Little House on the Prairie

Season 6 Episode 5


Aired Wednesday 12:00 AM Oct 15, 1979 on NBC

Episode Fan Reviews (3)

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out of 10
93 votes
  • The circus comes to town, and Nels Oleson is horrified to discover that his estranged sister is the Fat Lady.

    Nels Oleson is embarassed when the circus comes to Walnut Grove and the Fat Lady, Annabelle, is none other than his estranged sister. He stands by silently as the townsfolk (chiefly, his own wife), constantly make jokes about her. Annabelle is unaware that her brother even lives here, and while he does manage to avoid her for a time, she eventually spots him in Nellie's restaurant--where he totally snubs her. Eventually the two meet in private, and Annabelle tells Nels that she enjoys her life as much as is possible and has found a "family" in the circusfolk she travels with. Nels finally sees the light and, while serving as ringmaster at the circus, announces that he's particularly proud of one of the performers tonight--his sister, Annabelle.

    A side plot involves Laura once again attempting to get Almonzo's attention. She manages to ruin his date with snippy Chrissy by dousing Chrissy with water while dressed as a clown at the circus; this causes Chrissy's skirt to separate from her dress; ironically, Laura had just made the dress for her. Hmm...

    The one thing that I find to be less than believable in this episode is Nels Oleson's utter rejection of another human being. He's perhaps the kindest, fairest, and most understanding resident of Walnut Grove--including Charles Ingalls. For him to be portrayed as prejudiced against his own sibling was, I thought, totally uncharacteristic and something he just wouldn't have done. His wife, yes. Nels, no way. Annabelle does alude to the fact that Nels used to avoid being seen with her as a child. Perhaps the viewer is supposed to believe that it's his guilty conscience that keeps him from embracing her. I don't know. Worth viewing.
  • Not our Nels

    I just couldn't picture Nels being this mean...he might be embarrassed but his sister wasn't that obese and his wife certainly wasn't slim. He was always a kind man, it just didn't fit.

    Harriet not being slim herself, joked a bit too much about Annabelle. That did make Nel crack and visit her but I just didn't like the script.

    Also I get tired of seeing Laura do immature things to get Almonzo...switch the cinnamon to pepper, drench his date, she had done so many other things in the past and hardly ever got punished, caused her parents angst running away, her jealousy making Albert run away...sometimes I realize why I like other characters better. including Nels : ) I'm glad he got to have a larger part in this show, even if it wasn't a great one.

  • Nels Oleson has an unhappy surprise in store when the circus comes to Walnut Grove.

    All the people of Walnut Grove are very excited that the circus is coming to town, especially the children, who don't get to see treats such as a circus all that often. As the performers arrive, Nels Oleson looks as though he is about to faint when he realises that the stereotypical "fat lady" is none other than his sister, Annabelle, from whom he has been estranged for years.

    To put it mildly, Nels is horrified and determines that nobody will find out his secret.

    From here on is where I became very disappointed with the episode. Nels Oleson is simply not the kind of man to not treasure his sister, regardless of her size, and anyway, being married to a harridan such as Harriet, one would think that he could use all the other family he could get! On top of that, the script was of a very low standard and was highly predictable which was a shame as the whole premise of the episode was bad enough given that it was so far removed from the Nels we know.
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