Post 4:
“A Harvest of Friends”

Post 4: “A Harvest of Friends”

From 13-Year-Old Anne’s Journal —

November 10, 1982 – GOOD

“Pa builds a house and they move in. Pa got a job with this man. Before he finishes it he falls out of a tree & breaks his ribs. The man said if he didn’t get it done, he would take away his oxen. He did. The men of the town helped get it done & he got his oxen back.

____________________________________________________

From Anne —

Here’s an episode in which Michael Landon actually suffers. That’s because he didn’t write the episode — if he had it would have been Carrie getting poisoned or Ma losing a finger.

I wonder what life was really like for Landon. You’re born Eugene Orowitz and you pick the name Michael Landon out of a phone book. You become a teenage werewolf, hotheaded rancher and a pioneer dad. You’re glad when long shaggy hair comes in style because you can use it to hide your outsized ears. It’s funny how much Landon looked like this real-haired Ken doll I had:

The burning question: who influenced whom?

Back to the episode. It fulfills every fantasy we’ve ever had about neighbors helping neighbors. It also shows Pa building the little house in Simi Valley in about 6 minutes total, by lantern light. Yes, let’s keep fantasizing about both of these things…

On the flip side is the nightmare of having your oxen in hock. Bad for your pride and bad for your agricultural output. But just as Pa knew how to make a home and cultivate good neighbors, Landon always knew how to cultivate high ratings: with plenty of suffering. My unsentimental journal entry belies my own comfort with suffering — and lack of excitement about redemption.

____________________________________________________

From Tracy —

I can testify Anne is a mid-level masochist. She loves to suffer. I am the complete opposite. I am an eat-dessert-first-for tomorrow-we-die bon vivant kinda girl.

I will say it did feel like no one is able to be happy on this show for more than five minutes straight.
I also know that it was incredibly tough to be a pioneer. That’s not Hollywood fiction. My own family’s stories of farming wheat in Kansas are testament to that. Family fortunes turned on a dime.
By the way, is it my imagination or did the Irish get short shrift on this show? It seems like anyone with an Irish accent was either a drunk or a crook or both. Well Happy St. Patricks Day to all of us Irish or smidge Irish.
Now there’s a people who love to suffer. A friend of mine has a t-shirt with this William Butler Yeats quote:

“Being Irish, he had an abiding sense of tragedy, which sustained him through temporary periods of joy.”

1 Comment

  1. KristinMikelle
    May 1, 2012

    My friends and I get together to watch episodes together. We have for years. We will have themes. One theme we’ve done is Irish episodes (corresponded by Irish-type food and Irish whiskey [of course]). We think that the Irish, in this 1970s era of television, were one of the few ethnicities not off limits. In post-civil rights US, the Irish, unlike African Americans and Native Americans, were OK to defile. While people of color were treated with due respect, the Irish could be played as buffoonish and openly mocked.

    Glad to see your blog. Will continue to check in on it.

Leave a Reply to KristinMikelle Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *