Despite the focus on humor in this episode, Adventures in Odyssey touches on a more serious subject as well: divorce. As for Craig’s jokes, I can only assume they were meant to be corny. Maybe Freddy doesn’t laugh at the jokes not because he doesn’t understand them but because they simply aren’t that funny. As Whit tries to explain the knock-knock joke about the orange Freddy gets lost even further, which is perhaps a way to connect to the audience who is also presumably feeling confused about these less than spectacular jokes.
The real humor in this show comes from the interactions between the adults. When Whit meets Craig’s father, Bill, he mentions that Craig is funny. Bill misunderstands and remarks that Craig is “no stranger than most boys.” Whit then talks about how his father had a saying about how the ability to make people laugh was a gift from God and Whit asks Bill where Craig got his sense of humor. Except Bill misunderstands yet again and thinks Whit is asking where his father came up with the saying. This seems to be a glimpse of the kind of humor we get to enjoy in the upcoming episode Gifts for Madge and Guy.
Whit’s loud freezer motor makes use of a funny sound effect and reminds us once again that although Whit is an inventor, even he can’t always get things to work right. Fearing the frozen ice cream will melt, he offers free ice cream to the kids. This was obviously a lapse in Mr. Whittaker’s judgment and an ice cream binge ensues, making all the kids feel sick. It’s soon after this that Freddy has an outburst at Craig for telling jokes and reveals his dad is moving out and his parents are getting a divorce. Naturally, this topic kills the mood for Craig’s jokes.
Craig is taken aback and saddened when he realizes he was joking inappropriately at Freddy’s expense. He goes to his father for help but Bill is too busy. He keeps asking if he wants to hear a joke but Bill insists he doesn’t have time because he’s working on Whit’s freezer motor. Because of the pressure Bill is under to do a good job he doesn’t realize Craig’s need for affirmation. This is probably a situation both kids and parents can relate to and says something about the importance of communication in any kind of relationship.
When Craig’s mother, Joan, arrives on the scene Bill is annoyed that she went to look for a job and a fight begins. Craig storms out, similarly to how Davey stormed out when he was frustrated, and takes an angry skateboard ride through town. But instead of tripping into a garbage can like Davey, he crashes into what sounds like a parked bicycle. His so-called friends don’t understand his predicament with his parents and insist on hearing a joke, causing Craig and them to part ways.
Meanwhile, Whit is again showing his eccentric side as he puts together a strange ice cream creation which combines a variety of flavors. Tom Riley is his guinea pig and makes several jokes about it, calling it “the cone of many colors,” saying that it could use some ketchup and implying that feeding the ice cream to his dog would be a punishment. Craig could learn a thing or two about comedy from Tom. After all, as we learn in Album 43’s Potential Possibilities Tom could have been a Vaudeville performer. The appearance of a raspberry seed in Tom’s ice cream allows Whit to give one of his famous object lessons and also gives Tom the opportunity to explain that he is a farmer.
Freddy and Craig apologize to each other at the end and Craig begins telling a joke about polar bears on motorcycles. Freddy, like any inquisitive person, questions the whole premise of the joke and Whit and Craig laugh at his inability to take jokes at face value. This episode is good in that it presents a variety of humor for both young kids and older people and also explores Whit and Tom’s friendship. It gets 3 out of 5 stars.