Andy gets a little snippy with Aunt Bee in later seasons of The Andy Griffith Show

That's no way to talk to sweet Aunt Bee!

There's no disputing that The Andy Griffith Show is about as good-natured as TV gets. On the rare occasion when the jail's too full, Sheriff Andy Taylor even invites prisoners into his home. There really isn't a more welcoming place in the television universe than Mayberry.

But Mayberry was not some idealistic fantasyland, rather a charming town full of pragmatic people. Few folks in Mayberry could rival the good sense of Andy, which is why characters came to him for advice. But even he was not immune to a bad mood or two throughout the show's eight seasons.

In fact, if you pay close attention when you get to the later seasons of the show, Andy begins to slip into a more sarcastic version of his character a little more often, particularly when he's dealing with his dear Aunt Bee.

Let's take a look at this dynamic under a microscope, shall we? Below, we've isolated some of Andy's uncharacteristically controlling tendencies and snippiest sarcasm that he ever aimed at sweet Aunt Bee. Have a laugh and see if you remember any of these scenes causing you to raise an eyebrow.

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1. Andy's sense of sarcasm strengthens in season 5.


We started noticing the writers having a little more fun with the dynamic between Andy and Aunt Bee in season 5 with the episode "Aunt Bee's Romance." In a scene where Aunt Bee is excited to have received a mysterious letter, she spends a little time musing on who it could be from.

Andy, however, has no patience for her ruminations. "Know how you can find out?" he asks, hovering close to Aunt Bee and using more edge in his voice than you'd expect. "Open it." When she doesn't, he's got more jokes: "Want me to give you a permission note to open it?" Then when even that doesn't bully her into tearing into the letter, he loses it, insisting with seeming frustration, "Open it, open it, open it!"

2. Andy flips his wig over Aunt Bee's wig.


It's in the last three seasons — the color episodes — when we more routinely see Andy's attitude slip into slightly sourer territory when dealing with Aunt Bee. Perhaps the biggest example comes in the season 7 episode "Aunt Bee's Crowning Glory." In it, Aunt Bee tries to wear a wig to look prettier, and everybody agrees it's a good look. Everybody but Andy, that is. His response when he sees her new 'do is a decided, "Huh-what?!"

At first, Andy loses it because he thinks Aunt Bee has dyed her hair. When she assures him it's a wig, that's somehow even worse news to Andy who insists over and over again that she go back upstairs and take it off. His problem? "No, no, no, no. I don't want people staring at you." In the end, everybody ignores Andy, and the episode ends with no harm done, despite all Andy's dramatic protests.

3. Andy thinks Aunt Bee's too old to drive.


A recurring theme in the more jagged exchanges between Andy and his aunt is the older woman's age. Andy simply doesn't think certain things should be done past a certain point in life. Case in point: driving a car. In "Aunt Bee Learns to Drive," Andy puts his foot down and tells Aunt Bee she cannot buy a car, saying, "Aunt Bee is not the type of woman to drive a car."

"Why not?" Aunt Bee asks, bewildered. "Driving takes concentration," Andy says, with a sprinkling of seeming condescension. Opie stands up for Aunt Bee, and Andy gets so mad at the well-meaning betrayal he orders Opie to do his homework. In the end, Aunt Bee gets her way, and everyone cheers. Except Andy. He just pouts.

4. Andy rains on Aunt Bee's parade.


Aunt Bee's over the moon for most of the episode "Aunt Bee on TV," which sees her winning a whole bunch of kitchen appliances. Among her prize haul, though, is a "genuine ranch mink" fur coat that Aunt Bee just can't believe is hers. Of her prizes, she gushes, "All the others are so practical, and this is so impractical."

Andy ignores her clear joy in the moment to say, "For this time of year, anyway. Aren't you a little warm? It's 82!" Aunt Bee's face falls, but Andy's little jabby line gets chuckles from the laugh track.

5. Andy shuts down Aunt Bee's plans for a restaurant.


Throughout The Andy Griffith Show, Aunt Bee is always being careful as can be that she's not getting in the way of a better life for Andy and Opie. She is endlessly giving. That's why it's so surprising any time Andy doesn't show support for one of her spoken goals, like in "Aunt Bee's Restaurant."

The premise of the episode is that Aunt Bee has been talked into funding the opening of a Chinese restaurant in Mayberry. When she tries to tell Andy her plan to ask for his advice, he rushes her through the news and then is so taken aback by what she says, he makes her repeat it again. (The way she probably would've originally. Let the lady talk, Andy!)

Finally once he understands what's going on, he says "What makes you think you know anything about running a restaurant?" Aunt Bee stands up for herself, calling Andy's negativity a "typical male attitude."

