A Cuban in Mayberry: Looking Back at America's Hometown by Gustavo Pérez Firmat

By Gustavo Pérez Firmat

Half a century after audience first watched a father and son strolling to the neighborhood fishing gap, whistling an easy, but unforgettable, track, The Andy Griffith Show continues to be some of the most renowned sitcoms within the background of yank tv. thousands and thousands of audience have visible the express both in its unique run, its ongoing reruns, on DVD, or on the web. web content dedicated to the exhibit abound, hundreds and hundreds of fan golf equipment carry fans jointly, and a plethora of books and Mayberry-themed item have celebrated all issues Mayberry. A small cottage has even built round the teachings of the show's episodes. yet why does a sitcom from the Sixties set within the rural South nonetheless evoke such devotion in humans today?

In A Cuban in Mayberry, acclaimed writer Gustavo Pérez Firmat revisits America's place of origin to find the resource of its enduring attraction. He methods the express from a special perspective—that of an exile who hasn't ever skilled the rootedness that Andy and his fellow Mayberrians take without any consideration, as folks that have by no means strayed from domestic or lived between strangers. As Pérez Firmat weaves his own memories of exile from Cuba with an research of the express, he makes a resounding case that the intimacy among individual and position depicted in TAGS is the key of its lasting relevance, whilst he finds the unbelievable ways that the sequence additionally displays the racial, generational, and political turbulence of the 1960s.

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In Barney’s first scene in TAGS—he comes out from behind Andy’s garage— he mentions that Andy is his cousin, but after the second episode the relationship is dropped altogether. Their kinship is unimportant for the same reason that traditional two-­parent families are nearly absent: what makes Mayberry cohere is not kin but kith. 9 If anything, TAGS demonstrates how a collection of like-­minded people can serve as surrogates for family. Rather than a domcom, a domestic comedy, it’s a comcom—a community comedy.

In The Mary Tyler Moore Show, the vast majority of scenes are set in the newsroom. Preferring a more controlled and at the same time a more flexible filming environment, Griffith and Aaron Ruben decided to shoot the show the way a motion picture is filmed, with a single camera, the setup used by The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet and Leave It to Beaver. If someone misspoke a line, the scene would be reshot. If some particular piece of business didn’t work, it would be tinkered with until it did.

But what Mayberry has to resist—the vertically and horizontally mobile lifestyle of the suburbs—is far more powerful than crooks and con men. A special kind of challenge to Mayberrian sedentariness occurs when the out-­of-­towner is not a criminal but a drifter. Often the drifters also turn out to be criminals, like the Gypsies who camp out in the woods, but sometimes the drifter is only a drifter, which means that he is all the more threatening because his life consists of continual displacement.

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