The Andy Griffith Show Episode Review: “Opie Flunks Arithmetic”

by StevenHelmer

A review of the season 5 episode that first aired in April, 1965.

Synopsis: When Andy (Andy Griffith) learns Opie (Ron Howard) isn’t doing well in math, he decides to make sure his son doesn’t lose focus by eliminating all extra activities, including football, so he can focus on his homework. His decision to crack down on Opie and push him harder doesn’t have the same effect he expected it to have, however, and Opie actually begins to do worse.

Guest Stars

Guest stars include Aneta Corsaut.

Every Parent Should Watch

One of the things I like about the particular television series is, even though these episodes first aired roughly a decade before I was born, there are plenty of times when I can feel like I can relate to Andy, especially when it comes to being a father. And, this episode was one of those times.

Even though my wife and I joked about the fact this was before Common Core, the episode does address something we have experienced ourselves, trying to make sure our kids are doing well in school so they can get in a good college someday (something I think is even more important today than it was back then) while trying not to cross the line and push them too hard. And, believe me, if a perfect dad like Andy Taylor can cross that line, what chance does an imperfect parent have?

Another thing I found that was very easy to relate to was all the extra outside advice Andy had to hear regarding how he should be raising Opie, especially from Barney (Don Knotts). This is something I’ve experienced myself and, much like with Andy, it often comes from someone that doesn’t have kids of their own (the reason I usually choose to ignore it).

I’m not big on touchy feely father/son moments like the one this episode had at the very end, when Andy was apologizing to Opie. However, given the context and what happened in the rest of the episode, I was able to give that a pass, especially since Andy got in trouble with Helen (Corsaut), who I do feel crossed a line a bit by giving Opie permission to play football behind Andy’s back. Right move or not, he’s still the parent and should have had a say in that.

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Final Opinion

As I said before, this is an episode that is really easy to relate to as a parent because, even though the circumstances are a little different because of the time period, it does talk about something pretty much every parent has gone through at some point in their life. I do recommend watching this episode, especially if you have kids of your own.

My Grade: A

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Updated: 05/14/2015, StevenHelmer
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