A fantasy author discussing The Andy Griffith Show seems a bit odd, but this TV series is an out-genre masterpiece of characterizations, which a fantasy or science fiction author would do well to learn from. You’ll notice that my top ten are from the black and white episodes. Once The Andy Griffith Show went to color, it wasn’t as funny. Wade’s theory is Andy’s chronically depressed in the color episodes. Andy’s certainly chronically cranky. So we’ll stick with the black and white seasons. Also, listen to the announcer at the beginning of each show; he seems surprised that The Andy Griffith Show stars Andy Griffith.
1. Bookie Barber
Here’s a great one showcasing many of the characters: Floyd, Barney, Aunt Bee, Opie, and even Andy. As Barney says, “It’s a compellsion.”
2. Barney Mends a Broken Heart
The episode that introduces the Fun Girls and Lydia Crosswaith. How great is that? Andy makes up with Peggy pretty quick.
3. Black Day for Mayberry
A shipment of gold comes through Mayberry, or does it? It’s suppose to be secret, but even Laura Lee Hobbs finds out.
4. The Pickle Story
Andy and Barney are in a pickle when Andy spares Aunt Bee the truth that her pickles taste like kerosene.
5. Aunt Bee, the Warden
Aunt Bee gives Otis incentive to dry up. It doesn’t last. “Hop to it!”
6. My Fair Earnest T. Bass
Andy and Barney attempt to civilize Earnest T., who meets Rowena in the process. “No coffee, tea, or punch, thank you.”
7. Barney Buys a Car
Ellen Corby, also known for playing grandma on The Waltons, sells Barney a car that can’t even keep its steering wheel on properly.
8. Goober Takes a Car Apart
As Floyd says, “O you’ll want to see that, Andy! Beautiful, just beautiful.”
9. A Feud Is a Feud
Andy plays a wiser mediator than Friar Lawrence in this send up of Romeo and Juliet.
10. Those Gossipin’ Men
Aunt Bee and Emma Watson have the last laugh on the men in this gossiping rivalry.