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Radio / Adventures in Odyssey

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Your typical half-hour after-school dramatic comedy show about life in a small town. Except that it promotes Christian values and Biblical messages. Oh, and it's a radio show.

Adventures in Odyssey (1987-present) is set in the fictional town of Odyssey (in an unnamed State, but likely the Midwestern USA—the original version of the show, Family Portraits, identifies it as being in Ohio). The centerpiece of the town is the kids' discovery emporium and ice cream shop, Whit's End, run by John Avery Whittaker ("Whit"), who acts as a wise old grandfather to every kid who walks through the door. Whit is a devoted Christian, the rich owner of an encyclopedia company, former consultant for the National Security Agency, and a somewhat wacky inventor. Most of his inventions are permanent starring attractions in Whit's End. The most famous (and frequently used as a plot device) is the Imagination Station — in simplest terms, a virtual reality time machine. Whit's End is also home to a fair number of mysterious rooms such as: the secret hidden room in the attic that held clues to a treasure hunt, the secret hidden room in the basement where a murder occurred, and Whit's secret computer room with wall-to-wall TV screens and the master computer that runs every invention in the shop — and talks.

Some of the most recurring characters are the employees at Whit's End. Over the years, this has included: rebellious teen-turned-convert Connie Kendall; super-techno-genius Eugene Meltsner; his distant cousin and professional window-washer, Bernard Walton; Eugene's wife, a substitute teacher named Katrina; part-time spy and Whit's son Jason; Whit's friend and local antique dealer, Jack Allen; and local mailman, Wooton Bassett, along with his eventual wife and artist Penny. The show has also had various casts of kids of varying eras. The first included chronic troublemaker Curt Stevens; budding journalist Lucy Cunningham-Schultz; sisters Robin and Melanie Jacobs; all-American siblings Donna and Jimmy Barclay, the boy and a girl of the Barclay's eventual A Boy, a Girl, and a Baby Family set-up. The next era included young writer and resident sweetheart Mandy Straussberg, her brother David, and her best friend Liz Horton; cousins Alex Jefferson and Cal Jordan; another rebellious teen-turned-convert, Aubrey Shepherd; Jared DeWhite and his younger brother Trent; Marvin and Tamika Washington; and Grady McKay. The most recent era (dubbed "the relaunch" by fans) includes the Parker siblings, Olivia, Matthew, and Camilla; junior detective Emily Jones and her older brother Barrett; Barrett's rival Jay Smouse; reformed troublemaker Buck Oliver; Connie's half-sister Jules; and Wyatt Perkins and his high-strung older sister Bridget.

Aside from the individual half-hour segments, the show has featured three major long-running, (more mature) arcs. The first dealt with the plots of Dr. Regis Blackgaard to take over Whit's End as part of a larger goal that slowly came to light over its course. (Whit was, unfortunately, away on a secret archaeological expedition in the Middle East during the finale.) The second arc dealt with a plot by the communications company Novacom and a computer program they created, in which Eugene was a major, if completely absent, player. A shorter but sequential 12-part serial "The Green Ring Conspiracy", concerning a counterfeit ring, has been also been released, notable again for its level of maturity in storytelling. Finally, the third major saga concerned a student at Odyssey Middle School named Morrie Rydell who was more than meets the eye and seemed to have more sinister intentions as the saga went on.

The series is created by the American Christian advocacy group Focus on the Family and is the flagship program of FOTF Radio Theater. It currently airs on numerous radio stations in the US and Canada, and is available in compact disc and cassette albums. Episodes are also rotated daily for free listening on the official website, about five at a time. A Spanish version, titled Aventuras en Odisea, has been in production since 2013. An Animated Adaption airs on some Christian broadcasting stations.

Now has an in-progress Recap page. (Which, for obvious reasons, goes by album release rather than individual episode.)


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  • Actor Allusion:
    • Jack tells the story of when he and Whit, then voiced by Hal Smith, visited Bath, North Carolina, where they met Uncle Randy and his Deputy Arny.
    • Jack's middle name, Wilbur, is also a subtle nod to his voice actor Alan Young's most famous role as Wilbur Post.
    • In "The One About Trust", Margaret Faye incorrectly guesses Connie's name as "Katie".
    • In "The Malted Milkball Falcon", after an all night rocking chair competition, Emily Jones says "The sunrise... It's so pretty..."
    • The 1994 episode "The Fifth House on the Left: Part 1"note  has an early scene where Bernard, having traveled to California to buy a truck, decides to go sightseeing in Hollywood when Eugene mentions that Bernard had been looking for Shirley Jones' house before Bernard says he gave up on that idea. Bernard's voice actor, Dave Madden, co-starred on The Partridge Family alongside Shirley Jones.
    • In the Kids' Radio adaptation of Pinocchio, Whit plays the part of a minor owl character. This is quite fitting, as two of his three voice actors (including the one for this episode, Andre Stojka) have also doubled as the voice of Owl in Winnie the Pooh.
  • Adventurer Archaeologist: Whit and Leonard Meltsner, in a slight subversion, they are trained modern archeologists and conduct realistic archeological practices... until villains drive them into adventuring at gunpoint.
  • Adventures in the Bible: Happens frequently though usually it's Virtual Reality.
    • They have done so many of these that they've literally ran out of Bible stories to adapt (A quick skim through the Bible will tell you why the stories they have not adapted will never be adapted). The show now tends to focuses on reenacting events in church history or in American history in which religious faith was an important factor (for example, the Underground Railroad, the end of the Civil War, and the story of the Jubilee Singers).
  • Affectionate Parody: "Hidden in My Heart" is based around three: Rescue 119, Laffy the Wonder Dog, and Star Trip (starring William Shattered).
  • Alliteration & Adventurers: The fictional roleplaying game Castles & Cauldrons is the subject of a notorious Very Special Episode with a Satanic Panic theme. Let's just say, having an "and" in its title is about the closest the game comes to reflecting any real-life RPG.
  • All Up to You: Tom Riley in the conclusion of the Novacom arc.
  • Alpha Bitch:
    • Whether her last name was Everett or Ellis (it's unclear whether this was a Series Continuity Error or whether her change in last name was due to family events outside of the series), Shannon most definitely counts, whether she's snubbing Robyn for refusing to attend an unchaperoned party or stealing Courtney's diary and using its contents to embarrass her.
      • Shannon's voice actress, Stacy Alcorn, was often used for similarly snotty antagonists such as Rachael in "Bad Company" and Michelle in "What Happened to the Silver Streak?".
    • Liz Horton was also something of this in her early appearances, although her character eventually Took a Level in Kindness.
    • Valerie Swanson in the three-part "Kidsboro" episode and several later episodes is this as well as a Big Sister Bully to her younger brother Nelson.
  • Amazingly Embarrassing Parents: Deconstructed in "Bringing Up Dads", where the things that embarrass Tamika about her father at present are the sort of things she loved doing as a kid.
    • In "Preacher's Kid," Eric Myers has a daydream about being on a date with Donna and Donna's father, Rev. Barclay, showing up to not only chaperone but criticize the movie they're watching for contradicting Scripture and mooch off their popcorn.
    • In the early episode "Honor Thy Parents," Laura-Jean is embarrassed by her "hick" parents, Homer and Eula, because of their Southern "country" mannerisms and behavior, until Whit shows her what good people her parents really are.
  • Ambulance Chaser: Howard J. Wiezel ("That's Wie-ZEL"), the Rathbones' lawyer in "A Victim of Circumstance", just happens to show up at the hospital after Rodney was admitted for his injuries after falling through a skylight while snooping around on the roof of Whit's End and convinces the Rathbones to sue Jason for the damages.
  • And Starring: Between circa Albums 44-50, Chris, the show host, would list off the actors and then the actor who played the "major character" featured in the episode. (However, even if Whit was involved, Will Ryan was always credited as either Eugene or whatever character he played if he had a role that wasn't Eugene.) Since the relaunch, however, Chris always credits the actors along with their characters.
  • Anger Born of Worry: Jana (Whit's daughter) responds to the comatose Whit in "The Mortal Coil: Part 2" (following Whit's heart attack after trying out a new Imagination Station program on death) by complaining about the programs Whit worked on (specifically that program) before begging her father to come back.
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: Jimmy Barclay to Donna, Tamika Washington to Marvin, Bethany Shepard to Aubrey, Camilla Parker to Olivia, Melanie Jacobs to Robyn.
  • Answer to Prayers: the show is focused on Biblical teaching and Christian values, the denizens of Odyssey, particularly at Whit's End, are regular communicants, and often show prayers being answered.
    • "When In Doubt...Pray!" Eugene uses the Imagination Station to demonstrate to Mandy that God answers prayers after a classmate says that hasn't happened since Biblical times, including William Tyndale who prayed for a Bible all could read, and Rev. George Muller, who prayed for provisions for his orphanage.
    • "Timmy's Cabin", Whit and Tom pray for aid when a cabin belonging to Tom's late soon is to be seized by eminent domain and torn down for a highway. A wandering historian named Mr. Chapman discovers evidence the long-standing cabin was once used by Johnny Appleseed, and was thus a historical site that must be preserved.
  • Arc Words: At the end of "The Christmas Bells", Pastor Knox hears God tell him the words "one of three will fall". It ends up being the setup to Olivia Parker's descent into questioning her own faith.
  • Artifact Title: Since Bernard Walton was one of the characters dropped during the relaunch, B-TV is now this as it was originally named after him.
  • Ascended Meme: The live milestone episode "Live at the 25" has the entire audience recite the show's fanmail address alongside Chris when the show reaches that point, something that nearly every fan of the show made some joke about by that point.
  • The Atoner: Richard Maxwell, Monica Stone,although neither wished to become Christians and were not pressured afterwards.
  • Back from the Dead: Dr. Blackgaard programmed his personality into a virus and planted it in the Imagination Station. It almost tried to possess Aubrey before Whit destroyed it.
    • And, of course, the series' entire raison d'etre: Jesus.
  • Bald of Evil: Bennett Charles in the Novacom arc.
  • Ballet Episode: "For Thine Is the Kingdom" centers on a young ballet dancer named Courtney Vincent who's confronted with the very real possibility of having to give up on her dreams after her knee is badly injured when her bike is struck by a car.
  • Banana in the Tailpipe: Invoked in "Accidental Dilemma".
  • Beauty Contest: Two episodes center around the Young Miss Odyssey Modeling Contest, "A Model Child" and "Lost By A Nose". (In the first, it's sponsored by Bart Rathbone's Electric Palace; in the second, it's done through Odyssey Middle School.)
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: This trope formed the basis of many adventures in the Room of Consequence - for example, the episodes "Soaplessly Devoted" (Erica wants to live her favorite TV soap opera) and "The Eternal Birthday" (Liz wishes every day could be her birthday).
    • Donna Barclay also got a taste of this (pre-Room of Consequence) in the episode "Wishful Thinking," when, after Jimmy got on her nerves one time too often, she wished she were an only child, and woke up the next morning to discover Jimmy didn't exist.
    • Another pre-Room of Consequence episode, "Forever... Amen," put a darker twist on this when little Danny Schmidt, after being told that being a big brother wouldn't be as fun as he had thought, silently wished his mother's baby wouldn't come. Shortly afterward, his mother miscarried, and Danny was inconsolable, believing he was responsible because of the wish he'd made, until Whit assured him it wasn't his fault.
  • Being Good Sucks: Some episodes had kids upset that as Christians, they weren't allowed to do the things their friends got to do.
    • In "All the Difference in the World," this gets Danny Schmidt in trouble when he watches a scary movie, against his parents' wishes, at a friend's house.
    • "Preacher's Kid" takes this up to eleven with Donna, who feels she is being scrutinized extra closely because she's the preacher's daughter and is becoming alienated from her friends. Against her parents' wishes, she accompanies her friends to a forbidden teen hangout, an abandoned house, and the kids accidentally burn the place down.
    • Connie found this particularly painful in "First Love" when she had to break up with Jeff Lewis, a guy she really liked, because he wasn't a Christian and showed no real interest in becoming one. Jeff did eventually convert and became a missionary and a minor recurring character.
  • Being Watched: Jason, Tasha, and Mitch, respectively, all observe this in "A Name, Not A Number", "The Search for Whit", and "Exit", among others.
  • Big Labyrinthine Building: Whit's End. Even Whit indicates in some episodes that there are places in it that he doesn't know about.
  • Big Red Button: Used to start up the Imagination Station, though the newest model (introduced in album 50) doesn't have it.
  • Big, Screwed-Up Family: The Bassetts, all of whom—save for Wooton, his cousin Wilma, and their grandfather—are self-serving, avaricious, and arrogant. They are implied to be the reason why Wooton is the way he is; the repressive background in which he grew up prevented him from being a kid, so he gets in touch with his inner child as an adult.
  • Black Box: Novacom's technology, literally called a "Black Box" when it's first released.
    • As well as the parts of the Imagination Station that Novacom stole.
  • Blackmail Backfire: In "The One About Trust", Whit doesn't mind Bart revealing the information that he pays Eugene more than he pays Connie because he'd rather have that revealed than endorse Bart for mayor. It's also revealed that Whit doesn't pay Eugene more than Connie; knowing that a single mother would have a hard time affording higher education for her daughter, Whit set aside around two-thirds of Connie's paycheck into a college trust fund. When all the numbers are added up, it turns out that Connie actually makes a little bit more than Eugene does, making the issue moot
  • Bland-Name Product: Strangely enough, names like "TwitFace" and "AppleBerry" are used in conjunction with McDonald's and Krispy Kreme. Stranger yet, Wooton's introductory episode points out that he collects "Smiley Meal" toys, despite McDonald's already getting said name drop.
  • Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: In "Connie Goes to Camp," Connie has to contend with a television addict named Alison in her tent. In helping Alison with one of her bags, Connie notes how heavy it is and asks what's in it. Alison replies (paraphrased), "Oh, just the essentials - clothes, toothbrush, toothpaste, comb, television, teddy bear..." (Note that this episode was made in the late 1980s before technology made it possible to access television content without being glued to a set.)
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall:
    Jimmy Barclay: I'd tell you more, Dad, but this is a family show.
    • Also in the episode "Truth Be Told", Wooton says he'd go over the details of something that happened in his superhero story, but "this is a kid's program."
    • In "A Cheater Cheated", Bart imitates Whit by reciting Whit's opening monologue from the show's theme.
    • In "Life, in the Third Person, Part 1", Mandy, who has been internally monologuing about her current situation, has a flat tire on her bike, and remarks that it's hard to fly away when your wing has a flat.
      Mandy: Okay, I know it's a mixed metaphor, but what do you want?
  • Breakout Character: Mailman Wooton Bassett in the more recent episodes.
  • Burger Fool : Bernard recounts meeting his wife Maude while she was dressed in a chicken costume promoting a fast-food joint.
  • Cacophony Cover Up: When Tasha gives Jason a clue that his and Eugene's hotel room is bugged in "The Search for Whit, Part 1", Jason drags Eugene into the bathroom and turns on the shower while they regroup and discuss what to do next. Eugene repays him in kind in Part 2.
  • Cast as a Mask: Bob Lutrell plays AREM while Steve Burns plays AREM's secret identity, Robert Mitchell.
  • Cerebus Rollercoaster: The series, for the most part, stays as the mostly down-to-earth slice-of-life program it's known to be...but over the series' run, we've had Regis Blackgaard, the Novacom Saga, and some extremely dramatic episodes such as "The Mortal Coil", "A Name, Not A Number", "The Top Floor", and "Life, in the Third Person".
    • Not even the somewhat goofier animated series is exempt from this. Some of the wilder episodes like Electric Christmas, Star Quest, and Flight To the Finish share shelf space with The Knight Travellersnote  and A Twist In Time and its starkly grim Bad Futurenote .
  • Chain Letter: Robyn gets one in "Bad Luck," which she throws away without answering it. She scoffs at her superstitious friend Jessie (who even gives her a rabbit's foot meant to counteract all the bad luck Robyn will get from throwing away the chain letter) - until she has a severe run of bad luck and becomes convinced herself, and ends up digging in a dumpster to try to find the letter.
  • Chalk Outline: Played for Laughs in "Opportunity Knocks", where Connie publicly apologizes for Harlow Doyle after he mistakenly draws them on a family's driveway.
  • Character Outlives Actor: Whit's first actor, Hal Smith, died in 1994 and was not replaced for over 2 years, and Whit was temporarily sent on an archaeological expedition in the Middle East while Focus found a replacement. When he came back, he was voiced by Paul Herlinger for 12 years until he died, and Andre Stojka has since taken up the roll.
  • Cheaters Never Prosper: In "Poetry in Slow Motion," Charles, who is having trouble writing a poem for English class, buys a poem from Rusty to turn in for the assignment. Unfortunately for Charles, his teacher recognizes the poem as being from a birthday card her own son had given her, and he fails the assignment.
  • Chekhov's Gun: In an episode about the underground railroad, a priest at the church that would one day become Whit's End mentions a mineral in the tunnels under the building. This mineral turns out to be key in a compound to drastically increase the deadliness of the Ruku virus and was Blackgaard's main goal when he took over Whit's End.
    • In "The Return", Blackgaard has Jellyfish record a conversation between him and Jason in the Harlequin Theatre, which is then spliced together and sent to the police to make it seem as if Jason threw death threats at Blackgaard.
  • Christmas Episode: They used to introduce at least one new Christmas episode a year, and as Christmas approaches, the schedule has them play previous Christmas episodes. Given the show's Long Runner status, there's a lot to choose from.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Most of the child voice actors (and consequently their families, Dr. Morton and Dale Jacobs being a couple of exceptions) tend to get quietly dropped from the show around the time their voice changes.
    • There have been exceptions, including Jimmy Barclay, Jared DeWhite, and Marvin Washington, though Jimmy is the most notable since it was primarily the first era of AIO kids who were shown becoming adolescents and going from elementary and middle school to high school.
    • Many of those characters had cameos during Album 50, and four notable ones (Jack, Lucy, Jimmy, and Curt) had an entire two-parter dedicated to them and their various unwitting love triangle shenanigans.
  • Circus of Fear: Uncle Archie's carnival, a G-rated version, appears in The Green Ring Conspiracy.
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: Harlow Doyle (Private Eye!) and to a slightly lesser extent, Wooton Bassett.
  • Clueless Aesop:
    • Averted in an episode that teaches An Aesop about cursing. Though it would seem impossible to teach such a moral in a Christian children's radio show, where you obviously aren't supposed to use curse words, it manages to pull it off by having some kids thinking that a certain word is a curse word and using it in such a way, leading to a moral about using words wisely, not saying things that you don't understand just because it sounds cool, and speaking to others in ways that encourage them rather than insult them. It's a bit odd, but it actually works pretty well.
    • Played straight in the rather notorious two-parter "Castles and Cauldrons", where the titular Dungeons and Dragons expy is depicted in a rather ill-informed and off-the-rails way, almost like the strawman that the game was protrayed as by Moral Guardians during the 80s DND moral panic than how it actually is. Namely, in the episode Len brings Jimmy into his own fantasy world where he outright becomes his character and performs witchcraft, as opposed to the actual game which is nothing more than a board game focused on storytelling and worldbuilding. It also glosses over Len's Cannot Tell Fiction from Reality issues, which are more of the driving cause behind the episode's conflict than the actual game itself.
  • Clueless Detective: Harlow Doyle, Private Eye.
  • Co-Dragons: When Dr. Blackaard attempts to take over Odyssey, Professor Bovril, Jellyfish, and Philip Glossman assist him with brains, brawn, and public appearance, respectively.
  • Collapsing Lair: Richard Maxwell somehow programs Blackgaard's computer to blow up his business in "The Battle, Part 2". Blackgaard wants Maxwell to hack into the Imagination Station, but instead the code causes a power surge that sets the building on fire.
  • Comically Missing the Point:
    • "Accidental Dilemma, Part 1" has this exchange when Connie shows Whit and Jason a blog post by Rusty Gordon where Gordon revealed Jason was a secret agent.
    Connie (quoting Rusty's blog): "Odyssey has its own James Bond! That’s right, quaint little Odyssey has a field agent for the intelligence community living right there pretending to live a normal life. But then, he disappears and travels around the world on top secret missions. Yet to meet Jason Whittaker, you’d never guess it."
    Whit: "I don’t know what to say!"
    Jason: "I do. I look like I have a double chin in that picture. Do I have a double chin?"
    Connie: "JASON!"
  • Concealing Canvas: A safe hidden behind a picture of a safe in the episode "Hold Up!". Mr. Whittaker has a weird sense of humor.
  • The Conscience: Whit is a Deadpan Snarker variation in "Into Temptation," the debut episode for the Room of Consequence. The program shows Jimmy Barclay what might happen if he buys a video game against his parents' wishes, and features Whit acting as conscience to not only Jimmy but Lawrence, Donna and George when a bizarre sequence of events unfolds.
  • Continuity Nod: All over the place. Even when they aren't doing clear-cut story arcs of one kind or another, continuity is remarkably strong, even if there are some snarls here and there.
  • Continuity Reboot: Album 51, also known as the "relaunch". It was specifically chosen to make this a reboot to ease newcomers from Continuity Lock-Out vibes, as the show basically restarts anew with most events from the previous 50 albums no longer alluded to. A lot of the mainstays of the series also fell off the radar, like Tom Riley, the Rathbones, Bernard Walton, Edwin Blackgaard, among others, and a brand new child cast completely erased the old one, which was only the second time this had happened.
  • Cool Old Guy: Whit is the normal, down-to-Earth variety. Usually.
    • Also Jack Allen (rational and calm advice-giver) and Tom Riley (snarky and practical farmer).
  • Corporal Punishment: In "A Member of the Family," Whit gives his bratty grandson Monty a spanking, and is revealed to have doled out the same punishment to his own children when they were young. His daughter Jana is still resentful of this and goes ballistic when she learns her father spanked her son.
    • Curt and Oscar were both apparently spanked for their antics in "Front Page News" (though they don't specifically mention spanking, they do mention their behinds are so sore they can't sit down). This becomes Harsher In Hindsight some episodes later when we find out Curt's father is an alcoholic.
  • Couch Gag: The 1987-1991 version of the introduction had Whit introduce himself and explain he was working on his latest invention before saying "Hey, let's see if this thing works." Normally, it didn't (to which Whit would comment that it needed more work, but that's the exciting part because you never know what you'll discover along the way), although a few episodes depicted the invention working properly.
  • Courtroom Episode: "The Scales of Justice" (Eugene is the judge and Connie the bailiff in a dispute between Rodney Rathbone and Isaac Morton over who owns a bag full of money), "Blind Justice" (Eugene and Bernard are both serving jury duty for a case in which only Eugene believes that the defendant is not guilty), "Broken Window" (Connie is the judge for a case in which Alex, Sarah, and Rodney are all accused of breaking a window at Whit's End), "Exactly As Planned" (Tom is accused of and put on trial for blowing up the Novacom tower on his land).
  • Crack Fic: Bethany's Flood. The Ark is a wet dry vac, Shem, Ham, and Japheth are really Sam, Hamlet and Jefferson, and Christopher Colombo caused the flood!
  • Credit Card Plot: "A Little Credit, Please". Is a minor part of the plot of "Friend or Foe", though the card belongs to Jules and Connie's father rather than Jules herself.
  • Crossover: Jason Whittaker appeared in a story in radio episodes of The Last Chance Detectives, also produced by Focus on the Family.
  • Dating Catwoman: Jason and Monica
  • Deadpan Snarker: Bernard Walton is the main example; though other characters that fit this trope of note include Connienote ; Jason, newspaper reporter Dale Jacobs and even Whitnote .
  • Denser and Wackier: The animated series in some episodes, particularly Flight to the Finish and Electric Christmas.
  • Destruction Equals Off-Switch: The conclusion of the Novacom arc.
  • Devastating Remark: Eugene begins laughing at Connie when she suggests that she would like to be a teacher. Incensed at his dismissive attitude, Connie angrily pokes at his most vulnerable spot, "Well at least I have a driver's license!" The fact that she hits Eugene with his greatest weakness, as well as the ferocity with which she did so leaves Eugene stunned and their employer, John Whitaker, with a Sympathetic Wince.
  • Diabolical Mastermind: Dr. Blackgaard — he even had a cat!
  • Didn't Want an Adventure: Happens in the AIO Club episode "Mission Unaccomplished," where the Parker family takes a small mission trip to Africa expecting to do specific things to their skill sets only to find themselves in life-threatening situations or immobilized. Or both.
  • Did You Die?: Tamika Washington asks this when Bernard tells her a story from his childhood in "The Girl In The Sink."
  • Diegetic Soundtrack Usage: Part of the AIO theme starts playing on Bernard's radio as he switches through stations in "First Hand Experience".
  • Disability Immunity: In the episode "The Perfect Witness," Jenny Roberts is taken hostage by thieves who supposed that because she can't see, she won't know where they're going with her and thus can't tell the police where their hideout is. Jenny, once returned to her friends, is able to nail the criminals by using her other senses to narrow down their location (sounds play a large part in this).
  • Disabled Snarker: Jenny Roberts, as evidenced by this exchange in "The Perfect Witness: Part 1".
    Russell Kosh (one of the robbers): "Hey kid, what's your name?"
  • Disrupting the Theater: In the episode "The Owlnapping", Ryan Cummings is told to run into a movie theater and shout the movie's big plot twist, then run out, in order to win back his team's owl mascot.
  • Double Aesop: Kids frequently went on an adventure in the Imagination Station and learned an Aesop from the Aesop the characters in the adventure learned.
  • Downer Ending: Although usually upbeat, the show will occasionally throw a curve-ball and produce an episode without any definite happy ending.
    • "A Bite Of Applesauce" is one of the more famous ones, ending with Connie and Eugene getting fired.
    • "Home Is Where the Hurt Is," which introduced Curt's alcoholic father, is another dramatic example. The episode ends with Curt rejecting Whit's and Lucy's offers of help, then crying while fishing alone, followed by a short message from producer Chuck Bolte explaining what listeners can do for a child in Curt's position.
    • One episode involved a character's model train getting stolen and a girl with a history of delinquency being the prime suspect. She denied it and Whit acted as the strongest voice in her defense. It turns out she did throw it away out of spite and was completely unrepentant when caught. Whit was very shaken up and forced to face the fact that treating someone with kindness does not mean they will accept it.
    • "Only By His Grace", which ends with Mandy's parents' separation looking worse than ever and Mandy crying and pleading with God to fix it.
    • In "Blind Girl's Bluff" (a split-era episode), Aubrey gets the idea of pretending that Lisa Mulligan (who is blind) is psychic through the use of a two-way radio system Bart Rathbone pawned off on the two girls. Lisa goes along with the scam at first until she becomes uncomfortable over tricking the kids of Odyssey and convinces Aubrey to call off the scam, planning to return the radio to the Electric Palace after school. Unfortunately, Lisa ends up being found with the two-way radio at the worst place at the worst time (right after an important test at school; resulting in her being accused of cheating) and ends up unwittingly taking the fall for the entire scheme, getting in trouble at school and with her parents. The episode ends with Aubrey and Lisa's friendship in shambles and Aubrey despondent over the ordeal.
