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OT 'Little House' was a horror show about prairie life
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Matthew Kruk
2009-10-15 15:52:25 UTC
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Opinion > Columns
'Little House' was a horror show about prairie life
By Tom Rivers
Published:
Thursday, October 15, 2009 9:59 AM EDT

About four years ago it seemed like a great gift, the "collector's
edition" DVDs of the first year of "Little House on the Prairie."

The Rivers family devoured the series. The youngsters liked the horses,
the adventuresome Laura Ingalls, the nasty Nellie and other characters
from Walnut Grove.

I admired Charles Ingalls and his indomitable will. The man always
seemed to have the right answer for his family and I liked how he
summoned righteous indignation when faced with social injustices and the
slights from Harriett Olesen. When Charles was kicked by life -- when
his key crop was wiped out, for example -- he got back up and pressed
on. With his wheat annihilated by a storm, he found a job in a quarry.

Three more "Little House" seasons would follow, Christmas gifts from my
wife's best friend. I've seen each show at least once, some perhaps a
dozen times. But I no longer can stand "Little House" and its focus on
death, mayhem and the societal ills of the day.

The "SpongeBob" cartoon is a welcome break from the Ingalls family.

"Little House" producers should have quit after two seasons. As the
characters aged, the writers seemed to run out of material and
increasingly turned to dark themes.

I know prairie life was difficult, but I thought this show was held up
as perfect family entertainment. It's actually one horror after another.

The first series was no happy-go-lucky picnic despite the youth and
innocence of the Ingalls children. In the first episode Charles falls
from a tree while trying to retrieve a kite. He breaks some ribs, can't
get his work done, and a merchant in town takes the family's oxen,
threatening the Ingalls' livelihood. The town rallies to his defense,
helping him meet his work obligations and get his crop harvested. We
were off to a good start.

But then Charles bumps into long-lost buddy Mr. Edwards. He's a drunken
bum, wallowing in pity because his family died from some horrible
illness. My children had a few questions about Mr. Edwards and his anger
issues.

During the wiped-out wheat episode, I thought we were safe from
questions. But at the quarry, one of Charles' new buddies is standing on
a rock. An explosion goes off and the friend disappears. More questions
from the children. "Did that man just blow up?"

In other shows, the family is stranded in a fierce snowstorm, Mr. and
Mrs. Ingalls have a baby boy who dies. And Laura runs away in a two-part
special where she blames herself for her brother's death.

It gets worse in the second year. Charles promises a dying widow he will
care for her three children and a soldier returns from war, addicted to
drugs. Thankfully Nellie saves the series with her over-the-top
snobbery.

By season three Mary, Laura's older "perfect" sister, is in love,
resulting in many unbearably melodramatic moments. Mary is the doting
girlfriend to the sensitive, poem-writing boy who probably couldn't
catch a fish if his life depended on it. "Little House" doesn't spare
viewers from watching near-death experiences. Charles is critically
wounded while hunting and Laura saves the day. In a classic grief-filled
episode, little sister Carrie falls into a mine shaft. The town works
through the night to get her out.

In series four, it seems Mrs. Ingalls has a crush on a handyman who
stays at the family's home while Charles is away. Mary confronts her
mother and the handyman is driven away. I have some of the years mixed
up, but this may have been the series when Mr. Edwards was attacked by a
bear after attempting to teach his poem-writing stepson a lesson in
"real manhood" by forcing him to hunt.

This may also have been the year Laura and Mary were swimming with a
friend who drowned. The girl's mother then goes crazy. Nellie ratchets
up her meanness in season four. She goes from being a funny character in
the early years to being the greatest villain ever concocted, even
pretending to be paralyzed so she can receive dolls and other fancy
gifts from her doting mother.

And Charles has become annoying with his always-do-the-right-thing
speeches and his frequent bare-chested scenes. The man shaved his chest
and oiled his skin for the cameras. The heartthrob of the prairie,
apparently.

I caught a glimpse at future episodes by renting some of the later
series from Swan Library in Albion. The show leaves no sinister topic
untouched. "Little House" should have been cancelled after the episode
when a visiting clown rapes a local girl. Albert, Charles's new son he
saved from homelessness (I think), loved the girl. He turns to drugs
after the rape and the family seems to disintegrate. I can't take this
anymore. I'm dreading this Christmas when it's time for season five.

