011: Addictions Can Be Habit-Forming Review

Episode: 011: Addictions Can Be Habit-Forming
Originally Aired: January 30, 1988
From Album: Uncollected

Pizza Oven That is not the episode I expected based on a title like “Addictions Can Be Habit-Forming.” It sounds like a public service announcement on the dangers of drugs. It turns out to be a public service announcement—not on the dangers of drugs—but on the dangers of overeating.

The premise alone is cringe-worthy. It’s hard to imagine how this episode ever went further than the brainstorming stage. There are a few things that could have saved this episode from being a complete disaster: (1) if it had been about self-improvement, (2) if it had been about the pitfalls of helping others, (3) if it had been about friendship surviving mistakes made by both parties.

Mike & Molly is a sitcom about two obese people who fall in love which has just started its second season. Last season before it premiered, critics were apprehensive. Based on the premise, critics feared thirty minutes of fat jokes. Fortunately, the series ended up being about two likable characters who realize they need to lose weight and are working on it by attending Overeaters Anonymous and dieting. If “Addictions Can Be Habit-Forming” had been about Stephanie’s self-improvement, it may have been a much better episode. She seemed vaguely aware that she had an eating problem, but she was mostly a passive character in the episode.

Recent books, such as When Helping Hurts, point out that there are both good and bad forms of helping. Had Joey attempted a series of ill-conceived attempts to help Stephanie, it would have been comical. The focus would have been on Joey instead of Stephanie. It would have been Joey that needed to learn a lesson. While the episode did focus on Joey somewhat, her ill-conceived attempt to help was more tragic than comic.

Finally, Joey’s attempts to help Stephanie would have been less awkward if Joey and Stephanie truly seemed to be good friends. It seemed like they knew one another, but they were not—at least close—friends. Rather than Stephanie being a random charity case, it would have been the deep concern of a true friend. Yes, Joey made mistakes, but Stephanie had problems too. The episode could have been about two friends reconciling by recognizing that both had made mistakes.

To top it all off, “Addictions Can Be Habit-Forming” had the most trite ending of any Odyssey episode I’ve listened to up till now. Stephanie got counseling and now she’s lost seven pounds. And the episode is bookended by model train sequences where Joey magically learns not to give up on something if it doesn’t work out exactly like you think it should the first time.

I don’t know what the statistics in 1988 were, but today one in three children are considered overweight. Not all of those kids need counseling. Some of them need Weight Watchers. Most of them probably just need to get up off the couch and do something other than update their status on Facebook, play video games, or watch TV.

Based on this episode, losing Officer Harley doesn’t seem like that big of a loss. Harley was not only not funny but didn’t add anything to the episode. Harlow Doyle, Harley’s replacement, is much funnier.

Matthew's Rating: 1.5 (out of 10)
More info about 011: Addictions Can Be Habit-Forming:


I heard this episode when I was pretty young and even then, the show felt weird to me. Probably the worst Odyssey episode ever!

Nice to read you reviews again!

how can i hear this episode?

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