Can Otis Survive “The Little House On The Prairie” Life?

by Sherry Riter in Lessons of Life,Self-Development  

otis andy griffith little house on the prairie

I’m going to make a big assumption that everyone knows that Otis is the alcoholic who remained drunk all the time on the “Andy Giffith Show.” I’m also assuming that you know “The Little House On The Prairie” life was full of wholesome goodness, love, trust and honor. If you didn’t know those two basic pieces of information, you do now and that will make my post easier to understand.

What Are Your Otis Traits?

None of us are perfect, so let me just put that out there. I’m not writing this post from an ivory tower because I’m as imperfect as the next person. I know we all have our strengths and weaknesses, so I’m not judging anyone.

However…I do have something to say about this subject.

Otis baffled me as a child. Members of my family were and are all different religions, but only one drank anything alcoholic, so “drunkenness” was a term that was completely unfamiliar to me. Nowadays I’m not quite as naive as I was back then nor does my family only have one alcoholic.

Even though everyone in the Sheriff’s department in Mayberry on the “Andy Griffith Show” acted like Otis being drunk was funny, in reality alcoholism is not funny at all. It has destroyed many relationships and lives.

When alcohol is so entwined in your daily living that basic normalcy is impossible, the person is definitely an alcoholic. Otis was an alcoholic who wasted day after day after day of his life. So sad!

In order for Otis to have a different life, he would first have to admit he was an alcoholic and then do something about it to get clean and sober.

Maybe you don’t have an alcohol problem or maybe you do, but I’m pretty sure you have at least one thing in your character that causes you strife. It is your weakness. It is a problem and causes problems. It is your Otis trait.

I told you about my Otis trait earlier and called it my fatal flaw because it wrecked and wrecks my life. Like me, it is important that you identify and admit that you have an Otis trait. Then when you are armed with that knowledge, you have the ability to work and overcome the weakness and problem.

“The Little House On The Prairie” Life

Although the family in “The Little House On The Prairie” lived on the often dry and dusty land, we all looked at their home life as ideal. Pa worked hard to provide enough to keep them alive and Ma worked hard to feed, clothe and teach her family while helping with the tasks of the farm. The children were taught responsibility, respect, manners and lessons about choosing the right. Of course, they not only were loved, but felt loved and knew they were loved.

In order to have “The Little House On The Prairie” type of atmosphere, the parents had to keep their Otis traits at a minimum and work hard to supply the family with all that was needed.

Until my parents divorced, I was oblivious to the pain and sorrow in the world of adulthood. Once they parted, it all came crashing down and completely flipped me over and around. Nothing felt right. Nothing felt true. Nothing felt like it would last forever except for the sadness.

Because of that experience, when I married, “The Little House On The Prairie” happiness is what I tried to cultivate in my home. I believe it takes two to make a marriage last and two to make a marriage fail. I have stepped back to identify my part in the marriages ending because that is the only way to ensure that I don’t make the same mistakes again. By analyzing, identifying and correcting my Otis traits, I have a better chance to succeed in a lasting relationship.

Can Otis Survive “The Little House On The Prairie” Life?

My initial reaction which I’m sure is like many of yours is to say that Otis won’t ever fix his problem. A leopard doesn’t change his spots, right? Then if you add my own life observations, I can spout off one story after the next of people who do not correct detrimental character flaws. So surely with the common knowledge and my life observations, it should be a no brainer that Otis isn’t going to change his fatal flaw.

But that’s not what I believe. My hope dies a hard death. Even when hope has taken one last breath, I jump on it and perform CPR. If that doesn’t work, it gets connected to life support in case it can come back to life.

I believe that at any time, people can discard their weaknesses for a happier existence. The ONLY thing that stops YOU from improving your life by making a major change is YOU.

Can Otis survive in a wholesome home that practices temperance, respect, love and tolerance?

People who get and then stay sober for the rest of their lives should be highly commended. I don’t think that Otis from the television show will ever change. On the other hand, Otis-you and Otis-me CAN change. First we have to recognize our fatal flaw and then after admitting it, we have to leave it behind…FOREVER.

When Otis doesn’t change his fatal flaw, living in “The Little House On The Prairie” is an uncomfortable experience. You would think the opposite to be true, but Otis doesn’t like being constantly reminded by the peaceful scene at home that he is causing pain for other people.

So when it gets right down to it, I don’t think Otis-you or Otis-me can survive “The Little House On The Prairie” life without permanently laying down our weaknesses. The choice is entirely up to YOU and ME. When we are sick and tired of being unhappy, we will let go of our terrible weakness or problem in order to have the peace, tranquility, love, acceptance, freedom and respect found in “The Little House On The Prairie” life.

For those who don’t abandon the Otis traits, they will keep on getting what they’ve always gotten and “The Little House On The Prairie” life will simply be a television program.

This post was written by...

Sherry Riter is also known as The Redhead Riter. Sherry is witty, intelligent and addictive as she writes about cooking, family, marriage, failures, blogging tips, art, humor, inspiration, travel, PTSD and aging. Her goal is to inspire, motivate, educate and to make her audience laugh. Sherry embraces being a redhead and helps others to see the redhead point of view…"In some eras redheads were worshipped while others thought us witches. Personally, I like the former and think every day is 'Love a redhead day!'" She can also be found on Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, StumbleUpon, Linkedin, tweeting as @TheRedheadRiter and you can subscribe to her free blog feed.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Joan September 5, 2013 at 10:10 pm

Until I read this post, I didn’t even know who Otis was. So obviously I have never watched the Andy Griffith Show. But if I had, I know that I would have not thought Otis’ alcoholism was funny. Like you, I do not think alcoholism is a laughing matter at all.

You wrote, “When we are sick and tired of being unhappy, we will let go of our terrible weakness or problem in order to have the peace, tranquility, love, acceptance, freedom and respect. . .” I believe the term is called “bottoming out.” For many, they first have to hit their bottom in order to really change and turn their lives around. 🙂


2 Sherry Riter September 5, 2013 at 10:31 pm

You’re right, Joan. I’ve often heard that people have to hit bottom before they change. It is a shame that people have to fall that hard in order to wake up, but as long as it helps, I guess we should just be thankful.

I have to say, I am surprised that you never watched the Andy Griffith Show!!! I totally loved it and watched it everyday as a child 😀


3 teresa vett September 7, 2013 at 3:48 am

I still watch Andy and I still love it.

I am so sorry for all the pain my mistakes caused you. I have truly paid for it all your life. Every time you girls make a mistake that hurts you I wonder if I caused you to choose that way to go. I did teach you the path less traveled is best way to go. I believe it is with in all of us to choose to over come our weakness’s and become who we wish to be. That was the plan in the beginning and will be to the end.

Joan where have you been not to have watched Andy and Barney?


4 Sherry Riter September 7, 2013 at 11:08 pm

Everyone makes mistakes, Mom. You always did the best you could do, so how can anyone expect more than that from you? Audrey and I survived, so don’t worry about it. Don’t worry, be happy! LOL 😉


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