All There Is to Know About "The Crying Game": It isn't revealed until the last few episodes of the thirty-plus-episode Novacom Saga that Novacom's ultimate plan is to take over the entire world through mind control. Guess what the first thing on everyone's lips is when they describe it?
Anvilicious: All episodes end with a short snippet where a presenter summarizes the lesson of the week and dishes out the appropriate Bible verses.
Author's Saving Throw: The writers goofed and gave Lucy's last name as Cunningham in one episode and Schultz in another. The explanation became that her father died and Shultz was her stepfather's last name, and from then on she was Lucy Cunningham-Schultz.
Base Breaker: Wooton. Either you love him, think he's hilarious, and consider him a great role model, or you consider him overused, overhyped, and over-the-top.
Bizarro Episode: The infamous "I Slap Floor", aka. the episode where everyone in Odyssey goes nuts. When asked by the kids where an absent Whit is, Bernard explains that he is at home recovering from the events of last week. What happened? Apparently, everyone in town suddenly just seemed to have lost their minds. Whit started giving bizarre (if not outright dangerous) advice and ideas, Connie and Eugene fell madly in love with each other, Tom Riley sold his farm to Bart Rathbone (who plans to make it into a space camp) so Tom could become a rodeo star, Harlow Doyle began solving crimes flawlessly, and other weird and silly things. In the end, it turns out that Dr. Regis Blackgaard came back to town disguised as his former lackey Richard Maxwell, wearing a strange cologne that for all intents and purposes made everyone get high. Thus, he could take advantage of the confusion and take over town. In the end, it turns out that the whole incident didn't actually happen. Bernard was just playing a joke on the kids. It was April Fools Daynote of which "I Slap Floor" is an anagram after all.
Ensemble Darkhorse: Richard Maxwell, by virtue of being quick-witted, complex, good-looking, and an atoning Woobie by the end of his run on the show. To this day, fans are clamoring for his return.
Monica Stone, for her backstory, snarky attitude, cunning, and role as a possible love interest for Jason.
Evil Is Cool: True to the spirit of the show, Dr. Blackgaard's acts of evil aren't romanticized one bit, but all the same...
Fridge Brilliance: Campbell County Community College accepted Eugene when he was very young, and considering he was an orphan (as far as the state knew, anyhow), they also took care of him. He stayed with them out of gratitude.
Genius Bonus: In the episode "Stage Fright"; a School Play where the Jones and Parker Detective Agency are investigating a mysterious noise is held at the Taft-Hartley Theater. In universe, the theater is named after two local actors, but it also serves as a reference to the 1947 Taft-Hartley Act: a bill passed in response to a series of 1946 strikes that outlawed the "closed shop", sought to prevent Communists from gaining leadership in unions, and allowed states to institute "right-to-work" laws that would prevent unions from excluding non-union workers.
Getting Crap Past the Radar: In "Family Values", Bart gets away with slyly mentioning having a secret stash of "stuff [he] wouldn't want the wife to see".
Harsher in Hindsight: Connie's snippy comments to the airport security officer who inspects Whit's computer in "Waylaid in the Windy City, Part 1" are considerably less funny in a post-9/11 world.
Jess Harnell's Bill Crosby character (from "The Present Long Ago" and "BTV: Live") is a lot more painful to hear in light of Bill Cosby's sex scandals.
