Ethical Dilemma: Andy Griffith Show
Michael T. Graham II
University of Concordia Chicago – SAIL Program
This paper will describe the ethical dilemma portrayed from an episode of The Andy Griffith Show. In episode 20, Andy Saves Barney’s Morale, Andy Griffith, sheriff, has made the decision to allow his deputy, Barney Fife, to be sheriff for the day while Andy is out of town. While Andy is gone, Barney makes many decisions as the acting sheriff that Andy, when he returns, does not agree with. Andy makes the decision to have charges, brought by Barney, dropped on all citizens that Barney had put in jail that day. By Andy doing this, citizens of the town of Mayberry, begin to joke with Barney about this situation, which is quite embarrassing to him as a police officer. Andy, in the end, finds a way to make things right with Barney, in his own way.
The Andy Griffith Show aired for almost 7 ½ years in the 1960’s. The final original episode aired in April of 1968, however, 45 years later we are still watching Andy, Opie, Aunt Bee, and Barney in the slow-paced fictional town of Mayberry, North Carolina. We have to wonder why this show continues to draw interest from a society that is completely different in so many ways, almost a half-century from its inception. Show writer Bill Idelson gives this assessment: "You know what the secret of the show is? You know why everybody loves it? It's about man's humanity to man rather than man's inhumanity to man. He's a sheriff, the police – the symbol of oppression, brutality and ignorance throughout the world – and here's a guy who treats his neighbors and the people on the street as if they were human beings. I think people hunger for that so much that it transcends all of culture (Parnell, 2010).”
In episode 20, “Andy Saves Barney’s Morale,” our first situation involving an ethical decision is when Andy leaves for the day and Barney is left as acting Sherriff. When Andy returns, 8 hours later, most...
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