    • "A Class Act" ends with Edwin Blackgaard, having started the episode in dire financial straits, remaining only in his offer to be an acting teacher for the money and produces an absolutely disastrous performance as a result. The man who had offered him the money is so disgusted by his careless behavior and the emotional damage it caused to his daughter that he firmly refuses to make good on his initial bank offer, leaving Edwin exactly where he began the episode.
    • "The Good, the Bad and Butch" is set up with Sam Johnson's former friend, now a part of the Bones of Wrath, in a position of potentially being able to turn away from their negative influence and call off a prank he was pressured into pulling. He doesn't follow through on it even after seemingly having second thoughts, leading to Sam calling him out on it and refusing to make amends with him.
    • "Wooing Wooton" ends badly for both the main plot and the subplot. After spending the entire episode trying to get back in his father Winston's good graces, Wooton finds himself unable to marry a woman that he was otherwise hitting it off with because she isn't a Christian, even though doing so would improve the standings of both of their families. His father cuts ties with him and bars him from the family permanently. In the subplot, Grady messes around with Winston's car and accidentally scratches it. When he comes clean, Winston not only punishes him but also nearly gets his mother fired from her job. When his mother chews him out for messing with the car, she blames his spiritual growth for him asking the people at Whit's End instead of coming to her first. The episode ends with Wooton lamenting being disowned by his dad and with Grady turning his back on anything related to God.
    • "The Rydell Revelations" ends with both Morrie and Suzu outed as the ones responsible for all of the incidents that took place over the course of the Rydell Saga. Whit admits that he had known this fact for a few months but hadn't told Emily the truth because he thought allowing her to solve the mystery on her own would be good for her. Emily leaves Whit's End uncertain if she can trust any of them again.
    • "Triple Decker Sundae", part of the "one will fall" arc, ends with Olivia walking in on Zoe and Pastor Knox's conversation about her doubt in faith and learns Zoe walked back on her promise to keep Olivia's doubt a secret, and refuses to hear out her side of the story. She then rebels against her own faith by going to an ice cream store (and not Whit's End either) and ordering a triple decker sundae despite it going against her past teachings about gluttony, with her faith effectively being on ice.
  • The Dragon: Mr. Charles to The Chairman's Big Bad.
  • Dub Name Change: It's not a dub so much as an adaptation, but the Spanish-language version of AIO, titled Aventuras en Odisea, features the same characters but changes their names. John Avery Whittaker becomes Juan Carlos Castillo; Connie Kendall is now Connie Campos (and moves from Mexico City rather than from California); the Barclay family becomes the Vargas family; Eugene Meltsner is now Eugenio Mendez; and so on.
  • Dying Town: The 2-part "Pokenberry Falls, R.F.D." episodes that provide the exit storyline for the Barclay family sees George invited to the New England town to pastor a church there. Ellis Birch, the church member who made the invitation seems convinced that the impression that the town had a bright future and would be a potential boom town. As it turns out, the town - with only a plastics factory or a hotel run by Barry Lionelnote  as the major places of employment once one got past the more tourist-oriented parts of town - has clearly seen better days.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness:
    • Earlier episodes were typically a bit more relaxed and low-key. It's best explained as being like a more traditional slice of life show, before future albums had more fantastic elements kick in such as the Imagination Station and the more intense story arcs. In addition, Connie was absent until a few episodes into the main series, Eugene wasn't around until 1988, and Jason and Wooton weren't introduced until much later, which can be a bit of an adjustment if you're used to the more frequently heard episodes.
    • Also, early episodes feature many kids who were quickly Put on a Bus as more characters were developed and other kids, like Lucy Cunningham-Schultz, the Barclays, Rodney Rathbone, and Robyn Jacobs, emerged as stronger personalities. Some of those early kids have very familiar voices: Azure Janosky (Donna) and David Griffin (Jimmy) voiced several minor characters before the Barclays were upgraded to major-character status, and Shirley Ziegler was voiced by Sage Bolte, who would go on to play Robyn.
    • Tom Riley is something of a Cloudcuckoolander in early appearances, rather than the folksy, down-home farmer he'd shortly become.
    • Chris had a larger role earlier on as the show's host. Most episodes would have a Cold Opening where she would go through some sort of skit to set the stage for the episode's topic. The skits became more and more elaborate to the point that the producers felt they started distracting and taking away from the main focus of the show, leading to her role getting vastly reduced beginning with "Dobson Comes to Town" onward to only summing up the episode's moral at the end (with even her "we'll be right back" segues into commercials being dropped off along with it). Needless to say, if you started the show somewhere in the middle and go back to the early ones, it can be strange hearing her participating in actual skits and being treated as a citizen of town.
    • In a different sense, album releases used to be one-to-one copies of the original broadcast versions of episodes, with the reading of the address, the phone number, and a brief outline of the next episode intact. Later on, album releases would cut most of this out from the closing.
      • Similarly, the reading of the phone number was relegated to the show's closing instead of a commercial break. The address also used to be different before Focus on the Family moved to Colorado (Ponoma, CA 91799 instead of Colorado Springs, CO 80995). The On the Next element was also dropped entirely after some time, and the "ask for today's episode" emphasized the fact that the cassette was free, which changed after the show became a Christian household name. Finally, Chris addressed herself by her full name at the time (Chris Lansdowne) rather than just "Chris". Most of this has been alleviated on reruns, though you can still hear it in their original ways on the older audio cassette releases.
  • Easy Evangelism: Zig-Zagged. In some cases, 5 minutes and a commercial break is all that's required to get a conversion. In other cases, especially those involving main characters, it can take years after they're introduced before they convert, and some simply don't for whatever reason. And you can be sure that recurring characters still have lessons to learn.
  • Eccentric Townsfolk
  • Election Day Episode: "By Any Other Name" and "It Takes Integrity" for Student Council President; "Tom for Mayer, Parts 1 and 2" and "The One About Trust, Parts 1 and 2" for the mayorship of Odyssey.
  • Elevator Failure: In "Real Time", Whit and Cryin' Bryan Dern find themselves trapped in an elevator in the middle of a bomb threat.
  • Embarrassing Nickname: Jellyfish, a small-time hood in the Blackgaard saga. Notably his first name (and only name given) is the equally embarrassing Myron.
  • Everyone Can See It: Eugene and Connie in earlier episodes. At one point, a man who was in the middle of trying to rob Whit's End says that they were made for each other. Except for the fact that they never did get together, and Eugene is now Happily Married to fellow scientist Katrina.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Bart Rathbone is a crass, dishonest, and occasionally just downright unpleasant rabble-rouser on most days, but occasionally even he realizes that he has gone too far. A notable example is "The Other Woman", where the Rathbones seek to discredit Tom Riley as Tom considers whether he should run for mayor again. Dolores and Rodney accomplish this by taking a photo of Tom sitting at a mental institution with an unidentified woman who did not appear to be his wife in an attempt to get Tom caught up in a scandal. When Bart realizes that all their scheme did was bring unwanted attention to Tom's personal life and his mentally ill wife Agnes (who turned out to be the woman Tom was with in the photo after all; she had just dyed her hair), however, he does not celebrate that the incident ultimately caused Tom to not run for mayor again and is instead genuinely mortified by what their scheme ultimately resulted in. The episode ends with Bart leaving his house to quietly reflect on he and his family's actions.
  • Everything Is Online: Justified for Whit, as he is a legitimate computer wiz and a retired NSA technical analyst.
  • Evil Twin: Inverted; Dr. Blackgaard has a good twin, Edwin, who runs the local theater. After his initial episodes, he was used mostly as comic relief — completely independent from his brother's story-lines.
  • Face Death with Dignity: In fact Whit was so dignified and calm that it unnerved the would-be-killer into running away.
  • Face Your Fears: "Blood, Sweat, and Fears", centering around a blood drive, requires Whit (who fears giving blood as a result of having it accidentally taken instead of given to him after a combat injury) and Eugene (who has a fear of needles) to give blood, and for Trent (who has been shown in the past to have a morbid fear of public speaking) to give live interviews to promote the drive.
  • Faking the Dead:
    • In "A Name, Not A Number," Dr. Blackgaard pretends to be injected with a strain of a deadly virus so that he can orchestrate his plans discreetly before showing up in Odyssey alive and well. Granted, the only person in town who thought he was dead was Jason, but him showing up in the last few minutes of the "Name, Not A Number" two-parter was still a bit of a shock, considering that the audience last heard what sounded like his death throes.
    • Mitch is placed in the Witness Protection Program during the Novacom fiasco.
    • Jason Whittaker, who fakes his death so his enemies from his spy days won't go after him. This lasts for the next two albums before he shows up in "The Green Ring Conspiracy".
    • Leonard Meltsner staged and pretended to be killed in a cave-in to escape from slavery in Africa, then returns to Odyssey disguised as a homeless man called "Joel".
  • "Fawlty Towers" Plot: One of the earliest episodes of the show, "The Tangled Web," features Connie reading a story about how a boy loses all his money on his own fault, and makes up a story to his mother about it getting stolen. As these kinds of tales usually go, it escalates further and further out of control, and he is even offered a citation from the town mayor. Unlike how these stories usually go, a twist is put on the ending and the boy never tells the truth about any of it, nor does anyone else find out, which shocks Connie once she reaches that point. The moral here emphasizes that, technically, he didn't really get away with it. He knows good and well what he has done, and every time he thinks about that time he now has to be reminded of his own guilt.
  • Field Trip to the Past: Many of the early Imagination Station adventures fall into this category. Typically they're Adventures in the Bible, but one episode sent Jimmy Barclay back in time to meet Abraham Lincoln (shortly before his assassination, which Jimmy got to hear as it occurred, "Sic Semper Tyrannis" and all).
  • Flash Forward: "The Present Long Ago" begins with an elderly Mandy Straussberg telling a story about an event that happened in current!Odyssey to her grandson, culminating in the reveal that she eventually marries Trent DeWhite, whose journal entries she was using to tell the story.
  • Flatline: In "The Mortal Coil", Whit falls victim to this; though the medical cause is a heart attack, the episode indicates that his illness was much more spiritual in nature.
  • The Food Poisoning Incident: One happens en masse in "You Win Some, You Lose Some", wherein one of Connie's attempts to help bullied camper Wendy backfires when she mistakenly gives Wendy spoiled ingredients for brownies Wendy made for the other campers, resulting in all of the campers except Wendy herself getting sick.
  • Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: Eva Parker and her sister Rosalita provide an unusual example in that both of the siblings are adults. In the episode "Grandma's Visit"; Eva Parker's mother Lucia (referred to by the Parker kids as their "Abuelita" {Spanish for grandma}) attempts to arrange a wedding for Eva's sister Rosalita with fiance Rodrigo while Rosalita's ex Orlando tries to woo her back, to the point of going to the Parker house attempting to serenade Eva (who Orlando mistook for Rosalita) while Lucia arranges the wedding while other family members crashed the house...only for Rosalita to elope with Orlando.
  • For Inconvenience, Press "1": The episode "Breaking Point" sees Nick Mulligan run into this trope when calling customer service about what to do if someone washes his hair with their product.
    • Also an issue Robyn Jacobs runs into in "The Second Coming" when trying to figure out how a televangelist who had announced Jesus was coming the following Saturday; which Melanie had gotten duped into believing to the extent of putting up posters related to that proclamation.
  • Former Friend of Alpha Bitch: Michelle in "The Courage to Stand." Although under Shannon's thumb for most of the episode, she never quite rises to the level of Beta Bitch as she isn't snarky and abrasive the way Shannon is. She turns into Former Friend of Alpha ##### at the end of the episode when she tells Robyn that because Robyn refused to attend Shannon's unchaperoned party, Michelle refused to attend as well, and furthermore accepts Robyn's invitation to come to church with her, which she had earlier turned down.
  • Foreshadowing: Bart Rathbone gives a statement to the news media at the end of "A Touch of Healing, Part 2" that uses Jason's attempt to modify the Imagination Station such that disabled children can experience life without their disability and the chaos that ensues as a way to try to discredit Whit's End, which he and the rest of Blackgaard's group continue to try to do throughout the Blackgaard saga in the next album.
    • Similarly, the first part of the two-part "The Great Wishy Woz" Musical Episode has Dotty (played by Mandy Straussberg) dealing with her parents getting a divorce. The last major story arc involving Mandy deals with her parents separating, though at the end they do ultimately reconcile.
  • Frivolous Lawsuit: In "A Victim of Circumstance", the Rathbones file suit against Jason after Rodney falls through the skylight at Whit's End, claiming that it's Jason's fault for not having a clear "no trespassing" sign (even though as Jason exasperatedly observes, common sense should tell a person not to go crawling around on a roof). They actually win, but the jury only awards them a dollar in damages, which promptly goes to pay for lawyer's fees.
    G to N 
  • Gadgeteer Genius: Whit, Eugene, and Matthew Parker. Jason has displayed some limited skills as well.
  • Gambit Pileup: "A Name, Not a Number"
  • Geographic Flexibility: For a supposed Midwestern small town, Odyssey has multiple malls, a community college, a water park, multiple high schools, a TV/radio station, an airport, and (if the animated series can be believed) multiple skyscrapers. Originally, the writers hewed very closely to the idea of Odyssey being a one-street town, but different buildings and areas got added as the plot required over the years.
  • "Get Out of Jail Free" Card: Subverted; Richard Maxwell serves his time for arson and other crimes before coming back to town to make peace.
