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WMG / The Andy Griffith Show

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TAGS takes place in a parallel universe where slavery never existed.
It's the South, it's The '60s, and the title character is the sheriff, but:
  1. There is no racial tension, nor any signs of the civil rights movement.
  2. There are no signs of segregation (literal or otherwise), nor of the hate crimes committed in the name of keeping a town "lily white".
All signs point to an Alternate Universe with no slavery, meaning no mass forced immigration from Africa, meaning these conditions can exist. The logical explanation for the divergence is that the idealistic, yet proud of his heritage, Andy went back in time to prevent slavery from coming to the United States.

Mayberry has a very dark racist past.
As the above Guess shows, Mayberry is a lily-white Southern town. There is no mention of people of color, segregation, or civil rights. The explanation is that the white people of Mayberry ran all of the black residents out of town. Maybe Sheriff Andy, or one of his predecessors, had them killed. There's no evidence of hate crimes because they were all committed years before - the people just don't talk about them, although Andy may have had a hand in maintaining what he inherited.
  • It should be noted there was one person who might, from the look of him, be biracial, white and black. He was, however, a blatantly dishonest lawyer. The episode was "Otis sues the county" or something like that. I think this guess stands, or the AU one about there not having been slavery in the U.S.
    • In Opie's Piano Lesson there's Flip Conroy, a Former New York Jet who moves back to Mayberry. So there's more than one Black person calling Mayberry their home.
      • There's also a ton of African-American extras in the background since the show's very first episode
      • Aside from it being well-known that Andy Griffith wanted black actors on the show but was overruled by angry southern stations, he was also well aware that Jim Nabors was gay. If not for southern stations he'd have had more diversity in the cast.

Andy Killed His Wife
Barney, his cousin, helped cover it up. What does the file say? "Accidental death." Riiiight.

This show is the prequel to Matlock.
  • Anyone else notice how incredibly similar the two shows are? In both shows, Andy Griffith plays a down-home hick in a Southern city with some pull in the legal system. Clearly, Andy Taylor eventually got tired of being sheriff and wanted to move on to bigger and better things. So he moved to the big city (Atlanta), changed his name to Ben Matlock, went to law school, and eventually passed the bar in Georgia. Matlock does say in one special that he grew up in a small town in North Carolina — that is implied not to exist anymore. So we have motive.
  • Matlock is an illegitimate son of Andy. This could explain the, ahem, phenomenal family resemblance between these two characters! Given that Matlock is 50ish in the 1980s, he'd be at least a teenager at the time of TAGS though.

Andy Taylor is a post-breakdown Lonesome Rhodes
At the end of A Face in the Crowd, "Lonesome" Rhodes suffers a breakdown as his fame collapses and he swears to win the public's love again. Unsure of where to begin, then, perhaps he decides to start from scratch in another Southern small-town jail - but this time, on the other side of the bars. He changes his name to Andy Taylor, adopts the same down-home good-natured facade that made him popular in the first place, and tries to jump straight into politics by running for sheriff. Because this takes so long to accomplish he finds himself settling down in the town for good. Eventually he pretends to be a decent person for so long that he actually becomes one, and he blissfully forgets that he ever was the fallen megastar Lonesome Rhodes. He may have done this remembering that Marsha was practically engaged to Sheriff Bess until he came along.

Andy and Barney are either closeted gays, bisexuals or perhaps, asexuals.
  • Let see the evidence: The most eligible bachelor in a small Southern town and yet he only dates two women and then only in the most chaste manner possible. He makes no effort to remarry to provide a "mother" for his son and moves his spinster aunt in w/ them to give him a "beard." He spends an inordinate amount of time in the company of men and seems to be visibly uncomfortable around women that express affection of any kind towards him. Given that the show is set in a time where only children were rare and given that Andy didn't quickly remarry after his wife's demise one can reasonable assume that women hold only minimal or no interest at all for Sheriff Taylor,making him asexual,bisexual or even gay.
  • Barney uses women as his own beard. He's something of a codependent who needs women to make him feel masculine. After all, Harlan Ellison once called Don Knotts "the ultimate morphodite (bi-gendered) nebbish".

