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The Andy Griffith Show

Discussion in 'Notable TV' started by ClassyCo, Apr 3, 2020.

  1. ClassyCo

    ClassyCo Soap Chat Addict EXP: 6 Years

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    I don't believe this gem has its own discussing rolling out there anywhere. Let's get it going.

    And naturally I'm intending this thread to banner all spin-offs, reunions, and Mayberry-orientated material.

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  2. ClassyCo

    ClassyCo Soap Chat Addict EXP: 6 Years

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    Drawing a point made over in the Cheers thread, I'd like to bring up the point that The Andy Griffith Show is also basically two shows in one. The show was a mega hit its first five years, and solidified a trend in the TV industry where networks would find success with a string of rural situation comedies, a trend starting with The Real McCoys.

    The Andy Griffith Show is one of those shows that is cemented in the hearts and minds of its viewing audience, an audience that continues to multiply and find new fans until this very day. It holds a place in the American consciousness that few TV shows are privileged to experience. The series centered around a town full of eccentric guff-balls, all headed by the one straitlaced Andy Taylor, a role that Griffith played to the hilt.

    During the first five years, the show stabilized itself as one of the top five shows in the Nielsen ratings. It also racked up a fine amount of TV awards, almost all allotted to its one-of-the-kind second banana, Don Knotts. It was the perfect black-and-white comedy, representing that era of America that many of us wish we could return to and capture in our own lives. Oftentimes it seemed as if time stood still in Mayberry, a town many fans dream of as their ideal home.

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    That all changed in 1965. Under the assuming that Andy Griffith would discontinuing his show, Don Knotts had accepted a lucrative movie contract with Universal Pictures. After learning that Griffith had decided to continue in his comedy series, Knotts had gone too far in his deal to turn back. Apparently, he felt the time was then for him to leave TV and forego the promising film career that had been rolled out before him. Whether or not Knotts reached his pinnacle on the silver screen is certainly up for debate, but he did make a couple of gems, like The Ghost and Mr. Chicken.

    There was one thing certain, however. Mayberry was never the same after Knotts left. The producers tried to slide in another deputy to Sheriff Taylor named Warren, played by comedian Jack Burns. His "Huh? Huh?" has been hopelessly exaggerated in popular culture, but Warren wasn't about the fill Barney's shoes to even the most casual of viewers. He wasn't seen again after eleven shows, although he still apparently held the deputy position, albeit off-screen.

    The depature of Don Knotts was not the only game-changer for the show in 1965. Bowing to the pressure of the profit-concerned network, the series began filming and broadcasting its episodes in color. The color switchover was impossible to avoid, but it brought a shift in the show itself. It was never the same, and for years the show is discussed as the "B&W Years" and the "Color Years". Unsurprisingly, the black-and-white seasons are more common and popular in syndication.

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    What say you? Any thoughts?
     
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  3. ClassyCo

    ClassyCo Soap Chat Addict EXP: 6 Years

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    I really like this picture. I wish I could find a clearer copy.

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  4. Snarky's Ghost

    Snarky's Ghost Soap Chat Oracle EXP: 19 Years

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    I always forget about THE REAL McCOYS because it was so neck-clawingly irritating (although my current bout of sciatica has me walking like Walter Brennan) and I just couldn't watch it.

    THE ANDY GRIFFITH SHOW, or the first five B&W years, was far more character-based than the subsequent slapstick "rural comedy" genre which followed. In all its haunted, early-'60s JFK-era glory, ANDY GRIFFITH became a metaphor for its era immediately, much as DICK VAN DYKE did for the suburbs, and TWILIGHT ZONE did for the zone itself --- ghostly, end-of-the-world specimens of undiluted small-screen clarity, forever frozen in time. Almost hallowed, eternal.

    Always did and always will.

    Sure, as the show passed 1965 and went to color, ANDY mirrored the tone of other color series from the last half of the decade: louder, more crass and vulgar in tone (if not in subject matter) and confoundingly passive-aggressive. (Just compare the sole B&W first season of GILLIGAN'S ISLAND to its color second season, or the mystical B&W first season of BEWITCHED to its color years -- the shift from soothing to grating is pretty hard to miss).

