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I've been a huge fan of TAGS since the original episodes were broadcast for the first time, but recently many of the later color episodes have been available and I'm wondering if it's just me or are most of the later shows so corny and contrived as to be ridiculous ?  I try not to criticize anything unjustly, but it just seems that so many of them tried way too hard for the laughs that came so much more easily in the series heydays of the early 1960's.  It was nice when they were first re-run to see what all the locations looked like in color.  Aunt Bee's "apple pie" ordered home, the courthouse, the diner and Floyd's, but the new characters, Warren and Howard just weren't funny.  One thing I always loved about the B&W episodes was the music, always perfect for the storyline.  In the color episodes the dance music parodies were so awful! - I don't mean to be mean by any means !  Just wondering if anyone else feels the same.

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I’m not a huge fan of the color episodes, but they helped Jack Nicholson get his career on the right track.  And, we got to see the coolest Mayberry character ever....Fred Simpson.

And Howard and his bear skin rug!

My favorite color ep!

Emmett: "Do we sit on this, too?"
Howard: "No, no Emmett! That's purely decor!"

This is an issue I’ve struggled with for while.  Being a lifelong devoted citizen of Mayberry, I hate to acknowledge even the slightest chink in the armor.

There are certainly redeeming moments and relatively true to form story lines in the color episodes, particularly in Season 6 (e.g. Opie’s job, the talking dog, Goober’s beard, Howard at The Lodge, etc.); lessons and tests of friendship, compassion, and integrity alongside textbook TAGS humor.  However, I think it’s simply a fact that Seasons 6-8 are inferior to 1-5.  I almost think of them as two separate and distinct series.  Some of the episodes in 6-8 are just ridiculous, out of place, and leave you scratching your head as to how they “passed muster;” think “Big Brother,” “Howard’s New Life,” or “Barney Hosts a Summit Meeting.”  This is likely an unpopular opinion and don’t get me wrong, I’m a loyal Mayberryitte ...... BUT ...... it’s just the truth.

There are several reasons for this distinction and digression from the heart of Mayberry (many of which have been mentioned already), but the most obvious and significant of these is the absence of Barney Fife, MD (Mayberry Deputy).  Perhaps my only real beef with TAGS is how they dealt with Don Knotts’ departure.  Barney became someone we pitied and this just felt wrong.  Every time we saw him there was an awkward hemming and hawing around the issue of how terrible everything was going for him since he left Mayberry.  He lost the only girl he ever gave hoot for and no one in his new life respected him.  I always wished they’d sent him off into the sunset to a great life with Thelma Lou, where he could sit around in his den that smelled of leather and pipe tobacco, maybe a dog.    

Oh well. That’s life. Through and through.

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