Thursday, October 27, 2011

Can't We All Be Friends?

I'm in the midst of reading a memoir of a person who followed the travels of Laura Ingalls Wilder. I'm enjoying it. Every "Laurafan" seems to have his/her own story and I like learning of how others discovered Wilder and how that impacted their lives.

Spend enough time in Lauradom and you'll find distinct camps of "Laurafans"--those who love the classic family television show, Little House on the Prairie, and those who wish it never happened. At some point, I wish we could all shake hands and get along.

Why do those who don't care for Little House on the Prairie and how Michael Landon and his producers portrayed historical figures and events feel the need to rip it to shreds? Isn't the show just one more way to honor the legacy that Wilder left behind? Despite its historical inaccuracies, didn't the show capture the romantic, little girl view that Wilder portrayed in her books? I feel it did.

The book I'm reading has so far spent two pages decrying how television Laura wasn't anything like real Laura. Reverend Alden, Mr. Edwards and Charles didn't look like the real people any more than TV Laura did, and there was too much "histrionics and tragedy." Maybe the author gets it right about the histrionics, but I'm fairly sure the life in which the historical Laura lived had tragedy up the ying-yang, so is the problem with the show that it's not authentic enough or that it's too authentic? The author compares Little House on the Prairie to a soap opera. I've watched both genres of television. They are only alike in the fact that television allows you to suspend common sense if you're creating a great storyline. Remember in Season 9, Royal Wilder returns to Walnut Grove with a daughter named Jenny in tow and Almanzo tells Laura he hasn't seen his brother in 10 years. I guess he forgot that time right after Laura and he were married when Royal and his wife Millie dropped off their two sons (or should I say monsters) for the newlyweds to watch while they went off on a trip? But, Millie was dead by Season 9 and Royal was dying and they needed somewhere for daughter Jenny who no longer will have any family once Royal passes away (I guess Myron and Rupert died too) to live. Look at all that tragedy.

Perhaps it's because I discovered the books after the show and those books sparked my interest in Laura and Almanzo's real life that it doesn't matter to me that Little House on the Prairie and its creators went off into their own world to celebrate Wilder. Maybe I'm too forgiving of a medium that depends on action more than description and internal thought to propel the plot forward. I think they'll have to figure out peace in the Middle East before we can expect it in Laura World.

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