This is one of the top five episodes of this series. Every element is so perfect that it continually raises your level of enjoyment. The layers to the story are excellent, with Clara's story of her beloved husband's love of her pickles and how important it is for her to win the contest juxtaposed to Andy,Barney and Opie's efforts to get rid of Aunt Bee's "Kerosene Cucumbers". One of my favorite scenes is when Deputy Fife "gives away" jars of the pickles to unsuspecting drivers who are stopped and given a "welcome to Mayberry" pickle jar. Barney, as a matter of fact, is SUPERB in this episode, and is reaching his stride as this character by the middle of the second season. If you can only watch ONE episode of this show--this is the one to watch!
Arguably the most POPULAR Andy Griffith episode of all time, "The Pickle Story" is a timeless classic that all ages and generations find funny, both then and now.
The show open with Aunt Bee, the famously good (maybe best) cook of Mayberry, who can whip up anything from fried chicken to chinese green beans and other fabulous dinners, seems to be terrible at fixing one thing-homemade pickles! (Apparently Aunt Bee hasn't sampled her own cucumber creations yet-because she's oblivious to the horrid kerosene flavor-but supposedly, they're "better than the others" from previous years-just imagine had bad the OTHER ones must have been.)
Best friend Clara comes over to find Bea canning pickles on the kitchen table, and they discuss the county fair that is coming up-plus the fair's pickle contest. Aunt Bea has tried for 10 years and lost for 10 years! But Clara is quick to remind her that it was eleven-pickle wiz Clara has been the blue ribbon champ for the last 11 years. Proud Bea encourage Clara to try one of her pickles-and it's all Clara can do to keep from pulling out a fire extinguisher. But to be kind, she starts off by saying they are "quite pleasant and nice", but then is quick to point out their faults, like to brine might be just a touch to heavy, to drain them more, and use fresher spices and younger cucumbers. But Bea isn't fazed(and doesn't take the hint)-she just thinks Clara is being her usually nibby self. Clara leaves her jar of pickles for Opie (Lucky Opie-maybe he won't have to eat Aunt Bea's!), and Bea gets back to her work.
And and Barney are spending a lazy courthouse day sorting thru some papers, and signing "Tell Mother I'll Be There". (with Barney providing the sour notes). Sweet Aunt Bea has just come down to the courthouse with a picnic basket of lunch, and Barney and Andy are hungrily awaiting the roast beef sandwiches and cole slaw-but their appetite turns when they hear of Aunt Bea's surprise-some homemade pickles! They remember far too well how bad the previous years' have been--but how can they hurt dear Aunt Bea's feelings? She encourages them to try one in front of her- and all they can say is "That's a pickle! (yeah boy.) It's all they can do to keep to from gagging , and when Aunt Bea leaves, they look for the nearest trashcan. But they can't let on how bad the pickles are , or it would break her heart( Did you ever notice how most of the Andy Griffith plots were based around the good-hearted Mayberrians sparing the feelings of their family and friends? :) ) And just as that statement's said, a fly dies on the spot on one of the pickles! Now they know they HAVE to do something , but not let Aunt Bea know.(and so Opie won't get sick again!) It's time to go into "Operation Pickle Switch", while Aunt Bea is over at Clara Johnson's house. They almost have it pulled off, until aunt Bea walks unexpectedly thu the BACK door-she had to bring some laundry in from the clothesline. Barney has the pickles in a suitcase, and when Aunt Bea hears glass rattling, Barney says he's going on a trip to his cousin's house-and has brought ALOT of shaving lotion! With the pickles out of the house, Barney is off to the back road in town to present a VERY unusual gift to unsuspecting motorists-"The Safe Driving Award". (Why didn't Barney just dump them in the lake or something-but we don't want the fish to die ;) )
It's dinnertime at the Taylor house, and the boys (even Opie) can't get enough of those "good old store pickles". Aunt Bea asks about the trip, and Barney's family was just "pickled tink" to see him. But it looks like THEY are in a pickle now, because Aunt Bea has decided to re-enter the contest, unbeknownst to her that they are store pickles.
Down at the courthouse, Clara has dropped by with a jar of her OWN pickles-but Barney has had all he can stomach-and takes off for a little patrolling. Andy finds out that the pickles are nothing like Aunt Bea's, and Clara shows him her scrapbook of past fair ribbons. Realizing now that the contest gives her purpose, Andy just can't let her get nosed out by a store pickle. What are they gonna do? Aunt Bea has to see the store bought ones disappearing one by one-so she will be encouraged to make another batch of her own famous dills.
It' judging time at the fair, and the hopeful entrants are watching (with Aunt Bea and Clara in their best dresses,and Opie in a little suit-back in the days when people dressed up for the fair). The outcome is predictable, with Clara taking the blue ribbon for the 12th year in a row. Aunt Bea takes Opie off to the rest of the fair, and there's only one thing for Andy and Barney to do-open a jar of pickles and learn to love 'em!
In the epilog, Andy is getting ready to go to work, and Barney joins him for a late breakfast. But there's a weird smell-probably some model glue Opie's using-or maybe the gas stove's leaking. But apparently there's one more thing Aunt Bea can't make-and that's marmalade! Barney can't finish his toast, and they open a cupboard to discover a whole shelf full of jars-and NOW there's only one thing to do-and that's go get the suitcase!
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