Thoughts From The Andy Griffith Show Episode Aunt Bee the Warden (1962)
Synopsis: With the jail already full of moonshiners, Andy (Andy Griffith) decides to have a drunk Otis (Hal Smith) serve his sentence at his house. Aunt Bee (Frances Bavier) is opposed to the idea, but ultimately ends up putting Otis to work as part of his sentence.
This episode shows just how inefficient the Mayberry jail is. Andy likes to keep the cells decorated to make his prisoners comfortable but that decision also means just one bed per cell. How does he not get in trouble when he has two prisoners per cell and is keeping them overnight? Where does the second prisoner sleep?
And just how did he get all four moonshiners to the jail? The obvious answer is he put them in the car. However, there were four moonshiners and only three would fit in the back seat. Did he seriously let one ride next to him in the front? Keep in mind, they put up enough of a fight to injure his arm and he even felt the need to lead them into the jail carrying a shotgun. Him being able to transport all four by car by himself seems unlikely.
Did he really need Otis to serve his sentence that night? It's not like Otis was a flight risk or danger to the community (he did, after all, let the man stay at his house). I feel like it would have made more sense to give him a suspended sentence and have him serve it when the jail wasn't full. Heck, sending him home to his wife might have been even more of a punishment than sending him to stay with Aunt Bee.
I kind of figured Barney's (Don Knotts) plan to teach the prisoners a new skill would backfire but in a different way. I'm fairly certain that wood carving kit he gave one of them would have a knife in it, and possibly that leather craft kit as well. So, basically, he possibly gave two of the prisoners weapons and was lucky all they did was craft a key.
Ironically, this episode proves Barney has been right the whole time. Andy tends to coddle his prisoners, which is a big part of the reason why there are so many repeat offenders, like Otis. Barney, in comparison, tends to want to punish them more and Bee's "jail" pretty much proved that was the right course of action. Maybe Andy should have made her his deputy. Heck, I'm starting to wonder if maybe she should have been the one who was elected sheriff.
Where was Opie (Ron Howard)? There was no sign of him in this episode even though the events happened overnight at the sheriff's house. Was he at camp or something?
Why was that church group at his house so late? OK, it's possible it wasn't that late at night (though it was late enough for Opie to apparently be in bed and for Otis to get drunk) but, by Mayberry standards, it did seem odd that Bee had a kitchen full of guests. Sure, they appeared to be baking cakes but part of me wonders if maybe Andy should be concerned there was something else going on.
Final Opinion: This is a somewhat predictable but still funny episode that I wound up enjoying more than expected. I do wish it would have explained what happened to Opie though.
My Grade: A