The Andy Griffith Show: Season 1/ Episode 22: Cyrano Andy. March 6, 1961. 4 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS.
The show opens with Andy, Ellie, Barney and a new girl-who we find out is Barney’s new love interest- Thelma Lou- played by Betty Lynn. [What happened to Hilda Mae? } They are singing ‘Seeing Nelly Home.’ They are at Ellie’s house. Note- Barney is wearing the Salt and Pepper Suit. Andy and Ellie are sitting on one couch- with Barney and Thelma Lou on the other. When the lights go out Andy and Ellie are getting cozy- when the lights come back on the nervous Barney is sitting on the couch with them instead of with Thelma Lou.
Barney walks Thelma Lou home- and he’s all wrong- talking about his work and showing little interest in Thelma Lou. After he leaves her at her door and Thelma who is clearly interest in Barney has tears in her eyes when Barney leaves.
The next morning when Barney shows up at the jail- Andy is playing checkers with Opie- but wants to find out what happened when Barney walked Thelma Lou home the night before- and sends Opie off. Turns out nothing happened and Barney is admitting that he doesn’t know how to act or what to say around Thelma Lou- who he really does like ‘She’s the Cat’s.’
Andy then makes what turns out to be a mistake. He goes over to Thelma Lou’s and tells her how Barney feels about her- without Barney’s knowledge. Thelma Lou then to make Barney jealous calls Barney and tells him that Andy had come calling on her. Barney of course is upset and walks into the jail and wants to fight Andy. No matter what Andy says to Barney in explaining the situation Barney isn’t buying it- and is going to show Andy by stealing Ellie from him.
Barney goes to the drug store and puts his ‘moves’ on Ellie who at first laughs at Barney [especially when some of his hair falls into his face. Barney leaves in a huff and Ellie is confused about what just happened. Ellie goes to Andy and Andy explains the situation. Thelma Lou comes in to the jail where Andy and Ellie are talking- and in comes Barney. As Thelma Lou leaves she gives a big “Goodbye Andy’ to get at Barney. Barney tells Andy he’s going to need a new Deputy that’s he’s quitting.
Ellie comes up with a solution- turn the tables on them. Andy goes over to Thelma Lou’s acts interested in her- terrifying her- and Ellie calls Barney to the drug store and makes her moves on him-scaring him to death.
Barney walks into the jail and tells Andy what has happened- that he has stole Ellie from him. He’s truly believing Ellie’s ‘act’ and tells Andy that in the end it was a ‘hollow victory.’ Barney walks out of the jail and runs into Thelma Lou. Thelma Lou confesses she make up the whole scenario about Andy calling on her just to make him jealous. Next we see Barney and Thelma Lou walking down the street hand in hand.
The episode ends- back at Ellie’s house and they are sitting on the couches again- Andy playing guitar and all of them singing ‘ Liza Jane.’ When Elie goes to the kitchen to get pie and coffee- Andy hangs around in the front room. Barney wants him out of the room so he can be alone with Thelma Lou. When Andy does leave he intentionally keeps popping back in when Barney starts to make his moves on Thelma Lou- totally annoying Barney- and Thelma Lou.
This was a hard episode to grade- I give it a 4 star ranking because there were a number of very funny moments- especially with Barney who carries the episode.
- There are two references made between Andy and Barney about Rock Hudson – ‘Haven’t you seen enough Rock Hudson movies to know how to sweet talk a girl’- Andy says early on when Barney seems very insecure about how to act around Thelma Lou. Later on Barney reassures Andy that ‘I’ve seen enough of Rock Hudson’s pictures.’- in an earlier episode Aunt Bee admits to having a crush on Rock Hudson.
- This is Thelma Lou’s first appearance in the show as Barney’s new girlfriend. Her last name is never mentioned in the entire series.
- Another of Barney’s girls- Juanita Beasley is first mentioned in this episode- we will never actually meet Juanita.
- The actress Betty Lynn who plays Thelma Lou – is still living- at 94. The only other regular on the show still living is of course Ron Howard.
- This will be the only time both Thelma Lou and Ellie Walker will be together in an episode.