“Little House on the Prairie”: for adults only

Yesterday, erstwhile AfterEllen.com blogger scribegrrrl sent me a link to an article that started out like this:

“Finland has rated the DVD release of the much-loved children’s television series Little House on the Prairie suitable for adult viewing only.”

Say what? Charles and Caroline and Mary and Laura and the other kids whose names I never remember are X-rated? Wow. I thought I’d seen every episode. Apparently the DVD has some “extras” I never imagined.

I scoured the internet looking for clues to this ratings mystery. Maybe these quotations from the series are the key.

Laura: You know something, Mary?

Mary: No, what?

Laura: Life sure is a lot easier when you don’t like boys!

We all know where that line of thinking leads. That’s right — to pure happiness.

Nellie Oleson: Half the time, you don’t even SMELL like a girl! You’re either sweaty, or you stink of fish!

Laura: Well, I sweat a lot and I fish a lot!

Sure you do, Laura. Sure you do.

OK, before anyone starts a letter writing campaign to the Finnish Board of Film Classification, here’s the real story. Finnish law requires that every movie released in Finland must be inspected and rated by the agency, or else it’s marked “banned for under-18s.” Here’s the catch: the agency charges 2 euros ($2.57) per minute to review films and TV series. Each Little House on the Prairie episode was around, say, 50 minutes (averaging for the varying commercial time over the years). Multiply that times 22 seasons times 9 years and you have enough that Universal Pictures decided to skip the inspection.

To which I say, balderdash.

I’m a sucker for Little House. I read all the books and watched every episode of the TV show multiple times — and cried every time Laura got that “I just learned a valuable lesson” look.

I hate to think that kids in Finland might not know the show just so a multi-million-dollar studio can save $22K or so. But that’s just me.

If you want a few adults-only Little House tidbits, however, Nellie Oleson is glad to oblige. Alison Arngrim, who played Nellie, has spilled the beans both in the media and in her comedy benefits for AIDS and child protection. Seems like Nellie turned out all right after all.

She’s also turned into a candidate to play Tina’s sister on the L Word. Especially now that Tina has adopted Nellie Oleson’s hairstyle.