The Andy Griffith Show

Season 6 Episode 17

The Return of Barney Fife

2
Aired Monday 9:30 PM Jan 10, 1966 on CBS
9.5
out of 10
User Rating
53 votes
3

EPISODE REVIEWS
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Episode Summary

EDIT
Barney Fife returns home to Mayberry for a brief visit only to discover that his former girlfriend Thelma Lou has married. Fortunately for Barney, sweet Nettie Albright a secret admirer from days gone by shows up at Barney's high school reunion dance to save the day.

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • Welcome home Barney!!

    9.5
    It's wonderful to see Barney back, and to revisit the very special chemistry between Barney and Andy. Barney's heartbreak at Thelma Lou's marriage is truly painful for loyal viewers to see--we feel sorry for both of them. The awkwardness is palpable. We are relieved by the attentions of Nettie towards Barney and realize that Barney Fife will never stay down for long. This is one of the best episodes in the entire series--not to be missed! In fact, the series could have ended right here (although I am glad it didn't)and it would have "wrapped things up".moreless
  • Barney is crushed, but an old forgotten flame catches him on the rebound.

    9.0
    Barney is looking forward to his high school reunion and is anxious to see his long-time girlfriend, Thelma Lou. A few discrepancies have been pointed out about this. First, the year they graduated, was it 1948, or 1945 or some other year, as in earlier episodes? Second, why didn't Barney propose to Thelma Lou before going to Raleigh, and what made him so busy that he couldn't drop her a line once in a while? These are worthwhile questions to ponder, but they're continuity issues that nearly every long-running series has, so they shouldn't make it any less enjoyable to watch. You have to feel for poor Barn when, after seeing Thelma Lou again, she introduces her husband. Barney seemed, at this point, really in love with her, and then she drops this bombshell on his hopes and dreams. Probably most adults can can identify with this. Fortunately, another schoolgirl from the class takes a liking to him, and he gets over Thelma Lou real fast. Such situations don't always end so happily in real-life, but it's good to see it happen if only on TV. As was also pointed out, the show could have ended here, and it would have run its course well, though there were many good episodes that followed.moreless
  • Barney Fife returns to Mayberry to visit the Taylors and attend his high school reunion (Class of 1948--odd since last time he was in the class of 1945!) and get together with Thelma Lou.moreless

    9.0
    As good as it is to see Barney back in Mayberry, there is a bit of oddness when he first gets back. One wonders did he never call or write when he left for Raleigh? Did he really just up and leave Thelma Lou the way it seems?

    The episode really gets back to its old rhythms when Andy and Barney share a porch scene and then go to the class reunion. The meeting with Thelma Lou is magical, but then what happens next is completely devestating and wrong in so many ways. Barney is crushed beyond anything that he's ever faced before. What's worse is that the writers introduce a new girl (actually an old classmate) and suddenly Barney is expected to forget all about it. It seems unfair and a shallow cheat that was only corrected in the Mayberry reunion movie twenty years later.moreless
Ron Howard

Ron Howard

Opie Taylor (1960-1968)

Andy Griffith

Andy Griffith

Sheriff Andy Taylor (1960-1968)

Frances Bavier

Frances Bavier

Aunt Bee Taylor (1960-1968)

Alberta Nelson

Alberta Nelson

Nettie Albright

Guest Star

Barbara Perry

Barbara Perry

Floss

Guest Star

Virginia Sale

Virginia Sale

Woman #1

Guest Star

Betty Lynn

Betty Lynn

Thelma Lou

Recurring Role

Aneta Corsaut

Aneta Corsaut

Helen Crump

Recurring Role

Burt Mustin

Burt Mustin

Old Man Crowley

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

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  • TRIVIA (2)

    • In this episode, Barney drives into Mayberry in his "new" car, a turquoise and white Edsel convertible. Andy inquires if the car is a '61 model. Barney replies that it actually is a '60 but it has a '61 grill. This is all totally wrong. The car is a 1958 Edsel. It has a 1958 grill and there was never a '61 Edsel. They started production with the 1958 model year and were discontinued after the 1960 model.

    • Sweet Nettie fetchingly stares right into the camera for an instant as she's delivering her dialogue to an off-screen Barney. Was this a goof or charm? You decide.

  • QUOTES (1)

  • NOTES (6)

    • The previous class reunion episode had a banner that welcomed the class of 1945. This episode the banners says welcome class of 1948.

    • There are a couple of things that don't add up in this episode. First, since Thelma Lou was invited to the class reunion we can safely assume that she graduated from high school in 1948 with Andy and Barney. Where was Thelma Lou during the first class reunion in season three? Also, in a previous episode Barney tells Andy that he met Thelma Lou at a funeral in the early 1960's and it certainly seems, in season one that Thelma Lou and Barney had just met each other.

    • Despite the pain of seeing Thelma Lou betrothed to another man, Barney (and disgusted fans) do finally get some retribution in the Mayberry reunion movie "Return to Mayberry" by getting to see old Barn finally marry his soul mate. It is mentioned very breifly at the beginning of the movie that Thelma Lou divorced her then husband very soon after marriage though no reason was given.

    • This was Thelma Lou's final appearance in the series.

    • Don Knotts won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Comedy in this episode in 1966.

    • Don Knotts by this time had already left the show and evidently it had been decided to discontinue the relationship between Barney and his lady friend Thelma Lou by having her marry some other suitor. Now this was a perfect shame. Barney and Thelma Lou enjoyed felicity, union, and were indeed a fine couple. The 2 characters deserved better than to have their relationship end like this! However, it was real smart thinking to create the character "Nettie Albright" as Barney's heroine here. Nettie was everything a girl next door personality should be and she went along very well with Barney. Her meekness and heart would have added an extra dimension to the show so 'twas a pity, really, that sweet Nettie {Alberta Nelson} was not made a member of the cast. Yes indeed.

  • ALLUSIONS (0)

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