You Gotta Be Wise

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#179: “You Gotta Be Wise”
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Proverbs 22:6

6Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.

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You Gotta Be Wise

“You Gotta Be Wise” is episode #179 of the Adventures in Odyssey audio series. It was written by Paul McCusker, and originally aired on January 4, 1992.


Robyn Jacobs and her father, Dale, have a clash of wills over music from a band called the Bones of Rath.


It all started one evening at the Jacobs’ household. Dale Jacobs tries to get Robyn to come downstairs for dinner. Dale is shocked to learn that Robyn and several other kids around Odyssey have become big fans of a new rock-and-roll band, led by Rodney Rathbone and the Bones of Rath! As Robyn’s father and the editor of The Odyssey Times, Dale investigates. He discovers that the band is yet another scheme by Bart Rathbone, this time designed to swindle money from Odyssey’s young.

Aside from the ear-piercing noise of their first album, “As Crusty As They Wanna Be”, Dale is alarmed by Rodney's lyrics. Many of the songs have titles like, “I Wish You Would Hurry Up and Die,” “Beasts of Hades,” “Razor Blade Rag,” and “Who Needs Parents?” Dale confronts Bart, but Bart shrugs things off. He says that Dale just doesn’t understand modern teenagers. But other parents are angry as well. Several of them become so irate and concerned, they decide to use Rodney’s tapes to fuel a gigantic bonfire. Suddenly, Dale finds himself torn in the middle of an argument about parental rights, censorship, and free speech — an argument that plays out between himself and his own daughter.

Things come to a head when the parents organize a march on the Electric Palace that nearly turns into a riot. Dale arrives in time to calm everyone. He suggests that an alternate course is to teach kids why the lyrics are offensive. In other words: Learn to discern.

Discussion Questions

  1. Why were Dale and the other parents so concerned about Rodney’s lyrics?
  2. Is it wrong to listen to rock-and-roll music?
    • Why or why not?
  3. What does it mean to be discerning?


Heard in episode

Mentioned in episode

Character Mentioned By
Doris Rathbone Bart Rathbone


  • This episode, the premiere of the 1992 Season, marks a number of format changes to AIO's opening and closing wraps. These include the following:
    • This is the first episode to feature the second theme song, which is very similar to the video theme. The bridge of this theme song features random clips of episode dialogue edited together into an entertaining preview.
    • Beginning in this episode, Chris's role in the wraps is greatly reduced. Rather than introducing the episode with a skit or quote, Chris simply welcomes the audience with a brief sentence before the theme song plays. For this episode and the rest in Album 13, she even uses a generic, pre-recorded wrap-up: "So that's today's adventure. What'd you think? I'd love to hear from you about it."
  • This episode makes extensive use of music originally composed for #164: “Sixties-Something”.
  • The song referenced in this episode "As Crusty As They Wanna Be" (the title of the Bones of Rath's album) is a reference to the hip hop group 2 Live Crew's album "As Nasty As They Wanna Be", which was so obscene that Tipper Gore and the Parents Music Resource Center campaigned against it, ultimately resulting in the use of Parental Advisory stickers to warn parents of the content of certain CDs. While on a smaller and more family-friendly scale, this theme largely parallels this particular episode.
  • Lines regarding whether or not types of music can be inherently problematic were removed or adjusted to allow families to discuss their values with their children on their own; the focus was instead turned to the Bones's offensive lyrics.


Bart Rathbone: So, so, you are interested in the Bones of Rath, huh?
Dale Jacobs: That’s right Bart. See I’m ah...
Bart Rathbone: Hey, you and everybody in Odyssey. They are the biggest thing since sliced peaches.

Bart Rathbone: I figure everything'll be all right once the National Guard hit 'em with the riot hoses.

Dale Jacobs: "As Crusty as They Wanna Be"?
Robyn Jacobs: Great, huh?
Dale Jacobs: Fitting.

Rodney Rathbone: Be there or... be someplace else.

Dale Jacobs: That's an accordion? I thought that they recorded a traffic jam.

Rodney Rathbone: Besides, we have a right to free speech. It's guaranteed in the first appendix.
Bart Rathbone: Ah, Bill of Rights.
Rodney Rathbone: The first Bill of Rights, yeah

Bart Rathbone: Lyrics? I don't remember anyone playing a lyric. Wow, they must be more talented than I thought!

Bart Rathbone: I wasn't even sure the kid could read.