Road to Avonlea Review: The Calamitous Courting of Hetty King

avonlea hetty

Episode Summary: Hetty unexpectedly finds herself sued by two different men. The first man is Wally Higgins (Ned Beatty), a traveling ice skate salesman who immediately takes a liking to Hetty based on her feet. When he publicly proposes to her, she declines, humiliating him. The second man is Wellington Campbell (John Gilbert), who sues Hetty after getting physically hurt as a result of an argument concerning land ownership. In the end, Hetty agrees to letting Campbell take ownership of his land if he pretends to be her fiance so Higgins would have no leg to stand on in court. When Higgins realizes that Hetty has absolutely no interest in him, he calmly parts ways, still in search of his perfect soulmate.

Directed by Stuart Gillard, Written by Marlene Matthews, Music by John Welsman

My Grade: This is a really fun episode, with a few moments that make me laugh. A few weeks ago, during some snooping I did through the Toronto Star Archives, I found a quote from Jackie Burroughs from around after season five, where she admitted that she misses the “old” episodes because the stories were from a child’s perspective, and the adults acted ridiculous and silly. I’m sure this is one of those episodes she was referring to. The weird love triangle between Hetty, Higgins and Campbell is so outlandish and wild. But it’s still a lot of fun, a nice break from the more serious episodes. Anyway, this is my grade: (B+)

Spotlight Performance: Look, Jackie Burroughs will always be tops. She can never be overshadowed by a guest star. However, I have to at least show some appreciation towards Ned Beatty. Beatty is probably mostly remembered for his memorable Oscar-nominated one scene in the movie Network. He’s so brash and booming in that performance, that it’s a treat seeing him do a complete 180 for his performance as the overly romantic Wally Higgins. Beatty is also known for his voice role as Lotso in Toy Story 3.

Favorite Scene: I’m always a sucker for a good ice skating scene, so it’s a good thing this episode contains one. It’s the scene where Higgins proposes to Hetty. Jackie Burroughs does such a great job with physical comedy. And she seems to be doing a lot of that sort of thing this season.

Final Thoughts: The subplot revolved around Felicity and Gus. In this case, Gus is nervous about asking Felicity to the ice skating party because he himself can’t skate. It’s cute. It’s adorable. These two need to get married already!

Also…it is time to say another goodbye to an “original” character. If IMDB  (and my memory) is correct, this is Jane Spry’s last episode, played by Valentina Cardinalli. I was sort of, kind of mean towards Cardinalli in an earlier review from season one. In hindsight, I sort of regret it. Once again, we are losing another kid character from season one. I wish they didn’t have to go…but some really great characters in their own right will become regulars during the next couple of seasons.

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