Little House on the Prairie

Season 7 Episode 16

Goodbye, Mrs Wilder

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



  • Trivia

    • Goof: At the beginning of this episode, Laura is teaching the students about New York City, describing the five separate boroughs. She also mentions that the Brooklyn Bridge is still under construction. Assuming this episode takes place in either 1884 or 1885, both of these descriptions are inaccurate. At that time, the bridge was already complete, and the five boroughs of New York hadn't yet become merged.

    • Willie Olesen is sent to the corner three times in one episode (possibly a series record)!

    • Albert is normally a top student, yet he makes a very poor showing in this episode. It's more than reasonable that he just didn't want to learn from Mrs. Oleson after she took over the class, but he also wasn't even able to answer Laura's questions early in the episode. Where's the smart, doctor-bound Albert we know?

    • Notice the little brown-haired girl sitting in the front row of the classroom, directly opposite of Carrie, in each school scene. She looks very much like she could be one of the Greenbush twins (the girls who shared the role of Carrie), and if she didn't have bangs, you'd think they were using both girls for this episode. (The Greenbushes grew their bangs out this season.)

    • When Charles is trying to figure out how he's going to afford new uniforms for Albert and Carrie, Albert says he refuses to wear the required black socks, and Charles laughs and says that this will help a little, money-wise. Charles should have known much better than to object to a clear order that Mrs. Oleson made, in this case with the uniforms.

    • When Mrs. Oleson demands that the children wear uniforms, they all have them the first day that Mrs. Oleson starts teaching, which is the day after Laura quits. How did all those kids get those uniforms in less than 24 hours? It's extremely unlikely that Mrs. Oleson had them stocked in the store; what reason would she have to be stocking such a large quantity of school uniforms? Secondly, according to Laura in an earlier scene, many of the school children came from "desperately poor families," and yet they all had those expensive uniforms the very next day. In a class that large, it's interesting that none of the parents objected to this.

    • This is really the first episode where we hear baby Grace talk! She is about three years old here, and you will notice that she reacts very differently to Charles' cooking than she does in Oleson vs. Oleson, which aired only a couple episodes before this one. At least this time, Grace finds it humorous when Charles tries to feed her, and she's not crying hysterically.

    • Just like in Season 2's Troublemaker, Harriet directly catches Walnut Grove's current teacher (who is, in this episode, Laura) handling the class poorly, and she calls an emergency school board meeting to let everyone know what's going on. Furthermore, these two episodes show Harriet Oleson being incredibly judgmental and forcing Miss Beadle and Laura, respectively, out of their jobs (even if it's only temporary).

    • Apparently, Willie is so troublesome in school that even his own mother has to send him to the corner when she steps in as the new teacher. However, this is the first time where it really isn't his fault (it's Ralph's fault), and of all people, his mother refuses to listen to him and immediately sends him to the corner twice. Harriet was clearly tougher on Willie than she was with Nellie and Nancy, but Harriet Oleson very rarely refrained from defending any of her kids in such situations. Considering her character, what reason would she have not to believe her own son when he tries to tell her it wasn't his fault?

    • Harriet criticizes the children for their poor pronunciation with French, but what's even more hilarious is the fact that her pronunciation is awful, too (and she doesn't even realize it). For instance, with the word sept, which is French for seven, she pronounces the "p," but it's actually supposed to be silent. French has a lot of silent letters, and yet Harriet emphasized almost all of them while speaking the language.

    • Despite the fact that Willie and Albert have become good friends, Albert encourages new student Ralph's constant mistreatment of Willie, telling Ralph that, "practically the only fun thing around here is those jokes you play on Willie." The "jokes" include hair pulling and at least one blow to the face. Being such good friends, why wouldn't Albert defent Willie against this bully? For that matter, Albert laughs at all the jokes while Mrs. Oleson is teaching, but in the end, when Laura returns as the teacher and disciplines Ralph the way he deserves, Albert is apparently pleased with that. That doesn't really make much sense.

