Greetings and salutations, readers. It has been a little while since we’ve posted. Things have been busy, but hopefully we’ll be able to post a little more consistently in the upcoming weeks. This post has been in the works for a while, and I am pleased to be releasing it today. So, without further ado, here we go:

First, a little bit of background. The Avery Awards are one of the many features on the Official Adventures in Odyssey Podcast. It is in these episodes when I can find out what fans thought were the best actors, scripts, and overall episodes in the newest Adventures in Odyssey album. The Avery Awards are something that I look forward to every year.

It started back when Nathan Hoobler’s blog, AIOHQ, was active. He would do a fan poll to find out what the fans thought was the best moment, performance, and episode from that season. He would then announce the winners of the polls, calling them the End of Season Awards. He did this every year until he stopped in 2006, due to time constraints.

In 2010, the End of Season Awards became an official thing when the Official Site began hosting their own end-of-the-season award ceremony on their podcast. The Avery Awards ceremony was born. Every year, the AIO Team gives the Odyssey fans a chance to vote in different polls to choose what they thought was the best script, episode, actor, moment, and more for the newest album. The hosts, Bob Smithouser and Jesse Florea, announce the awards in a special ceremony on the Official Podcast, usually running into problems such as plane crashes, aliens, getting stuck in elevators, and other hilarious mishaps along the way. These editions of the podcast are structured like a short audio drama, even sometimes running the length of an Odyssey episode, all put together with scripts and sound effects. It is a tradition that the fans look forward to every year.

(Wow, that was a lot of background information. Special thanks to the AIOWiki Page for providing all the information for my little history lesson.)

In this post, I will be going through what I think are the best editions of the Avery Awards. This will not be based on the results of the awards, but on the content of the ceremony. I will be analyzing the different aspects of the events which happen in each edition. I would have ranked every single edition, but since there are a lot of editions and I’m having a hard time narrowing them down, I’ll just be listing my top 5 favorites here.

5. Day at the Racetrack: Album 63 and 64 Avery Awards (2018)

The Avery Awards for the albums “Up in the Air” and “Under the Surface” feature Bob and Jesse giving commentary as the nominations race to win the award for their respective category. As they commentate, some of the winners/nominations vanish, being abducted by a flying saucer.

This edition of the Averies is brilliant from the sound design to the concept. It is impressive because while it is meant to parody horse racing, it is really the nominations who are acting the part of horses. Which is pretty impressive, considering that some nominations aren’t even people but letters of the alphabet, B-TV sketches, or scenes. The sound effects, instead of horse sounds, consist of music cues to portray motion around the track, it is all incredible.
The randomness of it is humorous as well, from the Mothers Against Bears Listening to Podcasts (MABLTP-Jesse does an impressive pronunciation of the acronym) public service announcement to the Green Paint ads, it made me laugh a lot. Even the actors and crew’s speeches were random and pretty funny, especially Jess Harnell’s complaint about the cereal in toy boxes tasting like packing peanuts.
The only small complaint I have is the part when the flying saucer abducts Bob and Jesse themselves, having the podcast end on what I felt was an improperly concluded note. I suppose that was the point; perhaps it was meant to end in this humorous way. But I still think an epic rescue by Firefighter Rudy using the explosive green paint (I assume it is explosive, considering that Bob mentions the Family Coalition For Green Paint is a division of some Nuclear Industries) would have been a better ending.
My personal preferences aside, this is definitely one of my favorite Avery Awards, and I have listened to it many times since its release. This edition of the Averies was written by Sam Suksiri, and I must say that he did a great job on it.

4. The Chaotic Classroom College Credit: Album 57: A Call to Something More Avery Awards (2013)

The Avery Awards for “A Call to Something More” feature Bob and Jesse returning to college (I think it’s college?) to take an accredited Adventures in Odyssey podcasting class. While there, the professor decides to demonstrate the methods the class uses to predict the winners of the Avery Awards.

