‘Little House on the Prairie’ star Alison Arngrim jokes that the cast is ‘amazed’ at the show’s enduring popularity: ‘It was cool, but that was 50 years ago!’

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Alison Arngrim plays Mean Girl Nellie Olsen little House on the Prairie, (Photo: Getty Images)

Alison Arngrim remains etched in the minds of TV viewers everywhere spoiled brat nelly olsen But little House on the Prairie, on March 21, 1983, decades after the beloved show wrapped on nine seasons. Part of this is that it continues to be re-aired, with fans regularly gathering and flocking to Arngrim to celebrate it. Another reason?

“The Why everyone still loves little houseIt’s a question that baffled us all,” she jokes to Yahoo Entertainment. “We’re like, ‘Yeah, that was cool, but that was 50 years ago!’

Arngrim noted that VCRs were not widely available at the time of the show’s debut in 1974, but, somehow, the family drama “exploded over and over again”, with parents showing it to their children, passing it down from generation to generation. passed down the generations. He suspects that viewers have been drawn to the emotional side of the series, based on the books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. After all, they are essentially telling the of a family struggling to survive; It just takes place in the late 1800s. Arngrim plays the Olssons, the daughter of the wealthy family in town, and of course, her character learns to be just as terrifying as she is from her mother, Mrs. Olsson, played by the late Katherine McGregor.

Fans around the world, Arngrim says, have told him what they love. little househas a very relatable premise: “It’s a family and they’re poor, and they have a lot of kids, and they live in two rooms, and they’re constantly wondering if they’re going to make it through the year . And there’s a family in town that’s kinda rich and snooty and they’re awful, and everybody has a Mrs. Olson at their job and everybody has a Nellie at school. Most of the world ain’t living like that Are dynasty And Dallasthey live like little House on the Prairie, And it seems to strike a nerve emotionally with people all over the world, and it seems to.

<em>little house on the prairie</em> The characters of Nellie and Laura, featured in the 1975 episode, are enemies most of the time, but actresses Alison Arngrim and Melissa Gilbert are longtime friends.  (Photo: NBCU Photo Bank)” data-src=”https://s.yimg.com/ny/api/res/1.2/.iBwVrSVLLhh2Wmu.BzyEg–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MA–/https://s.yimg. com/os/creatr-uploaded-images/2023-03/8ad126f0-c41a-11ed-bffd-96f3018b5af5″/><noscript><img alt=little house on the prairie The characters of Nellie and Laura, featured in the 1975 episode, are enemies most of the time, but actresses Alison Arngrim and Melissa Gilbert are longtime friends. (Photo: NBCU Photo Bank)” src=”https://s.yimg.com/ny/api/res/1.2/.iBwVrSVLLhh2Wmu.BzyEg–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MA–/https://s.yimg.com/ os/creatr-uploaded-images/2023-03/8ad126f0-c41a-11ed-bffd-96f3018b5af5″ class=”caas-img”/>

little House on the Prairie The characters Nellie and Laura, featured in a 1975 episode, are enemies most of the time, but actresses Alison Arngrim and Melissa Gilbert are longtime friends. (Photo: NBCU Photo Bank)

Another thing that has stood out over the years is the friendship between the cast members, including the late writer/director/executive producer Michael Landon (Pa), Melissa Gilbert (Laura), Karen Grassley (Ma) and Melissa Sue Anderson (Pa). Mary) are also included. , Sadly some of them have died, but those who are still around meet regularly or chat over phone or email.

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Arngrim hasn’t watched the show in a while, she says, and though she owns all the DVDs, there are still some that stand out to her. The first is her heads-down favorite episode, which she explains without hesitation is “Bunny,” the season 3 episode in which Nellie falls off Laura’s horse named Bunny — because why not? — and, being his awful self, takes advantage of the situation. When Laura learns that Nellie has been exaggerating her injury, she plots her revenge by sending Nellie and her wheelchair down a drain.

“We finally get to see her good,” says Arngrim, “so people like her!”

Not that filming was easy. As Arngrim explained in his 2010 memoir, confessions of a prairie bitch, it was grabbed by Gilbert by pushing him against the back of his chair, which was attached to a steel cable. “The cable shook [taut], and the chair remained. But I almost didn’t,” she wrote. “You see, there was nothing to hold me in the chair. I was just sitting in my nightgown sliding around without a seatbelt, nothing.”

To make matters worse, Arngrim was nursing a broken arm he had injured skateboarding.

While a stunt girl did the actual plunge, Arngrim Did has to descend a less steep hill though rocks, so that cameras can capture him “ripping my head off”.

Still, Arngrim told Yahoo Entertainment in May that, for child actors, but little house Was like winning the “child safety lottery”.

nelly did the worst thing ever

As her least favorite of the show’s 204 episodes, this will be another installment of Season 3. It is officially called “The Music Box”, although Arngrim knows it as “The One Episode When I Hate Me”.

