Happy Days (TV Series 1974–1984) Poster

(1974–1984)

User Reviews

Review this title
74 Reviews
Sort by:
Filter by Rating:
Better in the beginning
wikkedladi12 May 2000
When Happy Days aired, I was in grade school, and like all the kids in my day, I loved "The Fonz" and his "cool" image and what it represented. Of course, ratings are ratings, and the Fonzie became the dominant figure in the show.

Now, as I've watched the reruns on "Nickelodean", I have to admit that the show was of much better quality in its early episodes. It truly was a "family" show with a moral at the end of each episode, without being preachy. It seems that in those early episodes (the first year or year and a half), the show truly did capture the 50's suburban lifestyle.

Once Fonzie became the focus, it does seem now that the show got kind of silly and unbelieveable, and saturated by "Fonzie." Of course, it's not quality of writing that keeps shows alive, unfortunately, and I realize that the show wouldn't have survived as long as it had if it had kept its earlier format. Still, I do greatly enjoy those early episodes when I watch them.
18 out of 18 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Note to Joel S., The Fonz WAS Cool!
TorontoJediMaster28 August 2004
I don't know what Joel S. was watching when he was making comments about Fonzie being a loser.

Fonzie was supposed to be older than the rest of the gang, but not by that many years. Perhaps it was because Henry Winkler was older than the rest of the cast that he looked, as you said, twenty years older.

Fonzie never dated high school girls. He knew they were too young for him. He had morals.

Fonzie being an illiterate high school drop-out? I don't know where you got that from. Fonzie had dropped out of high school when the show started, but one of plot points of the episode where Richie graduated high school was that Fonzie revealed that he'd been secretly going to night school to earn his high school diploma. He graduated with the rest of the gang.

Fonzie living above the Cunningham's garage. That was because he'd given up his own apartment to his grandmother after she'd been forced to leave her own place. He stayed above the garage for so long because he loved he Cunninghams like his own family. He essentially was a part of the family. In the last season, he did move out into a regular apartment. In the last episode he bought a house so that he would be allowed to adopt an orphaned boy he'd befriended. Gee...buying a house so you can provide a good home and be a good parent? Doesn't sound like a loser.

As well, Fonzie also worked several jobs at once. He was (or became) the owner of the garage he worked at. When Arnold's burned down, he put up money to help Al rebuild and became the part-owner. Then, he started teaching shop class at Jefferson High. He later went to a tough school and became the Dean of Boys, so he could help kids who needed guidance.

