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UK Fans of the Day Want Top 10 Andy Griffith Episodes Ever

Over the past 48 hours, we have had two KSR posts remembering the Andy Griffith Show and its effect on our lives. That may seem like overkill to some, but to me it is fitting. Turkey Hunter expressed his love for the women of Mayberry and Drew Franklin merely wanted to give a shout out to his brother Andy and both felt appropriate. Simply put, many of them are like me and for me, there is no show that I have seen more often in my lifetime than the Andy Griffith Show. I was thinking about this a few weeks ago and I decided the Andy Griffith Show, Saved by the Bell, The Brady Bunch, Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm have taken up so much of my time over the course of my life that I almost consider the characters involved liked family. And of those family members, none were more a part of my home for a longer period of time than those in Mayberry. With that thought, I decided my best tribute would be a simple countdown of The Top Ten Andy Griffith Show Episodes of All Time. This is simply my list…yours may be different. But I hope you agree with me about the memories involved:

10. “The Pickle Story”


Many lists would put the “Pickle Story” at number one, but for me there are far more worthy candidates. This simple tale involved Aunt Bea, usually a great cook and miracle worker in the kitchen, showcasing an uncharacteristic weakness. In an attempt to keep up with Clara, she entered the County Fair pickle contest, only to prove to be unable to put together an impressive pickle. In order to make Aunt Bea feel good, Andy, Opie and Barney act like they enjoy the pickles. Big mistake…Aunt Bea mistakes their fake approval for real approval and makes a massive amount of pickles, leading to hijinks and problems down the road. I love this episode for two reasons…one, the looks on the characters’ faces (especially Barney) as they attempt to eat the toxic pickles always made me laugh and two, it showcased just how far the folks in Mayberry would go to make each other feel special. Andy, Barney and Opie reverse course three times, at each point to attempt to help Aunt Bea or Clara feel good about themselves. That is true humanity, and is the same reason I act like I think Bryan the Intern has talent at least once a week.

9. “Andy Saves Barney’s Morale”/”Barney Gets His Man”

Because there are so many Andy Griffith episodes I love, at times on this list I have combined similar plots. Because the show came on 32 times a season (As opposed to 22 on most modern shows…and even as low as 13 on cable shows), plotlines tended to get repeated. Both of these episodes involve situations in which Barney screws something up and then either falls backward into, or has Andy set him up to, fixing it in the end. These episodes show Barney at his best…working hard to try and get to the bottom of a situation, acting a complete fool and messing it up, and then coming through in the end, followed by irrational confidence at a job well done. Barney in that way is a bit like Antoine Walker in his heyday…he might miss his first five threes, but he is certain his sixth is going in…and if it does, he is shimmying no matter what you think.

8. “Convicts at Large”/”Fun Girls”

Every man has a soft spot for women who are madly into them and come a’chasin. In these two episodes, two different groups of women come after Mayberry men. The Convicts at large kidnap Barney and friends, and then simply want to dance…as all women like to do. But the better of the two episodes involves the Fun Girls, Skippy and Daphne. Oh if there were not more women like the Fun Girls…they simply want to come into town, have fun with Andy and “Bernie” and then leave and go about their lives. I refuse to believe that Andy and Bernie truly wanted to ignore the advances of the Fun Girls to hang out with the Ice Queens, Helen and Thelma Lou. As Chris Rock says, we can only run so fast. My guess is that in one of the uncensored episodes, Andy and Bernie submitted to the whims of Skippy and Daphne and Andy asked Sarah to hold all his calls.

