|Index||4 reviews in total|
This episode frightened me as a child. Mostly because I hated school,
and feared that some day I might get stuck with a teacher like Mr.
Applewood. In this episode, we see the school board of Walnut Grove
decide to replace Miss Beadle since she is having trouble keeping some
of the older students in line. It is thought by the board that a male
teacher is just what the town needs to keep control over these young
farm boys who stroll in late, throw books on the floor, and generally
do as they please in the back row. Miss Beadle is replaced by an angry
old man named, and I kid you not, Hannibal Applewood. This man is so
strict, he'll even give you a failing grade if you turn in a paper with
an eraser mark on it! And he is a believer in corporal punishment.
While Miss Beadle is never seen doing anything more than making Willie
Oleson stand in the corner, Mr. Applewood will smack you on the wrist
for doing virtually nothing. His facial expressions range from rage to
stone-faced concentration. Never once does the man come close to
cracking a smile.
From day one, Laura Ingalls gets off on the wrong foot with this man. First, he catches her whispering in Mary's ear. Then, she is blamed for writing a derogatory note about him. Applewood punishes Laura by hitting her hand with a ruler, and making her do much more work than the others. One thing struck me once she gets home that night. She and Mary both explained how unfair the man was to Ma and Pa. But their parents both initially took the teacher's side! My mother would have been the same way, too! But now.... parents are so freaking over-protective of their kids that they probably would have filed a lawsuit! Anyway, Laura is blamed for virtually everything that goes wrong for Mr. Applewood. She is thought by him to have poured ink into his satchel, and then thrown it across the room or something. (Willie did that.) Finally Laura is expelled! Pa takes her back to school to appeal the next day. Applewood reluctantly agrees to allow her to return to school. She is even allowed to ring the bell! But no sooner does class begin, then Applewood is trying to punish her once again. Luckily, his tirade is so loud that Pa hears it, and comes to the rescue. Had Mr. Applewood been a younger man, Pa probably would have kicked his ass, but instead he just breaks the stick he uses to intimidate the children with over his knee. An emergency meeting is held to determine if they should keep Mr. Applewood. In a scene reminiscent of the Caine Mutiny, Applewood pretty much seals his own fate. Overall, this is a very strong episode. Directed by Victor French, as well. Also look for a young Cooper Huckabee as one of the rowdy students. He of course plays John Travolta's pal in Urban Cowboy a few years after this was made. 9 of 10 stars.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Poor Miss Beadle was feeling weary these days. Teaching a mess of
students on a weekly basis is no easy task, especially when a few of
those students are little hellions. Today, two of said hellions, who
are obviously being played by two twenty year olds, teasing Miss Beadle
by "accidentally" dropping their books. Willie Oleson wasn't helping
matters as he chucked a board eraser and threw spitballs at Laura for
no reason. When she throws it back, the twenty-somethings get into a
fight, just as Mr. Hanson and Mrs. Oleson came in to view how Miss
Beadle handled her class. Hanson was able to break up the fight, but
Harriet immediately pointed the finger at Miss Beadle (and you know
which finger). Laura immediately claimed responsibility for the fight
to protect her teacher. Harriet wanted this to go before the whole
school board, claiming Miss Beadle couldn't properly discipline her
students... who is Harriet to talk about someone being unable to
discipline their children when she can't even punish her own! So at the
board meeting that night, Harriet put Miss Beadle on the spot and
criticized her ability to handle the bigger boys. Unfortunately, it
looks like the fat bitch got her way, because they decided to elect a
male teacher to replace Miss Beadle, and they let Charles deliver the
news. Well, she wasn't TOO broke up about it. Charles assured her the
vote wasn't unanimous. In other words: Charles and Nels voted for her,
Harriet and Hanson voted against, and the old cow blackmailed her
husband to change his vote. Why hasn't she been herded out of town yet?