So, I think Fonzie was a cool character not because of his leather jacket, or motorcycle, or his prowess with girls. I think he was cool because he was a good person who was always willing to help a friend in need. Did you ever see the episode where Al wants to go down to Alabama to join a Civil Rights march? (This was a later episode when the time was the 1960's). Fonzie is concerned about Al's safety and goes with him to look out for him. Fonzie joins Al and a young African-American man in a sit-in at a diner. That doesn't sound like something a loser would do.
60 out of 71 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
First 3 seasons were excellent.
ycvfzs16 February 2009
Happy Days first three seasons rank among the best television made.Very funny,entertaining ,well acted.The show was perfectly cast.Authentic haircuts and fashions,cars etc from the late 1950s when the show took place.A lot of attention always goes to Ron Howard and Henry Wikler,but Donny Most as Ralph was equally good and definitely the funniest character.However when they introduced Scott Baio to the show,around season four it started to slowly decline in quality.Scott Baio was only one reason for the lower quality.A few other reasons,the story lines were not as good or funny.Once the main characters reached college for some reason the show lost some of its spark.A few seasons later Donny Most and Ron Howard left the show,that also contributed to the poorer quality of later episodes.It got to the point where the last 3 or 4 seasons were just ordinary at best but often boring and stupid.The characters even dressed in 1980s fashions and hairstyles when the later seasons took place in the early 1960s.So stick to the early seasons for great entertainment.
11 out of 11 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
A Classic Like a '57 Chevy
Sargebri19 June 2003
This was one of the greatest shows of the 1970's. Many people think of it as a simple comedy, but in the early years the series tackled some serious issues such as racism and nuclear war. The strength of the show was the friendship between Richie and Fonzie. The chemistry between Ron Howard and Henry Winkler made this show a classic. Unfortunately, after Howard left, they tried to keep the show going by focusing on Joanie and Chachi and that was when the show began to go downhill. However, just ignore the final years of the show and pay attention to the early years.
35 out of 42 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
5/10
A Tale of 4 Sitcoms
Greatornot15 February 2009
Once upon a time this show was legendary. The first 2 seasons were fantastic. Basically Fonzie was simply used in few spots and it worked. The mystique was there. It was a show about adolescence in the 50s and had a wonderful character named Chuck. Richies older brother that worked with added plot lines. Than they ditched Chuck for the second phase of HD and you still had a nice show but the mystique of Fonzie was gone. Also the original reason why the show was made was gone. The plots became somewhat sillier but they were acceptable. Bringing in Mork for an episode was silly and may have been the start of the downfall with all due respect for JUMP THE SHARK ep. Mork was not realistic. All of a sudden you had alien existence in a show intended to be realistic viewpoints of growing up adolescents in 1950s Midwest. The show would continue to get sillier with the addition of Chachi. Thus entering the 3rd stage of this show. With an occasional good episode but still a mere shell of its origins. The show at this time was full of itself. More for the marketing of products than anything else. Gary Marshall should be ashamed. Ron Howard left the show for the final stage of this train wreck and has made many wonderful movies as a director. The 4th stage was absolutely horrible. No Richie, but a parade of characters that very few had any affection for. Just sad the way this show was destroyed. I will always cherish the first couple of seasons and tolerate a few more toward the middle of this run. Just a bad way this show went out. The last episode was even so classless as to not show brother CHUCK in the collage ending this show . Thank goodness for earlier seasons coming out on DVD first.
13 out of 15 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Really good show from the 70s....less so in the 80s...
gazzo-23 February 2005
I remember when this show was King, c. '76 or so, Tuesdays at 8pm. It was one of those shows that you watched faithfully, got into the characters, jokes, knew the punchlines beforehand every time, and talked about the day after w/ friends. Kids loved it the most, as the Fonz Was a TV hero like you don't see anymore.

I always felt that this should have ended about 5 years before it did too-when Malph and Richie left. Putting the show on in the 80's w/ Chachi as a lead, set in the '60's, Ted McGinley, etc--it was really outta gas and a shadow of its former self. If you ever see the repeats from c. '82 you know what I mean.

Happy Days was the Malachi Crunch, Fonz jumping things on his bike, swarmed by 'the chicks', Richie learning about adulthood from Fonz, and of course Mr and Mrs C offering their bemused, befuddled support. That was the show. I don't think you could make it again.

*** outta ****
28 out of 37 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
I love Happy Days!
Debfearn4 December 2004
I am 14 years old and I love Happy Days- there should be more programs like it now! I am a fan of older TV shows, as well as new ones [I love Starsky and Hutch], but If I ever need cheering up- I always put Happy Days on. I think I watch at least one episode a day and it puts me in a good mood!

All the characters are fantastic- Richie, Potsie, Ralph, Joanie etc..and who could ever forget The Fonz? What I love about Fonzie is that he is so cool but is also a softie and loves his 'family' The Cunninghams so much.

Watch Happy Days- you won't regret it!