Give me SpongeBob over death!

Tom Rivers is a reporter for The Daily News whose column is published
alternate Thursdays.

Copyright © 2009 - Batavia Newspapers Corp.
Turban Joe Balasootoe
2009-10-15 16:35:15 UTC
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Permalink
Post by Matthew Kruk
Opinion > Columns
'Little House' was a horror show about prairie life
By Tom Rivers
Thursday, October 15, 2009 9:59 AM EDT
About four years ago it seemed like a great gift, the "collector's
edition" DVDs of the first year of "Little House on the Prairie."
The Rivers family devoured the series. The youngsters liked the horses,
the adventuresome Laura Ingalls, the nasty Nellie and other characters
from Walnut Grove.
I admired Charles Ingalls and his indomitable will. The man always
seemed to have the right answer for his family and I liked how he
summoned righteous indignation when faced with social injustices and the
slights from Harriett Olesen. When Charles was kicked by life -- when
his key crop was wiped out, for example -- he got back up and pressed
on. With his wheat annihilated by a storm, he found a job in a quarry.
Three more "Little House" seasons would follow, Christmas gifts from my
wife's best friend. I've seen each show at least once, some perhaps a
dozen times. But I no longer can stand "Little House" and its focus on
death, mayhem and the societal ills of the day.
The "SpongeBob" cartoon is a welcome break from the Ingalls family.
"Little House" producers should have quit after two seasons. As the
characters aged, the writers seemed to run out of material and
increasingly turned to dark themes.
I know prairie life was difficult, but I thought this show was held up
as perfect family entertainment. It's actually one horror after another.
The first series was no happy-go-lucky picnic despite the youth and
innocence of the Ingalls children. In the first episode Charles falls
from a tree while trying to retrieve a kite. He breaks some ribs, can't
get his work done, and a merchant in town takes the family's oxen,
threatening the Ingalls' livelihood. The town rallies to his defense,
helping him meet his work obligations and get his crop harvested. We
were off to a good start.
But then Charles bumps into long-lost buddy Mr. Edwards. He's a drunken
bum, wallowing in pity because his family died from some horrible
illness. My children had a few questions about Mr. Edwards and his anger
issues.
During the wiped-out wheat episode, I thought we were safe from
questions. But at the quarry, one of Charles' new buddies is standing on
a rock. An explosion goes off and the friend disappears. More questions
from the children. "Did that man just blow up?"
In other shows, the family is stranded in a fierce snowstorm, Mr. and
Mrs. Ingalls have a baby boy who dies. And Laura runs away in a two-part
special where she blames herself for her brother's death.
It gets worse in the second year. Charles promises a dying widow he will
care for her three children and a soldier returns from war, addicted to
drugs. Thankfully Nellie saves the series with her over-the-top
snobbery.
By season three Mary, Laura's older "perfect" sister, is in love,
resulting in many unbearably melodramatic moments. Mary is the doting
girlfriend to the sensitive, poem-writing boy who probably couldn't
catch a fish if his life depended on it. "Little House" doesn't spare
viewers from watching near-death experiences. Charles is critically
wounded while hunting and Laura saves the day. In a classic grief-filled
episode, little sister Carrie falls into a mine shaft. The town works
through the night to get her out.
In series four, it seems Mrs. Ingalls has a crush on a handyman who
stays at the family's home while Charles is away. Mary confronts her
mother and the handyman is driven away. I have some of the years mixed
up, but this may have been the series when Mr. Edwards was attacked by a
bear after attempting to teach his poem-writing stepson a lesson in
"real manhood" by forcing him to hunt.
This may also have been the year Laura and Mary were swimming with a
friend who drowned. The girl's mother then goes crazy. Nellie ratchets
up her meanness in season four. She goes from being a funny character in
the early years to being the greatest villain ever concocted, even
pretending to be paralyzed so she can receive dolls and other fancy
gifts from her doting mother.
And Charles has become annoying with his always-do-the-right-thing
speeches and his frequent bare-chested scenes. The man shaved his chest
and oiled his skin for the cameras. The heartthrob of the prairie,
apparently.
I caught a glimpse at future episodes by renting some of the later
series from Swan Library in Albion. The show leaves no sinister topic
untouched. "Little House" should have been cancelled after the episode
when a visiting clown rapes a local girl. Albert, Charles's new son he
saved from homelessness (I think), loved the girl. He turns to drugs
after the rape and the family seems to disintegrate. I can't take this
anymore. I'm dreading this Christmas when it's time for season five.
Give me SpongeBob over death!
Tom Rivers is a reporter for The Daily News whose column is published
alternate Thursdays.
Copyright © 2009 - Batavia Newspapers Corp.
Donations to the Tom Rivers family may be made
by Pen-Pal.
angela copus
2009-10-15 17:04:00 UTC
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Permalink
well thats an insult to the best classic show on tv. i have every
season on dvd.
Post by Turban Joe Balasootoe