He Really Can Act: Most of the actors are put through their paces and show off their chops throughout the show:
Both Hal Smith and Paul Herlinger as Whit: "Connie", "The Nemesis", "The Battle", "The Mortal Coil" (Smith), "The Search For Whit", "Clara", "Exit", "Silent Night" (Herlinger)
Katie Leigh as Connie: "Connie", "The Mortal Coil", "Plan B", "Something Blue", "Out of Our Hands", "Life, in the Third Person", "Life Expectancy"
Will Ryan as Eugene: "The Mortal Coil", "The Fifth House on the Left", "The Turning Point", "The Return", "The Time Has Come", "The Right Choice", "Cover of Darkness", "A New Era"
Walker Edmiston as Tom: "The Nemesis", "The Homecoming", "Tom for Mayor", "Hard Losses", "The Last Resort", "Exceptional Circumstances", "Exit"
Dave Madden as Bernard: "The Fifth House on the Left", "The Time Has Come"
Alan Young as Jack: "Moving Targets", "The Final Conflict", "The Decision", "For Whom the Wedding Bells Toll"
Townsend Coleman as Jason: "The Search for Whit", "A Question About Tasha", "Shining Armor", "Exit"
Genni Long as Lucy: "The Battle", "The Homecoming"
Aria Curzon as Mandy: "Out of Our Hands", "Only By His Grace", "Life, in the Third Person"
Idiot Plot: ** The episode "Buried Sin". It's understandable that a kid would think he'd committed murder when a gun he was holding went off and killed someone, and that the descendant of said victim who is currently a child may think that, but Whit? Pretty much everyone else? No...that's not murder. No court in the US would charge him with murder for accidentally killing someone. I mean, considering his age, he probably wouldn't even get a manslaughter charge. His father would have been charged with negligence for leaving the gun where his son could get to it, and for not teaching his son proper gun safety, but the child would not have been held responsible.
It Was His Sled: Mitch doesn't actually die; he is alive in the Witness Protection Program until the end of the Novacom saga. This is no longer a big reveal; most of the fandom consists of teenagers and young adults, who grew up with AIO and particularly that storyline.
Irony: An early episode about facing your fears ended terrifying several children who had never had such a problem before.
Like You Would Really Do It: "A Bite Of Applesauce", which ended with Connie and Eugene getting fired from Whit's End. Nobody was really expecting them to be fired for very long. It was even lampshaded by Chris in the closing bumper for "The Nemesis".
"The Mortal Coil", where Eugene experiences what Hell would be like for him.
Dr Blackgaard has a few of these, but his resurrection is particularly horrific. Abraham Lincoln going on a killing spree?
And he was about to kill a little girl before Whit intervened.
In "A Name, Not A Number, Part 2", Blackgaard has the driver of a car commit murder-suicide to get rid of Mustafa, the leader of a terrorist group with whom Blackgaard was previously associated.
The Marquis of Matrimony from "The Marriage Feast" (an adaption of the story in the Book of Matthew). Unlike the Duke of Terra and the Countess of Bovine, he is against the emissaries right from the start, and then orders them to be tortured; which leads to the actual death of one of the said emissaries.
Near the end of "The Imagination Station, Revisited", when Kelly is trying to leave a malfunctioning Imagination Station and desperately trying not to see the crucifixion of Jesus.
One-Scene Wonder: The episode "Another Man's Shoes" introduced an invention of Whit's called "The Trans-muter", which (in a controlled environment) enabled a person to experience life from the perspective of another person. Aside from a passing mention to the invention in an episode that aired a short time later, the invention hasn't been used or mentioned since. note The likely reason is that the Room Of Consequences can, and has, done what the Trans-muter was built to do, so the Trans-muter was seen as redundant and written out of the show.
The guy at the bowling alley in "Secrets", in whose lane Connie keeps rolling strikes while stressed on her date with Mitch.
Reactionary Fantasy: Although the show is ostensibly about the wholesome adventures of an ever-changing cast of children, it's the adults who solve the mysteries (and the kids' everyday problems). If one of the kids contributes to a solution, their contribution will be small compared to their adult counterparts'.
Strangled by the Red String: Connie and Mitch. They have very little in the way of common ground, they spend most of their time either arguing about major differences in their individual life choices or spewing out corny romantic dialogue, and Mitch's character eventually developed in such a way as to make a viable romantic relationship impossible. They ended up breaking up at the end of "Something Blue", and it's been a controversy among fans ever since.
