So long, Barney Fife
Don Knotts, the actor best known for portraying Barney Fife on The Andy Griffith Show, has died at the age of 71. I was saddened to read the blip on the news, and grateful for the respectful analysis and tribute Danny Carlton put together.
And thus the real Americans, the Don Knotts, were quietly pushed to out of view and the incestuous bubble of the Hollywood culture took on a life of its own, and began redefining who we are.
When Don Knotts was cast as Ralph Furley in Three's Company, he became the same character, but was portrayed as someone to avoid, to shun, to laugh at when he wasn't looking. The reality that Don Knotts still portrayed the average American was truth the Hollywood glitterati didn't want to face, and we went along with them. We still do to this day.
And now Barney is gone. The man we loved so much because in him we saw a glimpse of ourselves, but would never dare mention that to anyone. In him we saw the truth that one could like, admire and enjoy someone regardless of their flaws, simply because of who they were down deep. Don Knotts gave us hope that no matter how we felt we were the Barney Fifes of the world, there was always an Andy Taylor or two there to like us and stand by us, even though those same Andy Taylors more likely than not saw themselves as Barney Fifes as well. Hollywood may have tossed him aside as a relic of an age they wanted to forget, but I'm thankful for what he gave us, and will continue to give us in the reruns we can watch. Maybe one day we'll return to the honesty that Don Knotts portrayed and represented. Until then...
Thank you Don, you're already missed.