  • The Ghost: The Chairman of Novacom, up until the arc's Grand Finale.
  • Golden Moment: Usually executed quite well. This never stops Chris.
  • Gone Horribly Right:
    • Recognizing that Connie has been prioritizing time with Mitch over God in "Between You and Me," Whit puts together a Batman Gambit where he begins to intentionally avoid Connie to try and teach her why avoiding God isn't something she can sustain. It works a little too well — as luck would have it, it happens around the same time that Mitch is offered a new job and could potentially move away. This sends her spiraling into a distressed state where Whit's absence takes an even further toll on her emotional well being, and makes her begin to feel as if God abandoned her. When she finally manages to get a hold of Whit again, he explains that it wasn't his intention to send her into a depression but still talks sense back into her.
    • One episode has Whit attempting to explore the concept of the afterlife using the Imagination Station. Unfortunately the program succeeds a bit too well, as Whit ends up addicted to the Edenic garden and the presence of his dead wife and son, and Eugene finds himself in hell (while Eugene is an atheist at this point, he has internalized more Christian theology than he realizes; the writers were presenting Christian theology as is, that nonbelievers end up in hell, rather than making any judgments on Eugene's character in itself). Whit ends up having a heart attack as he doesn't want to leave and Eugene fell victim to a week-long Heroic BSoD.
  • G-Rated Drug: Talking toy chickens in "The Twilife Zone." It Makes Sense in Context.
  • Gratuitous Spanish: "W-O-R-R-Y" has a scene in which it sounds like Erica is watching a Spanish-language tutorial series (shades of Destinos) on TV. "¿De dónde es Pepe? Pepe es de México."
  • Green Aesop: 1990's "One Bad Apple" (in which Tom finds out water polluted by the Edgebiter Chemical Company is contaminating the apples on his farm) serves as this; with Jerry Edgebiter using as his excuse that Tom, Whit and Curt aren't any better at protecting the environment than he is because they don't recycle.note 
  • "Groundhog Day" Loop:
    • In "The Eternal Birthday," Liz has such a wonderful time on her birthday that she wishes every day could be her birthday. Whit and Eugene devise a Room of Consequence program that makes this wish come true. Liz is thrilled - until she isn't anymore.
    • Fittingly enough, "Groundhog Jay" is also an example. Once again in the Room of Consequence, Priscilla and Jay find themselves experiencing the same event over and over, namely in the middle of a birthday party at Whit's End and always culminating in them being confronted by a strange figure. Every time the adventure resets, the two find a different way to go about the unfolding events until they figure out what the reason behind it is — Jay stole a kid's birthday present bike and was being confronted by the guy who found out about it.
  • Halloween Episode: They had a "please-don't-celebrate-Halloween" episode called What Are We Gonna Do About Halloween?
  • Happily Married: Eugene and Katrina, Jack and Joanne.
  • He Is Not My Boyfriend: During "A Class Reenactment," Mandy Straussberg spends almost all of her time insisting that she and Trent are not a couple, although ironically they actually will end up married in the future and have at least two grandchildren, a fact that was revealed six albums beforehand.
  • HeelFace Turn: Dr. Blackgaard's hacker lackey Richard Maxwell; Novacom's mercenary Monica Stone.
  • Helicopter Parents: Lucia, the mother of Eva Parker and grandmother to the Parker kids, makes her first appearance ("Grandma's Visit") filling this role by commandeering the Parker house for guests in an attempt to prepare for Eva's sister Rosalita's upcoming wedding - to the point where the Parkers end up having to leave for a hotel due to the house being crowded; only for Rosalita to elope with her ex-fiance at the last moment; resulting in a stressed-out Eva telling Lucia (in Spanish) that she drove her crazy.
  • The Heretic: In "Bad Company," Connie attends a so-called "Bible study" taught by a character named Mr. Grayson, who teaches that Christ was just a normal person and not the Son of God, then ridicules Connie when she tries to defend the core tenets of her faith. Whit cautions her about associating with those who deny the divinity of Jesus.
  • Hidden Agenda Villain: Dr. Blackgaard.
  • Hobbes Was Right: Discussed and believed by most of the main characters, and actually the point of an episode where Connie and Eugene debate this (Connie taking Hobbes's stance, Eugene taking Rousseau's); a stranger then comes in, robs them, and even mentions that he personally agrees with Eugene that he really is a good person held captive by his greed.
  • Hollywood Atheist:
    • Leonard Meltsner, who was held prisoner for years, watched his wife die while they were in captivity, and thought that both of his sons had been killed in accidents (though it turned out one was actually kidnapped by his hated rival and raised by him for several years); as a result, he has a rather sympathetic grudge against God. However, he is presented as nothing but an honorable man.
    • Also, Connie's dad.
  • Hollywood Board Games: Bart Rathbone is an Evil Is Petty kind of villain who constantly, often unnecessarily, cheats. When he, his wife Doris, and their rivals the Washingtons play Pictionary after a fancy dinner, nobody is surprised that he criticizes everyone's drawings at every turn and tries to pass his own as valid even when they are pants.
  • Hollywood Law: Justified in the cases tried in Whit's End court (i.e. "The Scales of Justice" and "Broken Window"), but played straight in Tom Riley's trial in which he is accused of blowing up the Novacom broadcasting tower in "Expect the Worst" and "Exactly As Planned":
    • To begin with, the trial is implied to take place relatively shortly after the actual incident, because Cal is still in the hospital from relatively minor injuries when it's over; even in small town court systems (and a town that has its own airport really isn't that small when you think about it), it can take months to prepare a trial. Attorneys have to interview witnesses and prepare statements, and there are simply other cases on the docket that have to be taken care of.
    • The prosecuting attorney repeatedly uses the phrase "beyond a shadow of a doubt". However, that is not the standard of proof, because nothing can really be proven beyond a shadow of a doubt (there's always going to be somebody who finds a hole or makes some crackpot theory). The standard instead is "beyond a reasonable doubt".
    • Leading off from that (though this is more of a hole in the dialogue itself), the defense attorney's case rests on exposing all of Novacom's misdeeds to the public to give Tom a motivation for the destruction of the tower under the Insanity Defense, then tells Tom that "the jury will never convict you". But the jury would be convicting him; that's the whole point of pleading guilty under insanity. They just might not give him a particularly harsh sentence under the circumstances. It's also not really a proper insanity plea; for one thing, there should have been reference to an actual psychiatrist on the witness stand. Simply showing the jury evidence indicating Novacom's culpability for circumstances leading up to the hypothetical situation that Tom really did blow up the tower won't be enough for an actual insanity defense. The proper defense here would be "extreme emotional disturbance".
  • Homage: The members of the Barclay family are named George, Mary, Jimmy, Donna, and Stewart Reed. They even star in a Christmas episode based entirely on the plot of "It's a Wonderful Life".
    • One episode was a quite blatant homage to Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, with the Cross of Cortez replacing the Grail.
    • The episode "It Happened at Four Corners" seems to be a partial retelling of the novel Mc Teague by Frank Norris. Both narratives revolves around two men fighting over an accidentally stumbled upon stash of gold in a desolate locale, with one managing to kill the other, but not before he handcuffs his killer to his soon-to-be corpse. But considering how obscure the source material is, this might be unintentional.
      • The bigger inspiration for this episode was It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World. The opening scene of "The Smiler" ripping the map in half was taken directly from the start of the film nearly verbatim.
  • Hostage Situation: Usually with Connie as the hostage, although Whit, Eugene, Jason, Mitch, Tasha Forbes, and Grady McKay have also played that role.
  • Hurricane of Puns: Between Eugene and Katrina in "A Book By Its Cover".
  • Hypocritical Humour: In "Life Expectancy: Part 1" Bill Kendall blasts Connie over the phone for not contacting him immediately after learning her mother (and one of Bill's ex-wives) June had died from a massive heart attack. At the end of Part 1; Bill casually mentions to Eugene that he had brought his other daughter Jules - even acknowledging Connie had no idea she had a step-sister.
  • I Have Your Son: "Cover of Darkness" reveals that Dalton Kearn intended to kidnap a seven-year-old Eugene, who was supposed to be going to see his father Leonard in Africa by train, in order to force Leonard into working for him on an archaeological dig; Eugene wasn't on the train, which crashed, leaving no survivors, and so Dalton took Leonard and his wife Thelma by force.
  • I Never Said It Was Poison: "Soaplessly Devoted," in which Erica gets to play her favorite character in her favorite TV soap opera. Said character rigged the Academy Awards in order to win every award.
    Lt. Mitchell: I'd like to speak to Miss Donahue, please.
    Trevor: [laughing nervously] Miss Donahue? Who's that? There's nobody here by that name. And how dare you accuse her of rigging the awards!
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Katrina explains to Eugene in "The Right Choice, Part 2" that Brandon Teller, who wants to marry her, has still been advocating for Eugene and sticking up for him, because while Eugene is running around on a jet-lagged, paranoid brain and making assumptions all over the place, Brandon wants Katrina to be happy regardless of who she marries.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming:
    • Broadly speaking the series does not utilize this, but on a few albums this has been done. For example, every episode name on the album "On Earth as it is in Heaven" is a line from the Lord's Prayer to the point that you almost recite the entire thing if you name each episode in order, and the first five episodes of "Wish You Were Here" all have the corresponding number somewhere in the title.
    • Every episode title in Album 50 alludes to the title of an earlier show, such as "A Class Reenactment" for "A Class Act" and "License to Deprive" for "License to Drive".
    • Early in the show's history, album names used to follow Added Alliterative Appeal, and beginning with Album 5, the album names would be [Alliterative Phrase], [Another Alliterative Phrase]. However, the albums were all later renamed and dropped this nomenclature, with the only holdover being "Daring Deeds, Sinister Schemes".
    • The last four episodes in the Novacom saga begin with "Ex-".
  • If My Calculations Are Correct: Eugene.
  • Informed Obscenity: "Millijoit," from the episode "War of the Words" (actually a mangling of the word "maladroit", which some kids heard Eugene call Connie.
  • Insufferable Genius: Eugene, to the extreme; he softens up a bit after a while, and some of his behaviors have less to do with arrogance and more to do with social awkwardness.
  • Intrepid Reporter: Lucy Cunningham-Schultz takes her position as a reporter and writer for her school newspaper very seriously, and bristles when adults don't take her seriously because she's a kid. She gets some assignments that seem rather weighty for a school newspaper, but tackles them all with gusto and enthusiasm - which, as in "Muckraker" (when she went after a shampoo manufacturer for allegedly using an illegal, rash-causing green dye in its product) occasionally gets her into trouble.
  • It's a Wonderful Plot: The 2-part episode "It's a Pokenberry Christmas" is an almost word-for-word remake of It's a Wonderful Life.
  • It Will Never Catch On: The 1988 episode "Kids' Radio" (which introduced an early form of the KYDS Radio series of episodes that would be refined beginning two years later) ends with Whit suggesting a radio program to an Odyssey 102 radio representative named Ralph Adams that is essentially Adventures in Odyssey in all but name; only for Adams to laugh at the idea.
  • Ivy League for Everyone: Not a direct example, but what are the chances that Whit would have two high school valedictorians (Eugene and Connie) working for him simultaneously? (And sacking them simultaneously.)
    • Also somewhat averted as both characters winds up attending the perfectly serviceable community college in Odyssey, although Eugene does mention at one point that he could have easily left Odyssey and continued his studies at an Ivy.
      • It's never explained what a genius like Eugene is doing in Odyssey and working part time in a ice cream parlor when he could have had his pick of the universities. One episode tells us that he was framed for plagiarism at Stanford was was blackballed by academia, but the entire thing was made up for a mystery dinner.
  • Jobless Parent Drama: The 1993 episode "Our Daily Bread" revolves around George Barclay being unexpectedly laid off when the plant he worked at closed and the other employees were transferred to Hope, Arkansasnote ; starting a story arc that culminates in George accepting a call into the ministry, ultimately taking a job as a pastor in Pokenberry Falls.
  • Just Eat Gilligan: Lampshaded in "Rights, Wrongs, and Reasons": one of the scenarios presented in a game that Whit, Connie, and Jenny are playing is one where two girls want to see a TV program but one of them has church and can't tape the show because she doesn't have a VCR, so she decides to skip church. Just before the three move on to the next scenario, Jenny asks why the other girl didn't think to just tape the show and have her friend see it later, since she did have a VCR. Connie awkwardly realizes she Didn't Think This Through and tries to change the subject.
  • Karma Houdini: "A Tangled Web" provides a very rare invoked example. Whit shares a story with Connie about a boy who tells a small lie that escalates out of control — and much to Connie's shock, he gets away with it and nobody ever learns about what actually happened, even after it escalates to the point that he wins a citation from the mayor. Connie initially views the story as an example of this, but Whit explains to her that even though he got away with the lie to the world, God is well aware of what he's done and he now has to live the rest of his life being reminded of this event and the guilt he carries whenever someone brings it up.
  • Keet: Lawrence Hodges.
  • Kid Detective: Emily Jones and Matthew Parker are shown working together in several episodes as the "Jones and Parker Detective Agency", and Jack Davis has been known to pretend to be a hard-boiled private eye.
  • Kids Shouldn't Watch Horror Films:
    • In "The Mailman Cometh", when Marvin and Tamika Washington grow jealous of the privileges their older cousin Xavier gets and attempt to prove to their parents that they are old enough to have the same privileges he does, one of the things they do is sneak into a horror movie called Revenge of the Raptors that Xavier went to see (when they were supposed to be seeing the latest Betsy the Bumblebee movie). The kids scream their way through the entire movie and are unable to sleep without a light on that night, and Wooton inadvertently busts them when he stops by the next morning to return Marvin's jacket after finding it in the theater showing the raptor movie.
