“Sweet Sixteen,” Anyone?

Every once in a while, I have to admit, I want to fire up my TiVo to record all the “Little House” reruns that are on that week. And then I start thinking about all the unwatched shows that still sit in my Tivo queue and I go watch “The Office” or “Grey’s Anatomy” or “Entourage.”

For reasons that will become clear to readers of the next Homesteader issue, I’ve been thinking about the TV show a lot lately. That is, the “Little House on the Prairie” TV show. I wonder if those of us who both A) recognize the show for the tragedy it is, and B) still kind of like it anyway, have the same favorite shows? I know what my favorites are. I bet you do too.

I think I’ll always have an itch for TV “Little House.” Whenever I start considering the episodes or scenes that make me absently smile, I always come plump up against the fact (can you name whose phrase I’m plagiarizing there?) that I simply love the courtship of Laura and Almanzo. I adore the real courtship of Laura and Almanzo, of course, and I even prefer the courtship of Home Over Saturday to the TV one. But the TV one is still swoonworthy.

Maybe it’s because I was eleven at the time.

So, readers, ‘fess up. I know you’ve got ’em. What are your favorite episodes?

11 Responses to “Sweet Sixteen,” Anyone?

  1. Rebecca says:

    Okay, there is a strange dynamic between the books and the show for me. I always recognized the show as entirely different from the books, even as a little girl. I never even thought of them as the same. The books are so special to me, and there is such a childhood nostalgia wrapped up in them. However, I have to say that the tv show is also special to me, in that same nostalgic way, even though I have always considered the books and the show as completely separate entities. However, despite considering them separate, I have never watched much tv, and yet I have seen every episode of Little House a host of times. There must be some connection in my mind for that to be true — somehow, the fact that it was supposed to represent Laura even though it really didn’t must have afforded the show a higher place in my little girl brain than any other show on the air.

    And so… reflecting back, I discover that the show holds memories nearly as cherished as the books themselves. I absolutely loved Melissa Gilbert as Laura and she and the other Little House characters are the only tv stars I ever really felt like I “knew” somehow… any other show, they were just people on tv, but the Little House kids felt like friends.

    And so finally, on to your question… favorite episodes.

    The premiere movie is my all time favorite, probably because it strays the least from the books. The girls are SO little and cute, and of course Mr. Edwards bringing Christmas presents to them is one of the most beloved Little House stories of all.

    I like Country Girls for the same reason — though only pieces come from Plum Creek, at least there are pieces! I remember in elementary school, sitting with my copy of Plum Creek and reading along while watching that episode during the parts that match. :o)

    Christmas at Plum Creek always makes me cry.

    Bunny is a great episode, the image of Nellie flying down that hill in her wheelchair always makes me laugh.

    I always thought The Godsister was a fun episode, I used to love the part where Carrie went to heaven and saw Jack. :o)

    I love the end of A Child With No Name when Laura “forgives” (not that he’d done anything wrong…) Doc Baker.

    And of course The Last Farewell breaks my heart watching them blow up all those dearly beloved buildings. I’m glad they left the Ingalls home standing, at least.

    So anyway… the show may be vastly different from the books, but I’ve just decided I don’t care anymore, and I’ll just like the show for the show’s sake and the books for the books’ sake. :o)

  2. Jonni says:

    The episode with the cinnamon chicken….the look on Almanzo’s face when he took a bite, I haven’t seen the episode in years but it cracks me up just to think about it. 🙂

    I was totally a fan during the TV show years. I LOVED the books first and always but after watching the characters for so many years, they became a part of my LH experience. I don’t watch the reruns now though……although I’m feeling a strange desire to see the cinnamon chicken episode. 😉

  3. Amy says:

    I loved the show when it first started and was still true to the books, but I have to admit I lost interest when they began deviating severely from the story line. And Michael Landon–a fine actor, but geez, he cried *all* the time. I don’t remember Pa running around with tears in his eyes in the books the way Landon had him doing in the shows. I’d probably say the movie premiere was my favorite, because it was so close to the book.

  4. Dakotagirl says:

    The premiere episode was my favorite, as several of you have said, it was the one closest to the books.

    While my opinion of Mr. Landon is stated clearly elsewhere, I do admire the performances of the actors on the show. To me, Dean Butler was one of the best. Richard Bull, Katherine MacGregor, and Karen Grassle were tops too.

  5. sgaissert says:

    As everyone else said, the premiere movie is the best.

    I love “Country Girls,” too, and the episodes involving Mary going blind (probably because I didn’t know anything about the real story of Mary’s blindness, so the episodes filled in a gap for me).

    I love the episode in which Ma is left alone and has to contemplate performing surgery on her own leg (as others said, I was young; I loved the drama of it). Another dramatic favorite: the episode in which Pa and Mr. Edwards haul dynamite.

    The Laura/Almanzo courtship episodes were great, although I have trouble watching them now, knowing how fictionalized they are. I also have trouble sometimes with seeing the mountains in the background everywhere in all of the episodes– after having been to Walnut Grove and knowing that there are no visible mountains there.

  6. Amy says:

    I don’t know that I have real “favorite” episodes–I got something out of all of them. I have two that are the most memorable for me, though.

    The first is the episode where baby Freddy dies, Laura thinks it’s her fault, and she runs away. There was the mountain man who may have been God. It made a deep impression on me.

    The second is the fire at the school for the blind. That was memorable because I got to stay up PAST MY BEDTIME to watch it. 🙂 It was heartbreaking, too.

  7. Dennis D. Picard says:

    Okay, I know it is a “guy thing,” but the episode when Pa had to leave the farm and found a job as a stone driller. It had the Irish dynamiter and the Swedish side-kick. I know, I know, Ma and the girls carried on bravely at home and missed him dearly BUT come-on “a manly” Little House story for once! LOL

  8. Dakotagirl says:

    You’re right Dennis, it was a very manly episode. If I remember correctly, didn’t one of the drillers die and they gave the wages to his widow. Or is that anothter episode, perhaps Pa was mining?

  9. Dennis D. Picard says:

    Dakotagirl – yes, there was a railroad episode with Mr. Edwards and Pa, in which the characters are digging a tunnel and Pa takes over from the older more experienced foreman who is too cautious in the eyes of the boss. Pa is desperate for the extra pay, but learns in the long run he was shortsighted.

  10. Shelley says:

    I, also, adore the romantic side of it all. “Sweet Sixteen” is my favorite episode. I love the innocence and simple nature of it all. Something to dream of.
    I also love the episode “The Richest Man in Walnut Grove”. I am filled with such admiration of the Ingalls family during this episode. How they all work together and find pleasure in such simple things, like having berries for dessert, is inspirational for everyone these days.

  11. Erica Randall says:

    For a while i thought i couldn’t love the show and Laura b/c of the big differance. But now i love them both for what they are…. I love the “Lake Kezia monster” however you spell that…. i loved the ones that had Laura, Andy, and Albert!!! “Look back to yesterday” so special…of course i was crying… The courtship of Laura and Almonzo was hard for me to watch, it was just so differant from the real story!! The Pilot episode was great, it followed the books- i loved Mr. Edwards!!


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