7. “Ernest T Bass Joins the Army”/”My Fair Ernest T Bass”

Next to Floyd the Barber, Ernest T Bass is my favorite secondary character on the show. He likes to come into town, throw some rocks, raise some hell and then go back into the mountains to settle down. Call him the Arjay of the Andy Griffith Show. These two episodes both involve fish out of water issues for Ernest T. First, he tries to enter the Army, to no avail. He loves his country but we do have to have standards. The second is a classic episode that produces one of the legendary quotes of all time on the show. “How Do you do Mrs. Wiley” and “No coffee, tea or punch, thank you” are lines that I have repeated often in talking not only to Lexington radio hosts, but also strangers at formal events all across the land. Ernest T tries to become a respectable member of society, but like my attempts to fit in at the Rupp Arena media room, it is ultimately for naught. The clip below showcases the quote and my favorite image of a character who also directed a number of the other episodes:

6. “Barney and the Sidecar”/”Barney’s First Car”

Everyone knows that person who is constantly getting screwed over because they are too naive/trusting. Barney is that in Mayberry as these two episodes showcase. Each illustrate the principle of the sucker, the belief that one can get “something for nothing.” The best of these is Barney’s First car, where Barney becomes a car owner, only to realize he has purchased a lemon. The scene where the steering wheel comes off is iconic, as is the scene in “Barney and the Sidecar”, when Barney drives off and the sidecar remains. In both cases, Barney ends up winning in the end, but as a person who has at times driven cars with questionable road worthiness (I am looking at you 66 Dodge), these episodes are two of my favorites.

5. “Citizen’s Arrest

I will admit that I remember very little of the actual contents of this episode. Something happens the gist of which is that Barney gives out tickets to Gomer for a U-turn or the like. Then later, Gomer sees Barney do the same thing and attempts to execute a “Citizen’s Arrest.” While I don’t remember much of the plot, the sound of Gomer yelling, “CITIZEN’S ARRRAYYYEST!” is one that is lodged into my brain. Whenever I see a person of power (I am looking at you Mitch McConnell and Greg Fischer) do a questionable act in public, I channel my inner Gomer and scream “CITIZEN’s ARRRRAYYYEST!” at the top of my lungs. Usually the looks I get are ones of “this guy is crazy, honey let’s get in the car…”

4. “Black Day for Mayberry”

gold truck

Part of the reason I love the Andy Griffith Show is that it is one of only two shows that I have ever seen on television (the other being “Friday Night Lights”) that I thought really got what it means to live in a small town. The episode that best illustrates this phenomenon is “Black Day for Mayberry”, in which a truck is scheduled to come through Mayberry with gold on its way to Fort Knox. The delivery is supposed to be a secret, but Barney lets it out and the next thing you know, the town is in a frenzy. As a person who saw a near stampede in his home town the day they opened a new “Ryan’s” steakhouse, I know the way small moments of excitement can captivate a town. The Gold Truck coming through brings out onlookers, celebrations and even gold standard protesters. It is a perfect recreation of what a big moment in a small place can be like and is one of my personal favorites.

3. “The Darlings are Coming”

An underrated part of the greatness of this show was its reliance on good old fashioned mountain music. And the embodiment of that principle were the folks from the hills, The Darlings. They were involved in a number of episodes over the years and every time one of them is on, I make it a priority to watch it. It isn’t really because of the story (which usually involved finding Charlene a husband), but more because of the music. In real life, the Darlings were the bluegrass group “The Dillards” and their renditions of “Dooley”, “Ebo Walker”, “Salty Dog” and others, were always stellar. Below is one of their tunes and it is the embodiment of what the phrase “pickin and a grinnin” should mean:

2. “Barney and the Choir”/”The Mayberry Band”

Music is also a central theme in these two episodes, which both involve poor music performances being saved by talent. The first is another instance of Andy saving Barney…he can’t sing but he thinks he can. So when a big solo comes up and Barney has it, Andy convinces him to sing softly, while a ringer is backstage singly loudly. Barney thinks the good voice is his and all is saved (complete with unnecessary confidence). The second is an episode I have seen at least 100 times. The Mayberry Band wants to enter a state competition in Raleigh but they are awful. The town mayor (who was a great character at this time) says no, but Andy convinces him to allow them to try out via a march down Main Street. With the talented “Freddy Fleet and His Band with a Beat” in town, uniforms are switched and the band gets to go to state. The heart of this episode is the truly terrible rendition of “Stars and Stripes Forever” performed by the Mayberry Band, one that so ruined the song in my head that I now prefer its butchered version to the actual one.

