The Andy Griffith Show And Me

I am not able to give you the why for this particular binge on Prime Video. Actually, I do very little binging of any programs though “Grace and Frankie” on Netflix has been the one exception. Anyway, I watch the 8 seasons of the Andy Griffith Show over and over though I have have more of a preference for the black and white seasons than the last two seasons in color.

I do not know why I’m stuck on the show. I do not watch it during the day, only when I’m ready to go to sleep. In fact, I’m probably sleep before an episode is halfway done. The series cycles as I sleep and should I wake up during the night, I tap on the next episode only to fall asleep immediately.

I do wonder why I’m stuck in this Andy Griffith loop. There are so many reasons why I should not be a fan. First of all, it’s set in a small town in the South during the 60s, not a great time or space for African Americans. Secondly, there is no true representation of African Americans in small town Mayberry though I think I have caught glimpses of one or two in a crowd or perhaps one walking down a street. Actually, this is probably a true representation as Mayberry only has a population of 2,000, majority white, I’m sure. The businesses and companies would be owned by them, of course, and the black population would be peripheral to any of their stories. Thirdly, Andy Taylor is a sheriff and southern law enforcement history with African Americans is not pretty for that time period.

There is one episode in color (there’s an irony here) that features an African American man but that man has to have the credentials of being a retired pro football player who also happens to be a pianist who plays classical music beautifully, an object lesson for Andy (maybe a challenge to the view most whites had of African Americans back then). They could not bring in any old person to represent the black community, only the exception would do. This individual would have to be the exception to the perceived rule in order to have the right to be on screen with the white folks up close and personal. A kind of “that boy is a credit to his race, ain’t he!” moment for the white viewer.

But, that’s not the only issue I have with Andy and his crew. What is up with Barney Fife? This man is so full of himself, it’s embarrassing to everyone, yet everyone rushes to make sure he’s not embarrassed, that his feelings are not hurt. In doing so, Barney Fife can continue to live in his fantasy world of bluff wrapped in bravado as he struts the stuff he thinks he has. Andy does call him out from time to time but almost always circles back to apologize for nothing. I often just wish someone would lower the boom on him, that he would summon up the guts to apologize for the snafu he has caused instead of him always being the hero. I’m pretty sure a narcissist wrote the script for Barney.

Finally, the chauvinism is blatant. The women are referred to as girls, almost always. The men leer at pretty women and make sly remarks. Andy and Barney have long time girlfriends but marriage is anathema to them. Thelma Lou and Helen know this to be so and are quietly resigned to their plight. Barney is a two-timer (with Juanita at the diner) and everyone seems to know it except Thelma Lou. This would never be so in a town that small. Sooner or later, she would discover his infidelity. Maybe she does know but Barney is so clever at gaslighting that she refuses to believe the rumors. Also, the women are petty, excellent at jumping to conclusions. They withhold their favor (slight sexual innuendo, here), the pleasure of their company until they get their way. The men quickly give in to the pettiness because they don’t want the women to be upset with them and withhold their favor. Yep, men wrote their scripts too.

I have not pointed out any specific episodes because any episode will fill the bill with why I should not be binging this show, but binge I do. There is no reason I should long for those black and white moments, especially in the light of what I know about the timeline of the African American in the South. Plus, the view of women through the lens of the writers should shut me down, as well and I have run into a few Barney Fifes in my lifetime.

Yeah, there is no real reason for me to continue to watch The Andy Griffith Show.

I wonder what a therapist would make of of this!

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