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027: A Change of Hart
StarStar
May 21, 1988

Freddie Hart tries everything to become popular but everyone teases him. His father tells him to turn to God.


Characters
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Character
Actor
App.
# 1
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Production Team
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Paul McCusker   Steve Harris   Phil Lollar   Male Missing
Paul McCusker   Steve Harris   Phil Lollar   Bob Luttrell
Writer   Director   Director   Sound Designer


Review
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Written By: Chandler

This episode begins with a wraparound in which Chris visits the laboratory of the world-famous scientist (more correctly, alchemist) Dr. Julius Schnitzelbonker. He proclaims that he is going to change regular eggs into solid gold bars. The experiment goes awry and the doctor asks Chris if she likes her eggs scrambled or sunny side up.

Freddie Hart is a geek. All the kids know it. The show opens with a long scene (three minutes) between Freddie and his dad, Mr. Hart. Freddie is trying to convince his dad that the family should move. Puzzled, Mr. Hart questions Freddie closely and discovers that kids from school are picking on him. The time after school during which Freddie's parents assumed their son was playing with friends was actually spent avoiding bullies--Freddie has no friends. When Freddie realizes that his family won't move, he requests a change of schools. Mr. Hart is hesitant. He doesn't want Freddie to learn to run from his problems. He tells Freddie to just be good and stay out of the way and the bullies will forget that he exists. The next day, Freddie comes home with a bloody nose and torn clothes--the bullies are getting violent.

Concerned, Mr. Hart goes to see the school principal. The principal admits that Freddie is a good, mild-mannered kid who doesn't get into trouble. Unfortunately, there isn't much he can do to prevent kids from picking on Freddie. Frustrated, Mr. Hart decides to go ahead and send Freddie to Odyssey Academy instead.

Freddie is glad to go to a new school. The kids didn't know him. Unfortunately for Freddie, it's not hard to spot a geek. He tries to befriend a kid named Gordie, but Gordie bluntly tells him everything that makes him "different." His hair and his pants are old styles. He carries way too many pens. He should never want to play the harp or have a butterfly collection. And above all, he should not let anyone see his mom drop him off at school and blow kisses. Freddie takes Gordie's words to heart and changes his appearance. Sadly, the kids are still mean to him--he's been pegged as a geek.

Dejectedly, Freddie again starts suggesting that his family move. Mr. Hart discusses the situation with Freddie and sees that he had mistaken Freddie's motives. Freddie wanted to reinvent himself and he thought he could accomplish that by attending a new school. Mr. Hart challenges Freddie about conforming to other people's standards. Would he change everything about himself simply to be liked by the other kids? Mr. Hart then discusses by whom Freddie wants to be accepted--are the kids really that important? What about God? Confused, Freddie asks if God likes him. Mr. Hart says that God loves Freddie and is willing to change him for the better. Freddie asks how that can be done. Mr. Hart explains the plan of salvation and Freddie understands it for the first time. He then prays to accept Jesus.

There are a variety of things that date this show. In the first scene, Mr. Hart is paying bills. Adding machine sound effects are played to convince the listener of the fact. Unfortunately, adding machines are now somewhat obsolete. When Mr. Hart goes into the school office to talk to the principal, typewriter effects are heard in the background. Typewriters are now practically nonexistent. On a side note, Paul McCusker, who is better known for his role as Philip Glossman, did the voice for the principal.

Although I like the salvation message on this episode, there are other aspects of the show that bother me. Freddie's parents exhibit an appalling ignorance of what is going on in Freddie's life. They assume that he's getting home late after school because he's playing with his friends. They never even bothered to ask. Had they asked Freddie, the situation may have been remedied much sooner. But even if he was just playing with his friends, isn't it the parents job to know who their kid is hanging out with? His parents should have known where Freddie was if only to find him in case of an emergency. It seems strange that Mr. Hart was suddenly so in tune with Freddie's plight when he is talking to the principal. He tells in great detail what the kids have been doing to Freddie. He says that Freddie has a lot of anxiety and lower grades as a result of being bullied. And yet, two days before, Mr. Hart had no idea any of this was occurring. Strange. Anyway, everything about this show apart from the story really strikes me as old; it's not up to par with the standard set by so many other shows.


Trivia
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This episode first appeared in an album 15 years after its original airing.
- noname

This is the first AIO episode that didn't any appearances from "regular" characters.
- noname

This is the first episode that Whit does not appear in.
- Harlow

this is the first episode that Whit doesn't appear in
- Harlow


Goofs
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Allusions
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The title is a modification of the phrase "a change of heart."
- Chandler


Quotes
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