The Andy Griffith Show Episode Review: "The Family Visit"

by StevenHelmer

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

Synopsis: Andy (Andy Griffith) and Aunt Bee (Frances Bavier) realize they have not invited Bee's sister (Maudie Prickett) and her husband, Ollie (James Westerfield) for a visit in a long time and decide to correct that. This proves to be a mistake as their visiting relatives cause havoc in their otherwise quiet lives.

Review

I have seen bits and pieces of this particular episode in the past but, up until last night, had not had an opportunity to watch it in its entirety. After finally doing just that, I have to admit this episode was better than I was expecting it to be.

The thing I really found I liked about this episode was the way it wasn't as predictable as so many others from this series (one of my biggest complaints about this sitcom). The second Andy and Bee invited their relatives, I figured their visit wouldn't be as enjoyable as they predicted. But, as it turns out, that was pretty much the only thing I was able to guess at when it came to this episode.

A big part of the reason for this was the over-the-top performance given by guest stars Prickett and Westerfield. Under normal circumstances, a visiting relative issue would be something that is somewhat subtle. In other words, they might have a relatively minor quirk that is annoying but innocent.

In this case, the visiting family members almost seemed to go out of their way to be a problem, whether it was tying up the Sheriff's Office phone with a personal car or taking the squad car, without permission, on a fishing trip. Yet, at the same time, they were absolutely clueless they did anything wrong. Needless to say, this wasn't some minor, innocent quirk that could be easy to get used to and start living with.

Even the end of this episode was a bit of a surprise. When Andy learned there were escaped convicts, I figured they would somehow make their way into Mayberry. Instead, that didn't happen but, at the same time, he found a way to use their escape to his advantage. It was pretty clever and fun to watch.

Final Opinion

I'm actually not a huge fan of the later seasons of this series. But, this episode was definitely a pleasant exception to that. I definitely enjoyed watching it and would recommend it if you're in need of a laugh.

My Grade: A

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Updated: 11/17/2015, StevenHelmer
 
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