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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that although The Andy Griffith Show features simplistic storylines and dated humor, this classic '60s comedy series also offers timeless lessons about responsibility, kindness, and the consequences of your behavior. It's a cheerful, squeaky clean -- and very idealized -- example of strong family and community relationships in a small town.
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What's the story?
One of television's most iconic -- and cheerful -- comedy series, THE ANDY GRIFFITH SHOW revolves around Andy Taylor (Andy Griffith), the easygoing sheriff of the fictitious town of Mayberry, North Carolina. Mayberry may be small, but with eccentric residents like goofy auto mechanic Gomer Pyle (Jim Nabors) and easily distracted barber Floyd Lawson (Howard McNear), it's certainly not boring. Thanks to Taylor and his cousin -- rather overzealous "by-the-book" Deputy Barney Fife (Don Knotts) -- the tight-knit but rather innocent community is protected from anything and anyone that threatens their simple, happy way of life. Taylor is also raising his son, Opie (Ron Howard), with the help of their Aunt Bee (Frances Bavier), who moved in to help run the household. The strong relationship between father and son provides the basis for many of the show's discussions about "doing the right thing" and accepting the consequences of your actions.
Is it any good?
This series was part of a TV trend that (somewhat ironically) epitomized traditional family values by featuring a family headed by a widowed parent. The Andy Griffith Show, which aired from 1960-1968, also provided a welcome, albeit idealized, version of simple, quiet American life during a time when the country was experiencing major civil unrest and was in the midst of the Vietnam War. Granted, the show's humor is dated, the cast is hardly diverse, and the storylines are simplistic (especially when you compare them to today's typical family sitcom). But what makes Andy Griffith stand the test of time is its focus on kindness and the importance of community.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how families have been presented on television over the years since The Andy Griffith Show was on the air. How has TV family life changed over the past 40+ years? What's the definition of family today? Do you think a single dad was a typical TV character during the '60s?
Parents and kids can also talk about what it's like to live in a small town. What are the advantages of living in a tight-knit community? Disadvantages? What do small towns offer that cities don't, and vice versa?
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