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  • Writer's pictureArwen Rasmussen

A Mayberry Lesson on Values

By Ken Anderson, The Mayberry Guru, themayberryguru@gmail.com




Television is perhaps one of the most effective means by which people learn many of life's values. According to the A.C. Nielsen Co., the average American watches more than 4 hours of TV each day (or 28 hours/week, or two months of nonstop TV-watching per year). Other than local programming and news broadcasts, much of what we watch is Hollywood-made. And what Hollywood produces often creates the standards for society's code of ethics and morality.

I am not an avid TV watcher. I use my 56" smart TV for watching sports and classic videos. I find the reality programs, violent dramas, and off-color comedies not to my liking at all. Perhaps this explains why I would much prefer to watch my "Andy Griffith Show" videos. For one thing, it had characters that I could readily identify with.


One of the most enduring premises of "The Andy Griffith Show" is that the writers wanted their viewers to know that every person has worth. The characters in Mayberry were not glamorous highly-educated professionals. They were small-town citizens who had jobs and not professions. They worked at the gas station, the grocery store, and the barbershop. Only a few were college-educated, and some could barely read and write. One was even the town drunk, yet he was Sheriff Taylor's friend.


While the primary purpose of "The Andy Griffith Show" was to entertain its viewers with delightful characters and humorous storylines, every episode contained an underlying life lesson. Even though Otis Campbell, the town drunk, ended up in jail every weekend, viewers learned he was a caring and hard-working person who was always ready to lend a helping hand. In other words, as a human being, he had value.


Goober and Gomer Pyle had little education, and they pumped gas, worked on cars, and had no social graces. Goober read comic books, and Gomer always smelled like gas and oil, yet they both had a common goal. They wanted girlfriends. The show's writers made it known that love is not just for those who are intelligent, attractive, and personable. Most everyone seeks love, but unfortunately, some never find it. But once again, Sheriff Taylor takes it upon himself to help because he knows Goober and Gomer have value.


Most of the people I knew while growing up in Dorchester were very similar to the folks of Mayberry. They were farmers, factory workers, merchants, mechanics, and stay-at-home mothers. Few were college-educated, and none were wealthy. But they all had one thing in common. They were hard-working, honest, and they had great value.


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