Morals of an Older Generation

May 30, 2014
By mpeterson2015 BRONZE, Stephentown, New York
mpeterson2015 BRONZE, Stephentown, New York
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

Morals of an Older Generation

The Andy Griffith Show is an older show, created and aired in the 1960s. The show was popular then and still is around and aired on TV because of everything that makes the show what it is. Today’s TV series seem to have started moving off moral lessons and innocent humor to scantily clad teens and cartoons with characters with rude and sometimes gross humor. The Andy Griffith Show stands out because of its uniqueness in its originality. The characters of the show are all different, and because of their individuality, an acceptance for differences was shown in every episode. Other life lessons were illustrated in the episodes; everyday difficulties with people and everyday issues were solved through the characters’ problem-solving. The characters were normal people that lived in a small town, and because of this, they were relatable; they were likable and unlikable at the same time. This show is something with more substance than TV shows today; this show will continue to be a higher standard of entertainment than the kinds of shows that are being created today. The Andy Griffith Show will continue to be one of the best TV shows out there.

Andy Taylor, the main protagonist from the show, was a sheriff in the small, rural town of Mayberry. He and his deputy Barney Fife are the only law force in the town; they keep order and maintain the peaceful life where everyone knows one another. Andy is the law in the town; he doesn’t carry a gun, he is never violent, and he always treats people like people, like they’re worth something. Andy isn’t like the cops that are portrayed in crime shows later on and on today’s TV. He is soft in a way where he treats everyone respectfully as long as people respect him. He doesn’t think he is above other people; he just tries his best to keep the peace and keep people friendly with each other. Sheriff Taylor is a smart guy; instead of using a stern attitude and force to find a criminal, he uses craftiness and inventiveness to catch them.

In the episode “Manhunt,” state police come into the town with the intelligence that there is an escaped criminal that is in Mayberry. When the state police arrive, they make the station their headquarters as they search for the criminal. The state police totally dismiss Andy and Barney’s advice and help as they feel the two are incompetent. Andy didn’t think the police were wise in their decision to try to keep them out of the investigation, so he and Barney go out to investigate on their own. Andy figures the criminal will take a back road, so he sets up Barney on one, and sure enough the crook encounters Barney, catches him by surprise, and ties the deputy up. When Andy finds Barney, he assumes that the crook will head to a specific resident’s home. As the summary of the episode continues:
At the woman’s house, she says she is “just fine,” which isn’t characteristic of her. Because of this, Andy is suspicious and thinks the criminal may be in her house. He tries to trick the criminal by talking about his boat down by the lake. Sure his plan will work, Andy calls the State Police and asks them to come by and pick up the criminal. At first the police think Andy a fool, but then realize the boat was a trap, for as the criminal rowed, the boat sank, and he was able to be caught (“The Manhunt”). The episode shows that he is intelligent and able to handle even serious police issues with his quick thinking. He earns the respect of the police who thought they were better than Andy and his abilities, and he also earned the respect of the town. He showed the people watching the show not to underestimate the importance of a person. The state police thought they were better, but they wouldn’t have been able to do it without the work of the modest small town officers.

Opie is Andy’s son. Andy raises Opie as a single parent; Opie’s mother isn’t in any of the episodes, and it is assumed that she died when Opie was very young. One episode that stands out is the episode “Opie the Birdman,” which focuses on Opie and the lessons he learned. In the episode, Andy gifts Opie with a present of a slingshot. Andy warns Opie to be careful with it, and Opie is eager to use it and agrees. While outside, Opie shoots a stone into a tree and accidently kills a bird. He runs to his room, and when Andy later finds the dead bird outside, he links it back to Opie. Opie is devastated, and later hears baby birds chirping outside waiting for their mom to come back. Andy then tells Opie about responsibility, and Opie begins to care for the birds. Opie cares for the birds until they are grown and he must set them free. He doesn’t want to let the birds go, but after a talk with Andy, he knows that they’ll be happier in the trees. This episode shows responsibility and kindness of Opie. The episode also shows Andy’s ability to raise his son singlehandedly to be a boy that knows right from wrong and how to be a good human being.

Opie shows the audience right from wrong on other occasions too. In “Opie’s Fortune,” Opie displays his inner battles between right and wrong when Opie finds a wallet and shows it to his pa. He’s told that if an owner doesn’t claim the money within a week, the money will be his. After a week, the owner of the money still doesn’t appear, and Andy happily gives the money to Opie. Opie then takes the money and purchases a new fishing rod. Back at the courthouse, Opie walks in, and Andy and Barney are nowhere to be found. A man walks in and tells Opie he is missing money. Opie doesn’t tell the man he had found the money around a week ago. Later, Andy finds out that the man came looking for money and that Opie does not tell the man that he had found it. Andy goes to find Opie and begins to lecture him; as it turns out, Opie had gone back to sell his fishing rod and get the money back so that he could return the money. Andy found that he had doubted his son when his son was doing right all along. Opie shows how to do the right thing just because it is the right thing to do.

There are still people that are going to say that The Andy Griffith Show isn’t all that great. Of course, there are other TV shows that are popular at the moment or have been in the recent past like Jersey Shore, Family Guy, and The Big Bang Theory. These shows have a specific target audience and an age group to be catered to. Those shows seem to be for a somewhat older generation; there’s swearing, sexual jokes quite a bit, over-the-top drama, and other things that people wouldn’t be comfortable sitting their small children in front of. South Park may even appear to be a children’s show, until after watching it a while, it’s quickly realized it is not. There’s nothing wrong with watching these shows or in liking them; it’s just not exactly a family-friendly show. Shows that are for kids like Zoey 101, Hannah Montana, iCarly, and other shows like that may not swear or make sexual innuendos, but they set up fake expectations about relationships and high school. The girls in those shows wear clothing that isn’t always modest. The girls also seem to be quite skinny, tall, things that are the stereotypical attributes in the perception of female beauty. These stereotypes and expectations could lead to the young girls watching the shows to feel flawed in comparison. Those same shows may not be a direct influence to this negativity, but subconscious thoughts and feelings may find their way into the words and actions of the everyday. For example, becoming more accustomed to swearing leads to more of an acceptance of it, and that could lead to more slip-ups in everyday conversation. TV shows are there to entertain, so they may not always set a good example for how people should act or treat each other.

People see the black and white color of the show and see it as outdated, but the relevance of the show is still alive today. Of course, the setting, fashion, and the way of speech may be different; morals and values shouldn’t change. Some may say that The Andy Griffith Show can’t compare to today. Right and wrong don’t become outdated—people are always in the battle between right and wrong.

The Andy Griffith Show has a total of 249 episodes in all within 8 seasons of the show running. The show was popular at the time and remains to be a beacon of right over wrong. Sheriff Andy Taylor, Opie Taylor, Barney Fife, and every other character on the show portray a way of life that shows morals, the importance of respect and being true. There were no cheap jokes or harsh language; the show wasn’t filled with dramatic rightness where there were never any problems. The show is something that a family can watch together. The show expressed life—with individuals who were very different and a way of life that is wished for. The Andy Griffith Show is and will stand to be one of the most entertaining and morally right shows than what is on television now.

Similar Articles


This article has 0 comments.


MacMillan Books

Aspiring Writer? Take Our Online Course!