To Happy Days!
30 out of 40 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
The Fonz and Others.
tfrizzell7 June 2004
"American Graffiti"-styled television show that ran a decade (1974-1984) and completed a mind-blowing 255 episodes in all. The show followed the Cunningham family (father Tom Bosley, mother Marion Ross, son Ron Howard and daughter Erin Moran) in Milwaukee throughout the 1950s. Howard, his friends (Don Most and Anson Williams) and their misadventures with school and girls dominated the show's story-lines early on. Would-be motorcycle tough guy punk Henry Winkler (aka Fonzie) stole the show from minute one and he was the main reason why the show survived so long. Cast departures (Howard, Most and diner owner Pat Morita) and additions (Ted McGinley, Scott Baio, Al Molinaro and Morita again) did nothing to change ratings as the show consistently stayed high on the Nielsen scale. Also the father of two lesser spin-offs ("Laverne & Shirley" and "Joanie Loves Chachi"), "Happy Days" proved that one amazing character (Fonz) could basically carry a program's list of shortcomings. 4 stars out of 5.
19 out of 24 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
They were indeed!
grendelkhan6 September 2003
Yes, those were Happy Days, when I watched this show as a child. For quite a while, this was the best show on tv. It outstayed its welcome, but it shined for a time.

The success of the show rests heavily on the performances of Ron Howard, Henry Winkler, Tom Bosley, and Marion Ross. Henry Winkler had tremendous charisma and handled his role with great subtlety, until the writing got out of hand. Ron Howard was the rare case of a child actor whose talent matured with his body. Tom Bosley and Marion Ross were outstanding character actors who brought life to Howard and Marion Cunningham. The cast was rounded out by fine supporting players and guest stars.

It was interesting to watch the 50's nostalgia evolve to the point that the time period was no longer mentioned in the show. It seemed that, by the end, it was set in the present. It's interesting to watch the earliest seasons, with episodes revolving around Adlai Stevenson vs. Eisenhower, or Rock 'N' Roll shows; and compare those to shows revolving around Fonzie as a teacher.

It's a shame that memories of Happy Days are tainted by the later years, and that stupid "jumping the shark" phrase. For a time, this show was unbeatable. It created successful spin-offs, like "Laverne and Shirley" and "Mork and Mindy," as well as less successful ones like "Joannie Loves Chachi." It ruled Tuesday nights and was one of the top ten shows for a long part of its existence.

The one question that remains from this show is, "What happened to Chuck?" Maybe he died in Vietnam, with the Beaver. Oh, wait, that was an urban legend. Maybe he was recruited into the CIA.
21 out of 27 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
First years the best
hillary119 April 2004
I was in jr high school when this show premiered, and I remember my parents thinking it was too "racy" for a 12 year old (Richie makes out with a babysitter). I managed to convince them otherwise and have always loved this show, at least the early years. After Ron Howard left-the heart and soul of the show, no matter what Henry Winkler might have thought-it never regained form and I stopped watching. Anson Williams can't sing, either, by the way. Great quotables (Sit on it!) and fun storylines, not to mention the birthplace of 2 real TV classics of the 70s-we got our first look at "Laverne & Shirley" and "Mork & Mindy" ("I like that kid, Opie")on HD! I love Happy Days but please catch the pre-Richie departure years to experience it at its' peak.
4 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Happy Days
Coxer996 September 1999
One of the most popular television series of all time! It had it all; humor, heart and of course, the Fonz, played perfectly during the show's 10 year run by Henry Winkler. The show also featured great writing and directing and was supported by fans all around the world. It's one of those unique television experiences that should be bottled up and stored away for safe keeping, so that new generations of fans can appreciate and enjoy this treat just as we did.
12 out of 17 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
8/10
A Lot of Happy Days!
Sylviastel27 December 2007
Growing up in the 1980s where seeing shows in reruns or syndication was the norm, I remember Happy Days as a silly, conventional family comedy with Marion Ross as the mother and Tom Bosley as the father with children, Ron Howard and Erin Moran as Richie and Joanie Cunningham. Who could forget Henry Winkler as the Fonz with his black leather jacket? The show appeared light-hearted and rarely did anything more than entertain audiences and families without being so offensive. There was no bathroom humor and we were introduced to characters such as Laverne and Shirley and Mork played by Robin Williams. Happy Days was the opposite of All in the Family where it was more friendly and kind to it's family. We remember the Cunninghams owned a hardware store and Mama Cunningham stayed home but the characters were more than just one notes. They became full-fledged as time went on and the show lasted 10 years but the memories are still intact.
3 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Good at first..then downhill
ridgerunner7731 January 2003
I guess I'm like most people. The first couple of years of Happy Days were terrific but then things went downhill. The show shouldn't have made Fonzie into such an unbelievable character. In the first couple of seasons he was just kind of a greaseball who was on the outskirts then they made him into some kind of superhuman character who could do no wrong. It took away any semblance of reality. Also whatever happened to Chuck (the older brother). If they wanted to get rid of him they should have come up with some kind of excuse instead of just forgetting about him.
5 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Why aren't great shows like this made anymore?
Monika-55 July 2000
I've always thought Happy Days is one of the best shows ever. It was cool, the Cunninghams were great, as was the Fonz, Potsie and Ralph. In later years the love of Joanie and Chachi made the show worthwhile viewing after Richie and Ralph left.