Post by Matthew Kruk
Opinion > Columns
'Little House' was a horror show about prairie life
By Tom Rivers
Thursday, October 15, 2009 9:59 AM EDT
About four years ago it seemed like a great gift, the "collector's
edition" DVDs of the first year of "Little House on the Prairie."
The Rivers family devoured the series. The youngsters liked the horses,
the adventuresome Laura Ingalls, the nasty Nellie and other characters
from Walnut Grove.
I admired Charles Ingalls and his indomitable will. The man always
seemed to have the right answer for his family and I liked how he
summoned righteous indignation when faced with social injustices and the
slights from Harriett Olesen. When Charles was kicked by life -- when
his key crop was wiped out, for example -- he got back up and pressed
on. With his wheat annihilated by a storm, he found a job in a quarry.
Three more "Little House" seasons would follow, Christmas gifts from my
wife's best friend. I've seen each show at least once, some perhaps a
dozen times. But I no longer can stand "Little House" and its focus on
death, mayhem and the societal ills of the day.
The "SpongeBob" cartoon is a welcome break from the Ingalls family.
"Little House" producers should have quit after two seasons. As the
characters aged, the writers seemed to run out of material and
increasingly turned to dark themes.
I know prairie life was difficult, but I thought this show was held up
as perfect family entertainment. It's actually one horror after another.
The first series was no happy-go-lucky picnic despite the youth and
innocence of the Ingalls children. In the first episode Charles falls
from a tree while trying to retrieve a kite. He breaks some ribs, can't
get his work done, and a merchant in town takes the family's oxen,
threatening the Ingalls' livelihood. The town rallies to his defense,
helping him meet his work obligations and get his crop harvested. We
were off to a good start.
But then Charles bumps into long-lost buddy Mr. Edwards. He's a drunken
bum, wallowing in pity because his family died from some horrible
illness. My children had a few questions about Mr. Edwards and his anger
issues.
During the wiped-out wheat episode, I thought we were safe from
questions. But at the quarry, one of Charles' new buddies is standing on
a rock. An explosion goes off and the friend disappears. More questions
from the children. "Did that man just blow up?"
In other shows, the family is stranded in a fierce snowstorm, Mr. and
Mrs. Ingalls have a baby boy who dies. And Laura runs away in a two-part
special where she blames herself for her brother's death.
It gets worse in the second year. Charles promises a dying widow he will
care for her three children and a soldier returns from war, addicted to
drugs. Thankfully Nellie saves the series with her over-the-top
snobbery.
By season three Mary, Laura's older "perfect" sister, is in love,
resulting in many unbearably melodramatic moments. Mary is the doting
girlfriend to the sensitive, poem-writing boy who probably couldn't
catch a fish if his life depended on it. "Little House" doesn't spare
viewers from watching near-death experiences. Charles is critically
wounded while hunting and Laura saves the day. In a classic grief-filled
episode, little sister Carrie falls into a mine shaft. The town works
through the night to get her out.
In series four, it seems Mrs. Ingalls has a crush on a handyman who
stays at the family's home while Charles is away. Mary confronts her
mother and the handyman is driven away. I have some of the years mixed
up, but this may have been the series when Mr. Edwards was attacked by a
bear after attempting to teach his poem-writing stepson a lesson in
"real manhood" by forcing him to hunt.
This may also have been the year Laura and Mary were swimming with a
friend who drowned. The girl's mother then goes crazy. Nellie ratchets
up her meanness in season four. She goes from being a funny character in
the early years to being the greatest villain ever concocted, even
pretending to be paralyzed so she can receive dolls and other fancy
gifts from her doting mother.
And Charles has become annoying with his always-do-the-right-thing
speeches and his frequent bare-chested scenes. The man shaved his chest
and oiled his skin for the cameras. The heartthrob of the prairie,
apparently.
I caught a glimpse at future episodes by renting some of the later
series from Swan Library in Albion. The show leaves no sinister topic
untouched. "Little House" should have been cancelled after the episode
when a visiting clown rapes a local girl. Albert, Charles's new son he
saved from homelessness (I think), loved the girl. He turns to drugs
after the rape and the family seems to disintegrate. I can't take this
anymore. I'm dreading this Christmas when it's time for season five.
Give me SpongeBob over death!
Tom Rivers is a reporter for The Daily News whose column is published
alternate Thursdays.
Copyright © 2009 - Batavia Newspapers Corp.
Donations to the Tom Rivers family may be made
by Pen-Pal.
Kris Baker
2009-10-15 18:56:15 UTC
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Post by Matthew Kruk
Opinion > Columns
'Little House' was a horror show about prairie life
By Tom Rivers
Thursday, October 15, 2009 9:59 AM EDT
About four years ago it seemed like a great gift, the "collector's
edition" DVDs of the first year of "Little House on the Prairie."
Wait until Mary goes blind, and the adventures of Mary
and her Blind Husband go on and on and on......



