Friday, July 06, 2012

Best TV show ever

Although I cannot feel great shock by the death of Andy Griffith (he WAS 86), I can add my praise to the best TV show there ever was.  However, others have done a better job.

It was great for so many reasons; for one, they acted like real Southerners.  There was fun music.  The father-son portrayal was superb.  One of the best episodes was when Andy thinks Opie is lying about a man who walks in the tree tops and does other fantastic deeds, a man named Mr. McBeavey.  Andy punishes him, and then finds out that Mr. McBeavey was a lineman.  How Andy responds is classic, and what a message about how children experience our adult world.  The second episode, when Aunt Bee comes to live with them, is guaranteed to make you cry.  Ronny Howard was so good, as good as the kids on To Kill a Mockingbird, a film from the same period that has many parallels to The Andy Griffith Show. 

Despite all the humanity, love, grace, quirkiness, acceptance, etc. of the show, it had a kind of realism that we don't see on TV; and yet it also had a very intentional portrayal of a lack of accepting reality.  They lied a lot to protect each other; that figures into many episodes.  Barney was funny but also in a way pitiable; the portrayal of him was so conflicted between his self-concept and his reality.  I found him incredibly poignant, incredibly human, so like so many people, especially men, I have known--forced to be something on the outside, and trying hard to convince himself that he was something he knew he wasn't.

Of course, the town drunk (who was played by Hal Smith, who later played Mr. Whitaker on The Adventures in Odyssey series so well) was not seen for what he really was.  He was tolerated, but we never saw how his wife would have really suffered from his alcoholism.  Hal Smith became a Christian later in life and said he regretted the way that was portrayed. 

And I have watched every episode many times over the years, and they never said what happened to Opie's mom.  Occasionally a Black person would appear on the show, but not prominently and not for any consequence.  Goober and Gomer were about stupid, as my husband would say, but they did have their role in the quirkiness. 

I do not watch television any more (except for Person of Interest), although I have seen a few episodes of the Big Bang Theory.  I have wonderful memories of truly great television.

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