    • "All the Difference in the World" (1995): Danny Schmidt gets in trouble for watching a horror movie during a sleepover at Jeff's house, since Danny's parents, as Christians, don't approve of such movies. Upset that he doesn't get to do what all the other kids do because he's a Christian, Danny convinces Jeff to watch another horror movie at their next sleepover. This time, the boys are caught red-handed by their parents, and Danny's parents furiously scold him, informing him that they're trying to bring Jeff's family to Christ and that Danny, a boy who disobeys his parents while calling himself a Christian, may have just given Jeff's family a hypocritical portrayal of Christianity.
  • Knight of Cerebus: A good rule of thumb while going through the first 15 years of the series' run, if Dr Regis Blackgaard shows up, things are about to get serious.
  • Knockout Gas: In "The Last Great Adventure of Summer," Terry learns that his dad is really a spy when they are cornered by a rival agent. They get away and try to escape by jumping on an open train cart as it leaves the station. Unfortunately, the other spy spotted them, learned where the train was headed, and readied sleeping gas for a Knockout Ambush when they arrived.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Several times:
    • Bernard Walton once told a new kid, "Whether you meant to or not, you played out a Bible teaching in what you did today." Simon thought it was weird, but Bernard assured him, "Happens all the time around here."
    • Whenever a voice actor was unavailable for recording (i.e. Hal Smith, since he died), their character would be represented by a message on a very choppy, staticky answering machine message made of clips from previous episodes. Jason once commented to Eugene while he was fixing one, "Am I the only one who's noticed how often these glitch up around here?"
    • In one episode Katrina mentions to Connie that she hasn't changed since she last saw her (5 years ago from the listener's point of view). Connie then says that she never changes, a reference to the fact she's the show's perpetual young adult.
      • "Feels like I've been sixteen FOREVER."
  • Large Ham: Connie whenever she really gets excited or irritated.
    • The character of Edwin Blackgaard (played to Shakespearean perfection by Tony Jay soundalike Earl Boen) was created largely for this very purpose, serving largely in stark contrast to his more quietly menacing twin brother Regis.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: In "Tom for Mayor, Part 2", the episode opens with Eugene providing narration for Sam Johnson's documentary about the election. Eugene then suggests that he follow it up with a "dramatic musical theme", and the AIO theme song immediately plays.
    • This exchange from the 1991 episode "The Vow" (involving Donna fearing that her parents were getting a divorce after being told of a similar set of events involving another classmate whose parents divorced):
    Jimmy Barclay: Dad's going on a trip, and he wants to take me with him.
    Donna Barclay: Oh, no!
    Jessie Morales: (in flashback) He came home, picked up her little brother, and split.
    Donna: Just like Wendy.
    Jimmy: Donna?
    Donna: Huh?
    Jimmy: You okay? You look the way people look on TV when they're remembering what someone said in an earlier scene.
  • Licensed Game: A total of four computer games based on the show were made. The first one, Adventures in Odyssey 3-D CD-ROM, is unrelated to the rest and arguably adapts more from the Animated Adaptation rather than the radio series, as it prominently features Canon Foreigners from it and also features the Strata-Flyer invention that only appeared there. The game proper plays out like most "activity center" type games of the mid to late 90s. The other three were The Great Escape, The Sword of the Spirit, and Treasures of the Incas, all of which are puzzle-based adventure games that are closer to the radio series.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Averted in the series itself. What do you expect? It's a radio program. Played straight in the official artwork, though.
  • Line-of-Sight Name: Nick Mulligan's garage band is named "10W40".
    Nick: We were in the garage when we came up with the name.
  • Literal Metaphor: It was said early on that the natives' word for the land that became Odyssey translated to (relayed in "gruff Indian chief" voice) "Land-That-Stinks-Like-Swamp". It was later revealed that, no, really, at the time of "The Ill-Gotten Deed", it was a place of poor drainage and stagnant waters, meaning it was much like a swamp.
  • Local Hangout: Whit's End, natch.
  • Long-Runner Tech Marches On: There is a marked difference in technology used on the show jduring an early episode compared to the more recent episodes.
  • Lopsided Dichotomy: Two separate instances in "Plan B, Part I: Missing in Action", both courtesy of Connie.
    Whit: It's been ransacked!
    Connie: Or his sense of housekeeping has really gone down the tubes.

    Whit: Eugene must have been in a hurry to get away.
    Connie: Or else he was robbed by a vest-lover.
  • Lotus-Eater Machine: Jason Whittaker once modified the Imagination Station to allow disabled children to experience life without their disability. The final scene of the episode finds Jason having a Heroic BSoD surrounded by handicapped children desperately pleading for an extra moment in the Station.
  • Love Makes You Evil: Dalton Kearn.
  • Loving Bully: In the episode "Afraid, Not!", Danny is stalked by a girl from another school who has a crush on him and ends up roughing him up when he won't say he likes her. One of the female police officers who handles the case admits that she once did the same thing to a boy she had a crush on.
  • Magical Computer: The one that ran Whit's End is close enough.
  • Married in the Future: "The Present Long Ago" reveals that Mandy Straussberg will eventually marry Trent DeWhite.
  • Meaningful Name: Edwin and Regis Blackgaard.
  • Millennium Bug: Done in a sense (that was both somewhat satirical and somewhat serious at once) with "The Y.A.K. Problem", where the kids of Odyssey end up leading themselves to believe that a new school councilwoman in Odyssey is planning to eliminate all traces of fun and games from town and proceed to live it up; stocking up on ice cream and candy, hiding their toys, binging on video games, and mobbing Whit's End and its inventions (though in the end it's simply a new educational program at the Odyssey schools and not a big deal). It's worth pointing out that the episode first aired in November 1999, weeks before when the actual Y2K bug was supposed to occur and supposedly cause The End of the World as We Know It, suggesting that this episode was made as an allegory to the worries people had about the issue (and reminding them that God is in control no matter what happens).
  • Mind Screwdriver: The majority of the three-parter "Malachi's Message" seems rather supernatural compared to standard Adventures in Odyssey fare, with a lot of hints pointing to Malachi really being an angel sent down from Heaven. At the end of the episode, everything ends up justified though: after Malachi disappears, all memory of him is erased, and Eugene's message on the answering machine is also rewound with his previous mention of Malachi now nowhere to be heard.
  • Mistaken for Cheating: George Barclay, of all people, in the 1991 episode "The Vow"; when Donna takes a message from a woman who had called about wanting a meeting she was supposed to have with George and Donna over dinner in Washington, only for Donna to assume the woman's name is Carol. The episode ends with the revelation that the Carol Porter in question was George's male former history professor named Caroll Porternote  and the woman who called was Porter's wife. Happily, things work out with the situation cleared up and George and Mary taking the opportunity to renew their vows.
  • Mistaken for Pregnant: The episode "A Wise Surprise" has Penny's parents - based on such things as Penny developing a craving for Thai food; being sick one morning while her parents are visiting her and husband Wooton; a baby monitor and the guest room being painted baby blue - that Wooton and Penny are going to be having a baby. Eventually, we find that the sickness was food poisioning, the baby monitor was to allow Penny to contact Wooton while he was working on his Captain Absolutely comics and they painted the guest room every year. Finally, it turns out that Penny's sister Charlotte was the one who was pregnant (with her exhaustion being mistaken by Penny and Charlotte's parents as Charlotte going through a rough patch in her marriage).
  • The Mole: Mr. Glossman, Monica.
  • Mr. Imagination: Lawrence Hodges (specializing in fantasy and scifi), Jared DeWhite (more into conspiracy theories), and Jared's brother Trent (who dreams up wild, off-the-wall scenarios and has even held conversations with characters that exist in his head).
  • Musical Episode: There have been a number of these; among them the Wizard of Oz spoof "The Great Wishy Woz"; the Christmas show "Caroling! Caroling!"note ; the historical trilogy "The Jubilee Singers"note , "A Thankstaking Story"note  and the 2-part "Legacy" note  and "California Dreamsnote " episodesnote 
  • My Friends... and Zoidberg: "Eugene Meltsner here, inviting you to join today's assemblage of characters (and myself)..."
  • My Own Private "I Do": Eugene and Katrina have the "Elope first, plan later" variety; they elope at her father's deathbed before they're forced to flee from Andromeda in "Plan B, Part I: Missing in Action", and then in "For Better or For Worse", they've returned to Odyssey and decide to have a ceremony for all their friends.
  • Mythology Gag: In the Novacom saga, the Imagination Station is stolen and used to transmit Novacom's mind-controlling technology around the world via satellite; this is a similar plot to the first animated episode, "The Knight Travellers", wherein the Imagination Station was stolen and used as a means of mind control.
  • Narrator: Chris, who was visible to the characters on certain occasions (again, usually in earlier episodes).
  • Nested Story Reveal: In "It Happened at Four Corners", the entire episode (using Eugene and Bernard to represent a younger and older man, respectively) is revealed to have been a story told by Bernard to show Eugene how proper storytelling is done.
  • New Jobs As The Plot Demands: Jillian Marshall, the new roommate of Connie and Jules, is listed in the AIO Wiki as having held 19 jobs in 14 different cities. Later revealed in the 2022 "28 Hours" album as an undercover NSA agent assigned to watch Jason.
  • Nightmare Sequence: A fairly uncommon occurrence but they do still happen in a few episodes:
    • The nightmare had by young Shirley in "Nothing to Fear" over her brother's pet mouse ended up being so infamously scary that it drew complaints from parents whose kids ended up being scared by the sequence as well.
    • "Better Late Than Never" (and the Missing Episode it was based on: "Missed It By That Much") culminates in the chronically tardy Robyn Jacobs (Rachael Weaver in "Missed It...") having a nightmare where she is late for everything; an important soccer match, a beauty pageant, and even her own funeral!
    • In "Choices", Lucy, anxious about having to write a school report on something (the theory of evolution) that conflicts with her core beliefs, has a bad dream where she pours out her worries to Whit at Whit's End. After she does so, however, Whit suddenly announces Lucy's problem to all of Whit's End and ridicules her over it, causing everyone else in Whit's End to also tease and mock her over it and prepare to kick her out of Whit's End before she wakes up.
    • While going through withdrawal from the eponymous invention in "The Inspiration Station", Connie has a bad dream where the Whit's End kids spilling drinks and dropping dishes result in her having a complete mental breakdown where she smashes dishes on the floor herself and screams at the kids at the top of her lungs about how they all look when they spill and break things. Connie is so disturbed by the dream when she wakes up that she enters Whit's End in the middle of the night to use the Inspiration Station for hours.
  • No Indoor Voice: Connie whenever she gets excited.
    • Local disc jockey "Cryin' Bryan" Dern is, naturally, quite loud even when not on-air.
  • No Name Given: "The Chairman" of Novacom.
  • Noodle Implements: During Whit, Monty, Tom Riley, and Eugene's expedition to go ice fishing in the episode of the same title, Tom fails to get a campfire going rubbing two sticks together. Eugene offers some unknown item to get it lit, which Tom mocks. Eugene tries to use it... and it explodes.
  • Noodle Incident: Apparently, the last time Ed used scissors, he was making snowflakes and...
    • From Episode 616, "The Other Side Of The Glass":
    Wooton: I don't do pranks! Ever since that incident with my cousin's whiffle ball bat - that backfired BIG-TIME, let me tell you!
    Bernard: No, don't.
    Wooton (singsong): It required surgery...
    Bernard: I don't wanna know!
    • Eugene and Katrina have apparently had numerous misadventures in at least Zimbabwe, Madagascar, and Portugal, according to "For Better or For Worse".
    • It's mentioned a few times how much Connie's behavior changed after becoming a Christian and that she used to be quite the party girl and the one who instigated most of her friends' shenanigans, though it's never mentioned exactly in what wild behaviors Connie used to engage.
  • Noir Episode: "Heatwave"
  • No Denomination Given: While all the Christians on the show are all vaguely Evangelical, no specific denomination has ever been named and all of the theology and Aesops presented are kept firmly in ecumenical territory. The closest they've ever gotten to acknowledging theological differences is a throwaway mention that the Catholic concept of sainthood carries more baggage than the Protestant one.
  • Not Allowed to Grow Up: Played straight for much of the show, where Connie Kendall is the perpetual teenager. Averted with everyone else, leading to Connie still being a teenager even though kids from 20 years ago have grown up. Eventually, Connie graduates from high school, and so in later episodes she just ages very slowly. This has been lampshaded a few times in-universe, such as in "Live at the 25" and "Living in the Gray".
    • Also seems to have occurred in Rodney Rathbone, since he's been a middle school bully for about fifteen years and has shown no signs of age.
    • Whit, on the other hand, is Not Allowed to Grow Old; his official portrait has not changed over the past twenty years, and he maintains the activity level of a 60-year-old man despite the fact that he should be in his late 80s by now, as he fought in WWII (that is, if the show functions in real time).
      • Similarly, in real time, Jason would now probably be in his early 60s, as "Memories of Jerry" establishes that he was about 10 or 11 during the Vietnam War at the time his brother Jerry joined the Army. It can be assumed he's still in his thirties, approximately the same age as when his character is introduced.
  • Not Disabled In VR: Played with in the two parter "A Touch of Healing", where Jason Whittaker modifies the Imagination Station so that disabled users can experience life without their disability. When he tests it on Zachary Sellars, who became lame through an accident, he can walk, but when he tests it on Jenny Roberts, a girl born blind, it does not make her see. Jason thinks that it works for Zachary because he knows what it is like to walk, but not for Jenny because she was born blind.
