How the Houston Texans resemble The Andy Griffith Show

The Mayberry Texans

The original cast of characters are back. Only the setting has been moved from Mayberry, North Carolina to Houston, Texas. The roles of Andy and Opie Taylor have been re-cast, as has those of Barney Fife and Gomer Pyle.

Andy Taylor - Bob McNair

Opie Taylor - Cal McNair

Barney Fife - Bill O'Brien

Gomer Pyle - Jack Easterby

Whistling is heard as the show begins... To stay true to form with episodes of yesteryear, the cast has severely reduced the roles of minority characters in this reboot. Andy Taylor (Bob McNair) in past seasons drew heavy criticism from the viewing audience with comments surrounding Barack Obama being elected president, Donald Sterling comments and his "inmates" statement.

Andy Taylor passed a couple seasons back and had since been replaced with his son, Opie (Cal McNair), taking a more prominent role. Surprisingly, Opie has yielded few speaking roles in the seasons since. Opie's role has affected the landscape on the once, up and coming show. The show is now viewed purely as slapstick in nature.

Barney Fife's character was perfectly cast in the return of the series. Bill O'Brien steps in as the ringmaster over all of the shenigans. Much like the original Fife, O'Brien too, believes he's stellar at his job, unaware of being the jester of the show. In the original series, Andy Taylor would only allow Fife to carry an unloaded gun with one bullet in his shirt pocket. Fife would only use the bullet in the strictest of emergencies. Taylor put these precautions in places as he knew Fife couldn't be trusted with the fire power. He was more likely to wound himself and those around him, rather than harm the enemy.

In the last season plus in the remake, now with Opie overseeing the actions of Fife, he's allowed Barney to load up his sidearm and go into battle. As the writers would image, it's led to hysterical results. Each and every time Fife has unholstered his sidearm, he's ended up wounding his own cohorts and actually helped those opposing him.

One of the most unforseen character evolutions in the new "Andy Griffith Show" is the role of Gomer Pyle. Jack Easterby has really embraced this role. In the original, Gomer Pyle was a dim-witted mechanic that would also rise to power as a fill-in deputy. Easterby has taken Pyle's role from a Chaplain to the right hand man of Fife. It was a curve ball that not even the most seasoned fans of the show could have seen coming.

In a nutshell, the series is a must watch. You get the sense that all of the characters really believe the false bravado in which they carry out each role, which makes every episode captivating as even the most novice of viewers can tell that they are horrific at the jobs that they portray each week.

The show is ranked among the top in humor, but I could see a change in coming seasons as they look to get back to more of a respectable show, instead of just plucking the low-hanging fruit in the genre of slapstick. If/when they make a change, expect the roles of Fife and Pyle to go to more qualified individuals.

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The Astros suffered a heartbreaking loss to the Yankees Thursday. Composite image by Brandon Strange.

After an impressive two-game sweep of the NL-best Mets at home earlier in the week, the Astros took to the road to begin a four-game series with the league-best Yankees on Thursday night. To little surprise, the series started with a bang (no, not a trash can bang) in more ways than one, confirming that this series should be a must-watch this weekend.

New York's comeback proves no lead will be safe

Right from the get-go, the loud Yankee Stadium faithful had their chance to rain boos down on Jose Altuve before showing some pleasure as he led off the series by being hit by a pitch. They were quickly, though only temporarily, quieted as Altuve would come in to score two batters later on a three-run blast by Alex Bregman.

Three-run homers seemed to be a theme, as New York would get one of their own to tie the game off the bat of Giancarlo Stanton to tie the game, then Yordan Alvarez continued his dominant June by pushing the Astros back in front by three with another three-run bomb in the third, making it 6-3. That lead held through to the bottom of the ninth, where instead of holding it, Ryan Pressly issued two walks to set up the fourth homer of the game to tie things again before Aaron Judge would get a walk-off single to complete the impressive comeback.

Not only will we get to sit back and watch the slug-fest between Yordan and Judge this weekend, but it looks like with Alex Bregman swinging well again to round out the top of Houston's order, the Astros may be getting closer to their full power. So far in June, these two teams sit third and fourth in on-base percentage, with the Astros at .351 and the Yankees right behind at .350. That means we should continue to see scoring opportunities on both sides that can tilt momentum one way or the other as these lineups try to battle against the opposing pitcher.

How will the aces fare

Verlander vs. Judge, and Cole vs. Alvarez, need I say more? Although we won't see Justin Verlander go up against Gerrit Cole in the same game in this series (they should go head to head next Thursday, however), they will pitch on back-to-back days, with Houston's ace going Friday night and New York's on Saturday afternoon. Verlander is coming off his worst start of the year, a three and two-thirds inning outing where the White Sox put up seven runs, four earned, against him and knocked him out early to give him his third loss and increased his ERA from 1.94 to 2.30.

The last time he faced the Yankees was in the Bronx in the 2019 playoffs, in ALCS Game 5, where he went seven frames while allowing four runs, all on two homers in the first inning, which is all New York needed to grab the 4-1 victory to make it a 3-2 Houston lead in the series, which the Astros would go on to clinch in Game 6. So, with the double dose of bad taste in his mouth, it will be interesting to see if he can use that as the fuel to get back to the phenomenal form he's had this year or if the Yankees try to jump on him early like they did nearly three years ago.

Cole, meanwhile, is fresh off of two quality starts in a row against the Rays, where he allowed just one run on six hits with nineteen strikeouts over 13.1 innings of work. He's had his share of strife this season, though, including a seven-run shelling by the Twins earlier this month, along with a start in April where he couldn't make it through two innings against the Tigers. He's had success against his former club, most notably a complete-game shutout in Houston last July with twelve K's and holding the Astros to just three hits.

If the series opener was any indication, we are in for the treat of a playoff-caliber matchup, if not a potential ALCS preview that we may see in October. The Yankees showed why they have the best record and are the hottest team in baseball on Thursday night, but the Astros were only a good outing from their closer away from having a relatively lopsided win. The rivalry is real; the competition is close, and we get to enjoy the show.

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