Some of my favorite TV episodes are when the otherwise fun-loving happy-go-lucky characters deal frankly with serious problems. Push my chips to the middle of the table, I am all in. I loved the surprise of sitting down to watch an episode of Little House on the Prairie or The Golden Girls, expecting the formulaic hi-jinx and all the sudden it would be revealed that one of them is a drug addict. What the shit?! How long has this been happening? Does this mean I have no way of actually knowing if anyone is on drugs? I only knew of two people in our neighborhood that took drugs, one was a much older kid that lived a street over. He wore Black Sabbath tshirts and had a black light in his bedroom. The other was a girl who lived across the street that probably just ‘fell in with the wrong crowd’ for a bit. In both cases, all I knew about them was they smoked pot, they were four or five years older and that is a huge difference when you are in grade school. One of the only people I knew that was on drugs was Albert Ingalls from Little House on the Prairie. Even then, he was addicted to old-timey packets of powdered morphine, which as far as I knew went out of fashion with the horse and buggy.
“Home Again (Parts 1 & 2)”
Original Air Date: February 7, 1983
Charles and Albert return to Walnut Grove after Albert has repeated run-ins with the law (for curfew violations and theft). It is soon discovered that Albert is hooked on morphine, leading Charles to take drastic measures to help his son withdraw from the drug. Because of Albert’s morphine addiction, he begins to become out of control, especially when he attacks Jeb Carter in school and hits Etta Plum in the face when she tries to stop him. When Albert finally comes out of his addiction with Charles’ help, he realizes how wrong he was and, just before he and Charles leave, he apologizes to Etta Plum and Jeb, advising the kids not to do anything bad and hurt the people that love them just to fit in with a bad peer group.
By the time I saw the episode of The Golden Girls where the girls stay up all night eating cheesecake to help Rose kick her decades-long addiction to painkillers, my knowledge of drugs had expanded. Still, the episode was so confusing that for a while, I thought I had dreamed it.
Episode number: 4×20
Air Date: Saturday March 25th, 1989
We learn Rose is addicted to one of her old prescription pills when Sophia loses Rose’s pills down the sink. After the girls take them away from her, they try to stand by her withdrawal periods especially after she shows signs of rage when Blanche allowed a Pizza company to film in her kitchen.