There are a number of AIO episodes that I frankly want to skip, because they are neither offensive enough to rant about nor good enough to earn compliments. Many of the straightforward adaptations of Biblical stories fall into this category. I really thought this would be one, because all I remembered about it was that Whit tells Jack and Lucy (two recurring children) the story of Noah. Oh, and there was some other story he opened with, that we only hear the end of. How did that go again?
“The fire blazed through the house, pushing little Billy to his bedroom window on the second floor. He looked down and saw his parents, who had been frantically trying to find him.”
Oh right. It’s about a small child literally burning to death because he doesn’t have enough “faith” to jump into his fathers arms, thereby proving that faith is really important.
Jack and Lucy point out how Billy at least had the advantage of being sure his father exists. Lucy talks about being teased at school for putting her faith in something she can’t even see. Well, Whit has the solution to that; the story of Noah. He’s going to assuage her worries about belief in someone she can’t see by telling her about a faith-having person who she also can’t see. That’s not convoluted at all.
It’s honestly unclear what he’s supposed to be teaching them. Yes, he’s teaching them “about faith” but they accept his stories so readily that lack of faith clearly isn’t the issue. Lucy is worried about teasing, but he isn’t offering her practical solutions so much as reinforcing that faith is a good thing. But this reassurance wouldn’t work if they didn’t already have the very faith he’s trying to teach them.
So the lesson here isn’t actually a lesson, so much as an exercise in confirmation bias. A good deal of Adventures in Odyssey can be explained by that, actually.
Back to the review. Whit can’t just tell Jack and Lucy the story right where they are. They might not have enough material to fill the whole twenty minutes of this radio drama! So he takes them up to the Bible room. It’s an exciting room full of Biblical activities, like… Biblical dioramas. Also you can recite Bible verses into a mirror. If you say the text correctly, it will give you the chapter and verse, and vice versa. Fun! This is what fun is like!
Anyway, Lucy and Jack gush, in a way that is totally normal-sounding and not brainwashed cult-y at all, about how cool the Bible room is and how excited they are for another story because Whit is such a great storyteller.
Whit starts the story of Noah where everyone starts it; by emphasizing that everybody, absolutely everybody, was incredibly evil. We’ve got an apocalypse to justify here. Being a fabulous storyteller, he establishes this with no supporting details or examples, but simply an assertion that God was really pissed off with them. Because the Biblical Old Testament God would never get tetchy about something we would consider innocuous, like shellfish, or cloth made of textile blends.
Noah found favor with God, and had a “walked and talked” relationship with him. Of course, that walked and talked is totally metaphorical, because then it would undercut the whole point of this story, right? I mean, Whit is trying to comfort a couple kids who are being bullied for believing in something they can’t see. He’s not going to illustrate the importance of faith without evidence by talking about someone who had a standing dinner date with God, right? Of course not. That would make no fucking sense.
Anyway, Noah metaphorically walks and talks with a God and gets detailed metaphorical instructions on this whole flood thing. Didn’t have any direct experiences of God that he could treat as evidence of his faith, but somehow got perfectly clear and comprehensible directions from him. Got it? Good.
Whit, storyteller extraordinaire, finally gets to the showing part of the story. He paints a vivid picture of Noah’s dinner with his wife, in which they are conflicted between the great honor of this task and the fear of what is to come.
Oh, sorry, I meant they talk react with the flippancy of a couple who has been volun-told to organize the PTA bake sale. And with painfully stereotypical New York Jew accents.
Whit says it took a hundred and twenty years to build the ark. Jack and Lucy gush for a while over the faith of this man, who
got a blueprint from a guy he sees semi-regularly worked for someone who he had never seen. They are also impressed by his preparation for something that hasn’t happened yet, which… isn’t all preparation for something that hasn’t happened yet?
Then Whit talks about how Noah no doubt got teased for his beliefs too. Horrible persecution, like;
- People not taking his word on this whole repent-or-be-drowned thing.
- People finding this threat of imminent drowning a bit dickish and coercive.
- Being cited by health inspectors and animal rights activists for keeping animals on his place without proper facilities.
- Criticism from the boat-builders union.
- Police claiming he’s… double parked. I don’t know how that even works. I mean, there’s just the one ark. And it’s always portrayed as just hanging out on a hilltop, where there aren’t any other boats, just waiting for the flood waters to rise… You don’t build boats right there in the water, guys.
So yeah, damn these liberals and their regulations. Inconveniencing someone’s right to do whatever the fuck they want to is the worst evil we can think of! It’s exactly this kind of evil mayhem that gets the planet flooded.
Well, from here, you know the drill. Lots of water. Everyone dies. The ark floats, despite being built by non-union members. The waters subside after a while and Noah releases some birds to make sure everything’s safe. They still haven’t run out the clock quite enough, so everyone gushes about how much faith Noah had in someone he never-
okay, for fucks sake, enough of this! He “walked and talked” with God. You’ll insist we can’t teach evolution because the creation story has to be literal, but “walked with God” gets to be a metaphor because if Noah has actually seen God then his faith gets way less impressive.
Best bit: Feel free to call me biased, but I liked the parody liberals accidentally making good points.
Worst bit: Tough call, but I’m gonna go with the terrifying and manipulative opening story. Honorable mentions to the utter blandness of the Bible Room and the concept of a double-parked ark.
Story: A bit derivative of Utnapishtim, with a cloying frame device. D
Moral: “Faith always pays off, take my word for it!” F