We don’t have much to add to our colleague Bill Lohmann’s excellent appreciation of Andy Griffith, who was largely defined by his eponymous TV show about a small-town sheriff. It was, as Lohmann writes, “charmingly sweet, very funny and never mean. It was layered in homespun wit, likable characters and gentle lessons that resonate still.”
You can find the same qualities on television today, if you search really hard. But mostly they are drowned out by sarcasm, irony, and profanity substituting for wit. The men on today’s sitcoms are all buffoons — and most of the women are, too. They can make you laugh, but the laughter is smug.
It is probably too much to call television anything like art. But it would like to be, and one of the artist’s chief tasks is to hold a mirror up to society. Television today reflects a nation of people who offer very little to admire. Andy Griffith saw — and showed us — a much different, much better America. It’s a vision that is needed now more than ever, and will be missed.
That slick Hollywood Director is going to corrupt your town.