The final season's two two-part episodes were great: the one where Richie comes home, then leaves to be a screenwriter in California (the last scene in that episode always makes me tear up) and the final episodes where Fonzie moves out and Joanie and Chachi get married. Also I loved the episode where Joanie had the crush on Potsie after he sings to her.

The cast and crew truly made Happy Days wonderful. They all had great chemistry, and this show is SO much funnier and better than all the junk shows that are on the air now.

I loved the joke Jay Leno told in a 1997 monolgue about prospective Presidential canidates Dan Quayle and Al Gore: "It's kind of like a race between Ralph Malph and Potsie on Happy Days, isn't it???"
14 out of 23 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Addicted to old t.v.
bobbiekrumm3 June 2004
I love this show. When this show first came out i wasn't even around yet, ( Early 1970s????? not sure) so i get to see it on nick at nite and i have to say I'm addicted. I love the 50s and I've always liked Fonzie. He was cool in so many different ways. He started out tough, but deep downside he was a still a kid at heart.He really did care about people. He just showed it in his own...cool way.. I'm also dying to know what happened to Chuck. t he "older cunningham" they've shouldve really done something about that. like did he go off to war and never come back? did he go to college? did he get in trouble and get sent away? did he get married and leave? I noticed in the later years Mrs C. only mentioned " we raised 2 good children Howard" 2 children??

And what happened to Fonzie's girlfriend and her little Girl? i wouldve like to see those two get married, i thought fonzie was so good with that precious little girl. Every show toward the end gets alittle stagnant. After all the writers can only write so much and you have remember that the things that are on t.v. now could never be mentioned then. And as the characters grew with the times...then new characters had to be introduced to keep the show going. i was never a big Joanie fan, but i did cry at her wedding. ( okay i always cry at weddings..even t.v. weddings) Mrs. C was my favorite t.v. mom. especially in the later years, she was so funny and so loving at the same time. i think she was more realistic than Mrs. Beaver ANYDAY. ( okay tell me who actually VACCUMMED THE HOUSE IN THEIR PEARLS? no mother i know ever dressed up to clean house!! )Yes i love old t.v shows.. I'm hooked on Nick at Nite shows....) and don't get me started on the theme songs, i drive my friends crazy lol.
10 out of 16 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Brilliant in the 1970's,but lost the magic in the 1980's.
rcj536529 September 2005
If there were a "Sitcom Hall Of Fame",the television series,"Happy Days" would surely have a cherished spot as one of the most wholesome family-situation comedy oriented series of the 1970's. The series ran on ABC-TV from its premiere episode on January 15,1974 to the show's final episode on July 12,1984. The show survived until mid-1984 by the way--with an astonishing ten and a half year run on the air. The show was produced by the team of Garry Marshall(who was the show's creator and executive producer)along with some of the best producer,writers to ever be assembled for a series.

