Why are Fundamentalist Christians Fascinated with the 'Andy Griffith Show'?

I’ve been meaning to ask this for years.
There is Sunday School material based on the series, preachers have preached sermons based on the show (I know of at least two local ones near me). I noticed a local church here is having a ‘christian comedian’ (whatever that is) whose specialty is an imitation of Barney Fife.
This is a pecular, from what I have seen, to fundamentalist christians.
Any theories as to why?

I am unaware of this phenomenon… I haven’t watched in about 35 years, and when *Happy Days *started, I didn’t believe that Richie was actually Opie.

It would have been great if Andy Griffith had made a guest appearance on Happy Days.

I’ve never heard of this in the Northeast. It may be regional to a certain area.

I did find this article which may explain somethings but why this one character, I have no glue. I don’t want to watch anything with Ron Howard - even the mention of his name bothers me now.

Barney Fife is Dead

by Steven Clark Goad

I don’t know about you, but I was saddened to hear of the passing of our beloved deputy here in Mayberry. We all knew he only had one bullet with him, in his pocket, to cause less havoc than possible in case of a real emergency.

But we loved him in spite of himself because of what he stood for. Let me share a few reasons why I loved Barney so much.

First, Barney was a faithful friend. His devotion to Andy Taylor was epic. There was nothing he would not do for his friend. This reminds me of how Jesus wants us to treat our friends.

Second, Barney was a believer. The guy even sung margin-al tenor in the church choir. What a guy. He wasn’t Pavoratti, but he showed up for practice and sang his part. This is all Jesus expects of us, isn’t it?

Third, Barney was monotonous, well, no; he was monoga-mous in his love life. Thelma Lou was his gal and he had eyes for nobody else.

Even some Christian couples need to learn this biblical principle.

Fourth, Barney would go the extra mile, something Jesus clearly taught during his ministry. One time Barney thought Andy was getting married at the Justice of the Peace when all Andy wanted was money for a fishing fine.

Barney brought Aunt Bea, Opie, and flowers for the occasion.

Fifth, Fife had confidence in his principles. He may have been wrong now and then, but at least he lived by what he thought was right. This, too, is all God can expect from us. We can only do what we know is right.

Sixth, Barney had some quirks and eccentricities, yet because of his
transparent and humble spirit, everybody seemed to love him. Surely that is also a godly trait.

Seventh, Deputy Fife was at his post and ready for what-ever the day might offer. He met each challenge with gusto and enthusiasm, even if he didn’t grasp the significance of many.


You’re the former fundamentalist; you tell us. :smiley: :wink:

I was unaware of that Andy Griffith fascination. As I’m unfamiliar with the show, I don’t know if I can offer a good explanation. Perhaps it’s a reminder to them of the “good ol’ days” when TV was less trashy. :shrug:

I suppose lifestyles on the Andy Griffith show embody the way many fundamentalists think Christians should live. And when people get into trouble on the show… which is common… they solve their problems, correct their neighbors, and confess their sins in the way fundamentalists think we ought.

The question itself is skewed.

I see nothing wrong with celebrating a television series that was decent, and expressed good old American values, which have been dragged through the mud for too many decades.

okay,that’s a new one for me .I will continue to enjoy the show for what it is .

Hence the smiley.:wink:
My mother LOVED this show. Not sure why, she grew up in the same big city I did. Curiously, my wife grew up in a small town but doesn’t liked any of these old rural TV sitcoms.
Griffith patterned this show from his own experiences growing up in Mt. Airy NC. In fact, I believe parts of the reunion film in the 80s were filmed there. Unlike other sitcoms at the time, Griffith demanded ‘no jokes’, all the comedy must come from within the characters, which it certainly does. Knotts was a native West Virginian and always a class act. Howard was a child then, too bad he became what he is today.
There were other sitcoms at the time which utilized moral lessons each week, such as ‘Family Affair’ and ‘My Three Sons’. This is unheard of today. The ‘lessons’ taught by todays sitcoms are quite different. The classic ‘baby birds’ episode of Griffith (done almost completely straight) could never be done in today’s climate.
Idealized view of small town life? Perhaps. All comedy is fantasy to some extent.

