What I’ve Learned From Happy Days


You need to read this blog post in your best old lady voice.

Back in my day….

watching the TV (or the idiot box as we called it back then) was a very different experience to what it is now. There were no DVD box sets (because the DVD had not yet been invented) and there was certainly no binge watching your favorite series. In fact in the 1970s our lives were pretty much dictated by the networks. Whole populations sat down to watch the same thing at the same time and tolerated the ads. Some even joked that the ads were more entertaining than the main programs – a sentiment rarely expressed nowadays.

People who wished to avoid commercials were forced to stand up and physically turn a nob on the the TV set in order to switch over to the ABC. Note there was no SBS and therefore no nudity. At the time the ABC was distinctly uncool – with the exceptions of Countdown and Kenny Everett. I was not  permitted view either because of their corrupting influence. Its a small wonder that I became chaste teetotaler who has never so much as cast a lustful glance at a man let alone entertained impure thoughts.

I wasn't allowed to watch Kenny Everett because clearly it was too rude.

I wasn’t allowed to watch Kenny Everett because clearly it was too rude. Paul Hogan on the other hand was parent sanctioned.

Anyhow – every night before the National Nine News with Brian Henderson – the news you could trust, we watched Happy Days – a program that accurately portrayed the 1950s as a wholesome utopia. No wonder Tony Abbott wants to go back. Here are the life lessons imparted.

1) The gentlemen’s convenience at your local diner can double as office space. When the Fonz required a man to man discussion with any of the gang they were invited into his “office” ie the bog. I am sure that unscrupulous real estate agents have since tried to push this concept.

2) The red headed valedictorian is the most marriageable member of any high school clique. This lesson sank in and I married an over achieving red head. In keeping with the theme, if Dadabulous is Richie Cunningham (in an alternative universe where Richie is a gun software developer instead of a journalist) my brother in law is Ralph Malph.*

3) Any malfunctioning electronic device can be fixed by thumping it with just the right amount of pressure.

4) Success must always be denoted by a heartfelt “Aaaaaaye” and a thumbs up gesture. Two thumbs up is the ultimate mark of respect.

5) Jenny Piccolo (Joanie’s BFF) was boy crazy. “Aaaaaaaye”  and a double thumbs up.

6) Double thumbs up also to Pinky Tuscadero, a motorbike riding bad ass in hawt pants. What a feminist role model.

7) Ditto for Pinky’s guitar playing younger sister Leather. Chix rocked decades before the Spice Girls. (Which is a moot point because the Spice Girls don’t exactly rock).

Before Grrl Power was a thing.

Before Grrl Power was a thing.

8) The leather clad bad boy is really a marshmallow on the inside.

The bad boy in leather is never really that bad.

The bad boy in leather is never really that bad.


Sorry Rollo. You're a badass!

Sorry Rollo. You’re an utter  badass! and incidentally Errrramaaagaaaawd.

9) The average middle class American housewife aspired to do the housework in heels and full makeup. Thank heavens the bra burners came along when they did. Double thumbs up Germaine Greer.

Housework all day and not a hair out of place.

Housework all day and not a hair out of place.

10) In an episode that went to air on September 20 1977, the Fonz attempted to jump over a shark on water skis. The stunt was regarded as a desperate attempt to reignite floundering ratings. The expression “Jump the shark” was coined.  When a TV program or movie franchise goes to increasingly silly lengths to keep viewer interest it is said to have “jumped the shark.”

The Fonz - the original Shark Jumper

The Fonz – the original Shark Jumper 11)

11) Richie Cunningham found his thrill on blueberry hill.

12) I recently read that the actors who played Pottsy Weber and Ralph Malph are still besties who get together regularly. It made me smile to think that Ralph and Pottsy are still hanging out. Nowadays they are probably discussing grand children and super funds rather than chicks and the Fonz’ general awesomeness.

What shows marked your youth? Did they give you valuable life lessons? How hawt is Rollo? I know I keep banging on about it but seriously how hawt is he?



* Because my BIL is known for his sense of humor.


22 thoughts on “What I’ve Learned From Happy Days

  1. Where has rollo been all my life?! Is that Vikings? And can I please have some more rollo?
    In regards to shows of my youth. We were a big “a country practice” household. I cried over a TV death for the first time and I wanted to be a vet (I’m not) x

  2. I still fix malfunctioning objects by thumping them!

  3. I loved Happy Days – but I did watch Kenny Everett and did not register it as off the charts at all – but everytime I read about it I think it must have been so far ahead of it’s time…

  4. Rollo, you say? Hmmmm….mmmmmmm……..

  5. Happy Days was one of the few shows Dad would let us watch without rubbishing it. Laverne and Shirley failed to escape his scathing diatribe. I think Dad loved Fonzie. We used to have Tony Barber’s Temptation on while we watched dinner.

  6. I use the phrase “Jump the shark” regularly. (unfortunately, when you think about it!) 😉

  7. BAHHAHHAHHAHAHHAHAH! That Richie/Ralph comparison is GOLD! Gosh I loved this show, I can’t even tell you how much. I think that Fonzie was my first ever celebrity crush.

  8. We weren’t allowed to watch The Simpsons because it was too rude but we were allowed to watch Beverly Hills 90210. Go figure! I think mum might have been on the right track seeing as my hubby’s TV life lesson is “you don’t make friends with salad”…

  9. One of my all time faves! I love it when I catch my boys watching it too.

  10. One of my all time fave shows. I also love it when I catch my boys watching it x

  11. My fave part of Happy Days was when they really got raunchy by blowing into each other’s ears! WTF?!

  12. There were heaps of shows that we weren’t allowed to watch and as I got older I was quite miffed that I couldn’t watch Neighbours when everyone at school was.

  13. I loved Happy Days. The boys in my class all wanted to be Fonzie. Around that same time I also loved Welcome Back Kotter, Little house on the Prairie, The Brady Bunch, and The Waltons. And when I was watching those programs not only had the DVD not been invented but we also were quite a few years away from getting a VCR in our house. LOL
    There was nudity though – Alvin Purple and Number 96. I wasn’t allowed to watch them but I had a little black and white portable TV in my room and sometimes used to sneak a look at the odd episode so i could talk about it with the older kids at tennis on Saturday!

  14. You still have DVD box sets? I desperately want netflix but I’m told I need a special cord for my computer to connect to my TV or a thing called a Chromecast. I’ve been told I may as well toss away my DVDs. I can’t even …

    • I know I sounded very backward with that one. We do infact use iTunes and Google Play. Sadly you still can not get Game of Thrones on either and therefore have to pirate it.

  15. I loved all the old reruns and Fonzie was awesome. I loved The Addams Family, Different Strokes, The Muppets, The Brady Bunch, The Greatest American Hero, Wonder Woman, The 6 million dollar man, Mork and Mindy, Lassie and so much more.

    Different Strokes and Mork and Mindy helped to educate me that everybody is different in their own way and that we need to embrace our differences.

  16. Oooooh, I didn’t know that’s where “jump the shark” came from. Thank you Mumabulous! There a little piece of pop-cultural language I now understand and previously just pretended to …

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