Tear Jerker The biggest, for me, is in the Novacom arc, when Whit is taking Connie home from their FBI encounter after he told her that Mitch died, and she says she's OK. Whit lets her out, and she comes back to the car a few moments later, opens the door and says "I'm not OK, Whit! I'm not OK." Even though I know how it turns out, that scene never fails to get the waterworks going.
"Mortal Coil", "Gone", "Underground Railroad", "Where is Thy Sting", "Karen", "Forever, Amen"... There are quite a few tearjerker episodes.
Meta example for "Mortal Coil". It originally aired very close to the Thanksgiving holiday so many families only heard the first part, leading to many hysterical children who were very worried that Whit had died.
Life Expectancy, in the most recent album. Connie's mom dies of a heart attack that kills her instantly, and Connie spends the rest of the episode trying to cope.
Unintentionally Unsympathetic: Trent DeWhite's teacher Mr. Hawthorne in the episode "A Glass Darkly". He keeps Trent in detention for an incident Trent didn't cause knowing full well that Trent has a very important meeting to attend. Despite this, Whit actually takes Mr. Hawthorne's side when Trent takes the problem to him rather than confronting Mr. Hawthorne about punishing Trent for trouble-making that Trent claims that he didn't cause. The ending where the whole mess ends up benefiting Mr. Hawthorne in the long run was intended to be something good that came out of Trent's problem, but instead makes Mr. Hawthorne come off as a Karma Houdini since the whole mess was his fault in the first place. (Meanwhile, poor Trent ultimately fails to join the music club when he tells them why he missed the meeting, breaking the episode's Aesop of finding out how to benefit or otherwise use sticky situations to your advantage.)
What Do You Mean, It's for Kids?: The show's audience is undeniably children, but there are episodes that sort of blur the line and don't seem to be appropriate for young children, particularly for the conservative Christian audience the show was designed for. In "Forever, Amen", for instance, A boy blames himself for his mother's miscarriage because he wished he wouldn't have a younger brother. That's a downright tragic and terrifying idea for adults, let alone children.
Mandy Straussberg may be the biggest one on the show to also be a recurring character. It became worse when her parents separated more or less concurrently with story arcs concerning Eugene's complicated relationship with his father and Grady's struggles with his Disappeared Dad.
Wooton Bassett, every time his past comes up.
Tom Riley, whose son Timmy died at a young age and whose second wife Agnes suffers from dementia, which is only made worse after she's exposed to a Novabox treatment.
Examples from the video series
Broken Base: The series as a whole to Odyssey fans. While some find it a respectable interpretation of the series and still have fond memories of watching it, it catches flack from other parts of the Odyssey fanbase who feel that the changes in tone and characterization were unnecessary and makes it just feel too much unlike the radio series as a result. On the other hand, though, the character designs given to the core three (Whit, Connie, and Eugene) well liked enough to be adopted as their official designs for years afterward.
Nightmare Fuel: "A Twist In Time" features Dylan and Sal entering the (not yet unveiled) Room Of Consequences and being shown a very grim future where they have been missing for decades and Whit and their families exhausted themselves (physically and financially) trying to find the boys, and as a result, Whit is implied to have passed away penniless and in very poor health, Whit's End is in shambles, and an elderly and nearly senile Eugene is trying to keep the place standing. At least it was just a simulation and (hopefully) isn't the actual future of Whit's End and the people involved with it, but still, Dylan and Sal were lucky to get through that without being traumatized in some way.
Off Model: The animation could get sloppy at times. One example from early on in "Flight To The Finish" shows Eugene, wearing a lab coat, examining a top slathered in a performance-enhancing compound that Whit just made, only for the top to explode in his face. Not only is Eugene suddenly in his usual trademark outfit after the explosion, but if you look closely, he is in his newfound Ash Face state a split-second before the explosion actually occurs!
When it comes to cover-art, we also have the cover of "Baby Daze", which is drawn in a slightly different art-style from the series and sticks out like a sore thumb as a result. See here◊.