Little House on the Prairie

Season 9 Episode 19

For The Love Of Blanche

1
Aired Wednesday 12:00 AM Mar 07, 1983 on NBC
1.9
out of 10
User Rating
208 votes
3

EPISODE REVIEWS
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Episode Summary

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On his way back from Sleepy Eye, Isaiah Edwards meets up with a dying old man, whose last request is for Isaiah to take care of his 3-year-old Blanche. It isn't until later that Isaiah realizes that this "little girl" is actually an orangutan! Most of Walnut Grove is happy to welcome Blanche into their community, but the trouble starts when Harriet Oleson gets involved.moreless

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • This is the less than riveting episode in which Mr. Edwards ends up temporarily adopting an orangutan.

    4.0
    Many things to pick apart for me in this particular episode. In the beginning, it seems as if this might just be a lighthearted, feel-good episode; everybody adores little Blanche (an exceptionally well trained orangutan/actor, even better than Melissa Gilbert.)

    Maybe it should have been a no-brainer that much dramatic tension would ensue, as when the sheriff is going to shoot poor little Blanche. In the scene when the sheriff arrives,

    He asks Miss Plum to remove the children from the schoolhouse as if he plans to shoot it while it's on her desk, then everyone goes outside presumably to watch Mr. Edwards shoot his new little friend. Those poor schoolchildren! Also, notice the pattern of baby Rose left unattended (as in "Once Upon A Time") and the Ingalls'farmhouse catching fire (Rage).moreless
  • Mr. Edwards cares for a dead man's orangetan, trying to find a suitable home for it, because it was the man's dying wish.

    1.0
    This is perhaps the most unbelievable, and unbelievably bad, episode ever written. What would Mr. Edwards know about taking care of an orangetan? And everybody, except Mrs. Oleson of course, just seems to accept it and not think anything of it? I just don't buy it. Miss Plum is going to let a primate sit in class everyday?? I seriously doubt it. And the faked death scene? You mean to tell me that this man has come out to eliminate the animal, but doesn't take the body? Doesn't even look at it? Nonesense!

    I can't imagine why this was written. It's plain silliness from the get-go and I'm embarrased for Victor French that he had to do it. He was a fine actor who deserved more than playing second fiddle to an animal.moreless
  • Michael Landon knew LH was on it's last leg - so he threw in this stink bomb for fun, I guess. (He wouldn't've pulled that in season 1.) Also, in light of the recent unpleasantness with orangutangs in the news, this makes for an especially bad episode.moreless

    1.0
    LHOTP is good fantasy - clean, romantic, healthy, 1970's-pop-psychology-progressive pioneers at their anachronistic best! But I turn it over to the "Flintstones" when that monkey comes on. In the first five minutes there's cute banter between Edwards and "Blanche's" old man, then the plot line sinks fast. This story could have been taken in some other direction besides Walnut Grove. Maybe trying to get "Blanche" a job in the circus or into a struggling zoo? But attending class with the kids and duking it out with Nancy are too too much. This is the only LH episode I won't watch.moreless
Dean Butler

Dean Butler

Almanzo James Wilder (co-star prior to season 7)

Melissa Gilbert

Melissa Gilbert

Laura Elizabeth Ingalls/Wilder

Dabbs Greer

Dabbs Greer

Reverend Alden

Richard Bull

Richard Bull

Nels Oleson

Katherine MacGregor

Katherine MacGregor

Harriet Oleson

David Friedman

David Friedman

Jason Carter (1982 - 1983)

Strawberry the ape

Strawberry the ape

Blanche

Guest Star

Don Collier

Don Collier

Sheriff

Guest Star

Don Michaelson

Don Michaelson

Mr. Paine

Guest Star

Eddie Quillan

Eddie Quillan

Buffalo Bill

Recurring Role

Elmore Vincent

Elmore Vincent

Old Man

Recurring Role

Ruth Foster

Ruth Foster

Mrs. Foster

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

FILTER BY TYPE

  • TRIVIA (9)

    • According to Almanzo early in the episode, Mr. Edwards' adopted son Matthew went with John Carter on a trip to Minneapolis. This makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. What reason would a grown man have to take a mute 10-year-old child on a trip with him, especially when he has school? We can assume that Matthew probably stayed with the Carter family while Mr. Edwards was away at the beginning of the episode, but that still doesn't explain why John would take the child with him on a business trip. It's just plain odd.

