Little House on the Prairie

Season 7 Episode 16

Goodbye, Mrs Wilder

Aired Wednesday 12:00 AM Feb 02, 1981 on NBC

Episode Fan Reviews (4)

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out of 10
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  • School life goes from the sublime to the ridiculous when Mrs. Oleson becomes Walnut Grove's new teacher.

    The school day is proceeding as normal when Mrs. Oleson pops in, unannounced, with a man from the "state school board", there to observe Laura's teaching methods. The performance of her and her students will determine if the the school recieves some additional funding. Apparently, the day goes badly, as we see Laura huffing around at home and snapping at Almonzo as she makes dinner (as I noted in another review, Laura's personality took a nasty turn for the worse after she was married--watch this episode for proof). At an "emergency" school board meeting that night, Mrs. Oleson announces that she "doesn't feel Walnut Grove is keeping up with other schools", and that subjects like French and Art Appreciation need to be taught. Laura refuses, quits on the spot, and Mrs. Oleson takes over. Needless to say, French is foreign to the farm kids of Walnut Grove, and the Art is anything but appreciated. When the students, who have also tired of the ridiculous uniforms Mrs. Oleson has forced them to wear, get wind that the state school board member is coming for a follow up visit, they plan to sabotage the whole day. Laura finds out, and chides them for trying to make Mrs. Oleson, who's actually trying very hard, look like a fool. This, despite the fact that Laura wants her job back badly. When the school board man wants Mrs. Oleson to drop French and teach agriculture instead, she steps down, and Laura has her job back.

    A subplot involves a new, jerk of a student named Ralph, who's constantly getting Willie into trouble. Satisfyingly, he's busted by Laura in the final scene, and Ralph gets to keep Willie's corner warm for an afternoon. It's also fun to watch Mrs. Oleson "un, deux, troix" her way prissily through the school day.

    This episode is good, but nothing special. It was followed, however, by the infamous "Sylvia" episodes.