1. “Man in a Hurry”

Without question, the greatest episode in the history of the series is this one featuring out of town businessman Malcolm Tucker’s trip to Mayberry. His car breaks down and thanks to Gomer and Goober’s difficulty, he is stuck in town for longer than he likes. As he attempts to do anything to leave, his frustration grows. But then he realizes the virtues of small town life and when his car is actually fixed, he finds an excuse to wait and stay the night and enjoy a more peaceful existence a bit longer. It is the best embodiment of the “small towns do it right” mentality that is at the heart of the show and I love the entire thing from Opie talking about his “adventure sleeping” (on an ironing board between two chairs when visitors stay over) to the moment when Andy, Barney and Malcolm sing “Church in the Wildwood.” The latter is my favorite scene ever in the show and is no better way to end my tribute to Andy.

Goober says hey, Hey to Goober:

Article written by Matt Jones

61 responses to “UK Fans of the Day Want Top 10 Andy Griffith Episodes Ever”

  1. dustyblues

    Nice top ten Mr. Jones. My uncle play in a fantasy baseball league every year. Our theme is from the Andy Griffith show..His team is the Mayberry Bears and my team is the The Darlings Boys…I am sure the old sheriff is heaven with the boys and they are playing some “Dooley” with their bellies filled up with Aunt Bee’s famous apple pie.

  2. CaneRunCat

    I have spent several hours the last day or so watching Andy Griffith Episodes. I am 27. That show is timeless. I watched it all the time with my father. Good memories.

  3. ajones

    Thanks so much Matt. It is truly a show that spans generations. I am 24, my parents grew up on it, I grew up on it and, like you, I can’t count the number of evenings I spent watching this classic show. Really showed you too that T.V. didn’t (and doesn’t) have to be crude to be good. RIP Andy

  4. John Haggis

    The pickle episode at #10? Fail. Top 3 no doubt.

  5. Opie says

    Horatio who Pa?


    Saved by the Bell doesn’t belong in the same breath…

  7. chad b

    The Andy Griffith show gave me a chance to live in a world that I never got to live in. I can’t watch the show now without feeling sad. Thanks for the memories Andy. Have fun in Heaven Andy.

  8. Roland

    To get that all together took some work. Thank You. Did you do it or someone who works for you?

  9. Hal

    for $15,000, he’ll even sit at the defense table with you. white suit’s extra.

  10. Ukato80

    The one where Opie kills the bird? That’n always makes me cry!

  11. Andy fan

    “Opie the birdman” was a good one.

  12. Shane

    Matt, you forgot the Christmas show episode. Always brings a tear to my eye when the old man realizes what a scrooge he has been. Very heart warming…

  13. Mack

    Good job.

  14. Mayberry

    Good list Mr. Jones. I would nominate two others. Goober and the Art of Love with the famous line look Barn their doing it. Next would be The Education of Ernest T Bass. Classic lines about Uncle Kelsy’s creek and ocean and posstum under a rock. RIP Andy.

  15. crazycatfan

    Matt – You nailed it!!! Of course, you could add all the episodes, as they were ALL just that good! Thanks for giving tribute to a wonderful man, who will always be remembered with a smile! 🙂

  16. Old Man in Blue

    A couple of my favorites centered around the grumpy old merchant, Ben.

  17. You Can Call Me Cal

    No they dont. And neither do I

  18. Howard Sprague

    one color episode gets honorable mention. The one where Howard gets black balled front the lodge

  19. Terri

    Great job Matt. My only additions might be the Mr McBeavie show and Opie’s slingshot. Two of the best examples of Andy as a parent. Like all if us we want to do the best for our kids we just miss slightly sometimes. Don’t know which ones I would take out to make room though.

