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.
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.
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).
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.
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