Sample Essay On “The Andy Griffith Show” And “I Love Lucy”
Both shows, from what I saw of them, are very funny. They were both very long-running, (Andy, 1960-1968, and Lucy, 1951-1960, Google front page) and reruns can be viewed almost every day. To me this shows that these programs have stood the test of time, and still compare well with contemporary comedies, “dated” as they may be in some ways.
“The Andy Griffith Show” is set in deep country, in a tiny town named Mayberry, allegedly in North Carolina. Andy Taylor is the sheriff of Mayberry, and his deputy is a wing-nut named Barney Fife. Andy has a son named Opie, and Aunt Bea presides over their household, providing the maternal influence. There are other characters who contribute to the gentle satire too: Otis, Floyd, Gomer, Goober, and the whole town, really.
The principal comical character in the show is Barney, who appears in almost every episode and causes good-natured, well-intentioned trouble in them all. While the humor is not usually slapstick, Barney is a classic “doofus,” who gets into trouble all the time. His girlfriend Thelma Lou plays a role in some episodes. Barney has an inflated sense of self (or strives for one!) which leads him to take a lot of independent actions that Andy does not approve of.
The pace of this show is mostly very slow, laid-back, and small-town-like. A lot of time is spent outside in the rural community, sitting around in the squad car and the police station, and at home.
“The Andy Griffith Show” is filmed outdoors as much or more than indoors, and the filming backgrounds appear to be authentic. The whole town and the outlying open country are the setting for this show. Also notable is the fact that Andy has a deep southern accent, which lends authenticity. Throughout the show there is a kind of relaxed ease that is rarely disturbed for very long, because there is little real crime in Mayberry, just a lot of hilarity, confusion, silliness, loyalty, and love.
“I Love Lucy” has a similar “brand” of humor, but completely different settings, contexts, and characters. The main characters are Lucy and Ricky Ricardo, and Fred and Ethel Mertz. Ricky is a Cuban nightclub owner and performer, and Lucy is his ditzy wife. Fred and Ethel are the landlords, the Ricardo’s closest friends, and their partners in most of the shenanigans that Lucy initiates.
The setting is completely different from that of “The Andy Griffith Show.” Most shows place in the Ricardo’s living room, which is furnished in casual elegance. One knows that it is a TV stage set, and that any other sets that appear likely are too. Unlike Andy and his Mayberry gang, Lucy and her gang rarely go out into Manhattan, where they live. They manage to get into plenty of trouble right there at home.
The pace of this show is much more fast-moving than “The Andy Griffith Show.” While other couples might be sitting around relaxing, most of the time Lucy is scheming something wild that ends up involving Ricky and probably Ethel and Fred. The dialogue is rapid-fire and hits the mark with regularity.
Lucy has a rubber face, and can make some of the most ridiculous faces in American comedic history. Interestingly, I heard her say on an old talk show once that she is really not very funny in real life—but one would never know that from watching the show. She is a tour de force as an actress—probably one of the funniest actresses in the history of television.
Accent—Spanish—plays a big role in this show too. Ricky has a very strong Cuban accent, and Lucy delights in imitating it and making fun of it. Language misunderstandings set the plot in some cases in this show. I watched one hilarious episode called, “Lucy Writes a Play,” which was about Lucy writing a play—first in Spanish, and then when Ricky refused to go along with the play, she rewrote it in British—but Ricky didn’t get that, so he appeared as a Cuban farm worker in a British setting, and the confusion just went on from there
The Mertzes play the role that Andy’s community plays with him. The Mertz’s also have great ironic senses of humor, and seem to be willing to go along with most of Lucy’s crazy, hare-brained schemes. At least Ethel does—often Fred and Ricky team up to unite against their wives to save their own skins--because with Lucy, you never know what is going to come next!
The two shows have indeed stood the test of time. Some of the actors have reportedly led turbulent lives, (NEWSX) but the shows live on as a drop-out from “real life.” Either one of them is a terrific way to sit back, relax, and chuckle or even guffaw.
Anderson, Christopher, Museum of Broadcast Communications, www.museumtv.com, Web. (N. pa.).
“Lucy: Queen of comedy,” NEWSX TV, viewed on 16 January 2016. TV.
Stevens, Hampton. Why People Still Watch 'The Andy Griffith Show.' The Atlantic: 3 July 2012. Web, (N. pa.)
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