It would be a dream come true if I could earn credit hours for taking an Adventures in Odyssey class. This edition is one that I found to be strange, but it began to grow on me. The classroom is full of superfans of Odyssey, and Bob and Jesse skeptically have them demonstrate their claimed abilities of being prepared to answer anything related to Odyssey. The students, using their various methods, proceed to correctly reveal the winners of each category before Bob and Jesse even open the official results. However, the professor is not convinced that they are impressed, so he proceeds to reveal his artificial intelligence program that can answer anything about Odyssey. However, he humiliated at the end when his invention is unable to tell how old Whit is.

There were some fans who felt that this edition was making fun of the AIO fans who try to predict the results of the Avery Awards. Although it is an enjoyable ceremony, I am still slightly confused by it. Maybe I’m overthinking things, but was there a message that was trying to be communicated? Was this podcast condemning the AIO fans for obsessing over the show like the class was? (I personally don’t see a problem with being obsessed about Odyssey. After all, this is the Odyssey Obsessors!) Or perhaps it was saying that Odyssey fans should accept the fact that, no matter how invested they are, they will never know everything about the show? Or that we can never predict the future of the show? Or it may have been saying that we should be humble about our knowledge? Or, maybe, it could be that I am being way too philosophical and overthinking things.
Also, interestingly enough, at one point, one of the students claims that he time-traveled to 2017 to read an updated Official Guide. Sadly, this was an incorrect prediction.

But let’s focus on the positives, which outweigh my overthinking about it. Bob and Jesse’s interactions in the beginning were great. Bob’s list of 128 “tions” for making friends was funny, and I’d like to hear the full list. I was very impressed by the different methods that the students used to predict the winners. My favorite one was the Energy Girl, who made Wod-Fam-Choc-Sod energy drinks and was able to listen to every AIO episode on fast forward and answer anything. Sounds like something I could use. I liked how after all the other students showed their complex prediction methods and then Nicholas is like, “Uh, I just listened to the album, and I figured “Life Expectancy” would win.” This edition also has the Mission Statement of Odyssey Fandom: “As a true fan, we are prepared to give an answer to any question about any detail from any episode or Odyssey-related item from the past, present, or future.” It is a good statement for us all as AIO fans to try to live up to.
Overall, this is a good edition of the awards which has grown on me over time.

3. Never Mind the Sound Effects: Album 53: The Green Ring Conspiracy Avery Awards (2011)

Bob, Jesse, and Brock Eastman go on a hunt around Colorado Springs to find the winners of the Avery Awards.

I really enjoyed this one. I like how the opening paralleled the beginning of Album 53. The game B-TV Segment or Actual Event in My Life? that Bob and Brock played in the beginning was fun and something that all AIO fans should play with each other. The “what’s the Big Idea?” joke was great. I also liked how this edition had moments where it indirectly makes fun of unrealistic elements in the album, for instance saying, “Are you kidding? What are the chances they’ll be talking about the crash the second you turn on the radio?” like it did in Part 1 of “The Green Ring Conspiracy”. Bob, Jesse and Brock’s interactions throughout the whole thing are fun to hear. The best part was where they are at the Air Force Academy and they read the winner of Best Quote, consisting of making silly big truck sounds, much to the disgust of the commander/general guy there: “We can’t have any of that nonsense in the Air Force!” It’s absolutely hilarious! And of course, the sound design throughout the whole thing was good, with the noises of a highway, an elephant, a swing, bike, and more. I also like how Brock insists that he can take out all the background sounds from the recording in post-production as if he knows what to do, but yet at the end takes the recording to an audio editor asking him to fix it. I’d like to hear Bob and Jesse’s reaction when they found out he had released it as it was.
This is one edition which I have listened to a lot, as it is one of my top favorites.

2. The Conning Comic Ceremony: Album 58: The Ties That Bind Avery Awards (2015)

Bob and Jesse attend an Odyssey Convention and announce the results of the Avery Awards. However, things are not as they seem.

