In this episode, Gomer Pyle enlisted in the Marines. Andy did not think Gomer was cut out for the Marines, neither did anyone else, including Sgt. Carter. In fact, Sgt. Carter had a plan on how to get Gomer kicked out of the Marines after just one day. However, Gomer's heart was set on being a Marine. So, Andy resorted to deceit; he deceived Sgt. Carter into thinking that Gomer was a relative of a general, and that made all the difference.
So, is Andy a hero or not? Let's pretend for a moment this was not a TV show but real life. Would you want the stumbling, if not bumbling, character of Gomer Pyle in the Marines? Probably not.
It would not be good for the Marines, because Gomer could never be a strong disciplined fighter in which his comrades could depend upon him in the midst of the battles. Nor, would it be good for Gomer, because Gomer would be pursuing something he really was not gifted to do, unless he was able to be a mechanic for the Marines.
So, back to the show, here is Andy who lied for Gomer to protect Gomer's feelings. Yet, it would not be good for the Marines, nor would it help Gomer face the truth of who he is, his strengths and weaknesses. Is Andy a hero or not?
I don't watch much TV anymore, but when I do watch some old shows like this, I find them disconcerting rather than entertaining. The heroes often resort to lying or deceit or some other "sin," yet we are to admire them. After all, they are the hero. We aren't to imitate the Gomer's or the Barney Fife's. Andy is the sensible one we are to copy, yet he deceives. And if we applied his actions to our own lives, what a worse mess they would become.
By the way, wasn't this a pattern Andy had in this show? Didn't he often try to "rescue" people, and didn't he often have to do that through deceit? So, in the words of another policeman, the sergeant from Hill Street Blues, "Let's be careful out there." The good old TV classics can still be entertaining, but they often teach the wrong values. So, put your guard up and think about what is going on. The last thing you want to do is imitate Andy.