Best Face Forward

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#379: “Best Face Forward”
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1 Peter 2:11

11Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul.

Psalm 34:15
15The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their cry;

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Best Face Forward

“Best Face Forward” is episode #379 of the Adventures in Odyssey audio series. It was written by Marshal Younger, and originally aired on October 25, 1997.


When Connie hears that a famous writer named Mark Herring is going to stop by Whit's End, she decides to make sure everyone is on his or her best behavior.


Jared DeWhite is trying to convince Sarah Prachett that the historical facts children are taught in school are lies. When Whit mentions that Mark Herring is traveling across America via bicycle to get material for a book, Handlebars Across America, Jared insists this is yet another adult conspiracy. Whit further mentions that Mark plans to stop in Odyssey to see Whit's End. Connie, assuming he will put them in his book, decides they should make a good impression. She warns Jared not to talk about his conspiracy theories and gives him and the other kids detailed instructions on how to behave.

That evening Jared and Cody Carper are playing "Go Fish" when Cody realizes that his dog, Rambo, has disappeared. They go in search of the dog and find a trail of destruction, including his neighbor Bernard Walton's prized pear tree. Cody feels guilty because he was not supposed to leave the yard gate open, but Jared convinces him not to tell. To help him with his feeling of guilt, Jared persuades Cody to send Bernard a $30 gift certificate from Joe's Nursery, under the guise that Bernard won a gardening contest.

Meanwhile Connie is rehearsing the kid's behavior for Herring when an electrician arrives to do some repairs. Whit questions why the kids don't behave well and treat each other nicely every day, not just when an author is coming by for one day. Cody overhears Whit explaining that God is watching every move we make and decides he has to be honest with Bernard. He confesses to Bernard, who gives him his money back as winner of the "Most Mischievous Dog in Odyssey Contest." Bernard thanks him for his effort, but says he prefers the apology.

Back at Whit’s End, the day is ending and Connie is disappointed that Mark didn’t show up. But just then Whit calls the electrician "Mark." The electrician turns out to be Mark Herring, who has been observing Whit's End all day long in costume! Jared and Mark share some of their conspiracy theories.

Discussion Questions

  1. Jared said that Cody would pay Bernard back and no one would ever know. Was this true?
  2. Why was Connie trying to make Whit's End look good for Mark Herring?
  3. Is it wrong to put our "best face forward" (to make ourselves look the best that we can)?
    • Why or why not?


Heard in episode

Mentioned in episode

Character Mentioned By
Richard Carper Cody Carper
Dwayne Oswald Connie Kendall
Eugene Meltsner Connie Kendall


VERSION DIFFERENCE: [view] The album version added a number of lines to conversations in this show, including the scene that Connie talks to the kids about what to do when Mark Herring arrives and the second scene with Jared and Cody where Cody talks about feeling bad.

  • The character of Mark Herring from this episode and his biking-across-America is likely based on Mike Trout, former co-host with James Dobson who did the same thing. Trout's real-life book was entitled The Heart of America.
  • When Jared is talking in this episode about the President telling adults to teach children lies, he states that the year in which this was announced was 1984, a possible reference to George Orwell's famous dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, in which the government has, among other things, oppressed the people of Oceania by feeding them lies through propaganda and historical revisionism.
  • Not only does Cody joke about running away to Mexico in this episode, but he can also be heard playing Mexican music in the background while he and Cody play Go Fish.


Sarah Prachett: So you're telling me World War I never happened?
Jared DeWhite: World War I, II, the Civil War, you name it—it's a lie.

Sarah Prachett: We went on vacation to Virginia last year. There's all sorts of Civil War monuments.
Jared DeWhite: Oh, yes. Brilliant scheme, that was. All of them built in 1986.
Sarah Prachett: What? Who built them?
Jared DeWhite: Adults. In 1984 the President got on TV. He said children are getting smarter and smarter, and soon they'll be smarter than us, so from now on we'll teach 'em lies. Everyone thought it was a great idea, and they've been teaching kids wrong stuff ever since.

Sarah Prachett: You're a sad little boy.
Jared DeWhite: And you're just as ignorant as the rest of the youth of America.

Sarah Prachett: Are you saying Mr. Whittaker would lie?
Jared DeWhite: If he doesn't, he'll be thrown in jail, Sarah. You'd lie, too.

Jared DeWhite: Don't you think it's a scam? Who does this? Rides a bike across the country. What if there's a thunderstorm?
John Whittaker: Well, I imagine he takes shelter when he needs to.
Jared DeWhite: I'll tell you what he does. After he bikes through the city, he rides the next 100 miles in an air conditioned camper. Until he gets to the next city. Everybody thinks he's out there working and sweating when he's really sitting on an exercise bike in a camper while he watches TV and eats fig bars!
Sarah Prachett: See what I have to listen to?

Jared DeWhite: It's all staged... just like when they faked that whole moon-landing thing! <beat> Which is... another conversation for another time.

Jared DeWhite: You think he'd wanna interview me?
Sarah Prachett: He wants to write about America. Not Mars.

Jared DeWhite: I'll be good.
Connie Kendall: Why am I not comforted by this?

Connie Kendall: Okay, some more specific rules: If you're in the Bible Room, no using the harp in the David display as a slingshot. Along those same lines, no eating the manna in the Moses display—it's cardboard, Dwayne!

Bernard Walton: They're [deer] smarter than you think, y'know that? I don't trust 'em.

Mark Herring: Have you heard about the plot to put tiny microphones in every public restaurant in the world?
Jared DeWhite: Serious?
Mark Herring: Yeah. I mean, how else could you explain those cheesy flowers at every table?