‘The Andy Griffith Show’: Ron Howard, Griffith Once Poked Fun at the Show on ‘Saturday Night Live’

by Megan Molseed
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When we think of “The Andy Griffith Show,” we usually think of the ideal “small-town” America. From 1960 to 1968 “The Andy Griffith Show” brought viewers the ultimate look at picturesque small-town America.

Andy Taylor (Andy Griffith) served as the Sherriff of the sleepy fictional town Mayberry. Taylor is a widower, as well as a single father to his son, Opie, played by Ron Howard.

While Sheriff Andy Taylor’s role is to enforce the law in Mayberry, the tranquility of the town makes the enforcement a simple task. Every once in a while, the town may see an outsider come through town looking for trouble, but overall, things were mostly peaceful on “The Andy Griffith Show.”

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In 1982, Ron Howard hosted the hit sketch-comedy show “Saturday Night Live.” During this particular episode, Howard and the writers wondered what “future” Opie from “The Andy Griffith Show” might be like.

A recent MeTV article related the events of this classic sketch. Full of references to the original show, but adding a touch of a grittier edge, the sketch was an absolute hit.

The October 19, 1982 sketch titled “Opie’s Back” opens up in a now “R” rated Mayberry, with Opie serving as sheriff after following in the great Andy Taylor’s footsteps.

Essentially, Opie comes back to Mayberry to find it’s been overrun by crime. Of course, he is also a police officer like his dad. However, even iconic side characters are now rough-and-tumble.

The article went on to explain that Mayberry isn’t the only thing that changed over the years. Opie has seen some things as well.

“Opie’s” Grittier Personality on SNL

“Once he was a young, small-town wimp who got beaten up for his lunch money. But then he left home and grew up fast in Vietnam,” the sketch’s narrator said, per MeTV. “And now, he’s back ready to clean up Mayberry.”

Finally, Sherriff Opie realizes he is in over his head. For help, he reaches out to his father, the original “Andy Griffith Show” sheriff, Andy Taylor, for help. However, Andy has passed, so Opie is trying to talk with his ghost. The episode was complete with a guest-starring appearance from Andy Griffith himself.

While the sketch was the stuff of memorable comedy, you still can’t beat the perfection of the original show. The characters in the 1982 depiction may have been hard, but the original series had a cast of lovable Mayberry residents. From the bumbling deputy, Barney Fife to the lovable Aunt Bea, the citizens of Mayberry are loved to this day.

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