My father in law is borderline obsessed with Andy Griffith. He watches reruns all the time. :slight_smile:

Actually, I’ve watched it a few times, and the morality is quite good. Classic, clean, and wholesome. That’s pretty much non-existant nowadays.

It embodies wholesome, old-fashioned values. I am fond of it myself, and I’m not a fundamentalist. But I can see why those fundamentalists who do watch TV would like it, and I knew some very conservative Pentecostal Holiness folks who more or less disapproved of TV but made an exception for that show (and the occasional wholesome movie like The Scarlet and The Black).


We lived in North Carolina through the 1980s, in Raleigh (or "Rawleigh, as Barney Fyfe called it!).

The Andy Griffith Show is an institution down there. As you know, the show is set in Mayberry, North Carolina, which in real life is Mt. Airy, North Carolina. It’s worth a visit if you’re driving through the state.

I don’t know if they still do this, but when we lived in Raleigh, at least two of the three network affiliates carried afternoon re-runs of The Andy Griffith Show, and people WATCHED!

It was not only a decent show with wholesome plotlines and values, but it was extremely well-written and danged funny!!! Don Knotts is very close to Tim Conway when it comes to physical comedy, facial distortions, and timing! And Andy Griffith is as dry as an Englishman when it comes to delivering zingers that sound like niceties!

I think that’s why the show is still popular all over the U.S.–because it was a truly well-done show! It shows up the current “comedy” shows as pure junk.

AG and his ensemble didn’t have to joke about sex or bodily functions to be funny.

The ensemble of characters was rich! Otis the Drunk is hilarious, and so is Goober and Opie and Aunt Bea and Andy and Barney and Thelma–it’s kind of like an old-fashioned Simpsons with the variety of characters!

Yet the show was “modern,” in the sense that Andy was a lonely single man raising a small boy alone, and always looking for the right woman to love and marry. This is straight out of today–this same setup is used in television shows even now. There was a lot of pathos in the AG show–there were a of shows where Andy met someone, thought it might work out, but it didn’t. So real life.

And some of the plots were really really deep. There was one show in which Opie accidentally killed a bird (I think), and it got very deep, very touching. And there were other wonderful plots involving Aunt Bea and her insecurities, and Barney and his desire to be as good as Andy–it’s been a while since I’ve watched, but I think the AG show rivals The Mary Tyler Moore Show when it comes to melding comedy and tragedy. There’s a real fine line between comedy and tragedy, and in truly great comedy, people are just as likely to cry as laugh. (Check out any of the old Red Skelton shows if you want to understand what I’m talking about.)

I don’t know about Fundamentalists and AG, but I do know that AG is a Tarheel thing for sure. AG for President, and Aunt Bea for VP! I wish!

That’s the same episode I mentioned. Griffith broke with sitcom tradition in that one, very little laugh track. There was also an early one with a very young Bill Bixby as a smartalec rich kid pulled over for speeding. It was far supeior to the other rural-coms of the day.
Speaking of which. When I first moved here to West Virginia, I assumed (silly me) a certain phase was anathema here. Then I noticed a billboard advertising a special event at a local Baptist church: the guest speaker would be Donna Douglas from the Beverly Hillbillies!
“I thought West Virginians didn’t like the term ‘hillbilly’” I asked.
"We LOVE the term ‘hillbilly!!’"
Another myth demolished.:cool:

I don’t know for sure why fundamentalist Christians are fascinated with The Andy Griffith Show (wasn’t really aware of the phenomenon, to be honest!), but I can tell you one reason *I *have been, ever since I was a kid and the show was first aired: Andy was always so respectful of the other characters. No one was ever made fun of, or mocked, in order to get a laugh. There was an obvious sense of real, deep-rooted respect for one another, and Andy held everyone to that respect, no matter what the situation.

