582: "Silent Night"


Archived reviews of Adventures in Odyssey episodes!

Rate the episode!

5 Stars - Its almost as awesome as EK!
4 Stars - Long live great Odyssey Christmas
3 Stars - Meh... Mediocre...
2 Stars - Bleh
1 Star - *Explodes*
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Total votes : 41

582: "Silent Night"

Postby EK » Thu Dec 15, 2005 10:33 pm

Lock until Sat. :)
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Postby Chandler » Sat Dec 17, 2005 1:32 am

I'm not done listening yet but there's something I'm wondering. Did they get the old actress who played Jana years ago? :-k

I recognized the voices of Whit and Jenny from "The Triangle"! I like the way they were able to use them as a young couple! =D>

Is that Chris squealing in the background while Bernard is talking to Whit? :hilarious:

I liked this episode... a lot! \:D/


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Postby J-man » Sat Dec 17, 2005 7:14 am

w00t! I really enjoyed hearing more about Whit and Jenny when they were younger, as well as their kids. Lester definately added a lot to the show, the writers sure know how to use him well. 4/5
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Postby Rachael Blackgaard » Sat Dec 17, 2005 8:53 am

I loved Janna's voice in the scene where she was a really little girl! I know a few little girls who sound just like that, and I thought it was adorable. Also, baby Jason was a nice addition :-)

I've been very pleased with the past few AIOs they've come out with. Silent Night and A Christmas Conundrum have been enjoyable, partly because they weren't so much Christmasy as they were AIO-y.
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Postby Broadcast » Sat Dec 17, 2005 10:28 am

Episode Review: Episode 582: Silent Night
Writer: John Fornof (#38)
Sound Designer: Jonathan Crowe

Title: All is Calm…

Major: (greater than 30 eps)
Connie (#274)
Tom (#123)
Bernard Walton (#74)

Minor: (less than 30 eps)
Jenny (Morrow) Whittaker (#6)
Janna (#6)
Lester (#4)
Jerry Whittaker (#3)

What on earth happened to the Odyssey Team?

As NOT many of us DON’T know, last year’s season brought us a special gift: Eugene Meltsner. The season itself was nothing much more then mediocre, with a variety of good, okay, and bad episodes.

This season, we received a different kind a gift: the season. The past few weeks seemed to be one giant present.

The season began with Back to Abnormal, bringing us back to the feel of Odyssey after one long summer for the fans. Whit, Eugene, and Grady greeted us. I don’t think most of us knew what kinds of plots we’d be in store for, aside from a few hints given by Nathan Hoobler a few months earlier. I never expected Odyssey to be so organized, with a flowing storyline where each episode had to do with the previous (with a few minor exceptions, of course). The next episode focused on Eugene—filling in holes of his absence, patting it the dirt down for the present, and digging yet another hole for the future. We are now left with a new promising storyline, and a cliffhanger that was as exciting as Breaking Point. Unfortunately, every season has its drawbacks—when The Business of Busyness aired. Even though the storyline was iffy and the Washington’s involvement lacked any interest, it still continued Eugene’s storyline, and provided ‘his’ part as a perfect sequel from the previous episodes. We are then visited by All-Star Witness, a good slice-of-life episode (where I suspect their was more to it the meets the eye) where Eugene and Whit are recurring characters once more. Always is the only season that broke from the consistent flow of the season. However, it was very necessary to fill in another hole in the series, and it may help with any Bethany storylines in the future. And then comes the fun; Tales of a Small Town Thug, A Christmas Conundrum and today’s episode, Silent Night, where it has been one huge television series.

Odyssey wasn’t usually progressive when it came to one storyline. Most of the time, the slice-of life show that aired one week rarely had anything to with the episode that aired the week before. It was the major differentiation that Odyssey had from the types of television shows seen on TV, where the same group of characters appeared from week to week.

It was fun to see Odyssey try to accomplish that in this season. The same core group of characters once again was there almost every episode. If Connie were missing, then Eugene would bet there, and then if Eugene weren’t there Connie would take his place. In that aspect, it was just like old times. They also each had their own storyline—which made things also interesting.

Adventures in Odyssey sure picked itself up from the slow progression of past seasons. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying they were bad seasons, after all, they did a wonderful job reviving the slice-of-life slump from the “Split” episode era, but they weren’t really going anywhere. Now, however, we’re going somewhere. There is no evil saga. No main album-spanning plot. It’s a typical show season that managed to keep our interest for the next season, with approximately 5 storylines waiting to be answered in the future.

