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Saturday, November 24, 2012

Low Anticipations

Well, I said I'd be back today. And I am. I can't promise that I'll be up to my usual standards, but I'm here. The past couple of days, being Thanksgiving vacation days, have not been very organized or work-oriented, so it's a bit difficult to get back into the mindset of doing something constructive that will actually look good. ;)  But I shall try.

Thankfully, I wrote down several thoughts about "Great Expectations" after I heard it, so almost none of this is going to come straight from my memory. I listened to the episode online early on the morning it was released, and then I heard some of it on the radio as it was airing. So it's been a while. If there are any points you feel like I missed or misrepresented, please let me know.

Overall... I had mixed feelings about this episode.  In one sense, it was nice to hear from the old Whit and do some traveling of sorts back into the old years of Odyssey. But, although I liked the premise of the episode, I didn't think it was conducted very well. I wish it would have at least been two parts. An important Imagination Station adventure like that deserves more time than it was given, I think. It's rare that an IS show takes place over only one episode, and when it does, it's not all that memorable. There are exceptions, I know, but it seems to me that after such a long gap where we'd seen no IS adventures--until the season-opener which, I need not remind you, was two parts--if they were going to pull off another successful IS show, it needed to have more to it than a fast-paced, slightly confusing, whirlwind episode like the one we were given.

That said, I did like the theme of the episode, to an extent. I like the idea that we never know where exactly God will take us on the journey of our life. It's fairly useless to make long-term plans, if we don't supplement it with the knowledge that God could swiftly and easily change everything for us. I personally have learned this lesson quite recently--actually more recently than the episode aired. At the time of the episode's airing, I would have thought it was ridiculous that God would work in my heart so much to change my thinking as He did, but now, I'm glad He did, because I'm more in His will than I have been in a long time. So, in that sense, the episode rings true for me, so I don't have all bad things to say about it.

One complaint I had about the premise of the episode was something that I didn't get to mention back in Album 54, because I didn't review "Emily, the Genius."  See, I am not all that fond of the idea of women in the workplace. I know, it's a very unpopular viewpoint right now, and I know most of you will disagree with me on this. But, as far as I can tell from the Bible, the main occupation of a woman is to raise children, submit to her husband, and manage the house while he is gone at work as the breadwinner of the family. Therefore, all of this story about Emily wanting to follow in the footsteps of her dad and become a judge (though she did change her mind about that) just doesn't sit well with me. Ideally, she should be wanting to be following in the footsteps of her mom--to have children and raise them in "the nurture and admonition of the Lord." I found it quite interesting that at one point in the episode, Whit himself says, "My wife and children were far more important than a pilot's license."  Why then does Emily give no thought to having a family, rather than pursuing her own career?  I mean, we're talking about a product from Focus on the Family here. :P   But, I know it's the majority view among Christians these days that women should have just as much an opportunity as men to earn a living for themselves, and it doesn't matter if children get in the way. We have birth control and daycare and public schools to take care of that issue, right?  You guys know me well enough that I'm not much of one for following the crowd with my Christian values and beliefs. So, it's quite inevitable that I'm going to disagree with the people who write these episodes. But it just seems to be happening more and more often these days....

Now I just have a few random points I'd like to make about various things in the episode:
  • I was sort of hoping that, at some point in the Imagination Station adventure, a connection would be made between Emily and Jack Allen's first wife. I thought maybe she would turn out to be a bigger part of the story than she thought, since Whit kept acting like she was a good friend of his. And I was at least hoping that we would hear from Marshal Younger as Jack. But, alas, no such luck.
  • With regard to things going on in Whit's life throughout the adventure, I was hoping more would have been said about the war. It was rushed through, even though I would think it was a big turning point in his life that he had been called to service. And when he came back from the war, it would have been nice for there to have been some talk about it, rather than just totally forgetting about it. I mean, wouldn't it have been great if Emily said something like, "Oh! What happened to your ear? There's some sort of nick in it!"
  • I was glad to hear from Jim Custer again as the voice of young Whit. I liked how much flexibility he was able to use in his voice. It really did sound like Whit was getting older as the adventure progressed. And one thing I noticed that was interesting to me was that Jim Custer's Whit seemed to fit better with the Andre Whit than with the other two actors' Whits. I guess the case could be made that he sounds like Paul Herlinger a little bit, but I was very surprised to observe that Jim Custer's and Andre Stojka's voices are quite similar.
  • I just wanted to say quickly that I loved the scene where Whit finds out that Jenny is pregnant. I thought it was just perfect, and the emotional atmosphere was terrific. I was so glad to hear that both of them were so excited at the prospect of having a child, even though it would interfere with their plans for the future, as opposed to, say, the scene between Leonard and Thelma Meltsner in "A New Era."  I was just thinking as I listened that I long to have a moment like that with a wife someday; I can't wait to experience the joy of that moment.
Well, I guess I should come to concluding comments. That was a lot more than I was expecting to write. I guess I had more to say than I thought I did. It really helped that I took notes while listening to the episode. I doubt next week's review will be as good, because I didn't take notes as I listened to "For Three Dollars More."  But, I hope you liked what you read, even though you probably disagree with what I said at some points.  When it comes down to it, on the one hand, I'm glad the episode didn't go the direction of saying, "Follow your dreams, no matter what, and God will give you what you wish for." But while the moral was good, the episode just really left me wishing that there was much more to hear. I was surprised when the episode was over.  With the way the episode started, with all of the talk about Emily's future, I was hoping that the Imagination Station part would redeem the episode. And, while it did do some to improve the show for me, it wasn't great. So, it wasn't a bad episode, but I think it could have been better, and I wish it was.

That's it for this week. Be glad I got it out for you. ;)  I didn't really have the time to write all that, but I did it anyway. Now I'm off to wash the kitchen floor and then go to work for the afternoon. I will do my best to get a review out next Saturday, but it will be difficult, so I don't think I can make any sure promises. Anyway, thanks for reading! And please comment!