The Friend Formula

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#730: “The Friend Formula”
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Original Release Date
Date Recorded
January 22, 2013
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57: A Call to Something More
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[[:Category:{{{genre}}} Episodes| {{{genre}}}]]

1 Corinthians 13:1-13

1If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.

2If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing. 4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. 11When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. 12Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

13And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

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The Friend Formula

“The Friend Formula” is episode #730 of the Adventures in Odyssey audio series. It was written and directed by Bob Hoose, and originally aired on August 31, 2013.


Riley is new to town and hoping to find some new friends. For advice, he turns to an unlikely (and unreliable) source – Jay Smouse!


At Whit's End, Jay Smouse orders a soda and puts it on an "IOU". Olivia Parker tells John Whittaker (Whit) and Jay about the band that she, Barrett and Priscilla are starting. Jay hints that he might want to join and then contradicts himself with a different remark.

A boy name Riley enters trying to make some new friends. Whit says he'll show him a grand tour of the place, but is interrupted by Olivia shouting for his help in the Little Theater. While Whit is gone, Jay talks with Riley to learn a little bit more about him. Riley is insecure about his likes, and personality and really just needs friends. Riley mentions that he collects Elvis albums and attracts Jay's attention. Jay promises that he'll help Riley make friends and solve his little friend problem.

Riley and Jay go to McCalister Park, where Jay tells Riley that he'll teach him all of Jay's tricks if he gives Jay his Clambake Elvis album. After thinking it over Riley agrees to the deal. The both leave, and return at one. Riley gives the album to Jay and the lesson begins. Jay says he's been working on a formula for a while, the four I-ings: Spying, Crying, Plying and Lying. Riley asks if he should write it out, but Jay tells him "that he doesn't want any physical evidence".

Jay informs Riley that spying involves getting to know everything about your friend. Suddenly, Jay pushes Riley into a bush so Riley isn't seen by Barrett and so Riley can observe Jay in action. Jay has a conversation with Barrett, and finds out that Barrett is on his way to get a video game. Jay informs Riley that it's not just about what is said but how something is said. From Barrett told them they know that Barrett has a pocket full of money and is excited to spend it. Jay knows where Barrett is going to spend it, so they follow him to continue on to the next I-ing lesson.

At the department store, Jay teaches Riley Lesson 2: Crying. Jay tries to tell Riley stories about starving puppies to make him cry, but it doesn't work. As Barrett picks up the video game, Jay squirts onion juice inside Riley's eyes. Jay shoves Riley into Barrett's isles, making him fall. Barrett sees Riley, and helps him up. He sees that Riley was crying and asks what was wrong. Riley starts to say something about Jay. Barrett interrupts him saying he understands. Barrett puts down the video game and buys Riley a soda instead.

Later, Riley feels guilty for using Barrett to get him to buy him stuff. Jay encourages him that it's what everyone does. So they move on to Lesson 3: Plying. Jay gives Riley a list of phrases to memorize. Jay ends up shortening the list to four phrases. He tells him to use the phrases on Olivia saying nothing but those four phrases. They have a slightly awkward conversation and Olivia invites him to join the band.

When Olivia leaves, Riley tells Jay that he doesn't want to do "this anymore" and that he doesn’t want anymore "fake friendships". Jay tries to move on to Lesson 4: Lying. Jay says that if someone starts to not trust you, you make lie sob story to make them trust you again. He gives Riley an example involving starving children in Winbodia needing to be able to read encyclopedias. Jay goes on to say that Riley will use all the I-ings against Barrett by joining their band and being Jay's mole, providing Jay with information so he can use it against Barrett himself. Riley doesn't want to go along with that. He realizes Jay has been using his plyings the whole time to use Riley.

Riley leaves Jay to talk with Whit. Whit tells Riley that Jay's method was all about manipulating people. He goes on to say that each of the I-ings can be turned around for a real system in making real friends. Whit offers to talk to Jay about giving Riley's album back, but Riley has something else in mind.

As Jay is walking, he hears a voice coming from a bush; it's Riley. He tells Jay that he and Whit came up with the Four Ings of friendship; Listening, Sharing, Trusting and Caring. Riley tells Jay that he's going to become Jay's friend and he's the best one to do it because he knows all of Jay's tricks. So first off, he gives Jay all of his Elvis album to borrow since he knows he'll take care of them. Jay doesn't believe him, but is very happy when he sees that Riley gave him ten Elvis albums. Maybe Jay will be Riley's friend.

Discussion Questions

  1. How could Riley have not fallen for Jay's traps?
  2. Have you ever been the new kid?
    • Would who have tried to been a friend to a kid like Riley?
      • Why or why not?
  3. Would you have tried to be friends with someone like Jay?


Heard in episode

Mentioned in episode

Character Mentioned By
Priscilla Peterson Olivia Parker




Jay Smouse: Let me get this straight. I bet all those non-friends of yours try to embarrass you about your love for that stuff, right? So, you almost feel like you have to hide your treasures away and can only take them out in secret on rainy days when your mom goes to the store to get more liver and nobody is around to berate your sensitive spirit. Is that what you’re saying?
Riley: We don't eat liver.
Jay Smouse: Lucky you.