Like a pioneer Ally McBeal with longer skirts (okay, much longer skirts), Little House on the Prairie‘s Laura Ingalls was doing the strong and quirky thing long before it was fashionable. This angelic, God-fearing, bonnet-wearing Half-Pint — as Pa’s Michael Landon called her — endured the kind of adolescent angst that Party of Five‘s Salingers would salivate over. Sure, the wuss factor’s high, but did the phrase ”very special episode” truly exist prior to the House? Who could forget the multiple-tissue two-hour show when Laura runs away to find God because she feels guilt over her baby brother’s death? (Even a nice Jewish girl from New Jersey could find meaning in that.) Not that the show didn’t do whimsy: Remember when a jealous Laura sabotaged town bitch Nellie Oleson’s date by dousing the dinner entrée with cayenne pepper? Though the cast members may have hitched their covered wagons to the celebrity black hole (Melissa Gilbert is lucky when she nabs a movie-of-the-week, Alison Arngrim is a stand-up comic, and Lord only knows where poor Doc Baker landed), this feel-gooder endures thanks to mail-order videos, websites, and cable-icious morning reruns on TBS. One final note before all you futuristic hipster X-Files fans turn up your noses at me: At least Little House is grounded in reality. Laura’s an actual historical figure. And that dose of it’s-good-for-you superiority makes the guilt go down a heck of a lot easier.



Little House on the Prairie (TV Show - 1974)
  • TV Show