I actually “conversed” (well actually debated, sometimes fiercely :slapfight: (about religion, not Andy Griffith)) on a parenting forum with an Independant Fundamentalist Baptist who actually stopped watching Andy Griffith because “they smoke on that show”. Her favorite show was then Little House on the Prairie. :ehh:

In Christ,


Funny thing–Little House on the Prairie (the tv show) contained a large number of incorrectnesses. E.g., on the show, the boys and girls sat mixed in the one-roomed schoolhouse. The books make it clear (and so do old-timers who still remember) that boys sat on one side of the room and girls sat on the other side of the room.

Another example is Pa’s whiskers. If you read the books, you learn that Pa’s whiskers were extremely important in the Ingalls household. The very idea of shaving them off was unthinkable. Yet Michael Landon’s Charles Ingalls was clean-shaven–a heresy!

Finally, there were numerous incidents in the tv show where Laura said words like “darn.” That was considered “whipping” talk–her parents called it “wooden swearing,” and it was unacceptable, as unacceptable as our children using the “f” word nowadays.

These are just a few examples. I am a fanatic over the Laura Ingalls Wilder series, and I personally found the show offensive. I would like to see the show done again, adhering strictly to the canon that Mrs. Wilder wrote for us. One of my goals in life is to write a screenplay (and hopefully sell it) of The Long Winter, which, IMO, is one of the best American books ever written. When I do write that screenplay, I will stick to the story and not add in all my modern ideas, slang, political leanings, etc.

Another funny thing.

I was raised up North and Baptist, and yes, there was absolutely NO SMOKING! I know of one man who smoked in my childhood church family, and he was definitely shunned by all the rest of us. Smoking was consider “destruction of the temple of God” (our bodies) and therefore a sin. (Same justification against use of alcohol–our church strictly forbade the use of alcohol.)

BUT…when my husband and I moved to North Carolina (Raleigh) and dutifully joined a Baptist church–we learned to our shock and dismay that LOTS of the members smoked! In North Carolina, tobacco is (or at least was) a big cash crop. No one in the church looked down on the smokers! There was a whole line of 'em out in the parking lot on Sundays, smoking up a storm!

Remember pro-life hero Sen. Jesse Helms (RIP) of North Carolina? Smoked like a chimney and stank to high heaven of tobacco smell! It always cracked me up that he would be arguing in favor of pro-life policy at the same time that he would argue for pro-tobacco policy! Didn’t seem consistent to me! (BTW, he lived well into his 80s, bless his heart! And he was chubby, too, and certainly lived a stress-filled life. Not fair, is it?!)

So in North Carolina, at least back in the 1980s, the rules were a little different for fundamentalist Christians!

Baptist icon CH Spurgeon used to smoke a cigar while preaching.:eek:

That’s another show fundamentalists are fascinated with. I knew a preacher who had a portrait picture of the cast of LHOTP on his wall in his home.
Don’t EVEN get me started on that show or any of Landon’s overblown other shows. He should have stayed Little Joe.:smiley:

LHOTP is actually the only show I watched as a kid–and that only for about six months when we were renting a house with a TV. Later we did have a TV again but it didn’t work very well and we mostly just got it out when there was an international crisis or an election or maybe a documentary we really wanted to see.

I agree with Cat that the show departed a lot from the books, though I don’t find this quite as offensive as she does! Still, I’d love to see a movie of Long Winter–I found it absolutely enthralling as a kid. I read the books about the time we were moving to the U.S. (from England), and our first full winter here (living in Indiana) was a very cold and snowy one. I found this very exciting because I thought we were living through something like the Long Winter (but without the imminent danger of starving or freezing to death, although I think I had that thrilling possibility somewhere in the back of my mind, just present enough to make the winter fun and not enough to make it really scary).


The Hallmark Channel recently did some ‘remakes’ far more faithful to the books. My wife and I watched a little of it one afternoon. It was pretty historically acurate as well (bit of a pet peeve of mine).
Many fans don’t realize the Landon version had a lot of re-cycled scripts from Bonanza and was incredibly historically innacurate.

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