The New Kid in Town
The episode starts with another monologue from Whit to the audience. Whit tells us that it’s a good morning for a walk and decides to take Oak Street. On his walk he says hello to George Poindexter, the mailman. George says he can't stop to talk because neither rain, nor snow, nor anything else shall stop the mailman from his appointed rounds. Whit says that rain and snow may not, but donuts and coffee sure will.
As Whit goes down the street, he sees the front yard of the McKay house filled with all kinds of boxes. Confused, he calls to the man in the yard and meets Larry Walker, the new owner of the house. Whit finds out that the Walker family has been in town two whole weeks and he is flustered that he knew nothing about it and insists that he helps them finish moving in. As he is helping Larry move boxes around in the garage, Larry tells Whit that he and his wife, Colleen Walker, specialize in fund raising and consulting for small organizations and educational institutions. This requires them to move around a lot and this time they are working with Odyssey Community College.
Larry then asks Whit what brought him to Odyssey. Whit says he and his wife, Jenny moved here to get away from the big city, Chicago to be precise. There he was a researcher for Universal Encyclopedia, but he was raised in a small rural town and wanted to move to a place where the pace of life was a little slower. Larry invites Whit and Jenny to dinner, but Whit informs Larry that Jenny passed on 9 years ago, but that they had 33 wonderful years together.
In the background, Colleen and the daughter, Shawn Walker are arguing in the house about Shawn missing the school bus. Shawn does miss the bus and their argument runs into the garage. The argument between the two seems very familiar to the two of them about Shawn not making enough effort to make friends. Shawn finally gets to the point of frustration where she storms out of the garage and not seeing Whit, runs right into him and rudely yells, "Do you mind?!" and storms out.
Colleen apologizes to Whit for Shawn's behavior. They tell Whit that Shawn is really very nice and talented. She can sing, paint, etc but that the excitement of traveling all over the country has worn off and the need to have more stable circle of friends is more important to her now that she is older. She has built a wall to prevent her from making friends because she knows that in time she will end up moving away. After this discussion, the trio heads inside the house for a cup of coffee.
We are then taken outside of McCollum Middle School, where Shawn is coming out of math class at the end of the day. A classmate, Roger, runs up and nervously gives Shawn her math notes that she left in class. After Roger walks off, Shawn has a conversation with herself while pretending to be Roger saying, "Hey you're the new girl all the boys can't wait to ask out. You sure are cute. Want to go out sometime?" After a while of walking and lamenting her day, she is interrupted by Whit and upon recognizing him, apologizes profusely for running into him earlier in the day. Whit accepts this apology and says he could use some help finding a place called Whit's End. Shawn doesn't know that Whit owns the store and proceeds to tell him that he is a few blocks away. Whit is amazed that after being in town for a few weeks, she already knows where the store is even though she hasn't been there herself. Whit invites himself to walk with her in that direction and begins to engage in her in a discussion of his childhood.
Whit tells Shawn that he spent the first few years of his life in Scotland. His mother died when he was born and his father married a Scottish lady. He then asks Shawn where she has lived. Shawn tells Whit that she has lived in L.A., Chicago, Denver, etc and even though Whit says it sounds exciting, Shawn was less than enthusiastic. She remembers the Dodger games in L.A., Crater Lake and other places that she is fond of. Whit then tells Shawn that he painted a picture of Crater Lake years ago and Shawn is surprised to find that Whit is something of a painter as well. Shawn then confides that she wishes she had more than a picture to remember things by. Whit tells Shawn that he understands how life must be difficult living out of the back-seat of the car and how it must be difficult to make new friends.
They arrive in front of Whit's End where Whit jokes that the owner of the store must be a few bricks short of a load after seeing the sign. He continues to say that a lot of kids from school are in there about this time and that she should go in. Shawn exclaims that she thought Whit had never been to the store. Whit retorts by saying with the way Shawn knew where Whit's End was, it seemed that she had been there before.
Shawn tells Whit that she doesn't have much to say so she sees no reason to go in. Whit tells her that most of the kids inside have never been out of Odyssey, much less the state. He also reminds her that they were just having a good conversation.
At this point, an employee of the store pokes his head out of the front door and tells Whit that he has a phone call on hold. Shawn is infuriated and embarrassed that Whit asked her for directions to his own store. She demands to know if her parents put him up to this. Whit says that no one did, and that after hearing how special and wonderful their daughter was, he simply wants to find out for himself and he agrees with her parents. He also adds that the kids inside would think the same thing if she gave them half a chance.
Roger comes by on his way into the store and says hi to Whit and Shawn. Shawn takes the initiative and asks Roger for some help with her math homework and both of them head into the store together.
The episode ends with Whit talking to the audience again and saying that experiences like this are why he lives in Odyssey today. He then excuses himself to go into the store to return his phone call.
- Discussion Questions are not available for episodes in the Family Portraits collection.
Heard in episode
|John Whittaker||Hal Smith|
|George Poindexter||Chuck Bolte|
|Larry Walker||Jim Cummings|
|Colleen Walker||Patti Parris|
|"Bob" (Jimmy)||Bob Luttrell|
Mentioned in episode
|Eleanor McAlister||John Whittaker|
|Jenny Whittaker||John Whittaker|
- Although the third episode to be aired, this was the first "Family Portraits" episode written.
- Whit has another opening monologue with the audience on this episode.
- This is the only time Whit mentions the name of the Odyssey newspaper "The Odyssey Chronicle." After this episode the name of the newspaper has always been The Odyssey Times
- This episode reveals the following information about Whit's History:
- He was a researcher for Universal Encyclopedia.
- He moved to Odyssey with his wife Jenny Whittaker 17 years ago (in 1971).
- Jenny died 7 years ago (again, in 1980), but that they had 33 wonderful years together.
- Whit was born in Scotland where his mother died when he was born. His father later married a Scottish lady. This story line is explored more in #49: “Thank You, God”.
- The "Mrs. McAlister" that Whit describes sitting on her front porch at the beginning of this episode is most likely Eleanor McAlister.
- The ending of this episode features Dr. Dobson and Mike Trout talking about the episode and they once again mention that Family Portraits is set in Ohio. They also call the main character Dr. Whit. It might also be Mike Trout calling Dr. Dobson by his title, as in: "That's right, Doctor. Whit is..."
- Shawn says that she could see all the way to the bottom of Crater Lake. Crater Lake is the deepest lake in the United States and its bottom cannot be seen.
- It is unclear if the Whit's End employees Jimmy and "Bob" are the same person with a name change as the series went on; however, it was the same actor for both parts.
- Later in Odyssey canon, we learn that Whit is the principal stockholder and Chairman of Universal Press Foundation which publishes the Universal Encyclopedia. It is unclear if this was a story point created later on, or just not mentioned in this episode.
- "New Kid in Town" is a song by the Eagles.
- There are no quotes listed for this episode. ».