The Waltons

by J.D. Roth

Nick’s been after me for years to watch The Waltons. “It’s great,” he tells me. “I think you’d really like it.”

I remember The Waltons from when I was a kid, though I never watched it then. In fact, I remember making fun of it in grade school. “What makes you think I’ll like it?” I asked.

“It’s about the pastoral lifestyle,” he said. “Plus it has a lot of old-time stuff from the Depression. You like that stuff, right?”

Finally, after years of sitting on our Netflix queue, the first disc came tonight. It’s alright. It has potential. I do like the pastoral setting, the large family, the “wholesome” storylines. Elements of the show remind me of gorwing up in the country and seeing my cousins down at Grandma’s place.

The episode I’m watching right now is cracking me up, though, because it’s a total conglomeration of all the things I like. The Waltons are in bad financial straits. They’re broke. The family uses too much electricity. The truck brakes an axle. When their milk cow gives birth, they face a hard choice: they’d like to keep the baby, but it’s a bull, and a bull has no economic value. (If fact it’s a liability.) They sell the calf for $9.

This upsets the children. Worse, it upsets its mother. Ma and Pa Walton (or whatever they’re called) hold a discussion about how animals have emotions, and how the cow misses her calf.

And, of course, there are the ever-present trappings of the 1930s: the old cards, the magazines and books, the family gathered around the radio listening to Edger Bergan and Charlie McCarthy.

Meatball loved this episode. He sat on the coffee table and stared at the television for more than twenty minutes. He was especially interested in the cows.

I do like how The Waltons reminds me of my childhood, but I’m not convinced I need to watch many more episodes, But if Max likes it this much, I’m willing to get at least one more disc…

Updated: 21 March 2007

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