The Andy Griffith Show Episode Review: “The Darling Baby”

by StevenHelmer

A review of the season 5 episode that first aired in December 1964.

Synopsis: The Darlings are back in Mayberry with Charlene’s (Maggie Mancuso) new baby girl. There’s just one problem, they aren’t in Mayberry for a visit. Instead, they are looking for a new husband for the infant and, when they become infatuated with Opie (Ron Howard) and choose him, it is up to Andy (Andy Griffith) to figure out a way to convince them otherwise.

Guest Stars

Guest stars include Denver Pyle and The Dillards.

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Opie Gets Engaged

Maybe it’s just because of the generation I grew up in, but, even though I like this show in general, there are some episodes that just leave me scratching my head because they involve a concept that just seems to be a little too bizarre. That was the case with this particular episode.

The idea of an arranged marriage is something I’m used to seeing with other cultures, so, seeing it with a mountain family just left me feeling a little, for a lack of a better word, uncomfortable. After all, we are talking about an infant girl being betrothed to a very young boy. That just doesn’t seem right.

Of course, this is something Andy didn’t agree to (the episode had that much going for it) but I did find it interesting that the Darlings were able to strong arm him a bit and at least keep the subject open longer than I think he would have preferred. And, to be fair, I did think the dinner party, with a very drunk Barney (Don Knotts), was much more entertaining than expected, even though the reason behind the party was still a little strange.

The one thing I did like about this episode was the clever way Andy found a way to get out of the arrangement by actually signing the agreement and making the Darlings think he and Opie were witches. Again, it was still a little much, but at least it managed to bring the episode to a conclusion that left everyone feeling happy with the results. 

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Final Opinion

There were some things that made this episode somewhat entertaining. However, the main subject of the plot was just bizarre enough to keep it from really being as funny as I hoped, partly because of the idea of marrying off an infant daughter just seems so wrong, despite the reasons behind it. It’s an episode that might be worth watching at least once. However, it’s definitely not one of my favorite episodes from this series.

My Grade: C

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Updated: 12/08/2014, StevenHelmer
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