Kris
Brigid Nelson
2009-10-16 04:37:54 UTC
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Post by Kris Baker
Post by Matthew Kruk
Opinion > Columns
'Little House' was a horror show about prairie life
By Tom Rivers
Thursday, October 15, 2009 9:59 AM EDT
About four years ago it seemed like a great gift, the "collector's
edition" DVDs of the first year of "Little House on the Prairie."
Wait until Mary goes blind, and the adventures of Mary
and her Blind Husband go on and on and on......
You might enjoy the company here:

http://forums.televisionwithoutpity.com/index.php?showtopic=1870765&st=44385&#entry10697667

b
Oh Puh-Leeze
2009-10-16 07:35:33 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Kris Baker
Post by Matthew Kruk
Opinion > Columns
'Little House' was a horror show about prairie life
By Tom Rivers
Thursday, October 15, 2009 9:59 AM EDT
About four years ago it seemed like a great gift, the "collector's
edition" DVDs of the first year of "Little House on the Prairie."
Wait until Mary goes blind, and the adventures of Mary
and her Blind Husband go on and on and on......
And don't forget Mary's baby dying in a fire, along with a family friend
(was she married or about to be married to the big guy?) Oh, and Laura
and her family losing everything in a tornado, not to mention Caroline
almost dying from a scratch on he leg that becomes infected. And what
about the time almost everyone in town got anthrax from an infected
sheep being sold door-to-door? Ah, good times!
angela copus
2009-10-16 10:58:38 UTC
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I am surprised that he hasn't complained about my other fave show the
waltons.

angela
Post by Oh Puh-Leeze
Post by Kris Baker
Post by Matthew Kruk
Opinion > Columns
'Little House' was a horror show about prairie life
By Tom Rivers
Thursday, October 15, 2009 9:59 AM EDT
About four years ago it seemed like a great gift, the "collector's
edition" DVDs of the first year of "Little House on the Prairie."
Wait until Mary goes blind, and the adventures of Mary
and her Blind Husband go on and on and on......
And don't forget Mary's baby dying in a fire, along with a family friend
(was she married or about to be married to the big guy?) Oh, and Laura
and her family losing everything in a tornado, not to mention Caroline
almost dying from a scratch on he leg that becomes infected. And what
about the time almost everyone in town got anthrax from an infected
sheep being sold door-to-door? Ah, good times!
teleflora
2009-10-16 18:02:10 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Oh Puh-Leeze
Post by Kris Baker
Wait until Mary goes blind, and the adventures of Mary
and her Blind Husband go on and on and on......
And don't forget Mary's baby dying in a fire, along with a family friend
(was she married or about to be married to the big guy?) Oh, and Laura
and her family losing everything in a tornado, not to mention Caroline
almost dying from a scratch on he leg that becomes infected. And what
about the time almost everyone in town got anthrax from an infected
sheep being sold door-to-door? Ah, good times!
And remember when Ma is left alone and hurts her arm and it gets infected
and is just about to chop her own arm off with a hatchet (that probably was
what wounded her in the first place - can't recall) and at the last minute
her family comes home and saves her.

