Betty Lynn explained how Thelma Lou became Barney Fife's great love

There was no plan to bring Thelma Lou back until Betty Lynn got cast.

"You know you're the only girl I care anything about,' Barney Fife tells Thelma Lou on a Mayberry dance floor.

The frequently fumbling deputy goes on, "You're the only one I really" — his mouth kind of gulps around the next word — "love."

"What!" Thelma Lou exclaims.

"I said you're the only I love!" Barney says, this time the word coming out insistently, louder and prouder.

"I can't hear you!" Thelma Lou teases.

"You're the only girl I love!" Barney shouts at the top of his lungs. The music around them stops and everyone on the dancefloor turns to see the scene the deputy is causing, only to soon break into applause as Thelma Lou beams at Barney.

This adorable scene where Barney first declares his love for Thelma Lou arrives in the fourth season of The Andy Griffith Show during an episode called "Fun Girls."

In it, Barney and Andy reunite with a wild pair of gal pals, Daphne and Skippy. The Fun Girls' attentions to the sheriff and deputy stir confusion in their longtime girlfriends, Helen Crump and Thelma Lou. But while we've told you time and again about the love story of Andy and Helen, we've maybe neglected to take a long look at the love shared between Barney and Thelma Lou.

Thelma Lou is introduced as a potential sweetheart for Barney in the first season of the show during the episode "Cyrano Andy." In the opening scene, Barney, Andy and Thelma Lou are singing a song called "Seeing Nellie Home," and if you happen to know the bluegrass song, then you might've caught a little foreshadowing of this song selection.

Look to the lyrics and you can see that "Seeing Nellie Home" is about a man whose dream of finding love is renewed: "On my life new hopes were dawning / and these hopes have lived and grown." Why? Because he was "seeing Nellie home," and feeling completely carried away with the possibility of being thrown into this new love.

That's the predicament in which Barney's soon found himself during "Cyrano Andy." He walks Thelma Lou home from Andy's house, but he's so tongue-tied, he prattles on in a boring way instead of successfully wooing this woman who’s already winning his heart.

Luckily, after a lot of hilarity, Andy helps Barney and Thelma Lou make it to the end of this first episode in each other's arms, as Andy sings another bluegrass tune about finding new love.

However, even though it was love at first sight for Barney and Thelma Lou, fans know that doesn't mean it was smooth sailing for Mayberry's newest couple.

In the second season, the couple breaks up and Barney even immediately starts seeing someone else in the fifth episode "Barney on the Rebound." It doesn’t take long for the deputy to go back to Andy for more romantic meddling, and again, Andy helps Barney reunite with Thelma Lou by episode's end.

From this point on, Barney and Thelma Lou are pretty steady, and by the third season, they're even the ones helping Andy navigate a break up in "Barney Mends a Broken Heart." Then they set him up with a slew of new potential partners in "A Wife for Andy."

Together, they make a great team, even if their intentions are always better than their execution.

Over the course of the series, she becomes the perfect partner for Barney, just as Andy was the perfect partner at work. Appearing in 26 episodes, Thelma Lou is right there for Barney, through thick and thin. As Barney's soulmate, she was a sweet and stable force in the twitchy deputy's Mayberry life.

In an interview with ArtistChronicle, Betty Lynn once explained that The Andy Griffith Show didn't necessarily plan to give Barney Fife a love like Thelma Lou that lasted. That kind of just happened, the way true love often does.

The actress said she came in to audition for Thelma Lou for "Cyrano Andy," and after that, the other television series to which she was contracted was canceled and she became available any time The Andy Griffith Show called her up.

"I didn't have any contract," Betty Lynn said, explaining that her appearances on The Andy Griffith Show simply came along, one episode at a time, building out the love story of Thelma Lou and Barney bit by bit.

But it was easy to see how everybody on the show would become a fan of Betty Lynn's work and ask her back. Knotts praised her as a fine actress, and she said their affection for one another both on and offscreen was mutual.

"They called me in occasionally," Betty Lynn said. "And I got to play opposite Don Knotts, who I loved."

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MarthaWashington 22 days ago
In that hight school reuinion show, yes, it showed Thelma Lou married someone else, but in the reunion movie later on, (haven't seen that in years) Don't Barney and Thelma Lou get married after all?---Like Andy and Helens child, baptized on Mayberry RFD and not mentioned in the reunion movie--series inconsistencies
trogg888 29 days ago
wasnt the actress who played thelma lou a different character in the high school reunion episode and played andys ex?
BAMorrison trogg888 28 days ago
Thelma Lou wasn't in the "High School Reunion" episode. She was an old high school classmate by the name of Ramona Wiley who signed Barney's yearbook like a love note so he thought that she was in love with him.
Laurean 29 days ago
Thelma Lou got smart and went to the big city to have a better job! She got tired of Barney's indecision about their relationship and found a man who really appreciated her! Go girl!
StephenCarr 29 days ago
Something got lost in this article. Thelma Lou leaves Mayberry and marries somone else.... https://hubpages.com/entertainment/andygriffithtv
TomBurkhart 30 days ago
It was a wholesome show with good values.....no slutty women,even the fun gals just hung around,no sex ,mostly kisses.....good shows.
jenniep369 1 month ago
Read hat ThelmLouis married someone else! What happened?
JHP jenniep369 1 month ago
She got smart
Liz 1 month ago
What about Barney’s side flame, Juanita down at the diner? Barney would serenata her with songs over the phone...
JHP Liz 1 month ago
Barney had Thelma Lou in his hip pocket - what a turd
JHP Liz 1 month ago
Remember the "trouble check" - like BAR-NAY would tangle with truck drivers
BAMorrison Liz 28 days ago
The writers never showed her. Barney was in "like" with an invisible woman. We never even heard her voice.😄
Dizzydude JHP 28 days ago
Yea trouble check lol
JHP Dizzydude 27 days ago
we call barney "the chicken, he try hard but no can cut it" (such a funny line)
Eloise 1 month ago
Huh?
Didn't anyone think/feel Lydia was perfect for Andy?
(LOL!)
BAMorrison Eloise 28 days ago
My favorite was Peggy, the Nurse. She was southern, classy and a lot more fun than the rest of Andy's flames.😍
Dizzydude BAMorrison 28 days ago
I liked mary
JHP Eloise 27 days ago
Lydia hated the guitar tho - ange loved the guitar
JHP BAMorrison 25 days ago
the flame that wasn't andys was Jan Shutan - when she was in that bathrobe and he didn't do anything - GEES!
MrsPhilHarris 1 month ago
One of my favourite characters on TAGS.
PortelaJ 1 month ago
Absolutely adore Betty Lynn (Thelma Lou) To me, she was the prettiest girl in Mayberry. ps not counting when Barbara Eden (Genie) came to town. She also toured with the USO entertaining our troops during WWII. Big respect. You go girl!
Dizzydude PortelaJ 28 days ago
I never liked old lady Crump lol
Pacificsun 1 month ago
TAGS (which is one of the most popular classic sitcoms) is successful because the characters have really been fleshed out. They have a lot of dimension. It's a show where you forget who the actors are, because they've so developed their roles. It's not just about writers and dialogue (of course) but how it's interpreted in every scene. That's partly the director's job, to make the entire episode flow, but actors put the flesh and life into those words, to create the kind of relationships that fascinate their fans. And help them to never tire of the stories!!

Good story MeTV. Betty Lynn is often under recognized so it was nice to read about her!
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