July 5, 2012

BECAUSE tHE fALL IS A COMEDY, NOT A TRAGEDY:

Andy Griffith: 'It Was All About Love': Mourning the loss of an American icon, and remembering why we all want to live in Mayberry. (Frank Smith, 7/4/2012, Christianity Today)

Why do we so desperately long to live in Mayberry? Why do we listen, ponder, laugh and even shed a few tears over episodes we've seen so many times before?

Perhaps the simplest and best answer comes from Griffith himself, given several years ago at the unveiling of a statue of Andy and Opie in Mount Airy, North Carolina, the actor's home town. When asked why TAGS remained so popular for so many years, and why it served as a vehicle of blessing to so many still, Griffith replied, "It was all about love."

True words. Mayberry was a collection of oddballs and homebodies, little old lady bootleggers and bluegrass playing farmers and a frantic deputy who kept his one bullet in his shirt pocket. There was the barber who couldn't see straight and the rock-throwing wild man whose sidelines included escaping jail and reciting poetry. Aunt Bee made pickles of such pungent renown that their nickname, "kerosene cucumbers," has essentially entered into the public domain. Gomer the gas station jockey was as sweet as a five-year-old, and just about as gullible. And his cousin Goober had, if anything, even less worldly wisdom than Gomer.

Yet as offbeat as these characters were, they were human. They were never shorn of their dignity, never ridiculed or made fun of. Other sitcoms of the time--and all too many today--have contempt for their characters, sometimes thinly veiled, often not. We laugh at them from the height of our supposed superiority, or mock them for their failures or excesses. But in Mayberry, we are made privy to a more intimate understanding of these beloved characters.



Posted by at July 5, 2012 4:38 AM
  

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