Saturday, June 19, 2010

Next Week's Episode


(1976) - Laura is tricked into taking a billy goat home with her, who she names Fred. After Fred eats the crops, however, Charles tells Laura that she has to find Fred a new home.

Friday, June 18, 2010

The Camp-Out 5/5

Charles and Nels are still searching for their daughters. After a few barks from Jack, we rejoin the girls on their White Water Adventure. Nellie manages to put aside her sense of survival to whine and pout some more. She’s like a more annoying version of Willie from Temple of Doom.

Charles calls out for Laura while Nels skips a stone on the river. Jack starts to freak out and bark at the bushes where Nellie fell in. I think there’s a dog that could benefit from some Lassie training. Charles spots Laura’s leaf bag and both men start to get a bit more concerned. Charles speculates that the girls are probably farther downstream, but that causes Nels to suppose that they might have fallen into the river. Charles tells Nels not to “chase shadows”, which I think is a little unfair.

The girls enter another set of rapids and manage to avoid slamming into rocks again. I call no waysies. We then see a series of waterfalls that the girls are sort of approaching. Of course, they end up taking a fork in the river, so they were never in any (additional) danger. Laura manages to steer the bush towards a tree branch that just happens to be in a shallow part of the river. She forces Nellie to accept the branch as a means of escape from the river, but not after a bout of extreme whining. Shut up, Nellie. Lemmings have a stronger sense of self-preservation than this girl.

As the girls reach the shore, the bush floats over towards the waterfalls and gets swallowed up by the white water. Let’s just pretend they were in danger, shall we? Ooooo! Ahhhh! Ahem. After a short breather, Nellie starts blaming Laura for bumping her into the water, attempting to drown her, and then causing her to cry because she can’t swim. It is at this point that I first notice that Nellie has a rather nasty snaggletooth. Laura tells Nellie to stop bawling, but to no avail. Nellie complains about freezing, but Laura suggests that walking back will probably warm her up. Actually, I don’t think that’s the recommended treatment for hypothermia.

Caroline surveys the river as Harriet walks over. They acknowledge that several hours have passed. Harriet takes responsibility for the whole situation, saying that it was her idea to have Nels finagle an invitation for the Olesons. Caroline says she kinda figured that out already, much to Harriet’s surprise. Harriet still thinks that if she were a better person, this situation would never have presented itself. Caroline’s response: “It takes two to argue.” Love ya, Caroline! Harriet promises to Caroline that if/when the girls come back, she will strive to be a better person. So if the girls don’t come back, you’ll strive to be more like this?

Mary is on calamine duty with Willie. After she applies some goop to his elbow, Willie tells Mary that she doesn’t seem as mean as Nellie says she is. He even goes so far as to call Mary nice. As Mary starts to confess about the poison ivy debacle, Charles bellows that he has found the girls. Everyone runs over to hug the girls. Laura says they rode the rapids, followed by Nellie blaming the Ingalls girl for pushing her off the riverbank. Laura is outraged, but then Nellie accuses her of pushing her head underwater. Mrs. Oleson returns to her regular Orange Threat Level self and chastises Laura. She then tells Willie to share all his leaves with Nellie since she lost all of hers in the river. Even the special leaves. Mary and Laura smile at this.

Back in Walnut Grove, Miss Beadle is ready to announce whose collections won out. She says they came from two students. Mary and Laura perk up, but it is Willie and Nellie who won. Miss Beadle leads the class in a round of tepid applause. The kids turn around and…hey! They stole my Halloween costume! Miss Beadle starts itching her neck. Laura and Mary look at each other but don’t say anything. Are they the only two people in Walnut Grove who can recognize poison ivy? Wah wah.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Camp-Out 4/5

The next morning Willie and Harriet are covered in some homemade paste that Caroline applies. Laura and Mary watch as the Olesons scratch themselves. Thank God for TV – that is not my idea of entertainment. Harriet tells Willie to stop scratching, causing Laura to smirk. Mrs. Oelson wonders aloud why she and her son are the only ones to be affected. Well, if you let Willie share his treasure trove then everyone would be complaining. Happy now, Harriet? Mary doesn’t offer my answer and instead uses the semi-rhetorical question as an opportunity to exit before she shares her knowledge about the poison ivy.

Nels saunters over and asks his wife if there is anything he can do to help her. She tells her husband not to worry and to go fishing as if nothing were wrong. Strange, but there is no air of a guilt trip when Harriet says this. Nels notices this too, so he and Charles scamper off before Harriet has another change of heart.

Later along the riverbank, we see Laura and Mary running towards more leaves. Nellie yells for the girls to wait up so she can “search” along with them. Mary suggests that they split up to maximize their leaf count. Nellie decides to continue to tag along with Laura. It’s probably for the best – we don’t want Nellie to get eaten by a panda bear drinking from the Danube now, do we?

Jack leads the way down a narrow path along the river. Laura gingerly walks towards a leaf but Nellie swoops in and snatches it. Farther down the path, Nellie spots some leaves right by the river’s edge. Laura calls over to Nellie, telling her to be careful. Nellie scoffs at this. A moment later she screams as she lowers herself, er, “falls” into the water. Laura runs over to grab the girl, but the bush that Nellie was holding onto uproots and pulls both of the girls into the rapids. Of course. Jack barks in disapproval.