    Anyway, like most really successful series, ANDY GRIFFITH was particularly well cast. Frances Bavier was the perfect Aunt Bea; Ronny Howard was son Opie, a terribly cute kid and a very good toddler actor; Andy was Andy; Jim Nabors as future marine Gomer Pyle; and Don Knotts as quaveringly neurotic deputy Barney Fife -- a character I always felt the most sorry for because you suspected his life sucked the most. And all the other occupants and denizens of fictional Mayberry, North Carolina, an idealized rural hamlet and an analogy for what yesterday was supposed to have been.

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  5. ClassyCo

    ClassyCo Soap Chat Addict EXP: 6 Years

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    I decided to dive back into some of The Andy Griffith Show episodes during this down time I've got from work. What better place to start than the beginning, right? I'm glad that the entire series is on Netflix, because that made my quest to re-watch these episodes all the easier.

    As I said, I felt it was wise to start from the pilot, which is called "The New Housekeeper". I'll give a brief overview of the episode itself: At the intro, it's revealed to us that Andy is both the sheriff and the justice of the peace of Mayberry, and that he's marrying off his long-time housekeeper, Rose, to a perfectly nice gentleman by name of Wilbur. Andy's young and absolutely adorable son, Opie, is upset with Rose for leaving him and his father, but Andy assures his son that all will be fine, considering their Aunt Bee will be moving in with them to fill Rose's vacancy. Opie will have nothing of it, insisting there isn't a replacement for Rose, and he gives Aunt Bee the toughest time once she arrives. She nearly lives, but Opie decides he loves her and wants her to stay at the end of the episode.

    Getting into discussing the episode itself. I felt this was a very good pilot for this show, and of TV shows I've seen in general. It sets the tone right off the bat, and doesn't leave you guessing whatsoever. Outside of the episode's primary focus of introducing Aunt Bee as the Taylor household's newest edition, there are quite a few other things throughout these twenty-five minutes definitely worthy of mention. Naturally, there's the introduction of bumbling Deputy Barney Fife, brilliantly played by Don Knotts. He's seen in the opening, but comes back later to tell Andy that Aunt Bee sent word that she'd be arriving soon. Barney's worried that the citizens of Mayberry might think that he was given the deputy position because he's close to Andy, although he wants to be known as "Reliable Barney Fife". This is one of three episodes (according to Wikipedia anyway) that Barney and Andy are acknowledged through dialogue as cousins. I'm not sure if it's ever stated out in any other episode, or if it's just one of those tidbits the writers just decided to leave out.

    The chemistry between Andy Griffith and Don Knotts is incomparable. Griffith's straight to Knotts' daffy provides the viewer with a perfect on-screen comedic duo, one that has only occasionally been equaled. (I've heard people want to compare the two to Laurel and Hardy or Abbott and Costello, but these two men are in their own field. Few could achieve what these two do here.)

    Even before Aunt Bee arrives, Opie tries to prove to Andy that he doesn't need a nanny because he's made breakfast all by himself. The brat-like behavior continues after Aunt Bee arrives. She goes out of her way to be good and available to Opie, but he has nothing to do with her most of the time, and when he does, it isn't nice. There a few instances where I actually felt terribly sorry for Aunt Bee because Opie was so hurtful towards her. There's a scene where he's saying his prayers and she watches at the door, and she is left feeling unwanted because Opie leaves her out of his prayers. Andy tries to teach Aunt Bee how to fish and play baseball, hoping that this will cause Opie to cling to her, but to no avail.

    In the end, Opie decides that he wants Aunt Bee to stay so he can teach her the things she doesn't know how to do. Yes, it's a tad of cop-out ending and it's terribly sappy, but its 1960s situation comedy. What more do we expect?

    The Andy Griffith Show goes on to be one of the greatest TV shows in the history of the medium.

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