Andy, Bill and Gilligan

Our 11-year-old had just popped open his root beer when we gave him the news.
He only gets to drink soft drinks when we go to restaurants or on special occasions. But we were at the farm, and Aunt Pam had a red cooler loaded with ice cold IBC, Orange Crush and Double Cola. In bottles!
He was right in the middle of a big swig when I remembered what I wanted to tell him.
“Oh! Andy Griffith died today!”
His hand stopped in midair with the bottle tilting toward his mouth. He gave me a blank stare.
“Mom! I was drinking a root beer!”
It was like he was having one of the best moments of life, and I had stomped on it, then twisted with my foot. The news was like a sudden snowstorm in the middle of a trip to the beach in July.
“Andy Griffith is dead?”
I know this was heartbreaking news for lots of adults this past week. Everyone who grew up watching the “Andy Griffith Show” seems to have a special place in their heart for the kind sheriff of Mayberry. But I’m sure it’s a little rare that this man who was born in 1926 was one of the favorite actors of our 11, 9 and 7 year old. Even the 2-year-old demands to “Watch Andy! Watch Andy!”
When we cancelled our cable subscription a few years ago, we no longer received many of the TV channels that a lot of kids watch — Nick Jr., the Disney channel. Instead, our kids entertain themselves with old shows they find on Netflix.
They’ve made it through most of the episodes of “Leave it to Beaver”, “Dennis the Menace”, and their favorite, “The Andy Griffith Show.” At first, they questioned why all of these shows were “in grey,” but now they don’t seem to mind. We have grown so out of touch with popular culture that I honestly can’t even name the TV shows other kids might watch.
A few weeks ago, we went on a long car trip and my sister let us borrow the first four seasons of “The Beverly Hillbillies.” The kids thought that was hilarious. So, when I was getting ready for our recent trip down south, I stopped by Best Buy and found the first season of “The Cosby Show” and the first season of “Gilligan’s Island” for $10 each. These two might be bumping out “Andy” for the top spot in their list of favorites.
I have to admit that I enjoy re-living my childhood by watching the old shows with them. Many of those shows were re-runs even when I watched them as a kid! I can remember nearly every episode that we watch. I don’t have to wonder what they’re going to hear or field a million questions afterward about the content. I really wouldn’t mind if they watched some modern-day shows, but it seems the only things we have found that we really enjoy are reality TV, like “The Biggest Loser” and “American Idol.”
So, yes. I guess we are out of touch, but we all seem to like it this way.
Our kids couldn’t pick Miley Cyrus out of a lineup. But Andy Griffith? Losing him was like losing a friend.
What about you? What TV shows do your kids watch? Maybe you can clue me in to some modern day favorites! And what was your favorite of the classic TV shows from the past? I would love to hear!


  1. Emily,
    The town of Danville, IN has a resraurant called Mayberry Cafe. It has the Andt Grffith Show on a loop much like Musac that normally plays in most eateries. You will have to put this place on your bucket list.

  2. We grew up on all those old reruns too. Andy Griffith was one of our favorites as well as I Love Lucy. I still watch Lucy with my boys and B loves it more than most regular shows. We do Netflix as well and we limit it to Thomas and Blues Clues. We also watch a lot of invention documentaries and we love it. Love this post!

  3. Thanks, Erin! I had forgotten about I Love Lucy! That will be a great one to watch. I also need to introduce J to Blues Clues. She LOVES Barney, but it would be nice to get her to take a break from that once in a while! Thanks for the comment!

  4. My kids never watched “regular kid TV” except for Thomas when they were small & PBS’ Wild Kratts now…until this summer. Ever since Will went to camp with Disney star Jake Short, they want to watch those Disney shows. :-/ I dunno…I’ve liked sheltering them from all that stuff…but I also get wanting to watch it now that they’ve had this “brush with fame” 😉 B/C I TOTALLY WOULD, TOO! 😀 Not to say that they don’t watch a fair amount of TV, but we watch lots of “family shows” – The Amazing Race, National Geographic Wild, So You Think You Can Dance, and toooooons of Food Network.
    I kind of rebelled against Andy Griffith growing up, b/c my dad & grandmother loved it so much; I sighed “ugh!” every time it was chosen instead of some new totally rad 80’s show. 😛

  5. Wash your mouth out with soap, young lady! How could a nice southern girl not LOVE Andy Griffith! Isn’t Mayberry in North Carolina?!? And isn’t that where you are from??
    Oh, you know I’m kidding… but that is really funny that you rebelled against Andy.
    And maybe we’re not so odd after all… I guess with all of the TV viewing choices, it makes sense that other families don’t watch “normal” TV!

    1. YES!!!! Mayberry IS fictionally in NC. 😛 I guess that’s why I rebelled. 😉 (For the record, I also rebelled against NC-invented NASCAR…until I birthed a son who became obsessed; I succumbed when we lived up north and people “talked like home” on the TV coverage for 4 hours straight. :-D)

  6. Our kids watch netflix too. They haven’t gotten into that many old shows yet. They are big fans of Fat Albert, Garfield and Rugrats. We have seen every episode of Good Luck Charlie quite a few times. It is still in production so I am actually looking forward to the new season showing up on Netflix. They did watch H.R. Pufnstuf tonight and it was creepy and weird and I hope to never see it again. On hulu they like Mister Rogers and I am perfectly ok with that.

    1. Fat Albert!! We will have to give that one a try. I also want to introduce my kids to The Flinstones and The Jetsons. Those were always my favorites.

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