The Andy Griffith Show Episode Review: “Opie’s Ill-Gotten Gain”

by StevenHelmer

A review of the season 4 television episode that first aired in November 1963.

Synopsis: Opie (Ron Howard) is surprised to receive a perfect report card and Andy (Andy Griffith), shows his pride in his son by bragging about him all around town and rewarding him with a new bike. There’s just one problem, his teacher, Helen Crump (Aneta Corsaut), made a mistake and he is actually not doing as well in school. And, while Opie wants to tell his father the truth, Andy doesn’t make it easy for him to do so.

Review

Overall, I do like this classic television series. However, from time to time, there is an episode that makes me realize Andy is a bit overrated as a father. This episode, which I had a chance to watch last night, falls into that category because, while he’s still great at making those father/son speeches and does usually come through in the end, it’s obvious he doesn’t always pay attention when it comes to Opie.

The reason, of course, I say this is it was pretty obvious from the start that Opie was struggling in school, especially at math. Heck, he even tells Andy as much when he said he thought his teacher hated him. Yet, when he brought home a report card with all A’s nobody questioned it? Honestly, if Opie were my child, I would instantly think it was a mistake, a forgery or his teacher needed to be fired for being too lenient.

Of course, to be fair, Helen kind of dropped the ball a bit too. Instead of telling Opie it was a mistake and sending him home to face his dad, she should have gone to Andy directly and told him. But, then again, she isn’t his parent and, overall, I think Andy still is the one who is most responsible for the confusion and Opie’s inability to confess what happened before things went too far and I honestly did lose some respect for him as a father because of that.

All of that being said, I did find I enjoyed this episode. This is mostly because of the subtle but firm underlying lesson about putting too much pressure on our kids. Poor Opie, through no fault of his own, actually reached the point where he was going to run away to avoid disappointing his dad. And, if you’re afraid of Andy Taylor, then there’s something seriously wrong.

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Final Opinion

As I said, overall, I did enjoy watching this episode. However, while I liked watching it, I couldn’t help but feel a little disappointed by Andy’s parenting skills once again.

My Grade: B

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Updated: 07/24/2015, StevenHelmer
 
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