This leads me into the review for Silent Night, which, personally, I thought to be an excellent episode. It wasn’t a poor attempt for the writers to sound classy, and to revive some of the old characters into something that may sound interesting. Everything about this episode worked. It brought the season to a nice end. After I had listened to it, I placed my earphones down, and looked at the computer chuckling. “Wow, you beat me there…” I said.

I was startled by Whit’s performance. I don’t see how he couldn’t be nominated for “Best Performance” in the “End of Season Awards for this Episode”. I made it clear in the past that I would never discuss Whit’s attempt to sound like Hal Smith. But the thing is—today he sounded identical. Most of it was due to the wonderful job John Fornof did in writing Whit’s lines. Whit’s funny play on words, his chuckling, his humming of tunes, his search for a good book by a warm fire, his friendliness, his generosity, his spirit…everything. I give Paul Herlinger and John Fornof two golden thumbs up.

I had a hard time figuring out if it was the same actress who played Janna. If someone in the know would like to give me the heads up on that, then it would be greatly appreciated. At times, it sounded like the same actress who played Courtney and Mitch’s sister, but then again, I could be wrong. However, the casting for the other kids was excellent, and even lined up with how Jerry and Jason may have sounded like and would sound like in Memories of Jerry. Of course, the same actors and actresses from The Triangle were used again to play Whit and Jenny--which made this episode almost act as its sequal. And, of course, who coud resist the touching scene with Whit and Janna as an old couple...? I must say, this episode really fleshed out Whit's life... :)

And of course, it was interesting how it did the best it could to include as many characters in the show as they could. Now, I’m sure we all chuckled when Bernard appeared mentioning that he was in Florida. Because, I’ve got no doubt about it, that they actually did record his lines while he was in Florida! Appropriate, since his part in the show meant for him to be over the phone. Anyways, I found that to be a nice touch, since it’s hard for Bernard to make many appearances these days.

Connie and Tom also worked in nicely. And of course, Lester worked was a very good addition towards the end. His appearance on the show so far has been interesting, and has been working out every time. Hopefully, he continues to play his part well—when he’s needed.

The first scene with everyone singing Christmas Carols, and gathered at Whit’s End on Christmas Eve reminded me back in Peace On Earth. I think it was the first scene that drew me into the spirit of the Christmas Odyssey Shows. It complimented what Whit’s End was all about, and made me long to spend a Christmas Eve at Whit’s End, surrounded by friends, family, and great caroling. The two episodes are interesting to look at side by side. In one episode, Whit is busy with friends and family, rushing around and taking in the holiday spirit. In this one, however, he’s doing the complete opposite; and has nothing to do.

It was an episode where Whit learns a lesson without having to damage his character. After all, none of us can say—“Well, Whit would’ve done this…Whit would’ve done that…the old Mr. Whittaker would’ve…” Because, honestly, the old Mr. Whittaker would’ve acted the same way. Whit cares for others, and doesn't want to barge into other people's privacy because he's all alone.

Maybe it had to do with the amount of silliness in this season that made this episode a nice change, maybe it had to do with the fact that I’m a sucker for these types of shows, or maybe, just like Whit, it has to do with the fact that the lights are dark and I’m stuck inside my house because of a snowstorm outside when I listened to the episode, …but for whatever reason I liked it; I liked it.

And that’s what counts.

May the Odyssey Staff, the fans, and the rest of you have a wonderful and merry Christmas.

Yours truly,

Acting/dialogue: 5/5
Story/Originality: 4.5/5
Use of Characters/Consistency: 5/5
Personal enjoyment/Entertainment Value: 4/5

Total: 18.5 /20= 92.5%=SCORE:TERRIFIC -

(Rating Grid:
0-20%=Complete Failure
20-40%=Very Poor
80-90%=Very Good

For additional Reviews agreed by the author, please refer to:


Broadcast's Top Ten

10. The Business of Business: 60%
9. “All Star” Witness: 70%
8. Back to Abnormal: 76% (tie)
7. Always: 76% (tie)
6. Tales of a Small Town Thug: 78.4%
5 A Christmas Conundrum: 79%
4. Prisoners of Fear, Part 2: 80%
3. Prisoners of Fear, Part 1: 88%
2. Silent Night: 92.5%
1. Prisoners of Fear, Part 3 94%


