Pamela has a few problems, one of which is a problem we all have. We’re all sinful human beings. Pamela isn’t perfect but, having been raised a Christian, she believes her parents think she has to be perfect. And as a result she can’t talk to them about what she’s done wrong. This episode opens up a conversation about abortion and, as writer Paul McCusker says in the intro, it offers the “Christian side of the debate.” This episode may have a mature theme but it still manages to tie back to a larger concept younger listeners will relate to. That concept is that you should be open and honest with people, particularly your parents. The struggle for Pamela in this episode really stems from her need to be accepted by her parents, an important topic for both parents and their kids.
This episode tries to slowly introduce the audience to the topic of abortion. At first it isn’t mentioned by name but it’s clear that it’s something serious. But eventually the topic is named and defined. Pamela has a secret she doesn’t want anybody to know and yet at the same time she desperately wants Connie to understand. This is one of the few moments in early AIO when Connie has a meaningful interaction with a friend her age. Connie’s conversations with Pamela were what made this episode into a drama and not simply the Christian side of a debate. Yes, Whit’s input was helpful for the sake of explaining the issue to the audience but the important dynamic between Connie and Pam got to the heart of situation.
Being open, honest and responsible is one part of the equation but the other part is being compassionate. This episode makes clear that from the Christian perspective love and compassion are absolutely fundamental. Pamela expected others to condemn her and distance themselves from her but instead they try to empathize with her. In fact everyone from the anti-abortion side in this episode who interacted with Pamela did so with compassion not only for her unborn child but for her as well. That theme of caring for others is present throughout and is again displayed in Pamela’s concern for a baby in a stroller that has been left alone, which turns into a powerful image.
This is indeed a mature episode and it should be left up to the parents to decide when their young kids should listen to it. Both Pamela and her boyfriend Scott struggle with taking responsibility for their actions and this episode does well in advocating for doing the right thing. Since Pamela Has a Problem was produced Odyssey has recently returned to the topic of abortion but in a more subtle way. If you remember in the three part show A New Era from Album 49 we hear that Eugene’s father wanted him aborted at first. If you’re looking for an initial introduction to abortion then you’re better off listening to A New Era. But once you’ve been better acquainted with the topic then Pamela Has a Problem is a more in-depth look at the Christian response. This episode gets 4 out of 5 stars.