Synopsis: Frustrated by the fact the sheriff’s office only has one vehicle, Barney (Don Knotts) decides to purchase a motorcycle. This, however, does not produce the reaction he hoped for as the citizens of Mayberry begin to make fun of both the motorcycle (which has an unusually large sidecar attached to it) and the helmet and goggles he wears when riding it.
The Andy Griffith Show Episode Review: “Barney’s Sidecar”
A review of the Andy Griffith Show episode that first aired in January 1964.
Mayberry is Full of Jerks
The one thing that really stood out for me as I watched this particular episode of this series a couple days ago is it is one of the few episodes where I really felt Barney was right. It honestly didn’t make a whole lot of sense to have just the one vehicle for the sheriff’s department, especially since Andy (Andy Griffith) has a tendency to use the one car for his own personal use. Barney saw a problem and did his best to correct it. He should have been applauded. Yet, instead, Andy and the rest of Mayberry proved, once again, they could be pretty big, judgmental jerks.
OK, that being said, to be fair, he did deserve some of it. After all, while having a sheriff’s department motorcycle wasn’t really that out of the ordinary, that huge sidecar attached to it was definitely an eyesore. And, it wasn’t as though he couldn’t remove it. He kept it attached despite the fact it really didn’t have that much of a purpose (it’s not like he was going to transport a prisoner in it). Oh, and those goggles and helmet were pretty funny too.
Still, other than those cosmetic things, I do still think he was unjustly criticized. Had Andy and the citizens of Mayberry been more supportive, maybe he wouldn’t have worked so hard to prove himself and the incident with the truck traffic could have been avoided.
The one thing I did like about this particular episode is how Andy found a way to get Barney to give up the bike without doing anything to really hurt his friend’s feelings. It was actually a little clever and the bike did end up being put to good use rather than simply being destroyed or returned. Though, I do have to admit, I’m a little curious if Barney used his own money to buy it or tax money.
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The episode had some funny moments in it, largely due to Knotts’ body language. However, the way the town vilified Barney when he was simply trying to correct a wrong did have me questioning if the fictional town of Mayberry really is as good of a place to live as advertised.
My Grade: C
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