Synopsis: Traveling handy man Henry Wheeler (Edgar Buchanon) comes to Mayberry and, at Aunt Bee’s (Frances Bavier) insistence, Andy (Andy Griffith) agrees to let Mr. Wheeler do some much-needed yard work around his house. However, Andy soon learns Mr. Wheeler is duping him. Complicating matters is the fact Aunt Bee seems to be falling for Mr. Wheeler.
The Andy Griffith Show Episode Review: “Aunt Bee’s Brief Encounter”
A review of the season 2 television episode that first aired in December 1961.
My youngest daughter had dance lessons yesterday evening and, while I was home with her older sister, I ended up watching this episode. At first, I wasn’t really sure what to think of it. But, overall, it turned out to be an OK episode.
I think the thing I liked about this episode was the way everyone, including Andy, was tricked by Buchanan’s Mr. Wheeler. This is a bit unusual because, normally, Andy is a bit more cynical whenever he encounters a stranger trying to sell something. In fact, he even starts out questioning Mr. Wheeler’s motives right off the bat but seems to drop all hesitation as soon as he finds out he’s getting a bargain.
The fact Aunt Bee was emotionally attached to Mr. Wheeler was a nice touch because it wasn’t as simple as just kicking the man out of Mayberry. If he did that, Bee’s feelings would be seriously hurt and, ultimately, it proved there simply was no way to avoid upsetting her.
Of course, to be fair, other than the possibility of him hurting Aunt Bee by leading her on, I’m still not really sure what Mr. Wheeler did wrong in this episode. It’s not like he was taking Andy’s money and not doing anything in return. In fact, at least from some of the comments made about Andy’s house, it sounds like he was doing quite a bit of work for the Taylors. What’s the harm in him getting some free room and board out of it?
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I do think Mr. Wheeler got a bit of unjust treatment in this episode because, as I mentioned, it wasn’t as though he wasn’t actually doing the work he was supposed to be doing. However, the fact Andy was determined to protect his aunt and the dilemma he faced in doing so did make the episode worth taking the time to watch. That, coupled with Buchanon’s overall performance does make this an episode I would recommend watching if you get a chance to do so.
My Grade: A
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