  20. BluegrassBoy

    As a country boy from Grayson Co. I too grew up on Andy and your post brought back some fond memories of a much simpler time. There will never be another show like it. Thanks!

  21. johnnypittman

    Thanks for the help remembering what I had forgotten. This is the reason I like you Matt Jones and Andy ‘Griffin’ may be the only UNC grad I can tolerate.

  22. bluefan

    Definitely the baby bird episode. One of the best episodes of any show EVER!

  23. WhatSheOrder?FishFilet?

    I like the one where everyone got flat tops

  24. SheaDaddy

    Barney Gets His Man Photo – Does that look Bruce Pearl, or what?!

  25. Whitey

    I love it when Ernest T. says, “You always want to do somethin’ else when I want to do somethin’ else.”

  26. Richard P.

    Christmas episode for the win my nig-nogs!

  27. Walden Schmidt

    NIP IT —- NIP IT

  28. Millie

    Two of my favorites are: 1.)OPIE’S NEWPAPER Opie and his friends decide to start a newspaper. The early issues don’t sell well at all (it’s little more than a community bulletin board), so to increase sales, the young lads eavesdrop on local conversations and print the gossip in the paper. That starts no end of trouble.
    2.) OPIE’S CHARITY Andy is embarrassed when he mistakenly believes Opie has donated a total of 3 cents to the Underprivileged Children’s Drive. Andy scolds Opie after learning he’s saving money to buy his girlfriend a present. Later, Andy discovers Opie’s true intentions: his girlfriend is underprivileged and he is buying her a winter coat because her mom doesn’t have the money. The Andy Griffith Show Episode 5: Opie’s Charity

    Sigh, I still love the The Andy Griffith Show and Little House on the Prairie

  29. Paducahfan

    Opie the birdman. It teaches about responsibility, that acts have consequences you can’t escape by saying “I’m sorry.” We need more television like that but I doubt we’ll get any.

  30. Tom Sellecks Mustache

    They really don’t make them like The Andy Griffith Show anymore..

  31. Mr. Jagerbomb

    I have been told that the actor who played Ernest T. was the producer/director of the show True/False?He was 1 of my favorites.

  32. carrico

    Thanks Matt. not mentioned that would edge 2 of these off of the list for me are “Goober and The Art of Love” and “Opie the Birdman”

  33. xcoach

    Great choices. I would nominate the Opie/Mr. McVebee episode along with Opie the Birdman for Father/Son moments. The Chirstmas/Ben episode along with the two above always choke me up. My Fair Ernest T. would be #1 all time. So many great shows for the best show ever. I’m like you Matt, they all seem part of my family. RIP Andy.

  34. xcoach

    #31 That was true. He was only in five episodes but was the shows producer.

  35. Ukato80

    little known fact: The actor who played Floyd suffered a stroke a few seasons in…and Andy instructed the writers to put him in every episode. They’d send him the script, and occassionally he’d show up (usually sitting on a porch or chair because he couldn’t walk) and steal his scene. His wife said getting those scripts each week saved his life. Also, Andy told the Dillards to perform as many original songs as possible so they would get residuals. Andy was the star, but he would step back and let others shine. A truly great man.

  36. Carolina Blue is past tense for Carolina Blows

    Matt, I like your list. However, did you really leave the episode off where Goober builds the car in court house off of your list? What about Otis getting a car? Pow, pow, pow.

  37. Carolina Blue is past tense for Carolina Blows

    Damn iPhone. Makes you type things like BTI.

  38. Begley

    Now I know there are a bunch of awesome AG episodes but I feel that the goat/dynamite episode is one of the best. Nice list.

