Little House on the Prairie

Season 9 Episode 12

Marvin's Garden

3
Aired Wednesday 12:00 AM Jan 03, 1983 on NBC
6.8
out of 10
User Rating
39 votes
1

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Episode Summary

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Marvin's Garden
AIRED:
Dr. Marvin Haynes has been practicing in Walnut Grove, but his failing eyesight prevents him from renewing his license, leaving him angry and depressed over the loss of his career. Meanwhile, Jenny Wilder suffers physical and speech impairments after a swimming accident, and Marvin reclaims his sense of self-worth by helping her recover.moreless

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • The story has a nice message, but, as with many later episodes, some typical improbability and continuity questions come up.

    5.5
    Almanzo and Laura's neice Jenny loses some motor function and speech abilities because of a swimming accident that deprives her brain of oxygen. A retired Doctor (Dr. Marvin) helps her regain her spirit and health.



    Marvin's Garden seems almost dead-on typical of the later seasons of the Little House series, a nice self-contained story, but with some problems that might annoy long-time fans.



    The story itself has a nice message, one of how feeling useful in some way is very important to the health of the human condition -- for Doctor Marvin himself, his friend who makes the Doctor flower boxes, and for Jenny's recovery. As usual for Little House, this episode shows nice relationships between characters of different generations.



    What is annoying are some of the details of the story as they pertain to the series. This is the second time in one season that Jenny nearly drowns and is rescued by Jeb Carter. And who Doctor Marvin is seems a mystery to followers of the show. He still has a license to practice (he loses it because of encrouching blindness in this episode). He surely would have come in handy during the many medical crisis's that struck Walnut Grove and the surrounding Hiro Township over the years. If you count the missing-in-action Dr. Ladoux from the previous season, it seems like three doctors would have been available to the rural community. None of this is deadly to the episode as a stand-alone experience, but just a few words of explanation of the Doctor's history (since he and Dr. Baker speak to each other often in this episode) would do wonders. Details like this seemed to escape the writers many times by the end of the Little House series.moreless
Dean Butler

Dean Butler

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

Melissa Gilbert

Melissa Gilbert

Laura Elizabeth Ingalls/Wilder

Kevin Hagen

Kevin Hagen

Dr. Hiram Baker

David Friedman

David Friedman

Jason Carter (1982 - 1983)

Jonathan Gilbert

Jonathan Gilbert

Willie Oleson

Jennifer Steffin

Jennifer Steffin

baby Rose Wilder (shared) (1982-84) (uncredited)

Ralph Bellamy

Ralph Bellamy

Dr. Marvin Haynes

Guest Star

Helen Kleeb

Helen Kleeb

Miss Conley

Guest Star

Jon Lormer

Jon Lormer

Mr. Thoms

Guest Star

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Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

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  • TRIVIA (8)

    • Nitpick: When it is revealed that Dr. Marvin's eyesight is bad, Doc Baker tells hin that he needs to take down his shingle, but all you see is Doc Baker's. We don't see Marvin's shingle untill he comes home and puts it down.

    • Apparently, Dr. Marvin Haynes has been practicing in Walnut Grove for years, but this is the first we have seen or heard about him. Since when has the town had two doctors?

    • Goof: Near the end of the episode, Jenny runs away from school and heads to Marvin's house at what is obviously recess time, since all the children are outside playing. When she finally leaves Marvin's, she runs into Laura, who asks where she's been, further mentioning that she went to school to pick Jenny up, but she wasn't there. If Jenny went missing in the middle of the school day, it's incredibly unlikely that Laura wouldn't have known about it until she came to pick her up at the end of the day. At the very least, Miss Plum would have run and told Almanzo, who worked across the road at the mill. He would have contacted Laura, and people would have been out searching for Jenny, especially in light of the fact that the child was not physically healthy.

    • In the first episode of Season 9, it was obvious that Jeb had a bit of a crush on Jenny Wilder. Those implications held strong for most of the remainder of the series, but in this episode, notice how Jeb seems almost annoyed by Jenny when she insists on going back in the water to retrieve her locket. No scenes are shown of Jeb visiting her after her accident or being concerned about her, and in the episode, it seems like he just views her as a "dumb girl."

    • This marks the last of three Little House episodes that focuses on a child whose stuttering problem causes issues for them at school. The first episode was with Laura's friend Anna in Season 3's The Music Box, and the second was with James' friend Gideon in Season 8's No Beast So Fierce. In this episode, Jenny starts to stutter after a nearly fatal swimming accident, but unlike Anna and Gideon, her condition is only temporary.

    • Shortly after Jenny's accident, when Marvin comes over to see her, Jenny runs to him without much difficulty--yet she was supposed to have trouble even walking. They have a pretty long shot of Jenny running to Marvin, and she barely even limps.

