There were some things that I was annoyed that the show
didn’t even TRY to approximate or portray correctly. It’s
just plain sloppy at times. Take Mr. Edwards singing “Ol’
Dan Tucker.” In the book Little House on the Prairie,
he sings it while riding home after helping the Ingallses
build their house, and it goes like so:
Ol’ Dan Tucker's a fine old man,
Washed his face in a frying pan,
Combed his hair with a wagon wheel,
Died of toothache in his heel.
Get out the way for ol’ Dan Tucker,
He's too late to get his supper,
Supper's over and dishes washed.
Nothin’ left but a piece of squash.
But in the show, Mr. Edwards sings the last two lines this
Supper's over and dinner's cookin',
Ol’ Dan Tucker's just stands there lookin'.
Which makes no sense. Because supper is the meal served AFTER
dinner at that time in that part of the country.
But that’s a small thing, considering that the actual CHARACTERS
were so grossly misrepresented by the show. I’m not just talking
about Pa being a clean-shaven cry-baby. The Real Mary Ingalls,
f’instance, was a ladylike goody-two-shoes as a child; the
show, though, has her running, playing tag and baseball, smacking
Nellie Oleson in the face, screaming and yelling like a banshee
bitch from hell at various adults and children, scheming,
flirting, and kissing several boys. As a woman, the Real Mary
Ingalls played the organ and did beadwork and sewing. The
show’s version of Mary? Not even close. The Real Laura Ingalls
was quick-tempered, tough, and a tomboy. However, she never
would have chased boys (or Almanzo), punched Nellie, talked
back to her parents, or shoved apples down her dress to look
like boobies; the Real Ma never would have raised her
to think such behavior was acceptable. The Real Ma, in fact,
was plump and plain, quiet, modest, and pretty restrained.
She would no more have led a dissension of town women as an
adult than she would have chased young Charles as a girl.
The Real Carrie and The Real Laura were very close, but the
show pretty much leaves Carrie as a sideline character (which
might be because the Greenbush Twins weren’t the greatest
actresses, as anyone who’s seen the weird-ass Carrie’s Secret
Friend episode can bear witness). Instead of developing any
real relationship between the Ingalls sisters, Reverend Landon
just kept dragging in more orphans to adopt. And, hey, ML?
The Real Pa Ingalls always drank TEA, you loser, not coffee!
Or for instance, how about the clothes? I’m not talking just
about the long skirts and blouses that the actresses wore
(which are inconsistent with fashion of the 1870s-80s). I
mean, there were so many details in the books about the clothes
the Ingalls girls wore; the show couldn’t make a nod at biographic
and historical accuracy by depicting Laura in her black wedding
dress? I guess when they couldn’t even get their CHARACTERS
correct, expecting some accurate details about, say, a dress
or hat is too much.
I mean, there could be a drinking game for all the stupid
and wrong things with Little House on the Prairie!
Someone gets preachy? Take a drink! Doc Baker is all barely-suppressed-amused
when he diagnoses some hypochondriac, or Nels Oleson makes
and under-his-breath slam at Harriet? Take a drink! One of
the Ingalls girls says “Like my pa always says” or “Like you
always say, Pa”? Take a drink! And if you develop a drinking
problem because of this, don’t worry… some farm work’ll take
care of that.
Yeah, I know the media considers Michael Landon to be a big
hero and a wonderful man and a brave and valiant soul and
all that, and I won’t dispute that he obviously had great
influence over the actors with whom he worked. But really…
I wish he just would’ve left Laura Ingalls Wilder and the
Little House books alone instead of turning an amazing historical
children’s epic into freakin’ Pre-Full House Schmaltz-fest.
And you don't have
to look so damned self-aggrandizing about it, either!