6. Andy again teases Aunt Bee for her age.


Here's one last look at one of Andy's occasional barbs he aimed at Aunt Bee. In "Aunt Bee, the Swinger," Aunt Bee is delighted to have found a companion who enjoys her company. The only trouble is, her date is from D.C. and is used to a more active lifestyle that Andy feels is too fast a pace for Aunt Bee, despite her assurances that she can keep up. 

Describing her date with the joy of a teen girl, Aunt Bee tells Andy, "We went for a long, long walk. We walked for miles and miles. We were talking so much, we didn't notice." Andy immediately bursts her bubble, "Sounds like a pretty strenuous evening. You better take it easy!"

Later in the same episode, Aunt Bee stays out late dancing and Andy catches her soaking her feet after. She swears she's just cleaning them, and he teases her, saying, "I guess that makes sense. Some people get up in the morning, throw a little water on their face. You throw a little on your feet.” Then he clears his throat to say, “A little liniment?” It's yet another uncharacteristic burn from Mayberry's finest.

See also: Are you a big enough Andy Griffith Show fan to ace this Mayberry trivia challenge?


We've put together a trivia challenge to find the ultimate masters of Mayberry. The questions are arranged from easy-breezy to head-scratchingly challenging. See how far you can get before you get one wrong. Nip it in the bud! Take the quiz.

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shanisuzan 2 months ago
I thought Andy was a jackass sometimes. Like to Opie in the episode with Mr McBeeVee. He was actually calling his kid a LIAR... He ALLOWED the " fun girls" to hang all over him. He would rather hurt Helen than to be firm and tell the " Fun Girls" to get the heck away from him. The same with Charlene Darling. He allows her to climb all over him. He is encouraging her but claims he isn't... He would keep yelling at Aunt Bee to call the freezer repair man( I agree she was frustrating because she
was being stubborn and wouldn't call) BUT THEN WHY DIDNT HE DO IT HIM LAZY SELF? The freezer IS his property. Aunt Bee didn't bring it with her. I could go on and on. I get mad at all TV shows.
Debra 22 months ago
Am I the only one who couldn't stand aunt bea?
Tcbmom Debra 2 months ago
I could never stand her! Always uppity and judgmental and an awful actress to boot
coffeeontitanic 28 months ago
This is one of the reasons I don't watch the color episodes. Andy just turns into...well, he turns into a jerk. I've always attributed it to the fact that, now that the episodes were in color, he could see how ugly his uniform and the color scheme in his living room was, and that made him grumpy. (That's a joke.)

Now, of course, by this point his character had a teenage boy, and that's enough to make anyone grumpy. However, it just seems like he went over the top with it. It makes me wonder if this was Griffith's true personality coming out in his character.

A perfect example is the episode of "Gomer Pyle USMC" when Opie shows up on the base after he runs away. Andy shows up to pick up his son, and it's frightening. He actually comes across as scary. I would be terrified if I were Opie.

All that to say...the actor and writers took more care in most of the b/w episodes to make Sheriff Taylor likeable and fun and smart and like someone you'd want to go to if you had a problem. That disappears by the time Mayberry discovers color.
Mukusthebadd1 33 months ago
Is this supposed to get people to hate Andy?
RedSamRackham 33 months ago
In early episodes I felt sorry for Andy having to deal with imbecile klutzy Mayor Pike. ♣
misspeacock17 36 months ago
I don't know where I heard this but I heard Jim Nabors told Andy to cut the shit and to stop being rude to the actress who played Aunt Bee. He wasn't having any of it.
Tcbmom misspeacock17 2 months ago
The actress who played aunt bee thought that doing the show was beneath her. I sincerely doubt that Andy was doing it without it being warranted.
Seashell1964 37 months ago
Andy wasn't too nice to others on the show except for Don Knotts and Helen, who he was having an affair with. Some of the others have said they never knew what mood Andy was going to be in and walked on egg shells around him. He also had a short fuse. In the episode where his hand was in a cast, it was because he punched a wall and destroyed a hotel room in a rage. It's not fair to put all of the blame on Francis.
Nadya92129 45 months ago
What about episodes "Ellie Saves A Female" or the one where Helen's cousin has to pretend to be inept in order to salve Opie's ego?
Matt 48 months ago
I'm glad Andy got snippy. For most of the series i felt he was always putting out fires for other people; one can only take so many morons. What made it great was it was well-balanced. Sometimes his imposing ways were wrong, in that case someone took him down a notch.

