Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Little House on the Telee

I wanted to talk about the show "Little House on the Prairie." When I was little and my older sister ran the TV, we watched a lot of Little House. It seems like nowadays the show has a bum rap as a wholesome show for frumpy grandmothers, but it deserves more of a chance than that.

It's not just a show about little girls in Sunday School. There are several episodes where the town is struck by plague or where Pa has to go out looking for work and always ends up working on the railroads where people blow themselves up or have tunnels collapse on them. There are also peculiarities like the episode where some guy crashes his wagon and gets pinned down, he befriends a toy rocking horse and spends an hour keeping a flock of hungry crows at bay until he is rescued.

Charles Ingalls wears a pink shirt in nearly every episode and in one episode he protests wearing a blue shirt because "It's a sissy color." It's also funny how nobody goes to jail: There's an episode where a group of little girls are skinny dipping and they scramble when they see boys spying on them. One of the girls drowns in the chaos. The mother of the dead girl goes nuts and drives off her husband and then kidnaps Laura Ingalls and locks her in her basement. When the Ingalls family goes looking for their missing daughter, they find her lunch bucket at an eccentric neighbor's house. They try to confront the neighbor but he runs and someone shoots him in the head. Then Laura escapes and returns to her family. Everyone is happy. All is well that ends well. No jail for shooting an innocent neighbor, no nuthouse for kidnapping a girl as a replacement for your departed one. Get on with your lives.

And while they are so informal about murder and kidnapping, they still require you to go before a judge to get a divorce.

Sure, it is not a realistic portrayal of the Old (mid)West, but it's pretty good in comparison to other shows. It was on TV for nearly ten years for a reason. Just thought you might want to know, in case you are the type to roll your eyes every time you see it as you flip through the channels. It would also be cool if they took more things from the books like making balloons out pig bladders and roasting a pig's tail over a fire and licking it like a popsicle.

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