Happy Smilers

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#479: “Happy Smilers”
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37: Countermoves
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James 1:2-4

2Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds,

3because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.

4Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

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Happy Smilers

“Happy Smilers” is episode #479 of the Adventures in Odyssey audio series. It was written and directed by John Fornof, and originally aired on December 15, 2001.


A S.M.I.L.E. convention at the Timothy Center falls apart when the S.M.I.L.E. leader has a heart attack in the middle of the festivities.


It's another great day at the Timothy Center. Well, maybe not so great. Aubrey finds out that not only can't she go to a movie with her friend, but she has to help serve the Society for Mental Improvement and Living Enthusiastically ("SMILE" for short). If there's anything she feels like doing now, it's not smiling. Regardless, the Society arrives in full force. Aubrey meets the crew and is equally disgusted by all of them. There's Howard, the local chapter president. There's George, who thinks he's Mr. Cool. And that's not to mention Jerry and Betsy (who thinks Aubrey is a cynical prune-face).

Aubrey retreats to the kitchen to find a huge cake that the national president of SMILE is going to jump out of. The president himself, Guy Shaffer, shows up to climb in and is amused by Aubrey's direct honesty to him. Over the noise of the obnoxious "Happy Song," Aubrey wheels the cake with Guy inside into the meeting room. Just as Guy makes his grand entrance, he collapses to the floor. The Smilers panic, but Aubrey performs CPR.

Later at the hospital, Aubrey and Tom Riley come to visit Guy and find the Smilers already in the room. They are trying to keep Guy in high spirits, but it doesn't seem to be working. After they leave, Guy asks Aubrey about her honesty and Aubrey asks about Guy's "happiness." Aubrey is convinced that Guy can't really be happy all the time and Guy tries to convince Aubrey that she should be happy.

Back at the Timothy Center, Aubrey sees that the Smilers are going about their merry little way and Howard gives an "update" that paints a much more positive picture of Guy's condition.

The next day at the hospital, Howard and Guy have a confrontation. Howard demands that Guy act happy and Guy tells Howard to "get out." Howard leaves acting very nonchalant as Aubrey enters. Guy asks if she's thought about their conversation and what she really believes. Guy talks about a change in his life and wonders if Aubrey needs one, too. The next morning, Aubrey awakens to find that the Smilers have left and even decided to remove Guy as president. Tom comes in to tell Aubrey that Guy wants to see Aubrey again at the hospital. They head off.

At the hospital, they find Guy's room empty. A nurse informs them that Guy died early that morning. On the way back to the Center, Tom tells Aubrey that Guy accepted Jesus last night and he even did it because of Aubrey. Aubrey is shocked.

That night, she finds her dad up late dubbing tapes for the Smilers. Aubrey asks if her dad has any regrets about moving to the Center. He doesn't. She asks if he's happy. He says he'd rather be joyful. With that, he shuts off the tape. That's the end of the Happy Smilers visit to the Timothy Center.

Discussion Questions

  1. Why did Guy change his position on the Happy Smilers?
  2. Is there anything wrong with being happy?
  3. What was wrong (or right) about the Smilers?
  4. Read James 1:2-4. It talks about taking joy in times of trouble. What is the difference between happiness and joy?


Heard in episode

Role Voice Actor
Aubrey Shepard Danielle Judovits
Ben Shepard Jerry Houser
Betsy Jennifer Naimo
George Matt Hurwitz
Guy Shaeffer David Richards
Jerry Unknown
Howard Steve Bridges
Nurse Jennifer Naimo
Tom Riley Walker Edmiston

Mentioned in episode

Character Mentioned By
Cassidy Aubrey Shepard
Ellen Shepard Aubrey Shepard


  • If you listen in the background when Guy Shaeffer is in the hospital, you can hear the hospital paging "Dr. Crowe" — obviously a reference to production designer Jonathan Crowe.


George: Betsy!
Betsy: George!
George: I've been lookin' all over for you and Henry! Where is that happy guy?
Betsy: Oh, he died last year.
George: Oh. Sorry to, uh, hear that.
Betsy: Oh, it's OK. I just have to keep thinking poooositively!
George: You're so right.

Betsy: I used to be a dried-up, cynical, prune-faced, miserable creature, just like you!
Aubrey Shepard: Oh...?

Guy Shaeffer: So you think that my group is made up of a bunch of phonies, people who aren't happy, but act like they are.
Aubrey Shepard: Yeah... I guess.
Guy Shaeffer: But here you are, in a situation that would make a lot of people happy, like your parents, but you act like you aren't.
Aubrey Shepard: Hey, I'm not pretending to be unhappy.
Guy Shaeffer: Hahaha. You aren't? Are you sure? Being miserable is an easy habit to take on.
Aubrey Shepard: And being happy is an easy thing to fake.
Guy Shaeffer: Hmm. Well then, I suppose that gives us both something to think about.