Like The Green Ring Conspiracy Avery Awards, it also paralleled the beginning of Album 58. Bob and Jesse are on guard for The Perilous Podcaster, who wants to reveal the Avery Awards winners before they do. Of course, they never suspect that Ben Perell, the events coordinator for the whole convention was the Perilous Podcaster. I like the setup of the Odi-con, an Odyssey fan convention (even if it did turn out to be a fraud to get the results). If only there was such a thing that existed in real life, with exclusively Odyssey stuff. I found it interesting how Jesse points out a person wearing a costume of the second customer in the unreleased episode “Career Moves”. I enjoyed all the multiple puns that were made, they make me laugh every time. Jesse’s Waffle Iron Man suit is pretty cool as well. My favorite parts were where the guy in the Shona Kennedy costume was caught and the part where the 1967 Flimsy Franken Slacker Sam Bathrobe catches the place on fire. And I like the moral at the end, where Ben the Perilous Podcaster shows how deceptive he was to set up the Odi-con to get the results of the awards, spending a lot of money to do it. The very definition of wrong is definitely what he was doing. It is not something that happens among podcasters, either, but everyone in the world.
This is a fantastic edition of the Avery Awards, one that I have listened to many, many times.

1. Four Characters Trapped in an Elevator: Album 59 and 60 Avery Awards (2016)

Bob, Jesse, Christopher Diehl, and a cowboy get trapped in an elevator on their way to the Avery Awards ceremony.

This is my all-time favorite edition of the Avery Awards. I can’t say enough about it. The story with Bob and Jesse stuck in the elevator with Firefighter Rudy’s attempts to rescue them was very intriguing, engaging, and entertaining. It is absolutely hilarious how the red button initiates a literal Applesauce Program which is installed in the elevator. A little different from the one in the Blackgaard Saga, though. There was an intense moment where Bob and Jesse nearly meet their deaths drowning in applesauce. The different elements of the storyline of the podcast serving as transitions between each category were great: For example, Bob explaining how he learned to always carry backup copies of the Avery Award winners after accidentally eating them the previous year was an excellent transition into the category of “Lesson Learned”-est Moment.
This podcast also introduces the Odyssey character Firefighter Rudy into the universe of the Official Adventures in Odyssey Podcast, who after this becomes a recurring character, appearing again in Official Podcast 310, Official Podcast 350, and Official Podcast 364. His debut in this episode was very memorable for his efforts to rescue Bob and Jesse. Those elevator doors are obviously made of something stronger than steel. All of Rudy’s attempts to open the doors, from blowtorch, diamond-coated drill, Lightsaber, and his Ancient Hammer which only the truly worthy can wield all fail. The Star Wars and Marvel references in here are great and always make me laugh. And it is very impressive that after all the failed attempts, Dave Arnold simply tears open the elevator doors with his bare hands. Just goes to show the importance of exercise, clean eating, and having power as executive producer of Adventures in Odyssey.
As with the previous awards ceremonies, the interactions between everyone in this episode were great. One of my favorite parts is where Chris appears and tries to host the Averies for them. I also like how Christopher Diehl and a cowboy were in the elevator standing there quietly the whole time.
Given all these points and several others I did not include, this edition, the Avery Awards for Albums 59 and 60 is my Number One favorite and is the best edition of the Avery Awards. This edition of the podcast was written by Sam Suksiri and I give him a standing ovation and my respect for writing it so well and incredibly. I have listened to this episode more times than I can count.

The Avery Awards are one of my favorite parts of the Official Adventures in Odyssey Podcast. It’s really Bob and Jesse’s interactions that make them memorable. They do a great job hosting them every year. Their interactions in the stories are fun to hear. If the two of them were to start their own audio drama starring them, I would definitely be listening.

Well, there you have it. A list of what I consider to be the best editions of the Avery Awards. What are your thoughts? Do you agree with me that these are the best editions? What are your favorite editions of the Avery Awards? Be sure to leave a comment!

-Signed, Polehaus53