  • Nothing Exciting Ever Happens Here: A frequent complaint by younger characters, usually used either to indicate that an intriguing mystery is about to happen or to set up that the character needs to learn to make their own excitement and have fun on their own.
    O to Z 
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Jillian Marshall for most of her time on the series had been depicted as something of a ditz unable to keep a job. The "28 Hours" album subsequently revealed that the airhead act was exactly that, an act, and that Marshall was a competent undercover agent with the NSA.
  • Obnoxious In-Laws: Millie Shanks plays this role in "For Better or For Worse", although as she's trying to force the wedding to be "traditional", she causes much more trouble for Connie and Katrina than she ever did to Eugene.
  • Official Couple: Eugene and Katrina (got married), Connie and Mitch (broke up), Penny and Wooton (got married), Jack and Lucy ( got engaged), and Trent and Mandy ( eventually marry).
  • Off to See the Wizard: The 2-part episode "The Great Wishy Woz", in which Mandy Straussberg writes and stars in a Kids Radio story based on The Wizard of Oz.
  • One-Scene Wonder: Walter Madison, the pastor Jason works with in Alaska, who appears in several episodes during the Novacom Saga and comes across as Whit-level competent. In his short appearance, he not only calls Jason out when under the influence of the black boxes, but deduces Monica Stone's identity and reacts with calm-verging-on-sarcasm when she forces him to open a safe at gunpoint.
- Walter: "Curtland doesn't have a blueberry festival; it's a strawberry festival. Kind of hard to confuse the two, isn't it? One is blue, the other's red."
  • One-Steve Limit: Averted; Jack Davis is a prominent child character from the first era of kids, while Jack Allen is a close friend of Whit's and became integrated into the show's adult supporting cast.
    • There are two child characters named Erica—one is Erica Clark, an outgoing if somewhat ditzy girl; the other is Erica Colburn, a former friend of Aubrey Shepard's who is directly responsible for Novacom obtaining the technology of the Imagination Station.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: On the part of Chris. If something very serious or sad occurs in an episode directly before a break or when a Downer Ending, Bittersweet Ending, or a very well earned happy ending occurs, Chris typically sounds calm at best, solemn at worst, and generally less bubbly than usual. In the former case, she may not even announce the break at all. Tropes Are Not Bad, as it avoids Mood Whiplash. (Would Chris sounding light and cheerful directly after, say, someone witnessing the crucifixion of Jesus sound right to you?)
  • Our Lawyers Advised This Trope:
    • The 2007 episode "Best of Enemies" has a subplot where Connie temporarily has an intern named Lindsay become a roommate while in Odyssey. During the episode, Lindsay inexplicably eats some pancakes Connie made after telling Connie she was allergic to peanuts but could just use something equivalent to an epipen before her throat swelled upnote . When Focus on the Family received several complaints from parents worried that scene made light of food allergies after the episode originally aired, the tag was re-recorded to have Chris emphasize that it isn't wise to eat something one is allergic to.
    • Similarly, "Two Sides to Every Story" has Chris warn against using water to put out an electrical fire at the end.
    • 2021's "Jumping Off, Jumping In" has Chris warn against diving in to try to save a drowning person if one's not a lifeguard or otherwise qualified personnote 
  • Out-of-Context Eavesdropping: The 1998 episode "The Spy Who Bugged Me" involves Jared DeWhite, the town's resident Conspiracy Theorist and Dwayne Oswald trying to figure out what some of the girls are up to during a secret girls-only meeting; and after several attempts (including Jared assigning Dwayne to disguise himself as a bush and as a girl) overhear the girls talking about shooting the sheriff and Mayornote ; causing the two to panic and tell Whit; who then finds out that the girls meant shooting the Mayor and sheriff...for an Odyssey Celebrities Calendar to raise funds for an orphan's home in neighboring Connellsville.
  • Overly Narrow Superlative: Theatre critic Duncan Banquo's "I thought the [radio] play was the best I've ever seen you do" in "A Class Reenactment", directed at Edwin Blackgaard.
  • Papa Wolf: Carson McKay in "Accidental Dilemma"—his son Grady is kidnapped by a terrorist whose cane is a disguised cattle prod; unaware of this, Carson, finally coming face-to-face with the man, promptly punches him in the face.
  • Parents as People: While the show's morals place a strong emphasis on honoring your parents, it doesn't paint adults, including parents, as always infallible. Some parents have legitimate issues of their own to overcome, whether it's Curt's dad being an alcoholic or Monica's mother being an emotionally distant and overly critical Stage Mom. Even Whit gets this early on in "A Member of the Family," when his daughter Jana reveals the root of her resentment toward her father is that after her brother Jerry's death, her father favored his surviving son, Jason.
  • Parting-Words Regret: Connie experiences this in "Plan B: Resistance" after her boyfriend Mitch is seemingly murdered and Eugene and Katrina flee Odyssey to keep Eugene's research safe from Andromeda, worrying that they didn't know how much she truly cared about them. When she later talks about this with Whit at Mitch's funeral he tells her that they just have to trust that God "fills in the blanks for all the things we should have said"; Connie agrees, but counters that they "shouldn't expect Him to" before telling Whit that she loves him.
  • The Patient Has Left the Building: The Green Ring Conspiracy arc has Monty Whittaker (Whit's grandson, now a Secret Service agent) slip out to find out who betrayed him (working undercover) after being in a plane crash attempting to track down counterfeiters.
  • Pet the Dog: Dalton Kearn: kidnapper, trafficker of archeological artifacts, instigator of a minor genocide, kind and caring father. Subverted; his "son", Everett, is actually Leonard Meltsner's, whom he kidnapped out of the belief that because Leonard sired Everett with Thelma, Dalton's old girlfriend, Everett should have been Dalton's son instead. He does grow to legitimately love the boy, and Everett clearly loves him back, but that doesn't change the fact that he raised him on a lie.
  • Phrase Catcher: When Eugene lapses into his overly complex way of explaining something, he is frequently met with cries of some variation of, "In English, Eugene!"
  • Playing Cyrano: In "The Present Long Ago", Max makes Mandy a valentine that he's too nervous to deliver, and he has Trent deliver it for him instead. Bernard even references the play in "Mum's the Word" when Max tells him what happened. Naturally, as these things go, Mandy ends up falling for Trent instead.
  • Police Are Useless: Actually caused a problem with Officer David Harley, who was a bumbling policeman that, while a light example of this trope, still was an example none the less. Due to parents' complaints that he gave a poor impression of authority figures to the show's target audience, he was eventually replaced by a Suspiciously Similar Substitute Detective Harlow Doyle, and since then every police officer featured on the show has been a thorough aversion to this trope.
  • Politically Motivated Teacher:
    • The 1988 episode "The Price of Freedom" (a Memorial Day-themed episode) had a one-shot history teacher only known as Mr. Altman who seems to be critical of American soldiers who fought in Vietnam, even handing one student a book containing stories of atrocities committed by American troops even though said student, Kirk McGinty, lost his father in combat. After Whit tells him about Kirk's father, Mr. Altman mentions that he had a brother killed in action in Vietnam as wellnote 
    • Miss Rhonda Adelaide, Odyssey Middle School's normally upbeat drama teacher, abruptly becomes this in the "Ties That Bind" saga after Whit turns down her request to put up posters for the "Let's Get Together" festival due to Whit and Miss Adelaide disagreeing on the issue of human sexualitynote ; an incident that sets off a number of triggers for her, as she openly makes comments in front of Detective Don Polehaus expressing sympathy with a group called the Vigilantors that vandalized Whit's End (causing Polehaus to briefly wonder if she had anything to do with the vandalism), assigns an essay to her students in her English class (including siblings Matthew and Olivia Parker and Emily Jones) on gender (with the unspoken implication she would not give anyone disagreeing with her views on human sexuality a good grade) and - at a confrontation with Whit in front of Odyssey's Business Council - blaming Whit's conservative Christian views for the reason her brother, Randall Edgeworthnote  was dying from an unspecified illness. What makes this example particularly notable is that Miss Adelaide showed no signs of being this before this saga or (with the exception of the Adventures in Odyssey Club exclusive episode "A Predicament of Biblical Proportions" in which she briefly clashes with a new student over whether he could bring his Bible to school as part of thenote  "Bring Your Bible to School Day") afterwards.
  • Poor Communication Kills: In "Two Friends And A Truck", Bernard agrees to let Eugene borrow his old run-down pick-up truck, but asks him to be careful as he is looking to trade it in for a new one. Whit points out that the truck has several technical quirks, but doesn't actually say what any of them are until Eugene parks the truck at the top of a hill...and the truck goes rolling down it anyways and crashes. It's only then that Whit points out that the parking brakes have long since quit working.
    • Played for Drama in "Life Expectancy: Part 1" when Connie - rushing to the hospital after learning her mother June had suffered a heart attack - learns from a doctor that June had secretly been battling heart problems and didn't tell Connie. Connie even vows to question June on that before learning that June had passed away.
  • Positive Friend Influence: Usually illustrated through a character's becoming a Christian or accepting an invitation to come to church. The trope isn't limited to school friends either, as shown by how Connie's mother June accepts Jesus.
  • Power Trio:
    • Back in the good ol' days:
      • Id: Connie
      • Superego: Eugene
      • Ego: Whit
  • Prayer Is a Last Resort: The show did the "Atheist in the Foxhole" storyline twice, in one case with Cryin' Brian Dern (who gave in and prayed for his life) and once with Leonard Meltsner (who didn't). Interestingly, the writers were much more critical of Dern for his moral cowardice than Meltsner.
  • Pre Cap: Used from 1991 to 2008, though with less and less frequency as you approached the later end, with the listener hearing random moments from the upcoming episode before it started. It appears to have been done to compensate for Chris no longer being used to explain the show's topic prior to its start.
  • Pronouncing My Name for You: A rare dramatic example happens in the Novacom saga: a mysterious hacker figure keeps appearing known as AREM, which the characters initially read as "air-em". After The Reveal that this identity belongs to Mitch, they are finally told it's actually pronounced "ahr-em", a pun on Mitch's initials R.M..
  • Put on a Bus: Eugene, after his voice actor left the show, supposedly due to "creative differences." The actor and character have since returned.
    • Jared DeWhite, which actually turned out to be a plot device in the Novacom Saga. The Bus Came Back.
    • Many of the early kids, although in many cases their voice actors were retained. For example, Lucy's Tall Tales Teller cousin, Leslie, appeared in only two episodes and was never used again, but her voice actress, Azure Janosky, became iconic as the voice of Donna Barclay.
    • Also, minor villain and CorruptPolitician Philip Glossman was written out as having been forced to resign due to a scandal involving a racial slur targeting the Japanese. The decision came after Glossman's voice, frequent Odyssey writer Paul McCusker, left for a job in London. TheBusCameBack, though, as Glossman managed to turn up at the state Department of Transportation and finally as part of a crew with the Environmental Detection Agency, before leaving for good when his character was arrested at the end of the Blackgaard/Darkness Before Dawn saga. He was last heard from in a cameo role in "A Capsule Comes to Town", sneering at Odyssey's small town values.
  • "Rashomon"-Style:
    • "Two Sides to Every Story", where Jimmy and Donna Barclay tell two different stories of how they ended up with a fire truck in front of their house.
    • One of the live episodes, "Mandy's Debut", has its first segment dedicated to one of these plots, where Mandy, Connie, Eugene, and Bernard all recount why they think they caused Whit to have to go to the hospital. note  This leads to humorous moments such as Eugene's account of the story having everybody speaking in his signature Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness style.
  • Readings Are Off the Scale: Whenever something went wrong with the Imagination Station, which always happens when someone is in it.
  • Real Time: Fittingly enough, "Real Time." Whit and Cryin' Brian are stuck in an elevator with a bomb about to go off, with all of the episode's events occurring with real world time, with commercials counting as part of the elapsed time. In this case, it's played for the episode's message — about how every moment is precious and that in a matter of minutes everything could simply vanish before your eyes.
  • Rearrange the Song: The theme has had several revampings, the most significant being in 1992 (when the original theme was revised to dial down the synthesizers and was based on the video series theme). Other major revisions took place in 1998, 2003 and when the series returned from hiatus in 2010. There's also been a Christmas theme and an Old West theme.
  • Record Burning: In "You Gotta Be Wise," Odyssey parents organize a rally to burn copies of Rodney Rathbone's rock band's album due to its offensive content. Dale Jacobs - who believes that reactionary techniques such as book or record burning are no substitute for sitting down and talking honestly with children about why a book, record, etc. is offensive - tries in vain to stop it.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: In addition to the most famous example (Katrina's blistering evisceration of Melissa in "A Book by Its Cover"), there are several others. One is "Count It All Joy", in which Erica, who has misunderstood the Bible verse of the episode title to mean that she should always be happy (or fake it if she isn't), blows up at Kim after a particularly bad day, listing all of Kim's academic shortcomings. She's immediately sorry.
  • Red Herring: In "The Perfect Witness". The assumption is that the thieves who broke into Holstein's Books were after a rare Haugaard book set to be delivered to a professor at the college; they were actually hired by that professor to steal a report written by Eugene that the professor could publish under his own name, and took the book as a distraction.
    • AREM, as well as his alter ego Robert Mitchell:
      • At first, the AREM persona's breaking and entering into computer systems is portrayed as morally dubious at best and malevolent at worst, and the Campbell College investigators finding him piggybacking off of a modem in Whit's office appears to be an attempt by AREM to frame Whit for AREM's computer hacking. It turns out that Mitch, acting as the AREM persona, used those morally shady means to expose the corruption at Novacom from the inside, and he was trying to draw attention to the modem planted by Novacom at Whit's End so that it could be quickly disposed of.