They did this exact same situation on Bonanza with Little Joe as the victim.

Coincidence?

I think not.

Cindy
poisoned rose
2009-10-16 20:05:26 UTC
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Post by teleflora
Post by Oh Puh-Leeze
and her family losing everything in a tornado, not to mention Caroline
almost dying from a scratch on he leg that becomes infected. And what
about the time almost everyone in town got anthrax from an infected
sheep being sold door-to-door? Ah, good times!
And remember when Ma is left alone and hurts her arm and it gets infected
and is just about to chop her own arm off with a hatchet
It was her leg, as someone wrote above you.

I've always found it kinda fascinating just how "messed up" some Little
House episodes were. I mean, just, WOW, that's messed up.

The all-time classic was the one where Albert got addicted to morphine,
and ended up having the withdrawal shakes while puking up claw chowder.
I still can't believe that even happened -- I have the big scene on tape
somewhere.

There was one about father/daughter incest, with Olivia Barash
guest-starring. There was one about a huge clan of rats infecting the
town's grain supply with bubonic plague, or whatever the disease was.
There was one where a grief-stricken mother (Patricia Neal, maybe?) with
a recently deceased daughter kept Laura imprisoned in her home because
she was hallucinating that Laura was the daughter returned. I'm sure
that I'm forgetting some others. That show was....MESSED...UP. ;)
teleflora
2009-10-17 02:37:17 UTC
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Permalink
Post by poisoned rose
It was her leg, as someone wrote above you.
Oh, Yeah! It was her leg, I remember now. I looked to see if anyone else
mentioned it, but I don't think all my messages downloaded, I've been gone.
Post by poisoned rose
I've always found it kinda fascinating just how "messed up" some Little
House episodes were. I mean, just, WOW, that's messed up.
The all-time classic was the one where Albert got addicted to morphine,
and ended up having the withdrawal shakes while puking up claw chowder.
I still can't believe that even happened -- I have the big scene on tape
somewhere.
I don't remember THAT happening in the books.
Post by poisoned rose
There was one about father/daughter incest, with Olivia Barash
guest-starring. There was one about a huge clan of rats infecting the
town's grain supply with bubonic plague, or whatever the disease was.
There was one where a grief-stricken mother (Patricia Neal, maybe?) with
a recently deceased daughter kept Laura imprisoned in her home because
she was hallucinating that Laura was the daughter returned. I'm sure
that I'm forgetting some others. That show was....MESSED...UP. ;)
Or any of that.

I stopped watching after just a couple years. Good thing.

Cindy
Terry del Fuego
2009-10-18 21:58:32 UTC
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On Fri, 16 Oct 2009 21:37:17 -0500, "teleflora"
Post by teleflora
I stopped watching after just a couple years. Good thing.
I was always offended by the cutesy title...this thread makes me think
maybe I actually missed something.
Brigid Nelson
2009-10-19 01:18:33 UTC
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Post by Terry del Fuego
On Fri, 16 Oct 2009 21:37:17 -0500, "teleflora"
Post by teleflora
I stopped watching after just a couple years. Good thing.
I was always offended by the cutesy title...this thread makes me think
maybe I actually missed something.
It plays everyday on the Hallmark Channel, though I think they may be
edited a bit.

Or you could go lurk here:
http://jezebel06.proboards.com/index.cgi

brigid
Brad Ferguson
2009-10-19 01:46:08 UTC
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Permalink
Post by Terry del Fuego
On Fri, 16 Oct 2009 21:37:17 -0500, "teleflora"
Post by teleflora
I stopped watching after just a couple years. Good thing.
I was always offended by the cutesy title...this thread makes me think
maybe I actually missed something.
The cops at the Fort Apache precinct in the South Bronx started calling
their place the Little House on the Prairie after everything else for
blocks around had been burned to the ground.
teleflora
2009-10-17 02:40:48 UTC
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Permalink
"poisoned rose" <***@aol.com> wrote in message news:prose1235-***@news.eternal-september.org...

I forgot the mom's name was Caroline. What was the baby sister's name? I
thought that was Caroline.

No, that was Carrie, wasn't it.

My bad.

