S. Marvin has informed us that an Odyssey fan named Manfred thinks he has found Odyssey! This is what he says:

In The Perfect Witness a specific road number is mentioned. Based on this I started searching for that road. I then began looking for other things that would fit with the area of Odyssey.

Road: Route 29

Other options: We need a former swamp near by that was cleaned up with cannals.

This is what I discovered. There is lake named Grand Lake St. Mary's. I did some research on this lake and discovered that at one time this was a marsh land! Also, it was drained with canals, but then someone got an idea to make a lake there!

There is a route 29 that runs nearby. Which, by the way, runs through a town named St. Mary's and incidentally intersects with another large road at the outskirts of St. Mary's,

Route 33, one number off of the road number 32 mentioned in The Perfect Witness. Route 33 runs directly to a town with an Indian name! This town is named Wapakoneta.

Now here is what becomes even more interesting, Near the town of Wapakoneta is a small township called.... Duchouqet. It rhymes. Duchouqet was a guy who lived with the Indians when no other whites lived in the area.

Now if you go another 10 miles to the east you find a small town called Uniopolis. At this point I believe that either Duchouqet or Uniopolis are the most likely candidates for the town of Odyssey.

Yay! Odyssey has been found! I always knew it was in Ohio! Whit says so in Whit's Visitor. I'm glad that's finally been cleared up. Maybe Uniopolis is where Ethan and Phil from the Ceiling Fan will end up in their search for Odyssey. Or is that done? I don't know, I haven't been following that podcast recently. Anyway, thanks for reading!


  1. THAT was a well-written, well-documented account of the character named Wooten. I started the article only knowing bits & pieces about him, and left it feeling like I really knew his character much better! Good job!

  2. Thanks. I thought I was getting a compliment from someone else because I always read the comment before looking at who wrote it. I guess I appreciate it, but I wish others would comment too.

  3. Wow it's finally good to know where Odyssey is! Although I thought that it was in Illinos because it is so close to Chicago. But I would like to see how long it takes to drive from that town to Chicago, because in, "New Years Eve Live," the bus driver says that it takes nine hours to get to Chicago. But I am glad to know that someone has finally found it.

  4. It takes about 7-8 hours from where I live in Ohio, so I think it makes sense. In Train Ride, it takes Whit and Eugene all day on a train. And it usually takes Whit a day to fly there, do his business, and fly back. I think it makes a lot of sense for Odyssey to be in Ohio, especially with how often Bernard mentions Cleveland.