In the earlier episode "Talkin' Trash," there's a "joke" about how Timmy's Dad would be arrested if he referred to the chores Timmy does without pay as a job. A few seasons later, and we get Timmy basically being forced into indentured servitude over something that really wasn't even about
him. Long-term character derailment at its most potent, ladies and gentlemen. Seriously, how did it come to Timmy's Dad mistaking a scarecrow for his son not once, but twice
? Are situations like this supposed to be payback for the times Timmy does act like an insensitive jerk? Well, it doesn't look like many people seeing it that way, since I've read one theory that Timmy's jerkish behavior stems from learning that everyone else's lives would be better if he didn't exist ("It's a Wishful Life"), or my theory that he's just copying the abusive behavior shown by his parents to him.
The "B-plot" of this episode doesn't fare much better. I'll admit, all the "Wizard of Oz" references didn't work for me; maybe it's just because I'm part of the .01 percent of people who doesn't care for it. But even if I did, I would think it gets old after a while. And once again, FOP relies on stereotypes and negative depictions to carry them along. I'm surprised I haven't seen more hate from this episode by people from Cleveland. I've never been there, but I'm pretty sure it's not streets full of crime scenes. And you can tell that the writers wrote their way into a corner with the lost wands; this little plot device was already getting pretty old, but that was just lazy.
A while ago, I discovered a TV Trope called "Darkness Induced Audience Apathy," which is a situation where the characters/settings in any given story look bad, and it completely loses the audience. FOP was one of the examples shown for the trope, and I believe it. Who wants to watch a show about a supposedly "average kid" who acts like a jerk half the time, and is being crushed by everyone else around him the other half?