Back at camp, Charles swoops in to steal a sandwich from a stack that Caroline had prepared. He asks how the leaf hunters are doing and his wife reports that Mary came back but Laura and Nellie were still out and about. Charles checks in with Mary to see her leaf collection. Over at the Oleson side of the camp, Harriet tells Nels that lunch is almost ready so he should call for Nellie. He looks around a bit before asking Mary if she has seen his daughter. Mary says she hasn’t, but she found Jack nearby so the girls must be around somewhere. Charles and Nels decide to go look for the girls.

Meanwhile downstream, Laura and Nellie cling to the bush as the rapids carry them. “We’ll have to wait until it gets shallow,” Laura says. Nelly whines at an ear-piercing frequency about not being able to swim. After navigating past a fallen tree trunk, we enter into an homage to Deliverance. If anyone tells Nellie that she has a purty mouth, I am so done with this project. Despite the bush’s incredibly weak roots, the girls manage to hang on and not slam into any rocks…so far…

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Camp-Out 3/5

Later on, we see Caroline bringing some tree branches to Harriet who is struggling with setting up the Oleson tent. Caroline offers to help, but Harriet insists on trying to get it done herself. Mrs. Ingalls observes for a bit before complimenting Mrs. Oleson on her outdoors skillz. Harriet jokes about giving her brothers camping lessons when they were growing up. Who is this pleasant person and what did she do with Mrs. Oleson? As Harriet starts to lay down the branches in the tent, the support tie comes undone and the whole thing collapses on Harriet. Whoops.

A bit later, Charles and Nels walk back to the campsite carrying a couple bundles of fish. The kids run to their respective fathers as they show off their hauls. Nels stops in his tracks when he sees the camp completely set up. “I never thought you could do that by yourself,” he marvels. Harriet stammers for a second before Caroline pipes in that she was also amazed with her work. Nice save, but now I’m starting to worry that something is wrong with the water in the river. What’s going on with these people? The women take the fish and get ready to cook dinner. Nels is dubious of Harriet’s extreme chipperness.

That dubiousness is replaced with indigestion as Nels struggles to get his fork into the charred piece of fish meat on his plate. Harriet is not a top chef when it comes to campfire cooking. Charles offers to trade some of his fish for Nels so that the latter will have something for dinner. Meanwhile, the kids are showing their respective Ma’s the leaves they have collected. After Caroline sends her daughters to bed, we hear Willie telling Harriet about his extra special find. There is some bickering about sharing (Willie doesn’t want to, surprise) that catches Mary’s attention. She points out the poison ivy to Laura, who asks what they should do. “I think we better go to bed – NOW,” says Mary. Laura disagrees and suggests telling Pa. Mary thinks the best course of action is to say nothing, especially if the Olesons don’t end up touching the plant enough to get affected. We then see Harriet rubbing the leaves on her face. Horticulture FAIL.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Camp-Out 2/5

I guess Charles reconsidered, because we now see him carrying Carrie and leading a horse down a trail with the rest of the traveling party following. Laura grabs some leaves from a bush and Nellie grabs some as well. Good strategy Nellie, go for the tie. Bringing up the rear are Nels, who appears to have packed the same way Waldo does, and Harriet, who is struggling to keep her balance while walking with a parasol. I have to wonder if Jennifer Saunders used this scene as inspiration for Edina Monsoon.

Nels and Sweetie Dah-ling reach a small mud creek. Nels hops over it with ease, but Harriet, who is also carrying the tea service, struggles with leaping. Apparently the umbrella was Harriet’s center of gravity as she falls backwards into the creek. Wah wah. She tries to save face as Nels helps her up.

As Charles enters a clearing, Caroline calls ahead and suggests that they take a break so the Olesons can catch up. Laura asks if she can go hunt for leaves and takes off to go search. When the Olesons finally arrive at the pit stop, Charles informs them that this is a non-elimination leg and they can eat, sleep, and mingle with the other travelers. The Olesons look relieved.

Over in the foliage follies, Nellie instructs Willie to stick with Mary and to get two of everything that the Ingalls girl grabs. That way both the Oleson kids will have the same set of leaves. Nothing like a three-way tie. Mary tells Willie to bug off, but he refuses. After an unnecessary cutaway to Laura, Mary spots a plant that has three leaves. Her eyes bug but she doesn’t grab any of the leaves. Willie sees Mary’s p-p-p-poker face and runs over to collect the foliage. Mary tells him to stop, but he tells her the leaves are his. Oh, Laura was joining the scene, as she now tells the two that the pit stop is over.

Willie sticks his tongue out as he leaves. Once he’s gone, Laura chides her sister for letting Willie be a twerp. “He should be taught a lesson,” Laura says. “He will be,” Mary replies, “that was poison ivy.” Laura giggles after another close-up of the plant.

