Thursday, April 12, 2012
What Mayberry Taught Me About Telling Stories
But of all the shows I watched as a kid, the only one I can still tolerate is Andy Griffith, and over the years, I've come to love it more and more. There was always a secret sadness to the Andy Griffith show - the soundtrack was often strangely plaintive for a situation comedy. And Andy Griffith had one basic story - with some variations - but there was one story it told over and over again. As I've watched reruns over the years, I've come to realize what a wise and hopeful story it is.
It starts with a sourpus. Not someone's who's bad, but someone who believes he's bad. There's goodness inside him, but it's like he's constipated in the goodness department. Then Andy and his friends find a way to let him release his inner goodness without hurting his pride - sparing people's pride is another major motif in the show - and then the former sourpus realizes he's a good person after all, and it hurts him to even think of doing something selfish and unkind. At the end of the show, everyone's a little better off, the former sour pus most of all. Lord help me, it's hokey and obvious, but maybe the truth was hokey and obvious all along. Maybe the secret of life's just a matter of sparing the other fellow's pride and trusting in his goodness. And trusting in your own goodness. I just love that show and I watch it whenever I can.
Then there's The Beverly Hillbillies. Ellie Mae in blue jeans. Rrow, rrow, rrow!