Andy Griffith: ''If you really lived with Barney [Fife], you'd kill him in the second week.''

A real-life Barney Fife would be...interesting, to say the least.

CBS Television Distribution

When watching television shows, we often suspend our understanding of reality in the name of entertainment. Maybe a town like Mayberry is too perfect to ever exist in the real world, but viewers are willing to pretend it's real for a few short minutes when watching The Andy Griffith Show.

Sure, maybe what makes the town so sweet and endearing may become grating on the nerves if you were ever exposed to it in your day-to-day life, but Griffith himself never claimed that the show was based on reality. Rather, it's based on a seemingly idealized version of life that you can enjoy from time to time when you want to get away from the hardships of real life. We could all use a bit of Mayberry in ourselves, even if the characters are closer to fiction than fact.

Griffith himself was the first to admit this. In fact, he didn't mince words about the character of Barney Fife in an interview with The Atlanta Journal. Specifically, Griffith stated, "If you really lived with Barney, you'd kill him in the second week." The words may seem harsh, but they ring true. Let's be honest, if someone like Barney Fife was deputy sheriff, we're not even sure he'd stay employed until the end of his second week on the job. Still, Griffith was quick to praise his costar Don Knotts in his portrayal of the character, and said, "Don Knotts as Barney Fife was brilliant."

While a real-life Barney Fife would undoubtedly have his flaws, Griffith seemed to understand that the success of the series didn't come at the expense of other people, as many jokes today do. He commented, "We never made fun. Our fun came out of our characters."

Knotts had often claimed that his depiction of Barney was based on a child. According to an article in the Los Angeles Times, Knotts once said, "Mainly, I thought of Barney as a kid. You can always look into the faces of kids and see what they're thinking, if they're happy or sad. That's what I tried to do with Barney. It's very identifiable."

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BradBeall 3 months ago
Yep! As an integral part of the show, Barney is absolutely necessary. But who here wouldn't completely understand if Andy, just once or maybe twice, hauled off and socked Barney square in the nose? Maybe the time Barney crashed his symbols together right behind Andy's head, or maybe one of the many times when Barney locked himself inside one of the jail cells? Yep, I could see that happening...
tootsieg 3 months ago
The Barney character was a challenge but he was so darn funny.
JHP tootsieg 3 months ago
hate to say it - but no

Otis and Goober were truly funny ; BARN was "funny" because (almost) everything he did or said evoked the laugh track
Runeshaper 3 months ago
I wonder now how long would Barney really keep that job? LOL
cperrynaples Runeshaper 3 months ago
Well, wasn't he a cousin or something like that? I believe that's in the first episode!
Runeshaper cperrynaples 3 months ago
Ah! That could be it!
JHP cperrynaples 3 months ago
yeah he was a cousin with ange and so was Virgil (which explains a lot throughout the series)
FrankensteinLover 3 months ago
I love Don Knotts especially Barney Fife, wish I could have met him for sure.
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Adamtwelvia 3 months ago
So would Floyd the barber!
JHP 3 months ago
but you know ; Blue the bloodhound could sniff him out:)
WordsmithWorks 3 months ago
Barney would definitely be a trying friend and work colleague. I always thought that it would be very difficult to be friends with George Constanza. You'd want to kill him within a week, just to stop all the yelling and lies.
JHP WordsmithWorks 3 months ago
you said it all - (but for others that seems funny- dont know why)

ange and barn are very close to Ralph Kramden and Ed Norton or Bud Abbott and Lou Costello
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