“Leave It to Beaver” was a family sitcom in the late 1950s about the shenanigans a little boy goes through with his family. Known for being family-friendly and straight-laced, you may find it hard to believe that there was once an episode that tackled alcoholism. This “Leave It to Beaver” episode can teach us how alcoholism was thought of at the time and what kids can learn today if they meet someone with alcoholism.
“Beaver and Andy”
“Leave It to Beaver” had an episode in season three called “Beaver and Andy,” where Beaver meets a man with a drinking problem. He is an old friend of his father’s who says he needs a job and offers to paint their house. When Beaver’s father, Ward, asks Andy about his “troubles,” he said it has not happened in about five months. Beaver and his brother, Wally, are curious what this “trouble” is.
When Beaver’s parents are gone, Andy asks Beaver if his parents have any whiskey in the house because he has been feeling shaky working outside. Beaver brings Andy a bottle of brandy which he takes outside. We do not see Andy drunk on screen. Andy calls Beaver’s father to apologize for drinking on the job, and he forgives him. Ward tells Wally not to tell Beaver about Andy since Beaver looks up to him, but Wally tells him anyway. Beaver revealed at dinner that he gave the brandy bottle to Andy. When Ward gets upset at Beaver, Beaver explains that he would not have given the bottle to Andy if he knew it was bad for him. Ward apologized and revealed the best way to have protected Beaver was by telling him the truth about Andy. Beaver also learns that drinking does not make people happy, as his brother told him.
What We Can Learn From “Beaver and Andy”
This episode of “Leave It to Beaver” can teach parents how important it is to talk about alcoholism to their kids. Parents may think they are protecting their kids by not talking about alcoholism. Unfortunately, it might turn out like Beaver, where he hands alcohol to a man in recovery without understanding the dangers. “Beaver and Andy” shows us one of the earliest examples of alcoholism on popular TV shows, the importance of educating your children about alcoholism and what to do when you know someone struggling with it.
“Leave It to Beaver” is one of the earliest examples of alcoholism being introduced to a family sitcom. Beaver learns the hard way about alcoholism, and his parents learn the importance of educating your kids about it. At Alta Loma, we understand how confusing it is to know what to do when speaking to your kids about alcoholism. At our transformative treatment center in Georgetown, Texas, we can help you communicate with your family about addiction and other issues. We can provide family treatment, individualized therapy, 12-step programs, life and coping skills education, and more. Please give us a call at (866) 457-3843 for more information.