Melissa Gilbert Said ‘Little House on the Prairie’ Is Experiencing A Resurgence Because of the Pandemic

The Coronavirus pandemic flipped the world upside down in 2020. It has continued to cause havoc across the globe as 2021 rolled in. The virus, which halted production on television and movies, also sent the entertainment industry into a tailspin. Viewers, however, have still found ways to entertain themselves. A resurgence in popularity of classic TV shows appears to be a byproduct of the tense and uncertain times. Little House on the Prairie, for example, has experienced a serious resurgence. One of the show’s biggest stars, Melissa Gilbert, has a theory about why the show has become so popular again.

Melissa Gilbert said she isn’t surprised Little House on the Prairie is experiencing a resurgence now

While some experts and TV enthusiasts were surprised to see the wholesome 1970s show gain popularity over the last year, Gilbert was not. During an interview with CBS Sunday Morning, she said the show’s new popularity makes perfect sense. To her, 2020 sort of mimics the uncertainty that was felt when the show originally aired.

The show’s pilot episode aired in 1974 when the United States was in the throes of multiple crises. The year brought periods of oil scarcity, Watergate, and Richard Nixon’s impeachment gripped the news, too. The United States was in flux. Gilbert thinks Little House on the Prairie helped remind people that the country could get through the hard times because it had done it before.

The famed child actor has a good point

When you think about when Little House on the Prairie first aired and what is currently going on globally, the events are eerily similar. Political uncertainty, a troubled economy, and concern about the deadly virus have all put most of the population on edge. A wholesome show is sort of the perfect way to wind down.

Melissa Gilbert as Laura Elizabeth Ingalls Wilder, Lindsay or Sydney Greenbush as Carrie Ingalls, Melisssa Sue Anderson as Mary Ingalls Kendal
Melissa Gilbert as Laura Elizabeth Ingalls Wilder, Lindsay or Sydney Greenbush as Carrie Ingalls, Melisssa Sue Anderson as Mary Ingalls Kendall|Ted Shepherd/NBCU Photo Bank

Little House on the Prairie wasn’t just a wholesome show, though. The series, based on books, also hit on some serious issues. True to 2020 form, the series even touched on a deadly plague. In one episode, the residents of Walnut Grove dealt with an outbreak of typhus of unknown origins. According to IMDb, the episode aired in 1975.

Gilbert doesn’t rewatch the shows, but she admitted her husband does

Gilbert isn’t one of the people watching Little House on the Prairie, but apparently, her husband is. According to the Saint Louis Post-Dispatch, Gilbert admitted her husband only began watching the show after they had met. She claims he’s become a huge Michael Landon fan and has returned to the series in uncertain times.

Timothy Busfield and  Melissa Gilbert pose at Crompton Ale House
Timothy Busfield and Melissa Gilbert | Bruce Glikas/FilmMagic

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Gilbert might not watch the show, but she’s thankful for its existence, calling it the most elaborate home movie ever made. Gilbert wed Timothy Busfield in 2013. She had been married twice before. She married Bo Brinkman first, in 1988; six years later, they parted ways. The following year she married Bruce Boxleitner. The marriage ended in 2011.