The Andy Griffith Show Episode Review: Christmas Story

by StevenHelmer

A review of the season 1 television episode that first aired in December 1960.

Synopsis: Even though Andy (Andy Griffith) would prefer the jail to be empty for the holiday, businessman Ben Weaver (Will Wright) insists on moonshiner Sam Muggins (Sam Edwards) being arrested on Christmas Eve. Knowing Weaver can make trouble for him, Andy has no choice but to comply. But, he also has a plan that will allow Sam to spend the holiday with his family.

Review

Considering I find myself watching re-runs of this classic television series on pretty much a weekly basis, I was a bit surprised to realize I had never seen its only Christmas episode. Since I had a somewhat quiet afternoon yesterday, I decided, with the help of Netflix, to correct that oversight. And, I'm glad I did.

OK, to be fair, some parts of this episode were a little predictable. But, even with that being the case, there were a lot of things to love about this Christmas-themed installment of the series.

For one, I loved how Andy managed to side-step Weaver's efforts to derail Sam's Christmas by arrested Sam's family, kids and all, as accessories to the crime. And, just to make sure Weaver couldn't offer a reasonable objection to the Christmas party at the jail, deputized all the guests as extra security. It was one of those quirky and funny moments that make this series a classic.

Weaver's Scrooge-like change throughout the episode was also entertaining to watch, especially when he started to realize he wanted to be part of the festivities and went out of his way to get Andy to arrest him for everything from stealing a bench from in front of the courthouse to tearing up a parking ticket. I almost felt bad for him whenever his efforts were thwarted at the last second, usually by Ellie (Elinor Donahue).

I think the most memorable scene from this episode, however, had to be the rendition of Away in a Manger by Ellie (with Andy accompanying her). I was never really sold on her as Andy's girlfriend. But, I do have to admit, her performance was very moving and actually made me miss some of holiday family parties from my childhood.

Final Opinion

This is a really great episode I highly recommend taking the time to watch if you get a chance. My only regret is taking so long to finally see it.

My Grade: A

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Updated: 12/23/2018, StevenHelmer
 
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