The Cunningham family Christmas is all set but Richie finds out Fonzie (despite being popular) is alone this holiday. So, Richie decides to ask his folks to let him join them ...but will his folks or...
No one believes Richie's claims that he not only saw a flying saucer but personally interviewed its pilot, an alien named Mork, who tried to take him back to planet Ork as an example of an average, ...
Widower Sheriff Andy Taylor, and his son Opie, live with Andy's Aunt Bee in Mayberry, North Carolina. With virtually no crimes to solve, most of Andy's time is spent philosophizing and calming down his cousin Deputy Barney Fife.
Richie Cunningham and his friend Potsie face life at Jefferson High in Milwaukee Wisconsin in the 1950s. Lots of changes over time as kids come and go, new series spin off, Richie and pals go to college then the army. Even marriage. Written by
Ed Stephan <email@example.com>
"Rock Around the Clock" and "Mona Lisa" were on the Hit Parade...Uncle Miltie was a household word...people held each other while dancing...the D.A. was a hairstyle...and everybody liked Ike. Those were the days of the 1950's...filled with innocence and the promise of even better days to come. (season 1)
Nothing to Do with the 1950's -- Pure Fantasy that Get's Sillier with Age
"Happy Days" was produced and broadcast from the mid-1970's to the
early 1980's and seems to get more ridiculous with age. At the time of
its broadcast, most viewers who grew up in the 1950's were in middle
age with families, and the scenes at Mel's Diner probably brought an
artificial nostalgia to them. The Fonz was of course the coolest of the
cool (although the actor Henry Wrinkler to this day has never learned
how to ride a motorcycle). Richie Cunningham was the all-American
blond-haired kid who would probably be elected student body president.
Potsie was Richie's best friend--the star of the show has to have a
best friend, I guess. And Ralph Malph was the bumbling sidekick to the
Fonz, if not the entire group. I loved it when the Fonz would beat up
on poor Ralph Malph. And there was Mel, the middle-aged lug who ran
Mel's Diner. And of course who could forget the appearance of Mork? Was
this really the 1950's? Ironically, films produced during the 1950's,
such as "Rebel Without a Cause" and "The Wild One" have gotten better
with age and portray the period more honestly than this show which was
produced 20 years after the period it portrays.
Unfortunately, the TV show "Happy Days" is not in the same league as
"Rebel Without a Cause" or "American Graffitti" for that matter. "Happy
Days" may have captured some aspects of the 1950's with its burger
diner, juke boxes, cool cars, and tacky plaid shirts, but it is more a
nostalgic idealism done strictly for laughs rather than an honest
portrayal. "American Graffitti" had something to say about young
Americans in the 1950's whereas "Happy Days" seemed more about what
middle-aged people of the 1970's wished the 1950's had been like. The
result was a kind of watered down fabrication that really has nothing
to do with the 1950's. "Happy Days" is, at best, a comedy-fantasy with
some of the artificial culture of the 1950's as its backdrop. As
pointed out by another reviewer, the all-American kid Richie Cunningham
would probably have been chastised for befriending the likes of a
drop-out like Fonzie. And Mel would probably forbid Fonzie from
entering his Diner.
A quick history: "Happy Days" was originally a pilot called "Love in
the Happy Days" that was rejected for broadcast. Comedy pilots that had
themes concerning sex and romance that did not make it to pilot airing
sometimes appeared on the infrequently broadcast show "Love American
Style" which was often aired in place of baseball games that had rained
out or other unexpected programming cancellations and/or alterations.
In short, "Love American Style" was a throw-away show that contained
all these one-episode comedy pilots that never made it to a slotted
debut. "Love in the Happy Days" did appear as a "Love American Style"
show sometime in the early 1970's, but at the time TV executives could
not foresee how a show about 1950's young people would be popular,
particularly during the hey-day of comedy shows centering around
middle-aged people, such as The "Mary Tyler Moore Show" (and its
subsequent spin-offs such "Rhoda"), "The Bob Newhart Show", and "All in
the Family". (How things have changed since now most TV sitcoms are
about young people and the industry avoids most shows about middle-aged
people like the plague!)
Subsequently, one of the young stars of "Love in the Happy Days", a
child actor from "The Andy Griffith Show" named Ron Howard, got the
chance to star in a film about young people taking place in 1959 called
"American Graffitti" directed by the relatively unknown George Lucas
whose previous "THX 1138" had bombed miserably at the box office. Even
when it was premiered to movie executives, again the studios could not
see how a movie about young people in the 1950's could become popular
because it didn't "fit" with what had been popular in the past,
although they didn't realize that much of the movie-going audience had
been young in the 1950's. As everyone knows, the movie was a huge hit,
and studio executives recognized that they had completely misjudged
their audience. Somewhere during the theatrical run of "American
Graffitti", TV executives realized they had a comedy pilot in their
vault that was a lot like "American Graffitti". They brought it back
with the original cast, plus Henry Wrinkler as "The Fonz", re-titled it
"Happy Days" and the rest is TV history as it became one of the most
popular shows of the 1970's.
"Happy Days" now seems ridiculous. The characters are flat and
cardboard, never being more or less than what they superficially are.
The issues they deal with are trivial. And their reactions appear
mindless and even silly. Nowadays, the character of the Fonz seems to
be a caricature of, well, The Fonz. Was the idea to be a kind of parody
of Marlon Brando's character in "The Wild One"? Looking on the show
with fresh eyes, I feel the producers really missed out on a great
opportunity to present the 1950's with depth and realism that still
could be fun and entertaining. Instead the producers decided on cheap
laughs for quick bucks. This is definitely a show that has not
withstood the test of time. "American Graffitti" has many of the
outward appearances of "Happy Days" but it had an edge. It had an
honesty about the characters and their issues. "Happy Days" took the
look of "American Graffitti" but failed to take its heart.
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