      • Mitch comes under suspicion in "Grand Opening" and "Secrets" when he's revealed to have purchased a large number of the same types of security cameras Whit found hidden around his shop in Connellsville, and when Connie finds a photo in Mitch's briefcase of the woman who planted the suspicious modem in Whit's office. Mitch's innocuous explanation for the cameras—that they're being used as part of a Novacom show about secret agents—is never confirmed as true or false, and he has the picture because the woman, Monica Stone, is working for Andromeda and Mitch wants to find her and bring her, and the rest of Andromeda, to justice.
    • In "The Mystery of the Clock Tower," the idea that something real big will happen when the clock strikes at 11:45 turns out to be this. It was a diversion that the culprits concocted so they could rob the bank uninterrupted. Fortunately, Whit catches on just in time.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Connie's red, Eugene's blue.
    • Also, red Jason Whittaker and blue Jack Allen during the Blackgaard saga: Jason is rash, hot-headed, and takes action without considering the consequences; Jack is calmer and thinks things through before acting.
  • Renaissance Man: Whit—soldier, NSA consultant, businessman, resident theologian, archeologist, encyclopedia publisher, computer, neurology, and engineering (and whatever other subjects are required to build a working Imagination Station) genius, and the maker of the best sundaes in the county.
    • Barry Muntz explicitly identifies himself this way in "Breaking Point" and lists off his many skills to a bemused Whit ( though whether or not he actually is good at any of those things or just portraying himself that way to lie his way into the Imagination Station's blueprints is debatable).
  • Repetitive Name: "I'm Digger. Digger Digwillow." "Digger Digger Digwillow?"
  • Ret-Canon: The main characters didn't have fixed character designs initially, but the ones that the Animated Adaptation gave the characters were eventually adopted as their official character designs (with a few slight alterations) for years until they were changed slightly starting with the 51st album "Take It From The Top". If you look closely, you can see that the new designs still have some influence from their old designs at their official post-album 51 artwork. (For example, Connie still wears a green shirt and Whit's face and hair is largely unchanged.)
  • Retired Badass: Whit and Jason.
  • Ripped from the Headlines:
    • The 1991 episode "The Second Coming" appears to be a response to then-recent publications suggesting Jesus would return at a specific year (such as "88 Reasons Why Jesus is Coming Back in 1988"); though predictions such as the one dealt with in the episode continued even after the episode's premiere (such as Harold Camping's failed predictions from 1994 and 2011).
    • "A Victim of Circumstance," in which Rodney sues Jason after falling through a skylight at Whit's End and breaking his arm, seems to have been inspired by several high-profile court cases of the previous several years, including Bodine v. Enterprise High School, in which a teenage boy was severely injured after falling through a skylight after climbing on the school's roof. As in the Bodine case, Rodney wins the case; unlike in the Bodine case, the monetary judgment is humorously miniscule: one dollar. The Liebeck v. McDonald's Restaurants case (the infamous case in which a 79-year-old woman successfully sued the fast-food chain after spilling hot coffee on herself) is also referenced.
    • "The Y.A.K. Problem" is about the Odyssey kids (mistakenly) believing that a new school board member plans to outlaw all fun and games from Odyssey (including shutting down Whit's End) and going into a state of hysteria where they raid candy stores and Whit's End and hoard and hide their candy and toys, among other things. Given the episode first aired in late 1999, the episode can easily be read as (and likely was intended to be) an allegory for the Y2K problem and the hysteria surrounding it.
    • While not the basis of the episode, a plot point in "Basset Hounds" is one of Wooton's wealthy relatives losing all of her money after an online website she was running went bankrupt, followed by her now ex-husband leaving and taking all of their money with him. The episode first aired in 2003, not too long after the 2002 Dot Com Crash.
  • Road Trip Plot: With Bernard and Eugene, in Album 21: Wish You Were Here; Bernard travels to San Diego to buy a new truck, and Eugene is on a journey to find himself. The trip was a product of Real Life Writes the Plot, as the actor who voiced Whit suddenly died and the arc was created to give the writers and directors enough time to retool the show.
    • Later, a road trip plot arc was given to Connie and Joanne, as both were going to Washington, D.C.—Connie to see Mitch, Joanne to have a compass appraised.
  • Rockumentary: "The Coolest Dog" invokes it as a send-up of This is Spın̈al Tap, chronicling Marvin's attempts to start a garage band with Trent (and later Tamika) called "Los Perros Frescos". (The episode was originally going to be titled "Spinal Trent", but the title was changed likely because of the raunchy nature of the movie it referenced.)
  • Running Gag: Connie's complaints about being the last person to learn of something big happening in Odyssey.
    • In an early episode, Whit ran out of letters for his menu-board and decided to abbreviate some of the menu items, leading to someone asking for a "Wod-Fam-Choc-Sod" (aka. a "World Famous Chocolate Soda"). This wouldn't be the last time someone asked for one. In fact, visitors to Focus on the Family's Whit's End in Colorado Springs can order a real-life Wod-Fam-Choc-Sod, and there are several recipes for making one at home too.
    • The 2005 episode "Odyssey Sings" has Connie" interrupted on three occasions when attempting to sing a song she wrote called "The Trip of a Lifetime", never making it beyond the first two words.
  • Sadist Teacher: According to Leslie, her teacher, "Mr. Gutwrench," is one. She claims that on the first day of school, he singled her out for humiliation because she was late and wearing a torn dress, then gave her a massive Writing Lines assignment because she hadn't done anything more substantial than "hanging out" during summer vacation. His real name is Mr. Garrison, and he isn't anything like that in real life.
  • Screw Politeness, I'm a Senior!: Alex's grandparents in "Relatively Annoying".
    • Mary Hooper, a nursing home resident in "An Encounter with Mrs. Hooper," is cantankerous and rude to everyone, though it's due to her bitterness over her husband's death and her estrangement from her daughter. With some encouragement from Whit, Donna Barclay manages to get Mary Hooper to open her heart to love again.
    • Also, Mrs. Kramer, from the relaunch, who crosses from "grouchy elder with a heart of gold" to "flaming misanthrope".
  • Script Wank
  • Secret Diary: "Melanie's Diary"; the episode that introduces Robyn Jacobs' previously unmentioned sister Melanie, has this at the center of their squabbling during the episode.
    • In "The Election Deception," Courtney Vincent's diary is stolen by Alpha Bitch Shannon, who is running against Courtney for class president and uses its contents to try to ruin Courtney's campaign and life - and almost succeeds.
  • Secret-Keeper: In "Accidental Dilemma", Connie, in a refreshing change of pace, is the only person besides Whit to know that Jason faked his death.
  • Seekers: Everybody more or less, given the Christian atmosphere, but most obviously Connie, Eugene and Aubrey.
  • Self-Destruct Mechanism: Used on the Imagination Station in the Novacom Saga finale, It Makes Sense in Context as the machine was the key to their global mind-control plan.
  • Series Continuity Error: In a show that's run for several hundred episodes and has complex continuity, it's bound to happen here and there, but a few have actually been acknowledged and even given fixes after they occur. The most noteworthy ones would be mistakenly giving Lucy two last names (addressed by giving her a stepfather with the second name), and Whit proclaiming he was buying the Fillmore Recreation Center and its land before it would later be said he only owned the building (fixed by stating he thought he was getting the land and didn't find out until later). At least one error that couldn't be fixed, Eugene starting college at either age 13 or 14, was also brought up in a bonus feature on one album.
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Eugene; his Catchphrase used to be ending sentences that use slang and idioms with "... to borrow the colloquialism."
  • Sex, Drugs, and Rock & Roll: The subject of the episode "Sixties-Something", which was a harsh criticism of the romanticization of the 1960s that not only observed that the decade was a mess of riots and tragedies, but also pointed out that the "if it feels good, do it" line of thought has fed directly into problems of substance abuse and self-entitled avoidance of consequences that people deal with today.
  • Ship Sinking: The Eugene/Connie pairing is sunk when Eugene dates and marries Katrina.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The original art for the 25th album, "Darkness Before Dawn", bears a suspicious resemblance to the famous painting "Wanderer above the Sea of Fog".
    • The cover art for the Fan Favorites album features Wooton, Eugene, Connie and Whit in a nod to The Beatles' Abbey Road album cover.
    • Connie watches a talk show called "The Opera Geraldohue" show in one episode, a fairly obvious portmanteau of talk-show hosts Oprah Winfrey, Geraldo Rivera, and Phil Donahue.
    • In another episode, Connie (in character in a Kids' Radio drama) tells a friend, "Whatever will be, will be; the future's not ours to see," and quips, "I think that might make a good song someday."
    • "The Devil Made Me Do It", another Kids' Radio drama, is rife with them, including "Guilt Trip Jeopardy!" and a newsmagazine called "20/200," featuring the reporting of "Huge Gowns" and "Bobbi Walker."
    • In "You Gotta Be Wise," Rodney's gang-cum-rock-band, the Bones of Rath, releases an album titled "As Crusty As They Wanna Be."
    • The posters Erica Clark hangs up about bike safety in "Rewards in Full" include one containing a reference to the infamous "This is Your Brain on Drugs" PSA.
    • In "Soaplessly Devoted," Erica gets the chance to live as Holly, a character in her favorite soap opera, "Medical Center of Love." When Holly sweeps the Academy Awards, she gives an acceptance speech: "You like me. You really like me."
    • The three characters Trent DeWhite comes up with in "The Present Long Ago" are fictionalized versions of actor Arnold Schwarzenegger (Arnold Schwarzenbanger), comedian Bill Cosby (Bill Crosby), and fictional detective Columbo (Detective Colimbo).
    • The 2006 Christmas Episode "The Undeniable Truth" has a sequence where Eugene (whose foundation "Hand Up" was supposed to be sending Christmas packages to Africa but was falsely accused of failing to deliver and of stealing money from the foundation) demands to know why his father Leonard had signed those packages Gordon Shumway.
    • Resident Shakespeare nut Edwin Blackgaard's rival in "The Taming of the Two" is named Malcolm Lear.
    • The theatre critic that Edwin is desperate to impress in "A Class Reenactment" is named Duncan Banquo.
    • The Old Testament Action News segments of the Show Within a Show KYDS Radio feature a news anchor named Brink Chetley; a portmanteau of the names of early television news anchors Chet Huntley and David Brinkleynote ; who anchored The Huntley-Brinkley Report (the precursor to today's NBC Nightly News) from 1956 until Huntley's 1970 retirement. Interestingly; Chet Huntley was also used as the name of a radio newsman heard toward the end of "Accidental Dilemma: Part 2"note 
    • The 1994 episode Two Brothers and Bernard: Part 1note  includes a scene where Esau bargains with Jacob over the birthright nearly taken verbatim from The Little Mermaid (1989)note .
    • Also from 1994, the episode "A Name, Not a Number: Part 1"note  contains an interesting example. According to the Official Guide, Miles Filby was named after a character played by Alan Young. Alan used the same accent for Donovan (Jason's superior)note . Afterwards, the AIO team discovered that there was a real-life British turncoat agent named Kim Philby; who was convicted of being part of an espionage ring known as the "Cambridge Five" which supplied secret information to the Soviet Union during World War II and the early years of the Cold War.
    • The episode "It Happened At Four Corners" was written as a tribute to the films It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World and Greed.
    • In the episode "For Trying Out Loud"; the revelation that Brenda Frazier's victory in the cheerleading tryouts was due to a box with fraudulent ballots all written with the same handwriting appears to be at least a partial allusion to the 1948 U.S. Senate race in Texas; where the Democratic primary went to a runoff between Congressman Lyndon Johnson and former Governor Coke Stevenson; with Johnson winning the runoff by 87 votes - leading to allegations, particularly with the discovery of a "Ballot Box 13" in a rural precinct covering Duval and Jim Wells Counties where it was believed a corrupt sheriff's deputy, under orders from local political boss George Parr, had stuffed the ballot box with 203 votes - all for LBJ, in alphabetical order, same handwriting and even with the same color ink - en route to Johnson winning the general election; though the narrow margin of victory in the primary and the controversy over whether voter fraud played a role in Johnson's Senate victory led to the future 36th President of the United States being sarcastically nicknamed "Landslide Lyndon".
  • Show Within a Show: KYDS radio and BTV.
  • Slice of Life: The show's primary style, as it depicts day to day life in a small town and focuses on average everyday families. A few liberties are taken that break away from some of the realism though, mainly Whit's inventions like the Imagination Station which is basically virtual reality on a level that isn't achievable in real life. The Blackgaard and Novacom sagas are also exceptions to this, which have actual antagonists and significantly Darker and Edgier good vs. evil story arcs.
  • Spanner in the Works: Tom in the Novacom Saga. There was no way they could have foreseen Whit bringing him with to the tower and Tom being able to destroy the Imagination Station with long-distance help.
  • Stage Mom: One-off character Monica Winters has one in the episode "A Model Child" who pushes Monica (just 11 years old; though when Melanie Jacobs points her out to Mr. Whitaker; Whit thinks she's 15 or 16) into diets, makeup and not letting her hang out with kids her age to the point where Monica - who ran away into the forest after being unable to lose enough weight for a particular dress Mrs. Winters wanted her to wear for an upcoming modeling contest (sponsored by the Electric Palace) - collapses when Melanie and her mother Ann take her back; where it's confirmed that she had been undernourished.
  • Stealth Pun: "Two Friends And A Truck" opens with Connie and Bernard discussing Bernard's new truck, and Bernard complains to Whit that Connie wants him to purchase one with a lot of "bells and whistles". Almost immediately, the bell above the door to Whit's End rings as Eugene walks in whistling.