    • The two parents who are at the school board meeting with Charles, Doc Baker, Nels and Harriet Oleson are completely random people whom we have never seen before. It is blaringly obvious that they were stuck in there for the sake of convenience, so that when Mrs. Oleson petitioned for French and art to be placed in the school curriculum, these two parents could vote "yes" and prevent the "no" group (Charles and Doc Baker) from winning or producing a tie between the two groups.

    • Look closely at the little blonde girl that Laura calls on during class in the first scene. Apparently the child's name is Hildy, but in Dearest Albert, I'll Miss You, which aired earlier this season, her name was Heather.

    • This is the second time in the series that an Ingalls has quit teaching in Walnut Grove because of Harriet's interference. Rememember that Caroline did the same thing in Season 1's "School Mom," where she substituted temporarily for Miss Beadle.
      Reply: Mrs. Oleson also became the temporary substitute when both Caroline and Laura quit. However, it appears that a stronger opinion regarding Mrs. Oleson's unfit teaching skills developed during School Mom, in which Nellie and Willie were the only children to show up for class when Mrs. Oleson got the job. Interestingly, though, 6 years later, it doesn't seem as though any parent objected initially to having Harriet teach their children in Good Bye, Mrs. WilderSchool Mom.

  • Quotes

    • Laura: I am ashamed at each and every one of you who was involved in this, especially you, Albert Ingalls!
      Albert: I'm sorry.
      Mrs. Oleson: (in tears) What I don't understand is why!
      Laura: They wanted to embarrass you in front of Mr. Stohler.
      Mrs. Oleson: What for?
      Laura: So that you'd lose the grant and be forced to resign, and so that they could have back a teacher who wouldn't force them to learn French or follow a dress code. Isn't that right, Albert? (Albert is silent) I apologize, Mrs. Oleson. I should have seen this coming, and I didn't. (to the class) When Mrs. Oleson took this job, I knew it would be a difficult one, far more difficult than anything I've had to deal with, and I was sure she would fail. But she didn't. You have all continued to learn, and not just the usual subjects. You have learned some French, and you have learned something about art appreciation. What Mrs. Oleson deserves is the highest form of respect for her accomplishments, and what does she get? This! Now, I want you to get yourselves and this classroom back in order, NOW!

    • Almanzo: What's this?
      Laura: It's a special treat.
      Almanzo: Chicken?
      Laura: Not just chicken. It's lemon chicken. Try it, you'll love it.
      Almanzo: What's all this stuff sticking to it here?
      Laura: That's called aspick.
      Almanzo: Oh. (takes a bite) Cold.
      Laura: Well, of course it is, silly. I had it on ice all day. It's supposed to be that way. It's a nice change with the hot summer weather. There's potato salad if you want some.
      Almanzo: Oh. What's all this stuff? What are all these speckles on here?
      Laura: (getting frustrated) It's called taragon. It's an herb.
      Almanzo: That's what I'm tasting, then?
      Laura: Manly, this is a very special dish. It took all day to prepare!
      Almanzo: I'm sorry, honey, it just doesn't taste good to me. Maybe if I take the skin off, it'll help. (Laura throws down her napkin and storms upstairs) Honey, I said I'm sorry!

    • Laura: Ralph, would you stand in the corner, please?
      Ralph: Me? What did I do?
      Laura: You were pulling Willie's hair. We don't do that here.
      Ralph: I wasn't!
      Laura: Ralph, have you ever heard of peripheral vision?
      Ralph: No.
      Laura: Well, I have it. It means that I can see out of the corner of my eye, and I saw you pull Willie's hair. Now, do you want to sit there and argue about it, or do you want to stand in the corner and get it over with?

  • Notes

    • Actor Cletus Young, here portraying the angry father of one of Walnut Grove's students, previously appeared in Season 5's two part episode As Long As We're Together. There, Young portrayed the creepy Harlan, a man who sexually harassed both Caroline and Mary, and beat up Charles.

    • This episode also teaches that children probably shouldn't take matters into their own hands.

  • Allusions

    • In this episode, Almanzo mutters under his breath, "I liked your cinnamon chicken better," in response to the strange meal that Laura has cooked for dinner. He is referring to Season 6's Back to School, Part 1, where Laura was responsible for cooking some very unconventional cinnamon chicken for Almanzo.