Tag: Out

Some thoughts on “Lights Out At Whit’s End”

Lights Out at Whit’s End is marked one of the worst episodes in Odyssey history, both by the writers and the listeners. There’s no debate there. It’s infamous and has references made to it by both episodes, writers, and fans alike. But drowned in the five-minute rap segment of the episode, have we forgotten some of the good parts of the episode?

Now, you might say to me, what good parts of the episode? Exactly why I bring this up. What about the moral that we don’t need technology to have fun? Now, that wasn’t executed the best way- the kids want to make a movie, and the power goes out. I used to do that a lot for contests and such, and it was very annoying to haul my equipment places and then to have things go wrong. Just in their defense. But yes, that’s not the only thing to do in the world. Go work on the script or something, kids.

So, Mr. Whittaker, David Harley, and Tom Riley set out to entertain these kids themselves. What follows starts out as a silly play. Just silly- not funny enough to make me laugh like the kids were. It’s fun to hear Walker and Hal perform the way they do in this segment. And the retelling of the invention of the Gutenberg printing press is actually quite enjoyable. I’ve listened to the episode multiple times to hear this part of it. Whit’s “German” accent is fun to listen to.

Then they segway into the communication bit of it.

Here’s where things go downhill. And while we avoid this episode like the plague for the rap, is it really all that bad?
Yeah. It’s terrible. Synth drums, Mr. Whittaker rapping “on the fly”, Will Ryan talking in a suspiciously “cool” voice like he’s trying so hard to be a rapper. So what drove the writers’ temporary insanity to write something like this?
I admit it. I wrote a rap. And for about one to two months afterward, I thought it was a masterpiece. The new ability for me to write words that rhyme on a piece of paper and make some kind of sense was super fun. After those one to two months, I realized it was horrible and didn’t show anyone. Literal, temporary, insanity. This probably happened for the writers. This new novelty of making words rhyme and communicating a message, and they remained in the “it’s awesome” stage long enough to get it recorded, produced, and aired.
But it never aired again, did it? Thus the realization that it’s actually horrible, and not wanting anyone to see or hear it.
Yes, the words legitimately rhyme. If you haven’t heard the episode, the rap goes like this: (Note: words in brackets [ ] are slightly or completely illegible and may not be the actual scripted words of the rap).

Officer Harley: Now listen here, kids, gonna tell you somethin’ great.
Bout’ some different ways to communicate.
You can put up a sign, you can write a book,
You can say a lot by the way you look.
You can grumble, you can mutter, you can stammer, you can blab,
You can [shatter, you can tatter], you can lecture, you can gab!
You can use a pen and paper, or slate and chalk,
But the best way to do it is to sit down and talk!
Communicate! Communicate! Just open up your heart and communicate!
We gotta share ideas, there’s no time to wait,
And the best way to do it is communicate!

Amanda: When you talk and [it’s funny], it can be a blast,
But you really get in trouble if you talk in class!

Bobby: You can talk by a locker, or anywhere you go,
You can talk underwater just like Jacques Cousteau!

Harley, Bobby, and Amanda: Communicate! Communicate! Just open up your heart and communicate!
Harley: We gotta learn to laugh cuz’ joy is great!
Harley, Bobby, and Amanda: And the best way to do it is communicate!

Harley: If you wanna make friends [of the] people you meet,
You gotta learn communication, it’s a two-way street!
Marianne: She says hi, and you say hello!
Now you’ve got a conversation and away you go!
Harley: She asked about his [family]!
Marianne: He asked about her friends!
Both: That’s good communication, no tellin’ where it ends!
Communicate! Communicate! Just open up your heart and communicate!
Harley: Wanna learn about your cousin and your uncle Nate!
Both: And the best way to do it is communicate!

Tom: Be swift to hear, be slow to speak,
Be slow to anger, d’you get it? Meek!

Whit: God can take someone who’s lost in sin
And make their life brand new again!
But how they gonna know new life is great,
If Christians like us don’t communicate?

All: Communicate! Just open up your heart and communicate!
Whit: We’ve got to share the Gospel before it’s too late!
Harley: And the best way to do it is communicate!
All: Communicate! Just open up your heart and communicate!
We’ve gotta share the Gospel before it’s too late!
And the best way to do it is communicate!
Harley: Can you hear me now?
All: Communicate! (Applause).

(And then the chorus gets started up again about 30s later and we get one more chorus as the episode fades out)

 

As you saw, yes. It rhymes. I didn’t add the interruptions, but every time a new character says his or her verse, they interrupt and try to coax or invite them onto the stage. It’s not an uninterrupted rap. And as you can clearly see, the chorus skips the second “communicate” by the end for some strange reason.
Anyways, I’m just making the point that this effort is no better than mine, or yours, I’m sure. Some parts of it are still terrible. And Will Ryan’s gangster voice is very strange to hear when it’s supposed to be David Harley who’s rapping.  So, overall, even though this episode is famed for being terrible, take a second look at it. There’s more going on than just what you remember from listening to it all those years ago.

 

 

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