Happy Days (S1)
WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Happy Days was a popular 70’s show about the ups and downs of teenage life in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in the 1950’s. The show ran for many years and now the complete first season is at last available on a 3–disc DVD for our viewing pleasure. So let’s look into the hit episodes that many of us have grown up with as the Cunninghams, Potsie, Ralph Malph and, of course, Fonzie take us on a nostalgic ride back to Arnold’s Drive-In.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
Growing up in the JoBlo household, Happy Days was a beloved program we all joined in to watch together. Over the years, it has only grown in my heart due to lack of re-reruns so I had truly missed these episodes, as opposed to say Seinfeld which we can still see every day in syndication. It’s hard not to like this show, with all its beloved characters and funny stories. We have super clean cut Richie Cunningham, played by the now-famous director Ron Howard, and his best friend Potsie Weber (Anson Williams), joined by their third partner in fun, Ralph Malph (Donny Most). But the coolest of them all is, without a doubt, Fonzie (Henry Winkler), aka The Fonz aka Arthur Fonzarelli, the high school drop-out all the boys look up to. The leather jacket does not appear until the sixth episode, and in this first season, Fonzie is a bit less “cool” than he becomes later on, when he adds such iconic gestures to his repertoire such as the famous “Aye” and two thumbs up. He is more like one of the guys here. Which is fine, because it works. It was cool to see Arnold’s Drive-In again and the meetings the boys have in “the office”, which is actually the boys’ bathroom. Lots has happened in that place over the years, and most of it was funny.
As far as the Cunningham family goes, little sister Joanie is too young to have her own storylines yet, but she does play the nosy, gossipy kid sister really well. Richie’s mom and dad, Marion and Howard, are the ultimate parents, as they are so understanding and cool, always teaching with kind words rather than punishment. Mr. C especially plays the father everyone would love to have. There is also older brother Chuck, the basketballer, but his role is almost negligible, as it always has been. The shows are sweet, funny and even make a social commentary for the time. My favorite show was “Great Expectations” where Richie meets a pregnant beatnik and gives her a place to stay at his home. It’s a funny episode, and good for the time as there were beatniks around then. Another important show was “The Best Man” which is about racism in 1950’s America. It hits hard, and it is also funny particularly when Mrs. C tells their black dinner guest “Oh, just forget that we are white” after he tells her it feels awkward to eat with white folks. She’s adorable.
The Cunningham household feels like home, it is warm and cozy, and people who live there are so nice. The show really radiates this feeling of warmth and goodness, and shows us a time where things were a bit simpler & sweeter and I liked that aspect too. Last but not least, the music to the show is amazing, with all kinds of classics from the 50’s such as the classic hit “Tequila”, many Elvis songs and let's not forget the theme song “Rock Around the Clock” by Bill Haley and the Comets. The only element I missed here was Chachi, but he will come in future seasons. He was so cute.
All fans of HAPPY DAYS will want to own this DVD set and I guarantee you will love it. Even if you did not grow up with this hit show, as most of us in a certain age group have, you will still love and enjoy these 16 classic episodes because they are a good time to be had, a time in which you can lose yourself in another world for a bit, a world where things were different, not necessarily better and certainly amusing.