Synopsis: Farmer ‘Big” Jeff Pruitt (Alan Hale, Jr.) makes a rare trip into Mayberry because he is in search of a wife. Barney (Don Knotts) is anxious to help the farmer and, despite Andy’s (Andy Griffith) resistance, encourages Pruitt to attend a “hen” party hosted by Thelma Lou (Betty Lynn). This ends up backfiring when Pruitt decides he wants to marry Thelma Lou.
The Andy Griffith Show Episode Review: “The Farmer Takes a Wife”
A review of the season 2 television episode that first aired in January 1962.
The television was on in the living room while I was in the kitchen making something and, when I heard Alan Hale, Jr. talking in the background, I assumed an episode of Gilligan’s Island was on. When I looked over and saw it was, in fact, an episode of The Andy Griffith Show, I had to take the time to watch it.
The episode, overall, was somewhat predictable (which really isn’t something that is uncommon with this classic series). As soon as Pruitt started talking to Thelma Lou at the party, it wasn’t overly difficult to figure out who he was going to fall for and, of course, it was pretty obvious Barney wasn't going to be too happy about the farmer pursuing his girlfriend.
That being said, the episode did prove to be funnier than expected, especially when Barney (and Andy) tried to reason with the love struck Pruitt and when he proved to be better at romancing women than originally thought. Sure, there wasn’t any time when I really thought he was going to steal Thelma Lou (as I said, the episode was predictable). But, the fact he did know how to sweep her off her feet did make things interesting.
One thing my oldest daughter (who ended up watching this with me) and I both found funny was the way Pruitt kept referring to Barney as his “little buddy.” Since this was a phrase we’ve grown accustomed to hearing Hale say as the Skipper on Gilligan’s Island, we couldn’t help but chuckle a bit whenever we heard it in this episode, which was on TV two years before Gilligan’s Island was even on the air. I couldn’t help but wonder if that phrase helped him land his most famous role.
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As I said before, this episode is a little predictable. However, largely because of Hale’s performance, it still ended up being worth taking the time to watch. I know I enjoyed every minute of it and I think my daughter did too.
My Grade: A
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