Hello, and welcome to my very first character analysis for the Odyssey Obsessors! I’ve just finished listening to Album 58, The Ties That Bind, and I decided to write about Hadley for several reasons:
First, because the Ties That Bind was one of the first albums I listened to when I started listening to AIO. For reasons which I’ll get into in this post, I was sorta fond of his character and starred him in my early fanfiction.
Secondly, Hadley was one of those new characters that didn’t receive a lot of attention from the fans (at least not where I’ve looked). And since the writer(s?) took time to create this character and made him a major part of the album, I believe he is worthy of attention.
The Ties That Bind brought listeners a rare appearance of one of Wooton’s family members – Not that the fans asked for it. In fact, I’m guessing that the listeners’ reactions to Hadley is best summed up with this:
Hadley: It’s me, Hadley! Cousin Hadley Bassett!Part 3
Vance: Another Bassett….?
During the majority of the album, Hadley is, well, living up to his last name. What some listeners noted was that Hadley acted exactly like Wooton, but Wooton was annoyed with him. Others said that Hadley’s Wooton-like nature allowed for Wooton to be a bit more serious as serious things happened in this album. Which I believe is a good point.
Hadley really doesn’t do much apart from bug Wooton, break things, and say weird, random, and at times, hilarious, stuff.
Until we reach the end, in parts 13-14. Sure, there was a bit of suspicion on him (via Penny) but he definitely wasn’t the main suspect for the break-in or house fire. Things heat up in part 14, when Hadley steals Wooton’s art and tries to sell it. That’s when we find out that Hadley was the culprit of the ‘break-in’ and the accidental fire starter.
Hadley is also one of those unillustrated characters. (Frankly, there were quite a few in this album) The Odyssey team always encourages fans to imagine characters, and I have not done very well in this area with any unillustrated character. But I do know one thing about my mental picture of Hadley:
He does NOT look anything like Wooton.
I did come across a drawing of Hadley in Member Masterpieces and I really wanted to un-see it because he looked nothing like how I see Hadley in my mind’s eye. (no offense to the person who drew it. It was a great drawing)
To be honest, my image of Hadley is more detailed than any other unillustrated character, but I don’t possess the artistic ability to draw him in any other form than – never mind, don’t ask.
Those are the basics, folks. Now, let’s get into the character of this character.
Hadley is quite a character. He has an “uncanny ability to break things” due to “some force of his personality”, according to Wooton. Yeah, he broke quite a bit of stuff in this album. Including a shower head, several statues, and a ton of dishes. (I also like to imagine that when Wooton says, “Penny’s parallel parking and Hadley’s helping her” that Hadley accidentally caused Penny to crash into one of the cars) Not to mention starting an electrical fire with a 1967 Flimsy Franken Slacker Sam bathrobe.
Aside from that very obvious trait of Hadley, there’s another aspect to him that I noticed as I was listening, and hearing him say things like:
Hadley: Maximized Comics doesn’t offer a contract to just anyone. Definitely not me.Part 4
Penny: Or me.
Hadley: You do comics, Penny?
*Hadley makes noisy entrance into Hal’s Diner*Part 10
Hadley: I hate to bother your alone time, but I tried to call…
Wooton: Yeah, I turned off my phone to avoid interruption.
Hadley: Good thinking.
Eugene: It’s unlikely she’s trying to take over the world, but she may want to take control of information in the marketplace to maintain its edge of profitability for its products.Part 13
Penny: …That’s what I meant.
Hadley: Wow, you are so smart, Penny!
Penny: Thank you.
Okay, you get the picture. The best way I could think to describe this was ‘unintentionally inconsiderate/blunt and obliviously naïve’ (is that an oxymoron?). Wow, that’s a mouthful.
Or, in even plainer words, Hadley is just…a bit slow on the uptake.
Please do not interpret this as something like, “Hadley is dumb!”
Nothing could be further from the truth (no pun intended). If you ask me, you’d have to be pretty smart to set up a fake break-in, follow through with it very consistently, draw attention to other suspects, and talk your escape from the owner of a certain ice-cream shop (even if you couldn’t fool him).
So, Hadley is smarter than he appears. But at the same time, he’s just…silly. I highly doubt he was silly as part of his cover, though.
Hadley: This is an amazing computer room. It reminds me of the one in Captain Absolutely!Part 12
Wooton: Yeah, this was the inspiration!
Hadley: And I’m standing right in the middle of it? Can I take a picture?
Eugene: If you must.
Hadley: Great! I’d like that one over there, with Whit with the President. It’s got a cool frame.
Eugene: You’re very literal-minded, aren’t you?
Hadley: I’ve always thought of myself as a conservative….
Is ‘silly’ even the right word? Hm, maybe I should describe this as ‘Bassett-esque’.
So, not only is Hadley clumsy, silly, and a thief, but he is also one of my favorite characters.
I was wondering that myself while hearing the TTB. I wouldn’t have paid much attention to him if it hadn’t been for the last part of the album. Paul McCusker saves him there.
There are two types of criminals. There is the Dr. Blackgaard, Mr. Charles, Dr. Trask category, and there is the Richard Maxwell, Monica Stone, Buck Oliver category. What separates these groups is that the second group, unlike the first, was actually repentant of their wrongs (In varying degrees, of course). Hadley falls into that second category.
Hadley’s ‘last stand’ with Hugo Wells and Wooton is practically a permanent part of my memory, probably because I’ve heard the TTB more than any other AIO Album. But that’s the scene where Hadley redeems himself.
With all the frustrations Wooton had with Hadley, and all the trouble Hadley caused. He caused unnecessary worrying about a fake break-in and burnt down Wooton’s house, for goodness sake! I would say hats off to Wooton for how he dealt with Hadley. He had grounds to press charges. He could’ve gotten Hadley arrested or something. But no, he didn’t. He understood Hadley’s motive and even got Hadley’s sunk business back up.
The thing that saved Hadley for me was that he (Hadley) was aware that he did not deserve Wooton’s grace. And when someone is aware that they are the very unworthy receiver of an undeserved gift, I would hope that they are on the right track. Who knows where it can lead?
And that’s why Hadley Bassett remains as one of my favorite characters and one that I would like to see return.
Well, I like to imagine that he has returned, in a way. In the Case of the Ball Cap Hero, the night-shift clerk is seriously like a Hadley clone. I wouldn’t even be surprised if he was played by Chad Doreck.
But a real return would be even better…just sayin’.
Hadley: So, you heard it here first, folks! A Comic-Connellsville Exclusive, with me, Hadley Bassett, bringing you…uh, is this thing on?Part 3
Wooton: Uh, yeah, I think we’re done. Ok, thanks everybody!