Barney is the real mastermind of the town.
He's just obfuscating stupidity. People do seem to tip-toe around him to keep from hurting his feelings or upsetting him and Andy goes to great lengths to make Barney happy. Andy sees Barney's potential and goes about keeping him happy/content with his job as deputy since he fears Barney might harm himself if he's forced to see how pathetic he is. The townspeople go along with this, largely because they know Andy and Barney are best friends and moreso, know that Andy will keep Barney in check so things don't go out of control.

Barney had a nervous breakdown sometime after leaving the Army.
As noted, Andy goes out of his way to keep Barney happy and somewhat deluded about his life. Perhaps Barney had some sort of mental collapse after the War (granted, he didn't see any combat but there could have been another cause), and then had a difficult time transitioning back into normal life and finding steady work. So Andy took pity on him and made him deputy, and because Andy had earned so much goodwill in Mayberry no one in town complained...until Mayor Stoner came along and was appalled to discover that Andy made a former mental patient his deputy and subsequently tried to force the Sheriff out. This eventually lead to Barney's leaving Mayberry, since Stoner (after all his other attempts failed) planned to go the State Board and lodge a formal complaint (as well as going to the press) in order to discredit Andy and ruin Barney's career in the process. In retaliation, Andy decides to get involved in town politics more directly and attempts to oust Stoner, eventually leading to him convincing Sam Jones to run for the town council in the final season (as the first step to eventually becoming Mayor).

Opie is a time traveller.
And like his alternate universe counterpart in The Twilight Zone (1959) episode "Walking Distance", he came back as an adult to visit Mayberry again. After having a piece of Aunt Bea's pie, and a down-home chat from Andy, he decided to move on with his life and went back to the future. (No, not that future.)

The patrol cars are straight-six automatics.
Do you seriously think Andy would let Barney drive a high-powered interceptor, or the producers and Don Knotts would let the comedic potential of Barney attempting to drive a three-pedal car pass by unused?
  • They didn't. Barney bought a three pedal lemon once. Did about as well as my sister's first time with a clutch. I think the implication is fairly clear that the patrol cars are automatic, even more so because of that.

Barney has no physical sense of taste or smell.
How else was Barney not able to tell the difference in taste between water and moonshine in the episode "Keeper of the Flame"? Water is essentially flavorless, but moonshine is strong-tasting and strong-smelling.
  • He also makes a chili that nearly sends Andy into a conniption.

Where is Opie's mom?
Right in front of us the whole time. Aint Bee is Opie's mom!! BTW this WMG also disproves the one above about Andy being gay...Aint Bee isn't his beard...she's his lover, and yes she is his biological aunt. Ewww!

Aint Bee is Barney's 'aint' too.
He always calls her that, and Andy and Barney called each-other cousins once.

Andy always gives Barney a blank bullet.
After all, Barney has shown time and again to be unsafe with a gun, pulling it on innocents after his wild assumptions get the best of him, and accidentally firing it in the holster. Given how rare it is for them to actually need to shoot anyone, it's far safer for everyone that he use blanks. Barney, of course, doesn't know the difference.
  • Possible in some instances, though some episodes where the gun was fired did use a real bullet.

The first Floyd was really Floyd Sr.
At least, if you want to acknowledge the obvious casting change to a younger actor. The elder Floyd Lawson retired while his son took over the business during the first season.
  • Howard Mc Near would give this exact explanation when asked about the first Floyd by fans.

For all his bravado, what happened in Season One's 'The Inspector' episode really shook Andy up.
Andy might have seemed to be triumphant by the end of the episode, but it's clear that he wasn't the same afterwards. Inspector Case made a strong argument that Andy wasn't taking the job seriously enough and Andy clearly listened. No more folksy jokes, lackadaisical adherence to protocol or "country boy tomfoolery" after this, Andy was far more solemn and judge-like in his approach to the law. He still teased Barney in the privacy of the office, but when he was in public Andy was all business. He would let his hair down occasionally and he still showed compassion and kindness, but he was less Will Rogers and more Solomon after Season One and even more strident in the color episodes after Barney departs. Would Season One Andy have reacted so angrily to Gomer or Goober assembling a car in the middle of the courthouse, or would he have laughed and been suitably impressed? Think about it!

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