Cindy
David Carson
2009-10-15 23:07:41 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Matthew Kruk
I caught a glimpse at future episodes by renting some of the later
series from Swan Library in Albion. The show leaves no sinister topic
untouched. "Little House" should have been cancelled after the episode
when a visiting clown rapes a local girl.
It's nice to know they included at least one story that dealt with a real
problem in today's world.

David Carson
--
Why do you seek the living among the dead? -- Luke 24:5
Who's Alive and Who's Dead
http://www.whosaliveandwhosdead.com
Charlene
2009-10-16 20:41:11 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by David Carson
Post by Matthew Kruk
I caught a glimpse at future episodes by renting some of the later
series from Swan Library in Albion. The show leaves no sinister topic
untouched. "Little House" should have been cancelled after the episode
when a visiting clown rapes a local girl.
It's nice to know they included at least one story that dealt with a real
problem in today's world.
Why am I not surprised you picked up on this?

wd45
Barbara L Sherrill
2009-10-16 11:35:54 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Matthew Kruk
Opinion > Columns
'Little House' was a horror show about prairie life
By Tom Rivers
Thursday, October 15, 2009 9:59 AM EDT
About four years ago it seemed like a great gift, the "collector's
edition" DVDs of the first year of "Little House on the Prairie."
I guess Mr Rivers doesn't have a clue where all these stories came from does
he? They are actual events written by Laura Ingles Wilder in her
diaries..... but I also wonder how much more fluff was added to it, in
order to make it *good* tv

Barbara
Brigid Nelson
2009-10-16 19:12:46 UTC
Reply
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Post by Barbara L Sherrill
Post by Matthew Kruk
Opinion > Columns
'Little House' was a horror show about prairie life
By Tom Rivers
Thursday, October 15, 2009 9:59 AM EDT
About four years ago it seemed like a great gift, the "collector's
edition" DVDs of the first year of "Little House on the Prairie."
I guess Mr Rivers doesn't have a clue where all these stories came from does
he? They are actual events written by Laura Ingles Wilder in her
diaries..... but I also wonder how much more fluff was added to it, in
order to make it *good* tv
Barbara
The teevee show departed from the books pretty early on. The books
departed from Laura's life pretty early on too, but not so egregiously -
for instance the character "Nelly Olson" is a composite of three
different girls whose lives crossed paths with Laura's. I could also go
on about the Libertarian leanings introduced by Rose, who may have
"edited" her mother's work to reflect her own feelings about super self
sufficiency.

brigid
LOAD "*",8,1
2009-10-16 23:41:09 UTC
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Post by Barbara L Sherrill
I guess Mr Rivers doesn't have a clue where all these stories came from does
he? They are actual events written by Laura Ingles Wilder in her
diaries.....
No, they really weren't. The show was loosely related to the books and
deviated more and more from them each season.

