Sometimes it isn’t a terrible idea to check back in with a series you used to not care for, and haven’t seen in many years. I grew up watching a fair amount of reruns of The Andy Griffith Show, mostly because back in the good ol’ days, we only had, like, four channels. But I never liked the show as its golly-gee-shucks cornball country antics were never to my taste. It was just filler between The Munsters and something else. So this new “Best of” collection came my way, and I decided to give it another shot, some 30 years later, to see how I felt about it today. Guess what? I still don’t really care for the show, but as an adult and a “professional appreciator” (as a friend of mine recently dubbed me), I can see that it’s a quality TV series despite my feelings.
What I didn’t know until last week was that The Andy Griffith Show was huge back in the 60s. So popular was the show, that during its eight seasons on the air, it was in the Top Ten every single year, and inexplicably even snagged the #1 spot in its final season. How many shows go out at #1? I have no idea, but I’d imagine the answer is “not many.” If by some chance you’re unfamiliar with it, the show stars Andy Griffith as Andy Taylor, the sheriff of the tiny fictitious burg of Mayberry, North Carolina. He’s a widower with a young son named Opie (Ron Howard, the famous director – who’s credited here as Ronny), although I’m not sure if the tragedy of his wife’s passing is ever really dwelled upon; it certainly isn’t in any of these episodes. He’s aided by his bumbling but good-hearted deputy, Barney Fife (Don Knotts), although aided in what is debatable. Very little law breaking ever happens in Mayberry. Even the town drunk is amiable enough to check himself into the jail when he needs to sober up. Mostly, Andy settles minor arguments between the silly townsfolk with his country wisdom and level-headed way of thinking.
Think of Twin Peaks without all the weirdness, violence, murder, sex and drugs, and you’ve basically got Mayberry.
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