    • In the scene where Almanzo is talking to Mr. Edwards, you will notice that Almanzo looks very much the way Charles did in earlier seasons. The striped shirt and pants he's wearing are extremely similar (if not identical) to the ones Charles used to wear. Usually, Almanzo wore varied clothes to differentiate his character--not the case here.

    • This episode marks the second time this season that Jenny almost loses her life by drowning. It is also the second time that Jeb Carter pulls her to safety. If you recall, these same types of events took place in the Season 9 opener Times are Changing.

  • QUOTES (6)

    • Marvin: (has a present for Jenny) Maybe I'd better give it to her.
      Laura: What is it? Jawbreakers or licorice?
      Marvin: Neither one, I swear it. (laughs) Jelly beans!
      Laura: (smiles) I thought so.
      Marvin: Oh, Laura, you know, kids like a few sweets every now and then. Besides, that child gives me more pleasure stopping by, chatting with me, telling me about what young folks are about these days.
      Laura: You know, you don't have to bribe her to do that.
      Marvin: It's not a bribe. It's a reciprocation.

    • Marvin: What are you gonna do now? Go home and feel sorry for yourself? That'll do you a lot of good.
      Jenny: You don't understand. You pretended to be my friend, but you don't care. You don't care at all!
      Marvin: That's it! That's it! Get angry! It's good for you! I do it lots of times, because I'm a doctor, and I'm going blind, and that makes me damn angry, because I'm still a good doctor, and I can't help people anymore! (voice softens) I do understand, and I do care. If I didn't care, I wouldn't have told you to go back to school. I didn't want you to, you know. I wanted you to spend your days here with me. I couldn't wait for you to come every morning. It made me feel that I was still able to help someone, that I was useful. And I wasn't quite so frightened with the coming doctors, because you were around. Jenny, you're my last patient, and you're getting better. You're getting better all the time, and you can still keep getting better as long as you fight. You got angry today. Use it! Fight this thing. Show Nancy. Show them all!

    • Marvin What about Jenny? She keeping busy?
      Laura: There's not much she can do yet.
      Marvin: Who says?
      Laura: What?
      Marvin: Who says there's not much she can do--you or Jenny?
      Laura: Doctor--
      Marvin: Just a minute. Let an old man talk for a while. If there's one thing I've learned from all my years of doctoring, it's that when a patient is down, you gotta get them back up.
      Laura: I'm sure that in time--
      Marvin: No, now's the time, I'm telling you, Laura! The more they do, the better off they are. I've had patients that doctors gave up on because they didn't have time. You've gotta push folks. Love them, but push them. Give them encouragement, but push them.

    • Jenny: You don't have to drive me to school tomorrow. I'm gonna walk.
      Laura: That's an awfully long way. Are you sure?
      Jenny: I'll make it. Believe me, I'll make it.
      Laura: (overvoice) And make it she did. Within a few months, Jenny was running to school, and by the end of the year, it was as though the accident had never happened. Jenny was Marvin's last patient, and he was proud.

    • Marvin: So, you went back to school, and they acted different to you. Is that it?
      Jenny: Yes.
      Marvin: And you weren't different? You weren't any different from the way you were before? Of course you were.
      Jenny: But they made me feel uncomfortable.
      Marvin: That's because they were uncomfortable. They didn't know what to say to you. Land sakes, you've gotta give people a chance.
      Jenny: Then Nancy said things--
      Marvin: Nancy said mean things to you. Didn't she always? Didn't she?
      Jenny: Well, yes, but--
      Marvin: But nothing. She shouldn't be mean to you now because of what happened to you? That's nonsense. You're upset at the other children because they acted differently. You were upset at Nancy because she acted the way she always does.

    • Laura: I don't think it's such a good idea for Jenny to be spending so much time at Marvin's.
      Almanzo: Why not?
      Laura: Well, you saw her. She's exhausted. She could barely keep her eyes open at the dinner table. She hardly even ate anything! I just don't think it's a good idea.
      Almanzo: Beth, how many times has that child come home so exhausted from playing that she can barely keep her eyes open?
      Laura: It was different then.
      Almanzo: How?
      Laura: She was all right then. How do we know this isn't making her worse? All that walking.....
      Almanzo: Beth, it's good for her. She's having fun, don't treat her like an invalid. You said you were gonna give this a chance.

  • NOTES (2)

    • This episode represents what was most likely Shannen Doherty's most demanding acting job as Jenny Wilder on the show. She had to stutter, limp, and exhibit physical and emotional deficiencies in the wake of an accident--and many would agree that she pulled it off well.

    • Featured characters: Jenny Wilder and Marvin Haynes

  • ALLUSIONS (1)

    • The episode title is a play on words from the classic board game Monopoly. A piece of "property" on the game board is Marvin Gardens.

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