but I also wonder how much more fluff was added to it, in
Post by Barbara L Sherrill
order to make it *good* tv
A lot of fluff, especially when Landon took complete control over the show.
Arthur Preacher
2009-10-16 12:19:37 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Matthew Kruk
Opinion > Columns
'Little House' was a horror show about prairie life
By Tom Rivers
Thursday, October 15, 2009 9:59 AM EDT
About four years ago it seemed like a great gift, the "collector's
edition" DVDs of the first year of "Little House on the Prairie."
The Rivers family devoured the series. The youngsters liked the horses,
the adventuresome Laura Ingalls, the nasty Nellie and other characters
from Walnut Grove.
I admired Charles Ingalls and his indomitable will. The man always
seemed to have the right answer for his family and I liked how he
summoned righteous indignation when faced with social injustices and the
slights from Harriett Olesen. When Charles was kicked by life -- when
his key crop was wiped out, for example -- he got back up and pressed
on. With his wheat annihilated by a storm, he found a job in a quarry.
Three more "Little House" seasons would follow, Christmas gifts from my
wife's best friend. I've seen each show at least once, some perhaps a
dozen times. But I no longer can stand "Little House" and its focus on
death, mayhem and the societal ills of the day.
The "SpongeBob" cartoon is a welcome break from the Ingalls family.
"Little House" producers should have quit after two seasons. As the
characters aged, the writers seemed to run out of material and
increasingly turned to dark themes.
I know prairie life was difficult, but I thought this show was held up
as perfect family entertainment. It's actually one horror after another.
The first series was no happy-go-lucky picnic despite the youth and
innocence of the Ingalls children. In the first episode Charles falls
from a tree while trying to retrieve a kite. He breaks some ribs, can't
get his work done, and a merchant in town takes the family's oxen,
threatening the Ingalls' livelihood. The town rallies to his defense,
helping him meet his work obligations and get his crop harvested. We
were off to a good start.
But then Charles bumps into long-lost buddy Mr. Edwards. He's a drunken
bum, wallowing in pity because his family died from some horrible
illness. My children had a few questions about Mr. Edwards and his anger
issues.
During the wiped-out wheat episode, I thought we were safe from
questions. But at the quarry, one of Charles' new buddies is standing on
a rock. An explosion goes off and the friend disappears. More questions
from the children. "Did that man just blow up?"
In other shows, the family is stranded in a fierce snowstorm, Mr. and
Mrs. Ingalls have a baby boy who dies. And Laura runs away in a two-part
special where she blames herself for her brother's death.
It gets worse in the second year. Charles promises a dying widow he will
care for her three children and a soldier returns from war, addicted to
drugs. Thankfully Nellie saves the series with her over-the-top
snobbery.
By season three Mary, Laura's older "perfect" sister, is in love,
resulting in many unbearably melodramatic moments. Mary is the doting
girlfriend to the sensitive, poem-writing boy who probably couldn't
catch a fish if his life depended on it. "Little House" doesn't spare
viewers from watching near-death experiences. Charles is critically
wounded while hunting and Laura saves the day. In a classic grief-filled
episode, little sister Carrie falls into a mine shaft. The town works
through the night to get her out.
In series four, it seems Mrs. Ingalls has a crush on a handyman who
stays at the family's home while Charles is away. Mary confronts her
mother and the handyman is driven away. I have some of the years mixed
up, but this may have been the series when Mr. Edwards was attacked by a
bear after attempting to teach his poem-writing stepson a lesson in
"real manhood" by forcing him to hunt.
This may also have been the year Laura and Mary were swimming with a
friend who drowned. The girl's mother then goes crazy. Nellie ratchets
up her meanness in season four. She goes from being a funny character in
the early years to being the greatest villain ever concocted, even
pretending to be paralyzed so she can receive dolls and other fancy
gifts from her doting mother.
And Charles has become annoying with his always-do-the-right-thing
speeches and his frequent bare-chested scenes. The man shaved his chest
and oiled his skin for the cameras. The heartthrob of the prairie,
apparently.
I caught a glimpse at future episodes by renting some of the later
series from Swan Library in Albion. The show leaves no sinister topic
untouched. "Little House" should have been cancelled after the episode
when a visiting clown rapes a local girl. Albert, Charles's new son he
saved from homelessness (I think), loved the girl. He turns to drugs
after the rape and the family seems to disintegrate. I can't take this
anymore. I'm dreading this Christmas when it's time for season five.
Give me SpongeBob over death!
Tom Rivers is a reporter for The Daily News whose column is published
alternate Thursdays.
Copyright © 2009 - Batavia Newspapers Corp.
The horror, the horror. Yes, this series was about death and
destruction. I hate to tell you, that is what it is all about. Can
anything be done, YES, and it will be done, perhaps. Little house =
DEATH!! Get reel.
l***@gmail.com
2020-07-17 18:06:53 UTC
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The problem with series tv on DVD or Netflix is that you can watch a dozen shows in a row. Back then, you saw one episode a weejm and that was stuffed with commercials. You gotta break that stuff up. Every show gets crummy when you watch it endlessly.
RH Draney
2020-07-17 18:24:27 UTC
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Post by l***@gmail.com
The problem with series tv on DVD or Netflix is that you can watch a dozen shows in a row. Back then, you saw one episode a weejm and that was stuffed with commercials. You gotta break that stuff up. Every show gets crummy when you watch it endlessly.
Tell me about it...I've somehow gotten myself in a rut lately of
watching old reruns of "Here's Lucy", with the last scene of each
episode cut off abruptly by Cozi TV....r
Harvey Fenwick Lung
2020-07-18 01:02:42 UTC
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I had noticed this some years ago when HBO 2 was running The Sopranos
every week night. The events seemed much more devastating than when
viewed once per week.

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