"Happy Days",was set in the 1950's Milwaukee,Wisconsin,the heart of middle-class America and it basically told the story of the Cunningham family. Mr. Cunningham(Tom Bosley)ran the local hardware store while Mrs. Cunningham(Marion Ross),was a stay-at-home mom who spent time in the kitchen. Their son,Richie(Ron Howard),hung out at Arnold's Drive-In with his pals Ralph Malph(Donny Most),and Potsie Webber(Anson Williams),who try to be as cool as the coolest greaser in town,Arthur Fonzarelli,better known as "The Fonz"(Henry Winkler). Richie's sister,Joanie(Erin Moran),tagged along whenever she wasn't at her friend's house. The Cunninghams also had an older son Chuck,who mysteriously disappeared after the show's first season. When the series started in 1974(the first season),Richie and his pals were struggling to find dates,and clear up acne,and mostly to fit in with the hip crowd. By the time the show ended,their teenage problems had given way to decidedly adult topics like marriage and having children.

For those who wanted to know that "Happy Days" started out as a pilot in 1971 called "New Family In Town",that was produced by Garry Marshall for ABC. It had the same characters,with the exception of the role of Mr. Cunningham(played in the pilot by Harold Gould). However it was used in a segment episode of the another Garry Marshall produced series,"Love American Style",which was on the same network. By 1973,ABC programmers were looking to cash in on the wave of 1950's nostalgia,which was generated by the hit film "American Graffiti",which was directed by George Lucas and starred Ron Howard. Fortunately,the network executives at ABC did not have to look very far since they remembered Garry Marshall's rejected pilot. ABC called up Marshall and asked him to make some changes to his original concept. He complied,and thus a legend was born when it hit the airwaves in 1974.

"Happy Days" also brought to life the creation of a classic TV character who would become one of the greatest icons of our time. Within its first season,the show climbed into the top ten of the Nielsens. With the character of Arthur Fonzarelli becoming into view, it was Henry Winkler that made him a television icon not to mention a part of the culture of 1970's shows too. Even the catchphrases that were used became national and from there made their way into the hearts of viewers. The phrases were: "Sit On It!" and "Ayyyi!". It was here that the show "Happy Days" went straight to Number One for the first three seasons(1974-76) that it was on the air,and basically gave the network ABC,a domineering force in the ratings competition.

After the success of the first season,Marshall was tinkering with the show,and with public response the audience demanded more and from there Marshall answered the call with three "Happy Days" spin off. First,Marshall created "Laverne and Shirley". Fonzie's friends Laverne DeFazio(Penny Marshall)and Shirley Feeney(Cindy Williams)first appeared in a 1975 episode. In 1976,they were given their own show,"Laverne and Shirley",which ran on the network for seven years (1976-1984)and was a ratings winner as well. Then Garry Marshall used "Happy Days" as a launching pad for Robin Williams' space alien character,Mork. In the fall of 1978,Williams was starring in the second spin off,"Mork and Mindy",which ran on the network for four seasons(1978-1981),and also was a launching pad for Pam Dawber as well. After the success of the these shows,ABC also launched the characters of "The Fonz","Laverne and Shirley",and "Mork" into their own Saturday Morning cartoon shows which were very good.

