When I say that The Waltons perpetuates a myth, I am saying that the show is based on a certain concept of what life was like in the 1930's—and that there is probably little resemblance between this view and the way things really were.
I agree that the trappings of the story are enormously appealing—the big family, the simple life, the strong father figure, the household at rest and peace as darkness falls. Whatever happens, safety and security close around the family at the end of each show. What a welcome relief from the problems of so many other TV shows, and the strains of our own lives.
Of course, things go wrong on The Waltons, but somehow a miraculous recovery is always made. (pp. 22-3)
Certainly there is nothing wrong with happy endings. Most of us watch TV to be entertained. We have problems of our own, which we want to forget for a few minutes. We want people on TV to solve their problems and be happy. But we shouldn't kid ourselves that what we're watching is necessarily a slice of reality….
[The Waltons] is not a "new" form of TV entertainment, as some have said, nor is it "history" in action. But it is wholesome, family-oriented entertainment, and that's achievement enough. (p. 23)
Peggy Hudson, in Senior Scholastic (copyright © 1973 by Scholastic Magazines, Inc. reprinted by permission), May 7, 1973.