Well a few days later, the new teacher arrived: Hannibal Applewood... great name. But don't let that fool you, for Mr. Applewood was the meanest, scariest, sternest school teacher you could imagine. Right away he caught Laura passing notes, or rather it was passed to her by Nellie. Did she tell this to Applewood? For some reason, no. Thus she was whipped with a ruler and forced to stay after school writing on the board. When Charles and Caroline heard, you'd think they would be mad as hell at that lunatic, right? Nope, they sided with him, although in their defense Laura didn't go into too great detail. However, the twenty-something boys hatch a plan to get even with Mr. Wormwood...er, Applewood. He attempts to whip one with a ruler, but finds they're immune, so he takes it out on Laura for no reason...I'm starting not to like this Applewood guy. He seems to hate Laura for NO reason. Want proof? Here it is: Applewood discovers blue ink spilled in his bag. He blamed Laura for it, expelled her and sent her home. Maybe Ma and Pa will believe her now. Yep. So Charles civilly confronted Applewood, who agreed to let Laura come back. So after another "incident", this time by Willie Oleson, Applewood prepared to whip Laura again... why didn't she say it was Willie?? Why is she constantly holding her tongue? Anyway, this time Charles caught him in the act. The school board would be hearing of this and to top it off, Charles broke his whoopin' stick. Ingalls, you da man! So they bring the evil bastard before the board, as he acted completely nonchalant about the situation. That's when Charles presented Applewood with his resume, detailing past teaching jobs he left mysteriously, and he wanted to request references.... wait, why didn't they do this BEFORE hiring the guy? They didn't do a background check FIRST? This guy could have been a mass murderer and they wouldn't have known? Way to run a school board, you highfalutin jackasses. Anyway, Applewood carried on and preached about discipline and how it was sorely lacking, allowing the board to realize just what a psycho he really was. He left quietly soon after, and so Eva Beadle was rightfully reinstated as the school teacher, and things were better from then on, as the twenty-something students learned to behave themselves.
"Troublemaker" may prove to be a very frustrating episode to watch. For one thing, Applewood has no clear motivation other than he likes to discipline children, and he hates Laura right off the bat for no reason. Harriet was biased as hell, against Miss Beadle for lack of discipline when she never shows any herself. It is also unclear why Laura doesn't point out the guilty parties. Why? Why would she want to protect them? Harriet, Nellie and Willie will make you sick, and Mr. Applewood is a monster who only got his position because the school board didn't bother checking his background first, showing negligence on their part. The main point of this episode is irresponsibility, and everybody shows it. Anyway, Richard Basehart gave a very good performance as the world's meanest teacher. Katherine MacGregor as Hateful Harriet, also stellar in her performances. Melissa Gilbert, Michael Landon and particularly Charlotte Stewart all played very well. I wouldn't really recommend this one due to its content, but if you're a die-hard Prairie fan, then you should check it out.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Miss Eva Beadle is replaced all because of Harriet Oleson. She is the one to blame Laura and calling her a troublemaker. When Hannibal Applewood showed up, it's obvious he had it in for Laura. First Smacked her hand with a ruler, write on the chalkboard, detained her after school and not to mention loaded her down with lots of homework. This man had no business being a teacher. Harriet Oleson had Applewood over for dinner and gossip She told Applewood that Laura was a troublemaker. Nells Oleson tried to shut her up. Finally in the end Applewood resigned and Eva Beadle was reinstated as teacher. Parents need to get behind the teacher. Parents are suppose to be accountable for their kids actions. Hannibal Applewood wasn't the answer.
When some older boys start to cause trouble, Miss Beatle is replaced by
a man that most of the school board thought would do a better job at
handling the disciple problem.
The man was a monster and crazy, to say the least. He immediately deemed Laura a problem child and picked on her for everything. I thought Charles should have stepped in much earlier than he did, actually. The man was a monster and should have been fired immediately. Mrs. Olsen lost a lot of my respect in this episode as well (not that she had much of it to begin with). What she did to Laura was incomprehensible! She's done some mean and spiteful things, but that was a little much - even for her!
I won't give away the things that Laura was accused of or the punishments she got, but let me tell you that if my child had been treated like that, the teacher would have been getting what for really fast! Anyways, Charles stepped in and restored peace and order. Everything returned to normal.
As for Mr. Crabapple - or whatever his name was - I hope he never got another teaching job again!
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