This blog is about how place informs our lives. I had intended it to be actual places but this week, with the death of Andy Griffith, I thought about how fictitious places can inform our lives, too. Sense-of-place is an important component of good fiction. Novelists strive to put us in a special place and time, to put us right in the scene. Sit-coms maybe not so much. Except for the Andy Griffith Show. The show had more exterior shots than most sit-coms. We saw Main Street, Andy's neighborhood, the service station, the lake. The Mayberry attitudes were featured prominently as well. An episode I saw recently was the one about the guy 'from the city' just has to get his car fixed on a Sunday. By the end of the show, the guy 'from the city' had bought into the slow pace of Mayberry. As a kid, I always wondered how Andy put up with all the incompetence around him. I understood after I had a chance to live and work in a particular areas where one did the best with the people available instead of trying to thinking one had to have the best and the brightest.
Mayberry was a pretty accepting place. Not a lot of racial diversity, but there were the 'confirmed bachelors' whose private preferences were never discussed but seemed to be tolerated just fine.
Thanks to the writers, directors, producers and actors that took us to that fun place. Let's see. 50 years later and still in re-runs. I guess that makes it classic TV. For a modern and thus somewhat snarky but still good-hearted sit-com in which the place is a main feature, check out Corner Gas.