TOO Members Top Ten

10. All Star Witness: 70% (26 votes)
9. The Business of Busness: 74.6% (30 votes) (tie)
8. Tales of all Small Town Thug: 74.6% (26 votes) (tie)
7. Back to Abnormal: 75% (44 votes)
6. Always: 78.4% (24 votes)
5. A Christmas Conundrum: 78.4% (26 votes)
4. Prisonners of Fear Part 2: 82% (28 votes)
3. Silent Night: 88.4% (26 votes)
2. Prisonners of Fear, Part 3: 89% (31 votes)
1. Prisonners of Fear, Part 1: 91% (37 votes)

Average Rating: 80.1%

Top 5 Character Appearances:

5. Tom Riley (3 eps)
4. Katrina (4 eps) (tie)
3. Connie (4 eps) (tie)
2. Whit (6 eps)
1. Eugene (8 eps)

Total Character Appearences: 47 (approx).

Last edited by Broadcast on Sun Dec 18, 2005 9:06 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Laura Ingalls » Sat Dec 17, 2005 10:47 am

I loved it!!! \:D/

This was a great Christmas episode - it was nice and warm and cozy feeling. :D

I loved hearing all the flashbacks and finding out a little bit more about Whit's family. I thought we would hear more of Jana, Monty, and Jenny, but that's a minor complaint. ;)

4/5 stars!
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Postby Aslan » Sat Dec 17, 2005 11:42 am

A great episode

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Postby One I Froggy » Sat Dec 17, 2005 11:46 am

It didn't feel rite to me for some unexplainable reason. I gave it 2 stars.

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Postby Oba-rai » Sat Dec 17, 2005 12:03 pm

It was very touching. It almost made me cry because I can just imagine the sadness and loneliness of being all alone on Christmas.. :( But it is good in the end, and Mr. Whitakker is happy again, helping others.

I wanted Wooten to be in the ep, though. He could have sung like... a Christmas version of "Camptown Races". :-D

5/5... almost as awesome as EK. :-$
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Postby Me » Sat Dec 17, 2005 1:00 pm

Amazing ep. I would write more, but Broadcast pretty much covered it all.
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Postby Jonathan » Sat Dec 17, 2005 1:03 pm

Wow. That was the first word that came to mind; what a heart-warming episode. The acting, the beginning scene, the flashbacks, perfect. The only real complaint I have is Lester. Don't get me wrong, he had a good part in the show; however I think that he's like Wooton in my mind. I have to let him grow on me, and he hasn't done so completly yet, but this isn't going to count against the rating I give.

Broadcast wrote:I was startled by Whit’s performance. I don’t see how he couldn’t be nominated for “Best Performance” in the “End of Season Awards for this Episode”. I made it clear in the past that I would never discuss Whit’s attempt to sound like Hal Smith. But the thing is—today he sounded identical. Most of it was due to the wonderful job John Fornof did in writing Whit’s lines. Whit’s funny play on words, his chuckling, his humming of tunes, his search for a good book by a warm fire, his friendliness, his generosity, his spirit…everything. I give Paul Herlinger and John Fornof two golden thumbs up.

Me too. In the first ten minutes or so I had to stop and think "This is unbelievable". I found myself having to constantly remind myself through the episode that this was Paul playing Whit and not Hal. I was also very impressed with how the kids did; like Racheal said (I think it was her) they sounded very much like we'd expect the kid version of themselves to sound like.

Again, I was impressed, and I believe this one is destined to become a classic. 5/5
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Postby Evil Chick » Sat Dec 17, 2005 2:47 pm

Similar to others here, I found this episode to be a classic! This has probably already become my favorite Christmas episode! It had me in tears, which is something that doesn't happen too often on AIO. (And, that was kind of episode I voted for in AIOP's thread about what kind of eps we would like to hear.) The flashbacks were just too awesome! I loved hearing more about Whit, Jenny, and the kids. They were perfect. Whit's role in this ep was perfect, as well. All in all, it was just the best Christmas present from AIO ever!

I do, however, have two small "complaints", if they would qualify as such. I agree with what Jonathan said about Lester. The whole episode was so classical that, in my mind, Lester just didn't really totally fit. And, also, I thought that having Maude screeching in the background like that was just a little too weird... :-s

Like I said before, though, those two points are minor details, and I still absolutely love the episode! 5/5 stars
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Postby jasodia » Sat Dec 17, 2005 4:11 pm

frogalwyz wrote:It didn't feel rite to me for some unexplainable reason. I gave it 2 stars.

agreed. i don't mean to be mean, but for some reason i wasn't really interested at all. it didn't 'pull me in.'