“It’s the girl who stutters. Oops!,” says Arngrim. “So Nellie has a club, and I’m the president, and I rule everybody. Why Laura wants to be in Nellie’s club isn’t clear. I don’t know. But this friend of hers [Anna] who stammers and stammers. And so I treat her very badly and make fun of her.”

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Arngrim quotes Nellie almost entirely from memory: “A horse can walk, and a butterfly can flutter, but Anna cannot talk. All she can do is stutter first, first, stammer.'”

“really bad!” she says.

At a club meeting, Nellie again needs a tongue twister for a password. When it is Anna’s turn, Nellie becomes furious, urging her to say it even faster, as the upset little girl cries.

“It’s too bad,” says Arngrim. “I was in speech class after school when I was in first grade, like in kindergarten. I couldn’t quite say the letters.’ So I was in afterschool speech class with kids who stammered and stuttered and couldn’t even say other letters. The idea of ​​standing there torturing a stuttering girl until she cried… no, that’s a There wasn’t anything that was ever going on I was very uncomfortable with. Luckily, Katy [Kurtzman, the actress who played Anna] I’m forgiven and we’re still friends.”

Since Nelly was such a huge presence on the family show—even more than those shots of Landon shirtless to excite his female fans, which Arngrim wrote about in his book—it was a surprise when he appeared in the seventh season. Left after the season.

She tells us that it had to do with her contract, and the fact that she was trying to do something else.

Why Nellie leaves (and briefly returns) the Walnut Grove.

“When I started the show in 1974, I signed like a bunch of people, 7-year contracts. Do they have 7-year contracts now, too? I feel like Mary Pickford about the studio talking,” she says. There was a moment bursting at the seams like she was a major star of Old Hollywood. “And every year there were talks about raises and rules and they could drop you, but if they dropped you mid-season, they had to pay you for the rest of the episodes that year. And usually they paid you Kept around. I did it. Seven years. Now, once the seven years are up, now it’s kind of game, when you become a free agent, you just have to negotiate again . So they come and go, ‘Do you want to re-sign?'”

She refused to accept the deal she was being offered, which was for four or five years as Nellie. It was unknown to him, at least, that the show was changing. Little House: A Fresh Startwhich focused on an adult Laura and her husband Almanzo in its final season, or where the show will end if it goes off air altogether.

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“I was 19, and I’d been there since I was 12,” Arngrim says. “So I said, Wow, I was looking forward to a life of, Go do other things. Go do theater. Go do stand-up, because you’re kind of off. And the schedule was so weird, there weren’t a lot of big breaks. , where we could go and do a TV movie or something like that on the side.”

Nellie leaves Walnut Grove—and it's okay!  & # x002014;  Not long after she marries Percival Isaac Cohen Dalton (played by Steve Tracy).

Nellie leaves Walnut Grove—and she’s fine! – Not long after marrying Percival Isaac Cohen Dalton (played by Steve Tracy) little House on the Prairie, (Photo: NBCU Photo Bank)

She says that when her agent asked for more money or time to film she was turned down, so she left after the seventh season. (A married, strangely kind-hearted Nellie returned once, however, in the final season, for the infamous episode in which she met the Olsens’ newly adopted daughter, Nancy, who was even worse than she.)

Alison Arngrim appears with

Alison Arngrim appears in her final episode of “The New Nellie,” along with Allison Balson. little house, (Photo: Everett Collection)

The show’s ‘funeral’ ends big

So Arngrim wasn’t actually part of the show’s finale, but he remembers laughing when he first saw it. That’s because it was too shocking. His little house Friends told her later that the vibe on set was “funeral”.

It so happened that the entire set including mill, blind school, store got burnt Destroy it, because the cast and crew were asked by the ranch where they filmed in Simi Valley, California, to take their sets with them. So Landon and co. Faced with a dilemma: Pay to have your longtime home torn down or trashed or maybe even see it pop up on other shows.

“And of course, Michael is Michael going, ‘We blow it,'” Arngrim says. “Because it would be perfectly logical for Michael to think, like, ‘An explosion!’ Any excuse to blow something up. He was like a kid.”

last episode of

last episode of little House on the Prairie The residents of Walnut Grove end up with their town blown up. (Photo: Richard Hewett/TV Guide/NBC/Courtesy Everett Collection)

So this is what we see in the final episode, the people of Walnut Grove banding together one last time to keep the good things they’ve built together away from some greedy developers.

“Blow up everything, except the little house, which they destroyed,” says Arngrim. “And they didn’t even blow up the church. Michael said, ‘No, no, we’re not blowing up a church. I’m not going to be the guy who blew up a church.'”

Arngrim says that not much acting was required from the cast members.

“Everyone in that scene is really crying,” she says. “And everyone who did it said it was cruel.”

Gilbert echoed that point a 2011 interview With the Television Academy Foundation.

Fast forward to 2023, and Arngrim says he and his former co-stars are already planning big things for next year, the 50th anniversary of the show’s debut. Plus, she’s working on a cookbook (she already has a YouTube cooking show, A newsletter on all things Nellie and a podcast, the alison arngrim showon which he has hosted field friend gilbert,