A Real Southern Man is… #5: A Mayberry Man

How do you define a Real Southern Man? We’d love to hear your comments. But first…

Today’s entry of “A Real Southern Man is…” falls in the realm of pop culture. In the South, however, we might consider it high culture. Of all the various pieces of entertainment to spring from Southern minds in music, literature and Hollywood, few have so perfectly captured every laudable characteristic of Southern life – while making those from other regions seem uncultured by comparison. For its indelible characters, folksy charm and strong moral center…

“A Real Southern Man loves The Andy Griffith Show.”
-suggested by TDW, RSM reader

I once, in driving through central Alabama, drove along the George “Goober” Lindsey Parkway and the Jim Nabors Highway in the same day. When you memorialize actors whose most memorable roles were as mechanic cousins named Goober and Gomer, you know you’re in the South.

We could go on and on about our favorite recurring characters – The Darlings, Otis, Ernest T. Bass – or debate endlessly about the best episodes – Opie raising the baby birds, Barney joining the Mayberry show choir, the Darlings coming over for supper, Barbara Eden raising the collective temperature of the town as The Manicurist – but it’s the collective effect of the entire series that really matters.

Now there are limits to our devotion. Anything with Barney: good. Anything post-Barney: bad. Black & white: good. Color: bad. Anything with the title Mayberry R.F.D.: very bad.

A friend of the site has a unique way of interviewing employees for his restaurant. Among all the questions he asks, the most important is, “What do you think of The Andy Griffith Show?” In his experience, the employees who like the show are honest, hard-working and friendly. Those who don’t, well …

So break out your VHS tapes or your DVDs, turn on TV Land or crank up your Netflix account, because it’s time to remind yourself of the best American TV can get. No cussing, no real violence to speak of, no hatred and no moral ambiguity. It’s just love and friendship, forgiveness and acceptance wrapped in a glorious black & white package … with a bouncy whistling tune to kick it all off.

If you agree, I guess that makes us blood brothers. Say an oath in the name Boojum Snark, Spirit of the Fire. And try not to snicker. This is serious business.

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