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Postby Jeremy » Sat Dec 17, 2005 4:43 pm

Absolutely wonderful episode!!! 5 stars! I LOVED hearing Jana again--and yes, I believe that really was D.J. Harner again! Too bad she couldn't have gotten in an argument again with Whit though--but that wouldn't have really fit I suppose... ;-) Also, having the same actors for Jenny and young Whit was great, too. The kids also did a very good job.

And once again, Lester fit in perfectly! I loved just about everything about this episode. Great job everyone at AIO!!

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Postby Mandy Straussberg » Sat Dec 17, 2005 7:03 pm

I absolutely adored it. When Lester came on (mind you, I've never really liked Lester) with his, "I don't have much money..." monologue thing, I teared up. It takes a lot for an Odyssey episode to make me tear up. Beyond that, I just thought it was wonderful. And months ago (I don't remember if it was this board or the TH) I posted how I wanted to hear from Whit's family when the kids were little. I was so excited to hear this one.

5 stars for sure.

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Postby Laurie » Sat Dec 17, 2005 7:12 pm

I absolutely loved this episode!! At first I was a little disappointed that Whit was not able to visit with Janna and the grandkids but the flashbacks were wonderful. Especially the first Christmas after Jerry was killed. 5 stars!! =D>
Last edited by Laurie on Mon Dec 26, 2005 8:58 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Taq » Sat Dec 17, 2005 10:24 pm

-"Silent Night" featured an effective and much needed (for me, anyway) lesson about self-pity. In fact, it spurred me to wrap my family's Christmas presents!
-Like others have commented, this struggle showed Whit's humanity but didn't mar his character.
-I certainly enjoyed the character and history development.
-"Silent Night", for reasons explainable and unexplainable, drew me in; thus, I award it 5/5, the first perfect score I've given.
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Postby Kris Doyle » Sun Dec 18, 2005 12:40 am

Broadcast wrote:I was startled by Whit’s performance. I don’t see how he couldn’t be nominated for “Best Performance” in the “End of Season Awards for this Episode”. I made it clear in the past that I would never discuss Whit’s attempt to sound like Hal Smith. But the thing is—today he sounded identical. Most of it was due to the wonderful job John Fornof did in writing Whit’s lines. Whit’s funny play on words, his chuckling, his humming of tunes, his search for a good book by a warm fire, his friendliness, his generosity, his spirit…everything. I give Paul Herlinger and John Fornof two golden thumbs up.
I don't necessarily think Paul Herlinger sounded identical to Hal Smith (although I guess I didn't really pay much attention to how similar the voice was), but this episode clearly shows how great of a successor Paul Herlinger is to Hal Smith. Many of us (myself included) have thought of Mr. Herlinger as a little below Mr. Smith's level in portraying Whit--"Silent Night" proves that if he is below Mr. Smith's level, the difference isn't much! Whit just needs good scripts (like this one :D ) to bring out his old personality. I think the scripts and writers influence Whit's character a lot more than the difference between actors.

I also loved this ep because of the glimpses into Whit's past with his family! Very heartwarming--and I never realized Whit used to play the violin! :boohoo: I guess that's where his granddaughter (Jenny Whittaker-Dowd) got her talent from.

Btw, Broadcast, Whit's wife Jenny Whittaker's maiden name was Morrow, not Monroe. :anxious: But that was a great review!

On a less serious note, I thought it was cool that we got to hear Maud Walton again (even though I'm not sure I'd want to hear her all the time!) during Bernard and Whit's phone conversation. Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but I think she's only been heard in one other episode ("Bad Luck"). A certain woman on "BTV: Thanksgiving" sounded like her, but we were never told whether it really was (and I sort of doubt it).
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Postby Mr.Whit » Sun Dec 18, 2005 4:06 am

its great 5/5 even though ek isnt awsome
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Postby AioMan » Sun Dec 18, 2005 12:50 pm

I am listening to it as I speak! (Multitasking!)
Whit: The Best is yet to come. (from "A Prayer for George Barclay" and "Gone.....")

Eugene: Impossible! Prepositions are not words that I end sentences with! (from "Poor Loser")

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