I'm not proud to admit this, but I watched the Happy Days reunion special on ABC last night. Why? I'm not really sure, but one reason is that I found it hard to believe that thirty years have passed since the show first came on the air. It seems like only yesterday to me, which is pretty scary. In fact, I might not have believed it had been thirty years if I hadn't seen the stars of the show as they look now. It's been thirty years, all right. Geez, I'm almost afraid to look in a mirror today.
When the show was on, I didn't see it very often. In those days I taught a night class every semester, usually on the night that Happy Days aired. I must have caught some of it in reruns, though, because I'm familiar with all the characters and a lot of the shtick. I quit watching completely, however, long before Fonzie jumped the shark and before Joanie and Chachi got romantically involved. And I confess that I've never seen a single episode of Joanie Loves Chachi. Which brings up a question: Is it just me, or did those two seem to be avoiding each other last night? They never spoke or even looked at each other. I know that Erin Moran's had some problems since the show was canceled. Maybe that's it.
One of the things I didn't like about the Happy Days was that for me it never really captured what the '50s were like for a teenager, not like American Graffiti did. Although the pilot for Happy Days was made before that movie (and seems to have led to Ron Howard's getting a part in it), I always thought of Happy Days as a sort of watered-down version of the movie. And one thing that irritated me was that sometimes they didn't even bother to get the details right. There was a good example in one of the snippets last night when Ritchie tossed a copy of Irving Shulman's The Amboy Dukes into a drawer. The cover was clearly not anything from the 1950s. Probably a '60s or '70s reprint.
And of course the show jumped the shark long before that famous episode. It went off the track when it softened Fonzie and made him cuddly.
Still, I watched the whole two-hour reunion and found myself growing nostalgic for the show. Maybe I'll catch a rerun one of these days.