One of the recurring motifs of the series is putting Joel in situations where he is the sole voice of sanity and reason, when all who surround him have lost any semblance of rationality. To boost circulation for the town newspaper, The Cicely News and World Telegram, Maurice hires Adam as his "anonymous investigative reporter". Adam concocts an absurd feature story about the trees in the forest calling out for help.
With the exception of Joel, the townsfolk eagerly embrace the story as truth. Chief among these is Maggie, who argues passionately with him that the trees have feelings and are trying to communicate their distress. This subplot shows how people can share a mass delusion when they uncritically accept what they are told
Throughout the series, Joel persistently tries to expose Adam's wild stories, but usually gets frustrated when Adam manages to present some kernel of truth to seemingly support his wild claims.
Meanwhile, Holling offers Chris a half interest in the Brick, in exchange for money to pay back taxes. Chris accepts and thinks it's a dream come true, but after making a number of changes, finds out he's a better bar patron than owner. Always at his best in his radio soliloquys, Chris waxes philosophic about it on KBHR:
" We've all been there, you want something. You possess it. And by possessing it, you lose it. When you finally win the girl of your dreams, first thing you do, you try to change her. That little thing she'd do with her hair, the way she wears her clothes, the way she chews her gum. Pretty soon, what you liked, what you've changed and what you don't like, it all blends together like a watercolor in the rain. "