    • This is the second time in the same season that the twin girls playing baby Rose are emotionally distressed in front of the camera, for the sake of getting footage for certain scenes. This was also done in Season 9's A Child With No Name, when Rose's character was ill. Young Grace Ingalls was also seen crying uncontrollably in previous seasons, which is all very disturbing to watch.

    • Jenny tells Jeb and Jason that if it weren't for Blanche calling out during the fire, baby Rose would have been killed. However, while watching the fire scene, it's clear as day that Rose's screaming was what got Jenny's attention.

    • It's pretty unlikely that the fire at the Wilder home didn't spread more quickly than it did by the time Jenny finally came running in. She was paralyzed with fear and shock for several seconds before she went to put the fire out, and in that time, realistically, the whole house could have easily been up in flames.

    • After Jenny puts out the fire, the shot of the table from Jenny's front doesn't look like it had been burned. In the next shot from Jenny's back, you can tell the tablecloth is burned more than from the other angle. Also, you would think that as big as the fire was, it would have burned a lot more than just a small piece of the tablecloth.

    • In the scene where Mr. Edwards is talking to Almanzo outside of the mercantile, Almanzo's hair is brushed neatly over to the right side for the whole conversation. When Edwards steps of the mercantile porch and Almanzo turns toward his direction, his hair is covering his forehead and messy, but there was no sign of any wind blowing to make it that way.

    • While I don't mind Eddie Quillan as a character actor persay {he is funny}, I do take offense to him being portrayed as 3 differing characters throughout the Little House series. Couldn't Michael Landon {or whoever was responsible} cast someone else so it was less distracting to the plot? Eddie played all three characters as a sarcastic, crotchety old geezer. I seriously doubt Buffalo Bill was like that. Besides, he toured Europe throughout 1889 {supposedly when this episode took place, if you follow the timeline}.

    • Goof/Nitpick: When the sheriff goes to shoot Blanche and cries out she ran off up a tree, with him only firing one shot... he had many other bullets and Blanche was on the ground and a small orangutan is not believed to move so quickly. So this is actually unlikely. But this point like her coming from Africa, pulls away from the good storyline, so consider it nitpicking.

    • Goof: Blanche is an orangutan. Buffalo Bill says he stayed in Africa for 40 years before moving back to the United States. But orangutans come from Borneo and Samutra... Pongo: Pygmaeus (Borneoan Orangutan)
      Pongo abelii (Sumatran Orangutan)
      Therefore a very unlikely scenario for an orangutan being in Africa, more so in the 1880's! And why didn't they use a chimpanzee?

  • QUOTES (4)

    • Mr. Edwards: (about Blanche) Would you mind keeping an eye on her for me? I'm not talking about all day--Jenny's gonna help out after school.
      Reverend Alden: Oh, I'd be glad to. Where is she now?
      Mr. Edwards: Oh, well, she's not here. She's at home taking a nap.
      Reverend Alden: Mr. Edwards, you can't leave a 3-year-old alone.
      Mr. Edwards: Yeah, well, see, Blanche is kind of special......
      Reverend Alden: I don't care how special she is! When they're 3, you've got to watch them!

    • Nancy: (about Blanche) Ugh, it slobbers! How can you sit next to it?
      Jenny: I sat next to you, didn't I?

    • Mrs. Oleson: You mean, you know this monkey?
      Mrs. Edwards: It ain't a monkey. This here is some sort of ape!

    • Mrs. Oleson: (about Blanche the orangutan) Why is it looking at me like that?
      Mr. Edwards: Maybe she thinks you're related!

  • NOTES (3)

  • ALLUSIONS (0)

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