We see some snow-capped mountains. Umm, where are they exactly? The highest point in Minnesota is Eagle Mountain, but that’s only 2300 feet and next to Lake Superior. Walnut Grove is in the opposite corner of the state. Nice attention to detail, show. Anyway, we see the party arrive next to a flowing river (probably the Potomac or the Ohio) and everyone washes up. The kids run off to find more leaves, the women offer to set up camp, and Nels and Charles head off to go fishing.

Monday, June 14, 2010

The Camp-Out 1/5

Walnut Grove hasn’t changed much since our last visit: Kids still running down the hillside, the wagon still rolling into “The Town”, same old, same old. This episode begins in the school where Miss Beadle is hanging some pictures above the chalkboard. The chalkboard reads “HAppy HoliDAy”. I’m guessing Miss Beadle was an early adopter of MySpace. As the camera zooms in we see the pictures are of different types of leaves.

Miss Beadle acknowledges that the kids are probably excited about the yet-unnamed holiday that is approaching and she has decided that she will not assign any homework. The kids cheer, but Miss Beadle reminds them that their leaf collections are still due the first day back. Willie’s jaw drops just enough so you can fit a beach ball in his mouth. He says he already has his leaf collection. Since when did he become an overachiever? Miss Beadle says that’s fine, but the project still won’t be due until the kids get back.

Laura raises her hand and tells Miss Beadle and the class that the Ingalls family will be going on a camping trip. “We can get all kinds of leaves up in the hills,” she brags. Mary is beaming. Is there a question in there somewhere, Laura, or are you just showing off? Nellie thinks it’s the latter and announces that she thinks it’s unfair that they have access to exotic leaves while everyone else scrambles for the cheap-ass ones in Walnut Grove. Miss Beadle says it really isn’t a big deal. Mary asks, with severity in her voice, if they are going to be graded. Homegirl has her game face on. Miss Beadle says they will and that the best collection will go on display. She dismisses the class. As Laura leaves, she sees that Nellie has her game face on as well.

We join Harriet mid-chew as she kvetches about the Ingalls and their camping trip. “Giving their children an unfair advantage,” she forces through her full mouth. Lovely. Nellie adds to the whining before Nels is all like “I don’t know what you expect me to do about it.” Harriet tells her husband to find out where the Ingalls will be camping and then follow along with kids in tow. Nels finds this incredibly tacky, but Harriet plays the “It’s a free country” card, or whatever the equivalent was back then. Why do they have to go to the same spot as the Ingalls family? Couldn’t they just go on their own camping trip and get their stupid leaves that way? Before the logic police start to gather, Harriet and Nellie do a tag team guilt trip about how Nels is allegedly a bad father. Nels counters with his concern about having to close up shop and losing business. Ooo, now it’s a tennis match! Harriet says she can take care of the store. Nels realizes that if Harriet sticks around Walnut Grove, then he gets a vacation from her. He decides to ride out to the Ingalls farm to find out where they are going.

Charles is either working on a chair or his pecs with some hand crank tool in the barn. Nels rides up and chit chats about fishing. He shows Charles his rod (not a euphemism) and Charles says he would love to try it out (still not a euphemism). Charles invites Nels and the kids to tag along, just as long as they don’t mind roughing it. Nels accepts the invitation.

The next day we see Carrie accepting a piece of candy from Nels in the Mercantile. As Caroline and Nels work out the bill, Harriet enters the room. Nels comes up with a total, but determines that the Olesons will use many of those provisions so he gives Caroline a huge discount. Harriet didn’t realize that Caroline was going on the trip also and she starts to reminisce about camping trips she went on when she was a child. Oh, her poor parents, I can just imagine. Caroline nods politely until Harriet says, “I wish I was going along.” Caroline’s eyes widen with panic and Nels rushes to change the subject. It doesn’t quite work, even when Nels reminds his wife about the store. Harriet muses some more as Caroline and Carrie leave.

That night, Nels puts out the lamp in the bedroom and tells his wife that he’ll try to be quiet when they leave tomorrow morning. She tells him not to worry because she is going to make them breakfast. And every meal on the trip. She rises out of bed and I cannot for the life of me figure out what is on her head. It looks like Coolio threw a tickertape parade on her scalp. I’m guessing she’s trying to curl her hair but it looks bizarre. Nels is shocked, not by the hair but by Harriet’s declaration that she will be camping with them. Nels tries every tactic he can think of to convince Harriet to stay but she won’t have any of it. Wah wah.

The next morning, Charles and the family are finishing packing up their stuff. The Olesons ride up and they chit chat about the beautiful weather. Charles offers to help unload the Oleson wagon and Harriet tells him she’ll take care of the package with the tea service. Why would you bring that? Caroline and Charles immediately know that the only person who would pack such a thing would be Harriet, so she must be coming along. Nels confirms this, so Charles and Caroline decide to have a confab in the barn. Charles says he will not go on the trip with Harriet Oleson. Caroline doesn’t like the situation either, but she does mention that Harriet is trying so hard to be nice so they should give her a chance. Charles mutters all Milton-like after Caroline leaves the barn to break the news that they won’t be going on the trip to her children.