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Saturday, February 19, 2011

Mr., Mrs., Ms., Master, and Jr. Barclay (The Barclays)--Part III

Sorry that I haven't written in a while, and that I haven't written a review in a few weeks. I've been kind of busy and distracted the last few weeks with a lot of school and cleaning around the house. But now I'm going to try to get to that third and last part of the review on the Barclays. And after this, I think I'm going to stop the character reviews for good. Not just because the new season starts next week, but because it takes a lot of time and thought to write these, and I just don't really have that time. Although I guess I can, after the season's over, try to write one about Mitch upon constant request of Brittini. Who knows? Maybe after writing that one I'll want to keep writing more. I guess you guys'll just have to keep coming back and reading. :)

Alright, we left the Barclays last time just before they were going to take a trip to Hawaii. Aloha, Oy! has been a fan favorite ever since it aired on the radio in 1994, and for good reason. It combines two of the most popular families in Odyssey's history in an unusual setting, making for a hilarious episode. There's the storyline of Rodney trying to impress Donna (which I think is handled very well for a kids show, and in a funny way), Jimmy, Lawrence, and Mr. Iowa (ee-O-way) searching for Lawrence's dad, whom he hasn't seen in six months, all while the parents of the families go out on a boat ride, only to get trapped in the middle of the ocean with a holey ship that threatens to take them down with no one else around. In the end, the parents are saved by the U.S. Marines (at least that's who I think it was), Donna finally convinces Rodney to stop trying to win her over because it couldn't ever work for them, and Lawrence finds his dad, making for one of the most touching scenes in Odyssey's history, which is probably one of the reasons this is such a fan favorite. And it all ends with Mr. Iowa teaching everybody how to sing "Aloha, Oy" as they sit around a campfire.

The next big chapter in the Barclays' lives is when George loses his job, and thinks that God may be calling him into the ministry. In Our Daily Bread, he is laid off from his job, and the family decides to take up part-time jobs to help pay the bills. In A Prayer for George Barclay, an episode similar to Where There's a Will..., Jimmy and Donna come together and pray earnestly for George to get the job he's interviewing for. He ends up turning down the offer because he feels like he's being called into the ministry. I never had any specific feelings about these episodes and the ones to come, because one of my early albums was Darkness Before Dawn, where George is already a pastor, so there wasn't really anything for me to get used to. Anyway, in George Under Pressure, we learn that George did follow the calling, and he is swamped in "schoolwork" for his classes at seminary. The Barclays have to learn to grow closer and support their husband and father in this episode, since George is really feeling beaten down because he still hasn't been offered any preaching or teaching jobs. So the family comes together in prayer, and almost immediately, he is offered an interim pastorate at the local church. (Also in this episode, we find out that Mary is pregnant.)

So throughout the next few Barclay episodes, there are stories about Jimmy and Donna's lives as "preacher's kids." Jimmy starts feeling pressured by people at church to follow in his father's footsteps as a pastor, but after trying to teach Lawrence's Sunday School class, and obviously failing, he decides that he should probably wait for a while before trying to do anything of that sort again. In the same episode, A Call for Reverend Jimmy, Donna is distressed because of all the times George keeps telling embarrassing stories about her in his sermons. And one of them ends up being a story about her and her boyfriend (who is fairly unaware of her admiration), Jack Davis, which she treats as the last straw. Things are eventually settled when George tells Donna that he'll ask her permission before sharing any more stories, and the episode ends with a very loud sound covering over Mary telling the gender of the upcoming baby.

By the second-to-next Barclay show, Stuart/Stewart Reed has been born (he was named by popular opinion in letters from fans who suggested the name), and his first word is "carrot", according to Jimmy. :) In this episode, there's again a problem with Donna about being a "preacher's kid", which is the title of the episode. This is the episode after which I think the Odyssey writers decided that the Barclay kids were getting too old to be on a kids' show anymore. Donna has boys who want to go out with her, and she gets into trouble when she is involved in the burning down of a house in Gower's Field. The episode ends similar to The Barclay Family Ski Vacation with George explains to Donna that he still loves her, and that being a pastor's daughter doesn't mean you have to be perfect.

Then comes the episodes that were very sad for fans who were around at the time: Pokenberry Falls, R.F.D. I still honestly have no clue what "R.F.D." stands for. It might even say in the episode, but I wouldn't know, because I don't own it, so I don't know much about it. All I really know is that Pokenberry Falls was in need of a pastor, and so the Barclays reluctantly moved there, and that it still makes older fans sad to this day that they aren't in Odyssey, and every new family is compared to the Barclays. The only episode with the whole Barclay family in it after this one is It's a Pokenberry Christmas a few years later, which is one of my all-time favorite episodes because of all of its parallels to the movie It's a Wonderful Life. (If you want to see what I'm talking about go here.)

After that episode, the Barclays disappear off the face of the earth, except for the appearance of George and Jimmy around the time and after Connie almost got married. And then Jimmy appeared in The Triangled Web, another one of my all-time favorite episodes, in Album 50, along with a lot of other old characters.

I can't say that I was sad to see the Barclays go because they left in 1996, the year I was born. I really enjoy almost all of the episodes they're in, but I was okay when I was introduced to new families like the Straussbergs, Washingtons, and DeWhites. In fact, I would almost say that the Washingtons are like the Barclays to me, because when I started hearing new seasons as they aired on the radio for the first time, the Washingtons were the main family. I was very sad to hear that they wouldn't be on the show anymore when that was announced before Album 51. I especially liked Marvin, and I also thought that it was weird that they'd drop them off the show so soon after Kelly became a part of their family. But that's all in the past now and there's nothing I can do about it.

Thank you for reading my review! Be sure to check back next week when I review the first part of The Green Ring Conspiracy! Please comment!


  1. I can see why they would take a long time to write, but they are very interesting to read.

  2. Thank you, Jessa. That was some much needed feedback. I was beginning to wonder if people read these since few people comment about them. :)

  3. They take some time to read, but I finally finished it. :)

  4. I'm glad that you're reading them. I figure most people just glance over them or skim through them, but that's good to hear. Thanks for commenting.

  5. Just wanted to let you know I love the background!

  6. Thanks, Tim. I love it too! I think I'll start changing it along with the seasons as they come.