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Old 12-19-2007, 02:55 PM   #15
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Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Massachusetts
Posts: 265

Originally Posted by Snish
It seems to me, though, that the two shows did two quite different things. Maybe I just wasn't that impressed with Fonzie, because I'm inclined to say, "Fonzie jumped over a shark? So what?" To me it doesn't even seem that far off for a character in a show that was silly to begin with. "Cool" is so subjective anyway. Is this really different than any show that makes one weak episode? . . .
Laverne and Shirley, on the other hand, made a major change in format. Moving that show to LA would be like moving Seinfeld to Little Rock. Losing Shirley would be like... replacing Al with a smart-mouthed teenage Observer. So if that's jumping the shark, QL never did it. But it could have if the show continued in the direction it seemed to be going.
Exactly. JTS also has an element of "desperate ratings grab." Like, is anybody really going to believe that Fonzie is going to plunge into a shark-infested tank and be devoured? The "tune in next week to see what happens!!!" was just dumb. (Unlike, say, the "Who Shot JR?" cliffhanger - that was brilliant.) I was in grade school when Happy Days started, and everybody was going around giving the thumbs up, saying "Sit on it!", trying to open up or start things (like lockers and jukeboxes) by thumping them, and of course saying "Aaaay!" - just like Fonzie. We were dorks. For The Fonz, late in the series run, to do something so cheesy and Evel Knievel-ish (no offense to that late gentleman), was very un-cool, and signaled the onset of BEST! EVER! hype that masks the fact that they've run out of ideas.

In the interest of full disclosure, I liked the Elvis and Marilyn episodes, but dispised the Dr. Ruth one (except for certain scenes). So while I get that they were done for ratings, they didn't fundamentally change the character. Dr. Ruth was just, imo, a dumb leap with two annoying people whom I wished Sam wouldn't help because then they'd be twice as annoying. Blood Moon I just chalked up as self-consciously camp, an homage to Dark Shadows.

(My husband has a whole rant about Fonzie, who was a prettied-up, watered-down version of the real leather-jacket punks in his neighborhood in those days. Those guys weren't cool. They were genuinely dangerous. But I digress.)
Your poor husband! M*A*S*H must have been awful for him. I can imagine him going "Hey, NO wacky hijinks in Korea!" (I'm just kidding you, Snish. That mental image was just too funny to let pass.)
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