Ron Howard once explained why Opie's attitude changed after the first season of The Andy Griffith Show

Rance Howard's note: How about if Opie actually respected his dad?

The first time we see Opie on The Andy Griffith Show, he’s cutting off his dad as Andy officiates the wedding of the Taylors’ housekeeper to her new husband. “I know why they shouldn’t be married,” Opie says. “I’m speaking now so’s I won’t have to forever hold my peace.”

Barney comes up to the boy and says nervously, “You’re not supposed to speak!”

“Then why did he ask?” Opie asks, showing a little extra attitude that fans of the show might not immediately recognize in the young boy after watching the full series. At this point in the episode, after Andy tells Opie it’s just part of the ceremony to give folks a chance to speak up, but nobody ever speaks, Opie shoots back, “Well, I’m gonna.”

Emotions ran high for Opie in "The New Housekeeper," as Andy's only son must navigate losing the closest thing he's had to a mother in the former housekeeper Rose. Still, the barbed tongue of Opie in The Andy Griffith Show premiere episode found him sullen over Aunt Bee's fried chicken, fussing and leaving the table to run off to his room. It sees Opie contradict Andy at nearly ever turn of advice, even after Andy tells Opie that Aunt Bee raised him, Opie injects a surprising amount of fire in his retort, "That doesn’t mean that she’ll raise me good."

The question of how Opie Taylor will be raised is at the heart of The Andy Griffith Show, and everybody who knows the show knows that any time Opie had a serious question, he took those matters straight to his Pa to hear the straight truth. The respect Opie has for Andy is an idyllic father-son dynamic that in many ways sets The Andy Griffith Show apart from other sitcoms where kids were expected to deliver snappy comebacks more than heartfelt father-son moments. But you wouldn't know this from watching the earliest episodes of the show, and in an interview with the Archive of American Television, Ron Howard once explained why Opie was so different in the first season:

"Early on, they wrote Opie a little differently," Howard said. "More like the typical sitcom kids who were always having the wise comebacks, jokes, punchlines. Later, I heard that my dad was talking to Andy about this, the Andy/Opie relationship, and Andy was talking to my dad about our relationship, because my dad and I were very close." It was these talks between Opie's real dad and his TV pa that led writers to change the way Opie was portrayed on the show, mostly because Ron said, Andy liked this bit of Rance Howard's logic:

"My dad was around the set quite a bit, and somehow my dad said, ‘What would happen if Opie knew that Andy was smarter than him? How about if Opie actually respected his dad? I just thought it might be different.'" Rance was right and it was different, but Ron offers another hypothesis, suspecting his dad might have had some understandable ulterior motives, "I dunno if my dad was really thinking that he, you know, dreaded my getting into a pattern, thinking that those comebacks were the right way to deal with a parent or not. I never asked him, but Andy really took to that, and that’s how they began to write on the show. That relationship, I think it was influenced in some way by my relationship with my dad.”

That's why in later episodes of The Andy Griffith Show, Howard said the writers wrote his character a little different. So if you like Opie with a little attitude, we'd recommend heading back to the very first episode of the show, which concludes with Opie, Andy and Aunt Bee at the fishing hole, where Opie's arrived with jokes. The episode ends with Opie tossing out this barb, uncharacteristically questioning Andy and zinging Aunt Bee, "If she’s such a good fisherman like you been telling me, pa, how come she fishes with her bait out of the water?”

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t 23 days ago
PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE get rid of mama's family and anything carol burnett - I despise those shows and that silly redneck/southern attempt at humor. If i were from the south I'd be appalled at the portrayal of the ppl in mama's family. Carol Burnett show, maybe it was considered funny in the 70's - I was a teen then and hated it - but it certainly has not aged well.
Ruth t 17 days ago
I was a teen in the 70's too and I AM from the south. I love to show because Momma is so much like my own mother. (She's 85 now and still driving me crazy with the idiotic things she says!) Even worse my son laughs like crazy at the show because he says I act like that! The show is not offensive at all, I think most people would see something of themselves or a family member in one or the other of the characters. That's why it's so funny.
AuntieJudy 26 days ago
Why all this negativity toward the Jeffersons? Keep it! Also, how about Cagney and Lacey? And Spenser for Hire ?
Carol 26 days ago
Please bring back That Girl. Also Medical Center,and Man From Uncle
djw1120 Carol 26 days ago
I don't know about "That Girl", but maybe "Medical Center" and I definitely would like to watch "The Man From U.N.C.L.E." Or even bring back Miss April Dancer, "The Girl From U.N.C.L.E."
AllisonWunderland 26 days ago
I grew up in those Andy Griffith days and boy they were wonderful! To look at the world today really saddens me...I just thank the Lord above I was raised back then with unforgettable fantastic memories!! P.S. Then the 1970's came along and it got even better!
JeffTanner 27 days ago
Hello MeTV. I'm glad you're bringing back The Dick Van Dyke Show, But I wish you would put it on @ an earlier time, as 11pm is too late for me. How about removing Mama's Family and The Jefferson's, & put Dick Van Dyke on at their former times? 6:00pm & 6:30pm Eastern, 5:00 & 5:30 Central?
I wish it was on at 7 or 8. I've got MASH & Andy memorized.
Debby JeffTanner 26 days ago
I agree. I also wish they would change the time schedule around. They have some good shows on during late night and overnight that I can not stay up to see.
djw1120 JeffTanner 26 days ago
Definitely get rid of "The Jeffersons" and bring back "The Dick van Dyke Show" at 6:30PM
Keep "M*A*S*H" and Andy Griffith where they are. "Mama's Family" is all right, but I can take it or leave it.
legion1a djw1120 23 days ago
I agree with every thing that you've said!
I wish they would put all of the Jefferson's episodes together in one place and burn them.
I think that there must be something wrong with the people that do like the Jefferson's!
Wiseguy JeffTanner 14 days ago
The Jeffersons not The Jefferson's - plural not possessive
Wiseguy legion1a 14 days ago
The Jeffersons not The Jefferson's (twice) - plural not possessive.
Mirramanee 27 days ago
I am not and never have been much of a fan of the Andy Griffith Show. No issues with it per se. It just wasn't my cup of tea is all. However, I will say I definitely preferred the first season shows over all of the others, mainly because there was much more interaction between Andy and Opie in those earlier episodes than the later ones. I liked (and still do like) shows with single-parent families (perhaps because I myself was a product of such a household). The later episodes of AGS seemed to concentrate more on all the other characters, such as Barney, Aunt Bee, etc. It almost seemed like the father-son relationship took a back seat as the series matured. Granted that I have not seen the entire series, so there may be some Opie-centric episodes that I have not caught in the later seasons, but I found far too many seemed to be about all the other inhabitants of Mayberry. Again, no criticism meant here. Just an observation....
Pilaf 28 days ago
Pure silliness, Rance. Very little children interrupt, speak their truth, are impulsive. As they get older, they learn the niceties. Opie was always appropriate.
RedSamRackham Pilaf 27 days ago
Yet we liked Opie as not being the typical smart-alecky sitcom child. Also we liked how he was often essential to the plot in some way unlike Richie Petrie who mysteriously was seldom seen. ☺
Pacificsun Pilaf 27 days ago
Gifted child actors are usually very intelligent and observant. Rance didn't want Ron picking up cues from the writing (dialogue) that could've changed Ron's natural born innocence and sweetness. Not every child is as you describe. And should those tendencies arise, can be carefully shaped in the opposite direction.
SheriHeffner 28 days ago
I LOVE little Ronny Howard. But I also love older, teenage and grown up Ron Howard.
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