The Prodigal, Jimmy
When Jimmy Barclay realizes he's spent all his savings on pizza and video games, he finds it difficult to confront his father.
Jimmy Barclay is rolling in dough — almost $50 worth, to be exact. He decides to spend the money and his entire Saturday playing video games at the arcade. But his father, George, nixes that idea, thanks to the C-minus Jimmy got on his spelling test. George rightly surmises that the poor grade is due to Jimmy’s lack of study and his tendency to goof off lately. George orders Jimmy to stay home, finish his chores, and study.
But Jimmy’s money is burning a hole in his pocket and his piggy bank. He decides that he’s old enough to come and go as he pleases. So when George goes to work, Jimmy sneaks out and heads off to Pizza City. His plan is to have some fun in the morning, then return home before his dad does that afternoon at 3:30.
At Pizza City, Jimmy meets up with two unsavory men named Mook and Howie, who con Jimmy into spending all his money on them. They teach him how to play video games and tell him jokes, living it up at Jimmy’s expense. But when his funds run out, Mook and Howie quickly leave. Jimmy is embarrassed and hurt at being taken for a sucker — until he remembers to ask about the time. It's 3:30.
For guidance, Whit tells him the story of another fellow who disobeyed his father, spent all his money on no-good friends, and ended up feeding pigs for a living. Jimmy recognizes the story as the parable of the prodigal son. With Whit's help, Jimmy realizes that just like the son in the story, he, too, must repent and return home.
Whit takes Jimmy home, and he immediately confesses his sins to George. Jimmy waits for his punishment. But before George punishes his son, he welcomes Jimmy with a hug, showing him the real meaning of the prodigal story: forgiveness.
- Jimmy said he was old enough to make his own decisions. Was he?
- When is someone old enough to make his or her own decisions?
- Why was Jimmy so afraid to go home?
- Was his fear justified?
- What does it mean to repent?
Heard in episode
|George Barclay||Chuck Bolte|
|Jimmy Barclay||David Griffin|
|John Whittaker||Hal Smith|
Mentioned in episode
|Mary Barclay||George Barclay|
|Donna Barclay||George Barclay|
|Connie Kendall||John Whittaker|
|Eugene Meltsner||John Whittaker|
- The last scene between George and Jimmy was performed "free-form" — that is, the actors ad-libbed the entire scene!
- The sound effects for the video games in the arcade come from an Atari 2600. One of the games sounds used in the episode comes from the 2600 version of Pac-Man.
- This episode was Steve Burns's AIO debut.
- This episode introduces Jimmy's passion for video games, something that would appear in later episodes in reference to the Zapazoids game franchise specifically.
- Writer Phil Lollar's line about "sticking with a story" until "I can come up with something better" would be heard again in his later Barclay family episode #236: “Into Temptation” (in which the line is spoken by Lawrence Hodges to his conscience, played by Whit).
- The events of this episode would be referenced later in the episode #62: “Let This Mind Be in You”, and many years later in #536: “Living in the Gray, Part 2”.
- AIO Update: Read
QuotesHowie: You thinkin' what I'm thinkin'?
Mook: I think so... what are you thinkin'?
Howie: I'm thinkin' we just found somebody with lots of money here!
Mook: Oh. Then I'm not thinkin' what you're thinkin'. But if you're thinkin' now, what I think you're thinkin', then you're thinkin' a good thought, I think.
Howie: Would you come on?!
John Whittaker: Well Jimmy, you know you're gonna have to go home.
Jimmy Barclay: But my dad will kill me!
John Whittaker: You don't know that.
Jimmy Barclay: You don't know my dad!
Herbert: What'sa matter, kid? What happens at three thirty? You turn into a pumpkin or somethin'?
Jimmy Barclay: No, not a pumpkin — dead meat. Three thirty is when my dad gets home.