Leslie is the girl who likes to exaggerate. She is obviously a storyteller and more creative than the average person. An episode about exaggeration has the potential to be a lot of fun. This episode, however, doesn’t make good use of Leslie’s supposed creativity. Instead we hear some cynical jibes about her teacher which aren’t true and an encounter with a cowboy which happens to be true. It’s nothing really to speak of. Just because it follows the “girl who cried wolf” cliché doesn’t mean that it had to be uninteresting. But this episode completely wastes the opportunity to explore a silly and enjoyable story and instead opts for a more depressing approach.
First was Leslie’s mean-spirited description of her teacher Mr. Gutwrench. Despite Lucy’s remark that Leslie can’t hold a grudge for longer than five minutes, she seems to have been holding a hatred for her teacher for longer than that. Leslie is presented as a self-centered person. Her exaggerations only serve to make herself appear as the victim. While Whit appreciates Leslie’s imagination, I’m not sure I do. How can the audience approve of her if she isn’t at least able to craft an entertaining story?
Leslie tells a story about the cowboy on the purple fire truck in order to justify losing her mother’s new umbrella. Even though the story is true, it hardly makes up for the fact that she took the umbrella without her mother’s permission. But what really undermines the episode is that this true story still doesn’t make any sense. Taking an umbrella from a girl walking in the rain so you can give it to one of the people stuck on the Ferris wheel is absurd. By the time the umbrella would have reached the people on the Ferris wheel they would already have been helped down using the hook-and-ladder fire engine. Don’t set up something elaborate if you can’t explain it well in the end. This episode’s explanation was a less than spectacular. If Odyssey was trying to make the point that truth is stranger than fiction, they must have forgotten the fact that the town of Odyssey is actually fictional. You can’t make the claim that fact is stranger than fiction using just the medium of fiction. What we got in the end was a shallow and implausible fiction which was a little too strange.
At the end Chris says there is a fine line between exaggeration and lying. Well there’s also a fine line between comedic exaggeration and cynical exaggeration. Leslie’s form of exaggeration simply isn’t funny. Obviously the point of the episode is that exaggeration is untruthful and harmful, but that message could easily have been put forward in a way that is enjoyable to listen to. There was no need to resort to Leslie's form of exaggeration which at times is spiteful and at other times painfully uninteresting. Leslie’s tale about the cowboy on the fire truck belongs in a cartoon, not on Adventures in Odyssey. This episode gets 1 out of 5 stars.