Poor Elmer. Not only is he fat, he's also dumber than a box of rocks. It doesn't take a genius to meet Nancy Oleson and almost immediately come to the conclusion that she's a self-centered witch. But poor Elmer is blinded by love and adores her anyway. This episode provides further evidence, as if it were needed, that Nancy is a sociopathic maniac. She's not just mean, she's downright abusive to this poor boy who would do just about anything to pleasr her. It's disturbing. I was also a little taken aback that Willie really got into egging Elmer on in the dinner scene. He's not "mature Willie" yet, but I thought at this point he wouldn't go much farther than making a few fat jokes.
Harriet goes away at the beginning of this episode and I am wondering if we are supposed to believe that Nancy only behaved this way toward the boy because her mother, just about the only person who thinks she can do no wrong, isn't around to coddle her nonstop. If this isn't the case then why did Harriet go away? So Nels could invent chores for the kids so they could surprise her with a clean house and store?? That never made much sense to me.
One other thing, just a small one, that irks me about this episode. Since when did Laura become squeamish about creepy crawly things? She jumps back after opening the box and then asks Albert to remove them. So out of character for a girl who hooked her own worms for fishing when she was 9!
Overall, I thought it was a good episode. I cannot stand Nancy and I am pleased whenever she gets a comeuppance of some sort. I felt for the boy and was so proud and pleased that he committed to getting himself in shape. Dr. Baker's role here is small, but he is effective as a supportive force in Elmer's life.