The Andy Griffith Show Episode Review: "The Merchant of Mayberry"

by StevenHelmer

A review of the season 2 television episode that first aired in March of 1962.

Synopsis: When struggling traveling salesman (Sterling Holloway) takes a break and sells his wares from a vacant lot in Mayberry, the local department store owner, Ben Weaver (Will Wright) orders Andy (Andy Griffith) to chase the merchant out of town. Instead, Andy and Barney (Don Knotts) decide to help the salesman.

Review

My daughter had her parent/teacher conference yesterday evening and, because of that, it was relatively late before I had a chance to settle in for the night. As I was finally sitting down to eat some chicken I picked up from a store deli on my way home, I was able to watch this particular episode of "The Andy Griffith Show."

I've seen bits and pieces of this episode before, but this was the first opportunity I had to actually watch the entire installment. As it turns out, it was pretty fun to watch.

While it was a little hard not to imaging Winnie the Pooh whenever famous voice actor Sterling Holloway spoke, I thought he did an excellent job as Bert Miller, the struggling traveling salesman. He played the character perfectly. He was friendly and easy to like. But, he also seemed to be a bit of a sad sack, mostly because he was afraid of being too pushy.

At first, I wasn't really sure what to think of Andy and Barney's decision to help Bert in an effort to stick one to Ben Weaver. While Weaver was, admittedly, overreacting a bit when it came to Bert, as a prominent businessman/taxpayer, I could understand why he would be upset about someone stealing business from him and, at minimum, I didn't like Andy choosing sides.

However, he does redeem himself in this episode by eventually owning up to his mistakes and that, along with the clever way he manages to eventually help both men, made up for it.

I think my only real complaint about this episode is it didn't really show how things worked out for Bert after Andy convinces Ben to hire him. Sure, we get a brief answer about that from Ben. But, given how great of a character Bert is, it would have been fantastic to see him in action and I think the writers missed out on a big opportunity.

Final Opinion

This is a cute episode with a great performance by a legendary actor. I recommend taking the time to watch it if you get a chance to.

My Grade: A

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Updated: 10/07/2016, StevenHelmer
 
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