  39. KyRacer

    An excellent group. Ones I would include would be “The Manhunt” (2nd overall episode & the only appearance of Barney’s mother). Also from Season 1, “A Plaque for Mayberry,” where it’s determined that Otis is a direct descendant of a Revolutionary War hero to receive an award. Mayor Pike is in a tizzy, declaring the only award Otis deserves “is from the Distillers Association of America.”

  40. Bristol Cat

    Dogs, dogs, dogs is my favorite. Barney’s soliloquy is great. “Boy giraffes are selfish”

  41. Legion

    Since everyone else is focused on the Andy Griffith Show, I’m going to mention the fact that the dark haired/dark eyed girl in the photo above is absolutely gorgeous. I mean, seriously; wow!

  42. kes

    TAGS has such good character actors on the show…

  43. TheRobBromley

    As far as the picture goes…1,5,3,4,2,6

  44. CalCats

    I would definitely add “Three Wishes For Opie” where Barney gets a gypsy box and thinks Count Is-von-telecki is in control. That scene where Barney, Floyd and Goober are in the back room of the courthouse is priceless.
    Thanks so much for bringing up my favorite show. I’m 42 and it doesn’t matter how old you are you can still love the Andy Griffith Show. My girls (11 and 7) love it.
    Hey to Goober

  45. Blues wade

    Ya know what i think i’m gonna do?
    …..i think i’ll ho home….take a little nap…
    and then I might go over to ThelmaLou’s and watch a little TV…..
    …..yep…..I think that’s what Im gonna do…..

  46. Blues wade

    They’s all keyed up !

  47. Blues wade

    Go ahead Andy…take a think under there’

  48. barn

    you could take any 10 episodes and argue that they are the 10 best

  49. Riggo

    I like the one where they shave Barney’s unibrow.

  50. JubelFoster

    I like the one where the boys burned down the barn because Jubel Foster had a still and when Andy was going to pay for the barn Barney discovered the corn liquor and drank a few drinks and Andy and Jubel end up carryting Barney to the car. Jubel, Jubel, Jubel…

  51. B-Train

    “There once was a deputy named Fife, who carried a gun and a knife. The gun was all dusty and the knife was all rusty, cause he never caught a crook in his life.” Also, the scene were Barney drives off in the motorcycle, not knowing the guys had taken the sidecar off, is my favorite scene of any show ever. I’m 32 and have seen it more times than I can remember, but everytime I see it, I laugh until I cry and my stomach hurts.

  52. Head Bussa

    I remember being at home with my older brother during grade school in the summers in the 80’s and early 90’s and always watching re-runs of this show during the day at times. I also would watch “Little House on the Prairie”. I didn’t know what I was viewing, though I watched these shows because they were interesting and entertaining. That says a lot about the quality of the shows that a kid around 10-years old in the early 90’s would tune in and actually continue watching. I mean, I could have tuned in to MTV’s Summer Beach House. LOL

  53. Delores Lindsey

    “Three wishes for Opie” definitely a favorite. The show survived without Gomer, what a great testimony.

  54. Riggo

    I like the one where they shave Aunt B.

  55. Jack Nicholson

    Remember the episode that I played in?

  56. union14

    Every time i watch an episode i say it is my favorite. r.i.p. andy.

  57. Adam

    The Great Filling Station Robbery! Another great example of Barney and his wit.

  58. The Outlaw Josey Wales

    Slingshot / Bird Episode

    The medicine man gets Aunt Bea drunk on the tonic.

    Andy gets the local Karate instructor to take Barney’s place in a fight with the town bully.

  59. pete

    this is a very, very long post having nothing at all to do with kentucky sports. i read this site every day, but man you all get distracted sometimes.

  60. rainman

    I don’t know how the “Mr. McBeevee” show wouldn’t
    be in the top 10!! To me it’s the #1, or at least,
    top 3!!

  61. Come On Man

    59 – Pete you don’t get it. This is about what’s important to KY Fans. We grew up with this show no matter if your 80 or 20. It’s not just about UK Basketball that makes BBN Great!
    RIP Andy Griffith