By the 1980's,the show suffered a decline as well with Ron Howard and Donny Most leaving the show and that would follow with the magic that was once brilliant,but viewers found themselves losing interest with the show and by the last four seasons of the series,it was slipping into a downhill spiral within the ratings and from there Marshall again made several changes. To add new life to the sitcom,the writers added new life to The Cunninghams world as a new rebel move into town,Fonzie's cousin Chachi Arcola(Scott Baio)who had the hots for the Cunninghams daughter Joanie. From there the third and final spin-off of "Happy Days" intitled "Joanie Loves Chachi" was made into a weekly series,which lasted one season. In some of the episodes,most of magic that made this series great was gone by the start of 1983-1984 season. In 1980,the Smithsonian Museum of American History honored the series' role in America's pop-culture history by placing Fonz's leather jacket on display. After an astounding 255 episodes,the final episode of "Happy Days" came on July 12,1984,with the marriage of Joanie and Chachi tying the knot and also in the series final episode was the return of Richie(Ron Howard)and Ralph Malph(Donny Most).
4 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Early episodes are priceless
RNMorton18 April 2003
Great family sitcom born of the 70's nostalgia for the fifties, focusing on the Cunningham family of four (or was it five?). The first two to three year's worth of episodes are timeless and as good as it gets in this genre at any time. In retrospect, as Fonzie draws more attention the show becomes less entertaining, until upon Richie's departure the show becomes pointless. Not to take anything away from Fonzie, one in a long line of cool guys from James Dean and Edd Byrnes to Luke Perry and Vin Diesel; but in retrospect he was more effective in smaller doses. Also, as time goes by the ensemble seems to be playing to the audience in broad fashion rather than doing real comedy. Bosley and Ross get my vote for most enjoyable TV parents of all time.
4 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Great Show The 1st 2 or 3 Years
DDD1DDD9 September 2001
Happy Days was a great show when Ritchie, Potsie, and Ralph were still in high school, but when they moved on to college the show just skyrocketed down hill. The relationship of Chiachi and Joannie turned into boy band type pop with them singing almost half the shows, Jenny Piccolo was useless in the show, and Ted McGinley just has the knack somehow for making every show he's in, to destroy a show. I thought one of the funnier characters in the show was Sheriff Kirk, and Arnold in the earlier shows, but Ashley and LoriBeth were so so. I always thought the Fonz was funnier in his gray jacket days, but when he just had powers beyond belief, it detracted from his character to me.

All that aside, the 1st few seasons were 1st rate. I always loved the show, but it lasted way to long to continue. There were a few shows after Ritchie and Ralph left, and some of the Leather Tuscadero episodes that were good, but it just didn't have the nostalgia feel that the 1st seasons had.
4 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
These days are aaaaaalllllll...
MovieAddict201610 February 2004
The enormously iconic television show that entered "The Fonz" (Henry Winkler) into the records of Americana culture. The TV show lasted ten years, from 1974 - 1984, despite its absurdity and silly ideas. (Kids like Fonzie would never have hung out with characters like Richie [Ron Howard], but who cares? It's good fun.)

This is a fun TV show that I used to watch as a kid on Nick-at-Night. When it's on I still enjoy watching it. Unlike, say, "The Brady Bunch," this show actually gains a great deal of laughter from its corniness--not tired shrugs and grimaces from the viewers.

5/5 - one of my favorite shows of all time.

  • John Ulmer
11 out of 19 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
3/10
Nothing to Do with the 1950's -- Pure Fantasy that Get's Sillier with Age
classicalsteve27 March 2007
"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.
14 out of 26 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Was Great until they gave Fonzie Superpowers
Bats_Breath7 August 2004
"Happy Days" was on the air for a ridiculous 10 years, but the first 2 or 3 years were really good. The series was a 50s nostalgia show made in the 1970s. It was about a geeky, apple pie (but tall and atheletic in that good white bred way) high school kid named Richie Cunningham, his best friend Potsie Webber, and their other friend Ralph Malph who always cracked stupid jokes. Then there was the greaser Fonzie who rode around on a bike. The first couple of years took great pains to show the 1950s accurately, with the actors dressing and looking the part. Fonzie was just an ordinary greaser. The show was so good in those first couple of years, that you never questioned why Fonzie who looked about 22, was being a loser and hanging around a bunch of high school kids and hitting on under age high school girls.