I'll be the odd man out and admit I liked past season 5. It wasn't the same without Barney but I grew to love Howard Sprague. I think if they had brought him in during the Knotts years we'd have had some great episodes.
shadejeffersonford59 Matt 41 months ago
The more amusing episodes of the last 3 seasons featured Goober or Ernest T. Bass.
Tcbmom Matt 2 months ago
I agree. Andy was having to deal with morons left and right, and then an uppity, judgmental aunt bea. I would’ve blown a fuse much earlier than he ever did.
MarthaWashington 49 months ago
I don't get where the writers were having "fun" with Aunt Bees' story line in the later seasons. With her age, some, and I said some, of the story lines were, in my words stupid. I get it, I'm at the age she was then, somehow, I don't think taking flying lessons or opening a restaurant would be in my best interest. But as they say, that's TV. When Don Knotts left the series, and they decided to continue it, big mistake. I turn the color episopes off, can't stand them. Then continuing the series with Mayberry RFD, what a joke. They only brought it on to bring a little kid in, to continue the charm little kids bring to a series. If you notice a lot of those shows, after the original kids grew up, they brought in a niece, nephew or orphan to continue the series. Most often failed. I also didn't care in the care for in the earlier episodes of them bring in mostly nurses for Andy's girlfriend. I turn off the episodes with Ellie, Peggy and that other dark haired nurse. Otherwise I just love the episodes with just the "family" and Barneys goofyness.
shock1956 49 months ago
And why is her name spelled "Bee." Wouldn't it be, "Bea"? Short for Beatrice?
GordARebelato 49 months ago
I read that Andy Griffith and Frances Bavier didn't like each other. maybe that is the reason why he came across as sarcastic to her. I also noticed this on I Love Lucy. In the later episodes Lucy was sarcastic toward Vivian Vance. Could be because Lucy was going through marital problems then.
Tcbmom GordARebelato 2 months ago
Lucy was jealous of Vivian because she was younger. She didn’t want anybody else getting any attention but her too so… I think Lucy would have been an absolute nightmare to work with with that ego
Michael 49 months ago
I noticed how Andy became mean towards the end of the show. I guess once Knotts left that kind of put all the pressure on him and he seems to be fed up all the time in those later episodes. I know I didn’t care for his attitude change. But, why did it happen? Have any of the writers explained?
BrandonJohns 50 months ago
Incidentally, in real life, Andy Griffith and Frances Bavier didn’t get along at all. Bavier was the total opposite of Aunt Bee. Andy Griffith wasn’t anything like Andy Taylor either. In the color seasons, AG’s real-life personality seems to show through more, although AT was never the abusive person I have heard AG was. As far as I am concerned this show should have ended in season 5. The color episodes were terrible. Andy played well off of Don Knotts and without knotts there was no show.
shock1956 BrandonJohns 49 months ago
Agree that Season 5 should have been the end of the Andy Griffith Show. The term "jumped the shark" didn't come along until years later regarding "Happy Days" but the AG show was not nearly as good after Knotts left.
Jon 52 months ago
I remember a Season 8 episode where Aunt Bee became an airplane pilot and gets as far as a solo flight. I don't remember if Andy had any negative reaction to that or not.
KathyMcKinny 52 months ago
He was so fun loving in the early seasons, and seems to get more angry with each passing season. He rarely smiled in the color shows, and rarely got angry in the black and white shows.
BrandonJohns KathyMcKinny 50 months ago
After Season 5 this show should have ended. The color seasons were awful.
GordARebelato KathyMcKinny 49 months ago
I noticed that in the early episodes Andy was that easy going small town sheriff and then in the later episodes his character became more serious.
Chrissy 61 months ago
Beyond being horribly sexist, he was also a police officer who routinely abused his authority, imposing his "morality" on almost anyone, often people who weren't doing anything illegal.
Sooner Chrissy 55 months ago
How can he be sexist, or anybody else, when nowadays you just chose what sex you want to be, out of 68 or categories.
Chrissy 53 months ago
This comment has been removed.
KathyMcKinny Chrissy 52 months ago
a person who doesn't GET IT
GordARebelato Chrissy 49 months ago
It was the time that type of sexiest talk was accepted although there were a few in the early episodes where Andy's sexism was cringe-worthy with especially Ellie but she always ended up putting Andy in his place.
ClintScroggs 62 months ago
Seems like most of the jabs come when Aunt Bee is doing something other than just taking care of them and the house. Psychologically speaking, I think he's afraid of losing her but it comes out in other ways...
Jenna1717 ClintScroggs 51 months ago
She was an annoying busybody
BrandonJohns Jenna1717 50 months ago
Sounds more like Clara.
JDnHuntsvilleAL 64 months ago
I felt the same way about Tom Baker's last season as The Doctor. He seemed so surely in it. I figured he (or the BBC) did it on purpose so as to make the next actor as The Doctor more acceptable.
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