    • In "Called on in Class", when Trent tries to hide in a bathroom to help him think of ways to get out of an oral report, his teacher comes to call him back to the classroom, and he mutters, "Great. No more stalling."
  • A Storm Is Coming: Thunder rumbles in the background in both "Gathering Thunder" (as the Israelites are temporarily defeated by the Bones of Wrath) and in "The Time Has Come" (as Eugene comes to grips with how helpless he feels in the fight against Blackgaard and Jack straightforwardly tells him that he's being driven toward a decision toward Christianity). Also in "The Sacred Trust," as Lucy and Heather are making a "sacred trust" to keep whatever "big secrets" they have to tell each other (Lucy is forced to break the trust when Heather confesses she's sneaking away to a teen disco without her parents' knowledge).
  • Story Arc: Innumerable ones, both large-scale and small, have been spread throughout the show's almost-thirty years.
  • Straight Man and Wise Guy: Jimmy Barclay (Straight Man) and Lawrence Hodges (Wise Guy).
  • Superstition Episode: "Bad Luck".
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Harlow Doyle for Officer Harley, after parents complained that a bumbling police officer as a supporting character would give kids the impression that officers of the law are a joke.
    • Jack Allen for Whit; lampshaded in his introductory episode, where Connie, who was the most affected by Whit leaving, accuses Jack point-blank of trying to replace Whit.
  • Sympathetic Wince: In one episode, after Eugene Meltsner openly mocks the idea of Connie Kendall becoming a teacher, she hits at Eugene's biggest weak spot, and very acidly replies, "Oh yeah! Well at least I have a drivers license! " Their employer, the kindly and all-around grandfatherly Whit, lets out a sharp "Ooo!" indicating that even he was wincing at the viciousness of Connie's retort.
  • Take Over the World: This turns out to be Novacom's ultimate goal, intending to use their devices to brainwash everyone via a cell phone tower just outside of Odyssey and the Imagination Station. Fortunately, they don't succeed. Ironically, Regis Blackgaard usually only wanted to take over the town, although Darkness Before Dawn reveals that he too has more megalomaniacal motives.
  • Take That Me: The rap song "Communicate" (from the pulled episode "Lights Out At Whit's End") gets this treatment in a scene from the 2015 episode "Out of the Woods".
    Detective Don Polehaus: "And the old cassette player?"
    Eugene Meltsner: "I unearthed it from Mr. Whittaker's archives. When I push the button..." <pushes it>
    Whit/Kids (on tape): "...Share the gospel before it's too late, and the best way to do it is communicate!"
    Detective Polehaus (overlapping): "You’ll wanna change that."
    Eugene: "Well, Perhaps so."
  • Tell Her I'm Not Speaking To Her: "Red Wagons and Pink Flamingos," in which Courtney becomes the one carrying messages between quarreling friends Erica and Kim.
  • Theme Naming:
    • Each of Bill Kendall's wives has a name at least tangentially related to a month of the year (first Junenote ; April; May and Jannote ). Also, Bill's daughter with Jan, Julesnote  keeps the months of the year theme continuing.
    • The 1993 album "On Earth as It is in Heaven" has all 12 episode titles based on the Lord's Prayer in Matthew 6:9-13.
  • 13 Is Unlucky: Alluded to in "Bad Luck" during Robyn's dream sequence, in which Robyn yells out, "I'm not superstitious!", and Jessie (who IS superstitious) tells her, "Superstitious - that word has 13 letters in it! 13 is bad luck!"
  • Those Two Guys: Odyssey's resident Large Ham Edwin Blackgaard and assistant Walter Shakespeare (also an example of Fat and Skinny). The episode Odyssey Sings is the only episode where Shakespeare appears without Edwin.
  • Time Machine: The Imagination Station VR, but close enough.
  • Tomboy with a Girly Streak: Traci Needlemeyer, a minor character in the early '90s, may be one, as she plays baseball and enjoys building model trains, but the latter fact surprises Curt Stevens in "What Happened to the Silver Streak?", as he remarks he didn't think Traci was the type to enjoy getting dirty. (In that episode, a remake of the Officer Harley episode "The Case of the Missing Train Car," the role of Warren Summers from the original was rewritten for Traci.)
  • Took a Level in Jerkass:
    • Boy genius Nicolas Adamsworth. His first two appearances show him to be a honest (albeit nervous) kid who, in his first appearance, blows the whistle on a pre-HeelFace Turn Richard Maxwell, who's been forcing him to change grades at the local college. In "The Power", however, he apparently throws all of that out the window and suddenly becomes a bully who uses his knowledge of computers to torment the other kids and is unrepentant when caught. Even Whit is surprised.
    • David Straussberg in his later appearances went from a relatively normal and friendly kid to a surly and bitter teenager who was on the way to becoming a school bad boy and whom Mandy would often have trouble getting along with. This change in David's character coincided with the Straussberg parents' marital issues, however, so there was a logical in-universe reason for it.
  • Took a Level in Kindness:
    • Liz Horton, after her first couple of appearances. She became a much nicer girl after starting off as a nasty little brat who tormented a young girl named Wendy at camp and (nearly drove Connie to quitting her job at the Timothy Center). Liz winds up as Mandy Straussberg's best friend and her confidant during her parents' separation, and her ability to stir up a crowd and expose ugly truths is transformed into motivational leadership and investigative journalism skills.
    • Likewise, Richard Maxwell after his HeelFace Turn.
  • Too Strange to Show: In one episode, Whit tries to program his Imagination Station to show a representation of Heaven as a means of explaining how wonderful a place it is. Whit himself suffers a heart attack after entering the Imagination Station with the program running. Tom attempts to find out what happened, and immediately requests the program be shut down before it goes very far, and states that Whit intruded on an area man wasn't meant to know until it was actually time. Eugene, in curiosity and a bit of arrogance, tries to view the program and is implied to have been shown a horrific vision of a black void that was Hell itself, which ends up being a step in his later conversion to Christianity. The program is ultimately deleted for being too dangerous.
  • Training Montage: In "Do or Diet", as Whit, Bernard, and Wooton exercise to try to lose ten pounds each, set to a song oddly similar to "Gonna Fly Now".
  • Trash of the Titans: Billy and Sam find the Bones' hideout to be filled with this in "Checkmate".
  • Traumatic Haircut: "W-O-R-R-Y" opens with Erica getting one (the added trauma is that she has school pictures coming up). We never get a description of what it looks like, but judging from Mr. Allen's reaction, it's a doozy.
  • Tropical Epilogue: Well, French Riviera epilogue, anyway; in "Accidental Dilemma", it's where Jason is heard from at the end after going into hiding after faking his own death.
  • Truncated Theme Tune: Sometimes, especially in the later albums, there are no dialogue clips played during the credits, and that entire musical interlude is cut.
    • Later episodes simply had Chris introduce the episode with "And now, Adventures in Odyssey!" and the show's Leitmotif played using instrumentals that fit the opening scene.
    • Also in album versions, the theme song is cut entirely, especially if it's the beginning of a multi-parter.
    • Other times, there are too many clips to include any introduction by Chris or another character (as in the album version of "Plan B, Part 1"), so the intro is removed and the clips run in its place.
  • Tuxedo and Martini: Averted in most cases for Mitch (FBI) and Jason/Whit (NSA), although Jason is quite good at doing Bond-y one liners and even sarcastically identifies himself at one point as "Bond—James Bond".
  • Ultra Super Death Gore Fest Chainsawer 3000: Video games occasionally get names like this, such as Demon Racer XR425 from "All the Difference in the World".
  • Undisclosed Funds: Jules runs up an unruly amount of credit card funds in "Friend or Foe", and neither it nor Valerie's reportedly high restaurant bill are given any numerical value.
  • Unnecessary Time Precision: In "Aloha Oy!", Donna interviews Don Iowa, with one of the questions being the number of years the latter has resided in Hawaii. Iowa first says Hawaiians measure time in full moons rather than years. When Donna then modifies her question to fit this time scale, he answers he's lived there three years worth of full moons.
    Donna: How many years have you lived in Hawaii Mr. Iowa?
    Don Iowa: Oh the islands we don't measure time in years but in full moons.
    Donna: Okay, how many full moons have you lived here?
    Don Iowa: Hm, about three years worth.
  • Unusual Euphemism: The 2003 episode "Black Clouds" takes place mainly at a roadside diner where the owner uses the names of past American Presidents as exclamations of surprise where some would use profanity.
    • Jebidiah Skint, a main villain in the "Green Ring Conspiracy", uses a series of odd euphemisms.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: At the end of the "one of three will fall" arc, Olivia turns out to have been feeling this the whole time after she prayed that their ski trip, the ultimate cause of Mr. Norton's death, would happen, which got answered. Whit also feels this too after it's revealed he was the one responsible for the anonymous donation that made it happen.
  • Vehicular Sabotage: In "The Final Conflict", Bernard siphons all of the gas out of the tank of Professor Bovril's getaway van. Carson McKay does the Banana in the Tailpipe version in "Accidental Dilemma, Part 2".
  • Vengeance Feels Empty: In the episode "Waylaid in the Windy City, Part 2", Whit gives a speech to Richard Maxwell about the futility of revenge, focusing on how how pursuing it will harm Richard more than help him. Keep in mind that this is while Richard has Regis Blackgaard, the man who ruined his life, at gunpoint.
    "Don't you understand that when you go out for revenge, you've got to dig two graves—one for the person you're after and one for yourself! Richard, there's no such thing as revenge, not really. It never replaces what you lost. It never restores. It doesn't even satisfy. You're out of the detention center now. You've got your whole life ahead of you! Now please, give me the gun!"
    • In reality, Richard was holding a very realistic-looking water gun, and just wanted to feed Regis a slice of humble pie by making him beg for his life. He even points out to Whit and Connie that he's already out of jail and he isn't going to waste his second chance at freedom on killing Blackgaard.
    • A less dramatic example is in the episode "Melanie's Diary," when Robyn reads Melanie's diary and then blabs the contents to all her friends. A furious Melanie exacts revenge by rearranging the contents of Robyn's school folders so that she loses track of a book report and a speech, then fixes it so that the book report appears in Robyn's "speech" folder and Robyn starts reading her book report aloud when it comes time to deliver the speech. Later, Robyn offers Melanie a heartfelt apology, saying she now understands how Melanie felt when Robyn violated her privacy. Melanie, who didn't expect Robyn to be sorry, now feels remorseful herself and comes up with a unique way to apologize: by writing it in her diary and then asking Robyn to read it.
  • Villain Episode: Rodney Rathbone once starred in and narrated his own episode.
  • Virtual Ghost: Dr. Blackgaard as a rogue Imagination station program.
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy: Eugene's father Leonard.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist:
    • Monica Stone is wanted by the FBI and does several illegal jobs for Novacom, including infiltrating the Missions Board to steal a disk from Jason, mentally seducing him and threatening to kill his friend in the process—all because she bought the story that the Novacom technology was going to be used to help the handicapped, like her brother. She fully answers for her crimes, even rejecting a plea bargain when she testifies against Novacom, and accepts that she's going to go to prison for what she's done.
    • Melanie Jacobs becomes a mild example in the 1991 episode "The Second Coming" when - after being lent a book by a televangelist named Henry Fernbank suggesting that Fernbank had figured out that Jesus was coming back on the following Saturday - began taping posters on the prediction and even setting up a tent that Saturday night in anticipation of Jesus' return.
  • We Will Meet Again: Dr. Blackgaard and his mole, city councilman Mr. Glossman, in "The Nemesis".
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: No further mention is made of Ferguson, the cat Donna Barclay inherited from his previous owner (Karen Crosby, a young girl who died of cancer), after the Barclay family gets a dog named Normal in "Pet Peeves".
  • Where the Hell Is Springfield?: Odyssey is probably somewhere in the eastern Midwest area (it's east of Iowa, west of Chicago, and north of the Mason-Dixon line), but the clues don't get any more specific. Averted during the original "Family Portraits" pilot series where it's explicitly said to be in Ohio, but that has since been retconned.
  • White-Collar Crime: Ernie Myers was imprisoned for it, resulting in a significant amount of drama for his family in "Where's Your Daddy", "Like Father, Like Son", and "Forgive Us as We Forgive".
  • Whole-Plot Reference: "Blind Justice" to 12 Angry Men.
  • Who's on First?: In "Best Intentions," when Tom Riley invites Harlow Doyle to read the dialogue from Pilgrim's Progress.
    Tom: Well, this book here looks like it's split up into dialogue, so I could use the help.
    Harlow: Okie-dokie. Who should I play?
    Tom: Obstinate.
    Harlow: All right, but what's the character's name?
    Tom, Whit: [in unison] Oh boy.
  • Why Waste a Wedding?: When it looks like Eugene and Katrina will be late to their own ceremony in "For Better or For Worse", Tom and Agnes Riley take the opportunity to renew their vows instead.
  • You Are Not Ready: Whit to Connie and Eugene in "A Bite of Applesauce", with full Adam and Eve and Forbidden Fruit analogy.
. World of Snark: Almost every charecter has said a deadpan commit but Jason, Benard, Jay, Robin ad Connie stand out the most.
  • Year Inside, Hour Outside: Most of the Imagination Station adventures fall into this trope (anyone inside can go through large periods of time in history, but leave with little time having passed outside).
  • Your Mind Makes It Real: The Imagination Station, the Room Of Consequences, and the Transmuter. They all run according the rule that governs the Star Trek holodeck: it is perfectly safe until it isn't.
    • The Inspiration Station falls under this as well.