|YMMV • Radar • Quotes • (Funny • Heartwarming • Awesome) • Fridge • Characters • Fanfic Recs • Nightmare Fuel • Shout Out • Plot • Tear Jerker • Headscratchers • Trivia • WMG • Recap • Ho Yay • Image Links • Memes • Haiku • Laconic • Source • Setting|
TAGS takes place in a parallel universe where slavery never existed.
It's the South, it's The Sixties, and the title character is the sheriff, but:
- There is no racial tension, nor any signs of the civil rights movement.
- There are no people of color seen in Mayberry at all.
- There are no signs of segregation (literal or otherwise), nor of the hate crimes committed in the name of keeping a town "lily white".
- Or maybe it's just that it's set in Appalachia, where people did not have slaves and the black population is low. The Dillards are from "back in the hollers."
- Mayberry is an idealized version of Mount Airy, NC. Andy Griffith's home town. Because it's idealized, there is no racial strife. However, North Carolina in Real Life did see a lot less of the violence seen in the rest of the south (Mostly just sit ins and peaceful protests).
- Or maybe, like many small country towns, black people just never lived there in the first place. My hometown of 600 people and most of the surrounding area have almost no black people, without some sinister racist intent.
- Was there ever even one black person on the show?
- There have been a small handful of black people in crowd scenes, but I don't think the show had any black people with speaking parts.
- There was at least one. In Opie's Piano Lesson, Opie is the quarterback of the football team. A black man named Flip Conroy is in Mayberry. Apperantly, he's an ex-NFL star and the new football coach. Not only is he accepted in Mayberry, but he is also revered.
- The real reason though is just that southern networks would probably have been less likely to air the show if it had regular black actors on it. Executive meddling is more the case.
All signs point to an Alternate Universe with no slavery, meaning no mass forced immigration from Africa, meaning these conditions can exist.
- The logical explanation for the divergence is that the idealistic, yet proud of his heritage, Andy went back in time to prevent slavery from coming to the United States.
Mayberry has a very dark racist past.
As the above Guess shows, Mayberry is a lily-white Southern town. There is no mention of people of color, segregation, or civil rights. The explanation is that the white people of Mayberry ran all of the black residents out of town. Maybe Sheriff Andy, or one of his predecessors, had them killed. There's no evidence of hate crimes because they were all committed years before - the people just don't talk about them.
- This qualifies for Poison Oak Epileptic Trees. But it's possible.
- More than "possible"...
- Likely, if you leave out the part about Sheriff Andy personally. Most of the really ugly ethnic cleansing happened decades before he was even born, although he may have had a hand in maintaining what he inherited.
Andy Killed His Wife
Barney, his cousin, helped cover it up. What does the file say? "Accidental death." Riiiight.
This show is the prequel to Matlock.
Anyone else notice how incredibly similar the two shows are? In both shows, Andy Griffith plays a down-home hick in a Southern city with some pull in the legal system.
Clearly, Andy Taylor eventually got tired of being sheriff and wanted to move on to bigger and better things. So he moved to the big city (Atlanta), changed his name to Ben Matlock, went to law school, and eventually passed the bar in Georgia.
Matlock does say in one special that he grew up in a small town in North Carolina -- that is implied not to exist anymore. So we have motive.
- Matlock is an illegitimate son of Andy. This could explain the, ahem, phenomenal family resemblance between these two characters! Given that Matlock is 50ish in the 1980s, he'd be at least a teenager at the time of TAGS though.
Andy Taylor is a post-breakdown Lonesome Rhodes
At the end of A Face in the Crowd, "Lonesome" Rhodes suffers a breakdown as his fame collapses and he swears to win the public's love again. Unsure of where to begin, then, perhaps he decides to start from scratch in another Southern small-town jail - but this time, on the other side of the bars. He changes his name to Andy Taylor, adopts the same down-home good-natured facade that made him popular in the first place, and tries to jump straight into politics by running for sheriff. Because this takes so long to accomplish he finds himself settling down in the town for good. Eventually he pretends to be a decent person for so long that he actually becomes one, and he blissfully forgets that he ever was the fallen megastar Lonesome Rhodes.
- He may have done this remembering that Marsha was practically engaged to Sheriff Bess until he came along.
Andy is either a closeted gay, bi or perhaps, asexual.
- Let see the evidence: The most eligible bachelor in a small Southern town and yet he only dates two women and then only in the most chaste manner possible. He makes no effort to remarry to provide a "mother" for his son and moves his spinster aunt in w/ them to give him a "beard."
He spends an inordinate amount of time in the company of men and seems to be visibly uncomfortable around women that express affection of any kind towards him.
Given that the show is set in a time where only children were rare and given that Andy didn't quickly remarry after his wife's demise one can reasonable assume that women hold only minimal or no interest at all for Sheriff Taylor,making him asexual,bisexual or even gay.
Let's not even bring up Barney Fife....
- Barney uses women as his own beard. He's something of a codependent who needs women to make him feel masculine.
- Or he could be, just, you know, missing his dead wife? I know, crazy idea...
- It is a crazy idea. Barney didn't have a dead wife. Andy is the one who had the dead wife.
- I was talking about Andy.
- Harlan Ellison once called Don Knotts "the ultimate morphodite (bi-gendered) nebbish".
Barney is the real mastermind of the town.
He's just Obfuscating Stupidity.
- People do seem to tip-toe around him to keep from hurting his feelings or upsetting him.
- Andy goes to great lengths to make Barney happy.
- More likely, Andy sees Barney's potential and goes about keeping him happy/content with his job as deputy since he fears Barney might harm himself if he forced to see how pathetic he is. The townspeople go along with this, largely because they know Andy and Barney are best friends and moreso, know that Andy will keep Barney in check so things don't go out of control.
Barney had a nervous breakdown sometime after leaving the Army.
As noted, Andy goes out of his way to keep Barney happy and somewhat deluded about his life. Perhaps Barney had some sort of mental collapse after the War (granted, he didn't see any combat but there could have been another cause), and then had a difficult time transitioning back into normal life and finding steady work. So Andy took pity on him and made him deputy, and because Andy had earned so much goodwill in Mayberry no one in town complained...until Mayor Stoner came along and was appalled to discover that Andy made a former mental patient his deputy and subsequently tried to force the Sheriff out. This eventually lead to Barney's leaving Mayberry, since Stoner (after all his other attempts failed) planned to go the State Board and lodge a formal complaint (as well as going to the press) in order to discredit Andy and ruin Barney's career in the process. In retaliation, Andy decides to get involved in town politics more directly and attempts to oust Stoner, eventually leading to him convincing Sam Jones to run for the town council in the final season (as the first step to eventually becoming Mayor).
Opie is a time traveller.
And like his alternate universe counterpart in The Twilight Zone episode "Walking Distance", he came back as an adult to visit Mayberry again. After having a piece of Aunt Bea's pie, and a down-home chat from Andy, he decided to move on with his life and went back to the future. (No, not that future.)