Friday, September 11, 2009

Little House On the Prairie Turns 35

On this day back in 1974, one of TV's most enduring dramas (Little House On the Prairie) premiered on NBC. During its primetime run, I foolishly dismissed Little House On the Prairie as a bunch of pioneer B.S.  I used to say  to myself, "How is this show relevant to me?"

My feelings about the show changed several years later when TBS aired back-to-back episodes during its weekday morning lineup in the late 1980s.  I started watching it and discovered that it was a damn good show.  Some may find it corny, but I liked the messages that Little House On the Prairie stressed such as the importance of family and showing compassion for others.  I also enjoyed that the show balanced the general likability of the Ingalls family and a majority of the residents of Walnut Grove with the nastiness of Harriet Oleson and her daughter Nellie.  I still feel sorry for the patriarch of the Oleson family (Nels) because he was such an easygoing guy who deserved a better fate than to have Harriet for a wife and Nellie for a daughter.  Some of my favorite moments of Little House On the Prairie was when Nels showed some backbone and stood up to Harriet.

What I like most about Little House is that the Ingalls family didn't take shit from anybody.  Although you would be hard pressed to find a TV family more wholesome than the Ingalls, if you messed with them or those they cared about... you were gonna pay.  Below are some of my favorite moments of justice, "Ingalls" style:
  • Mary slapping the shit out of Nellie for insinuating that Mary's mother Caroline was having an affair.
  • Charles calling out Harriet in church because of the malicious gossip that she spread about some of the residents of Walnut Grove in the column she wrote for the town newspaper.
  • Laura's reaction when she learned that Nellie had been faking an injury after falling off of her horse.  This scene is still one of the funniest I have ever seen.  You can watch it below.

Due to its setting, Little House On the Prairie was never "cool" nor trendy.  Ironically though, because the overall message of the show will never go out of style, Little House On the Prairie continues to thrive while shows that were once hot like Dynasty and Miami Vice have fallen by the wayside.

If you are a fan of Little House On the Prairie, what are some of your favorite episodes/moments from the series?


Penny said...

Wasn't Jason Bateman on this show for awhile?? Or am I mistaken?
Either way, Jason Bateman is amazing :)

Sheri said...

Jason Batement was on the show when he was a little boy.

I did love this show when I was a kid; however, there were a few twisted and horrifying storylines for a 70s family show.

Remember Olivia, Albert's girlfriend, who was raped, then stalked, then killed by some guy in a clown suit?

Or when Mary's baby and Jonathan's wife were killed in that fire? That was pretty graphic.

I know there were some other not-so-light episodes, but I'm blanking right now.

Candy Minx said...

What a fun post. I didn't see much of this show but itsure is one of those iconic eras for tv. Looking back the clothes seem closer to the actual era than "olden days"...quite something.

Malcolm said...

Penny: Yes, Jason was on "Little House" during it's next to last season. I like Jason Bateman too. I don't know if you remember it, but left "Silver Spoons" to star in a short-lived sitcom called "It's Your Move". I was disappointed when it got cancelled because it was one of my favorite shows.

Sheri: Good call on some of the storylines being twisted and horrifying. I remember the one where Albert's girlfriend was raped. I didn't know she died at the hands of a man in a clown suit!

Candy: Thanks! I don't if you have the channels in your area, but "Little House" still airs on TV Land and The Hallmark Channel if you ever want to catch it.

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