Two Sides to Every Story

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#109: “Two Sides to Every Story”
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Proverbs 20:23

23The LORD detests differing weights, and dishonest scales do not please him.

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Two Sides to Every Story

“Two Sides to Every Story” is episode #109 of the Adventures in Odyssey audio series. It was written and directed by Paul McCusker, and originally aired on March 24, 1990.


Jimmy and Donna Barclay tell their parents two different versions of how their TV caught fire.



George and Mary Barclay are on their way home from a well-deserved night on the town, thankful that the kids are finally old enough to stay home by themselves. But as they turn up their street, they see a fire truck parked in front of their house! George and Mary race home, where the fire captain calms them. He says the kids just experienced a small electrical fire when they dumped water on their malfunctioning television set.

After the firemen leave, George and Mary attempt to find out from Jimmy and Donna exactly what happened. But both kids keep talking at the same time, so George and Mary decide to split up the kids and get their individual stories. George takes Jimmy, and Mary takes Donna. Each couple retreats to separate rooms to get the scoop.

When Donna tells her side, she blames Jimmy for the whole thing, while painting herself as a long-suffering saint. Jimmy does the same - Donna acted like a mean old witch to Jimmy, the handsome, young (and innocent) prince.

George and Mary find it hard to believe either one of them. They piece together what really happened and, not surprisingly, both kids were at fault. George and Mary decide on appropriate punishments for Jimmy and Donna, and the Barclay family illustrates that there are always two sides to every story.

This plot section is too short and should be expanded. »

Discussion Questions

  1. Who lied in this story?
    • Explain your answer.
  2. Do you think that Jimmy and Donna meant to lie?
    • Why or why not?
  3. Why is it important to try and see both sides to every story?
    • Do you think that’s how God looks at things?
      • Give a biblical example.



  • This episode is loosely based on the movie "Rashomon," a classic by Japanese director Akira Kurosawa. In that movie, four people involved in a crime tell varying accounts of what happened.
  • After the original airing of this episode, firefighters wrote in and strongly suggested to inform the listeners to never put out an electrical fire with water. The end of the episode was then re-recorded with Chris saying this in her wrap-up.
  • Jimmy says, "I'd tell you the rest, Dad, but this is a family show." This is one of the (extremely) rare fourth-wall references that the show makes.
  • Oscar Peterson makes his final appearance to date in this episode (not counting retrospective shows or his background appearance as a movie character in #158: “A Day in the Life” or as a background "crowd voice" in #214: “The Living Nativity”).
  • George remarks that Jimmy's version of Donna, who calls Jimmy "runt," doesn't sound like the actual Donna at all. However, this is the exact word (and matching attitude) that Donna uses for Jimmy in their first episode, #31: “Family Vacation, Part 1”.



Jimmy Barclay: I'd tell you the rest, Dad, but... this is a family show.

Jimmy Barclay: You want to hear bathwater? Ha, I'll let you hear bathwater.

Donna Barclay: Yes, Jimmy? May I help you?

Donna Barclay: Be calm, James.

Jimmy Barclay: You believe me?
George Barclay: Well. I believe... you believe you.

George Barclay: Is it too late for adoption?
Mary Barclay: They're too old.
George Barclay: I meant us. There must be a family somewhere who wants two kids our age.