I have been wanting to do a post about Road to Avonlea forever, and I guess you could say I was inspired by Jill’s post about TV on DVD to finally sit down and do it. For those of you who don’t know what it is, Road to Avonlea is a Canadian television show that aired in the late 80s to the early 90s based on the world of Anne of Green Gables. Anne Shirley herself never pops up, but there are some familiar characters like Marilla Cuthbert and Rachel Lynde who show up on occasion. The show aired on the Disney Channel under the title Avonlea.
Now I will start off by saying that this is one of those shows that you probably had to grow up with in order to love. It is ultra sappy, cheesy, and all around ridiculous sometimes, but that is one of the reasons why I adore it!!!!! I have such fond memories of hanging out in my parent’s basement humming along to the theme song as I watched it with my sister. I was the perfect age when it was on, right around the same age as little Sara Stanley herself.
The show takes place in the early 1900s and revolves around the King Family who are very important in the town of Avonlea. Alec and Janet King have three kids Felicity, Felix, and Cecily. Then there are Hetty and Olivia King who are two “spinsters” who live by themselves in Rose Cottage. The show starts with Hetty and Olivia taking in Sara Stanley, their niece, when her father gets in financial trouble. The first few seasons focus on Sara, but then the show shifts and revolves around the grown-ups and Felicity and her romantic entanglements.
I rediscovered this show when I was in grad school. I’m not sure how…..I think I must have seen something that reminded me of the show, which caused me to impulsively order seasons 2-5 from Amazon…….luckily it was not an expensive mistake because I have watched the DVDs many times since then.
For newbies of the show, here are some of my favorite characters and favorite episodes:
Olivia King: Oh how I adore Olivia!! She starts out all meek and quiet and ends up becoming a career-minded woman who has
no trouble standing up to Hetty.
Jasper Dale: Oh Mr. Dale. He is known as The Awkward Man in the beginning because he is clumsy and he stutters and is terrified of people. He eventually comes out of his shell and plays a significant role in the show. (Also definitely a fictional character I would date!).
Alec King: He is the rock that holds the King family together. He is a great dad and a loving husband. He is pretty much the perfect guy now that I think about it………oh, and did I mention he can sing?
Aunt Eliza: She is the elderly (and I do mean elderly) aunt who stays with Janet and Alec for like half the series. She is smarter than everyone else in the house and always has a quick and funny word to say about everything. My favorite Aunt Eliza quote is “You’re only young once, but you’re old for a very long time.” Too true.
Gus Pike: Okay, now most females who love this show owe it all to a little character called Gus Pike. When he showed up in the 2nd season and planted a whisper of a kiss on Felicity, our little hearts melted. The saga of Gus and Felicity would last the rest of the show and keep me watching till the end. His accent is adorable (and obviously fake) and he can’t fake-play a violin to save his life, but oh is he adorable!
Here is my favorite episode from each of the 7 seasons: Some spoilery things found below.
Season 1: The Story Girl Earns Her Name: This is the first episode with Jasper, so that is why I love it. He is all awkward and adorable, and there is even the tiniest hint that he totally has a crush on Olivia even way back then.
Season2: May the Best Man Win–This is the episode where Jasper finally professes his love for Olivia. There are so many great things about this episode, but the opening sequence is literally one of the sexiest things I have ever seen on tv. Jasper and Olivia are taking photos in a field and it starts to rain. They run for shelter in the barn and poor Olivia is all out of breath (probably strangled from all the underthings she is wearing). She starts to fall and Jasper catches her around the waist. The moment when they both realize that he is like actually touching her waist is so amazing I can’t even describe it!!
Season 3: Friends and Relations–This is my favorite episode of the whole series! The women go off to an auction and the men go on an ice fishing trip. Needless to say hilarity ensues and everyone ends up lost in the woods. I don’t know why this one is so great, I think it is because Gus finally admits that he likes Felicity and they share a little knowing look together when everyone is safe again at King Farm. (beware of the horrible shrieking of the women as they are trying to find each other in the woods…..have the mute button ready.)
Season 4: Home Movie: A developer comes into town and tries to convince people to sell their homes so it can be turned into a modern town. I love this episode because there is a lot of Jasper! And he has to work together with Hetty, which is unheard of. Plus, the part where Sara does an impression of Aunt Hetty is one of the greatest things ever!
Season 5: Stranger in the Night: A stranger comes to stay at the King farm and he ends of helping out and getting hired on to help. Unfortunately, he has a past, so he will only be around for this one episode.
Season 6: The Return of Gus Pike: I don’t really like season 6 at all, but this is the episode where Gus proposes to Felicity (for like the 6th time!) and she really really says yes.
Season 7: So Dear to My Heart: This was the perfect way to end the series! I won’t say anything else except that Hetty’s speech at the very end always brings me to tears.
Here are the opening credits to season 3 (not great quality, but it captures the feel of the show)
Anyway, that was a long and rambling tribute to one of my favorite shows. If you feel the need to watch it yourself, it is available through Netflix. I am not a real big fan of the first season, so if you started with the 2nd season you would still know what was going on.