But then the last 7 or 8 years of Happy Days became just utter camp. Potsie went from a normal guy to a total idiot, and somehow Fonzie got superpowers where the mere snap of his fingers would cause all sorts of magical things to happen, including women/high school girls flocking towards him like lemmings. The 5'6 Fonzie also could suddenly beat anyone up and not break a sweat. I also hated how the studio audience would cheer for 3 or 4 minutes when an actor would walk on the set. The actors would even have to pause and let the audience cheers and applause die down, "Hey Mr. C, [audience erupts in applause, cheers, and screams].....I just came down to tell you". It was just stupid. This is an overrated TV series, "Three's Company" was the far better 70s show that still holds up today, at least that show never betrayed it's original premise.
6 out of 10 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
The first 2 seasons were OK
mm-3913 July 2004
Well, the first 2 season were OK. The Fonz was not this super guy, but had street smarts. Pots wasn't that dumb, and was Richie's best friend, while the mouth was the third wheel. As time marched on the Fonz became like 80, and the act became old. Richie's left, before the same happen too him, while Ralph saw the end early too. Pots just got dumber as the show progressed. The story line starts to die out, and become like That 70's show. I believe it hit bottom with the Mork show. As, I became man form a boy, I wonder how I could watch some of the crap this show severed, but I guessed Happy Days was a bit of a kids show, except for the first 2 seasons.

Then as I got older I started to watch Monday Night Football. Stay away from the later re runs.
5 out of 9 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
soup to nuts
billsav578 January 2004
I was in high school when this series started -- I vividly recall the "Love, American Style" episode that began it, and also remember seeing "American Graffiti" in the movies around that time. So even though it took place in the 1950s, it hit home for me and a lot of teenagers. Like many people, I think the early years were excellent, and then things went down the dumper to the point where the final years were nothing but a self-parody. Everybody who was alive at the time has thoughts about the series, but here are some of mine:

1) Didn't they realize how stupid some of the characters looked from about 1976 on, walking around with blow-dried 70s hairstyles when it was supposed to be, at the latest, the 1960s?

2) Who ever, ever, ever came to the conclusion that Anson Williams could sing? He may have been the WORST vocalist ever to attempt a tune on television. He makes you long for one of Bill Shatner's albums.

3) The first Chuck was my preference over the second one. Alas, the true story of Chuck's demise will probably never be known. Somebody ought to make a movie about what happened to Chuck (and send me some royalties if you do).
4 out of 7 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
7/10
Overrated.
piasa8404721 November 2001
This started out as a series about a group of kids in the late 1950's. But when they made the Fonz a larger than life icon, this series took a dive in quality. This was Richie's series, and when he left, the show should have went the way of Chuck. Any episode where Mr. C and Fonzie are buddy buddy is enough to make most viewers ill.
5 out of 10 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
"Happy Days"
sewheele9 November 2001
One of the previous reviewers on this page put it best: "Happy Days" started out as a pretty good show, then fell flat on its face once Fonzie became the primary focus. During its first two years, "Happy Days" played as a lighter version of "The Wonder Years" or, more appropriately", TV's own "American Graffiti". A nice bunch of teens hangin' out and cruisin' for chicks in a romanticized 1950s Milwaukee made for a solid half-hour of television. Richie Cunningham was TV's everykid, and his relationship with genial father Howard provided the backbone for most of the show's best episodes.

Then came the Fonz. At first, Fonzie was an intriguing character. While he was a slightly older kid with a greaser attitude, he possessed a depth that made him a good counterpoint to Richie's clean-cut image. But after Fonzie obtained a great deal of popularily, the show's focus shifted his way and became unbelieveably moronic. A typical episode: some one-dimensional "jerk" either bullies Richie's gang or steals the Fonz's girl, prompting the Fonz to shout "Ayyyyyyyyeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!" and snap his fingers. This caused the "jerk" to run away, and the gang celebrates in sheer idolatry for the Fonz at "Arnold's". In between, there are loads of horrible puns and catchphrases. Not surprisingly, the show's ratings went up after the sharp decline in quality (Remember, "Three's Company" was the top ratings-getter at the time). Such is life.
3 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
An error has occured. Please try again.

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews


Recently Viewed