Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Podcast Tuesday: "More Like Lumber JERKS, Am I Right?"

Ben Davidson hoists Lynda Goodfriend as Ron Howard watches on Happy Days.

It's inevitable. Sooner or later, the writers on every sitcom grow tired of utilizing the same few sets over and over. How many scenes can you write featuring the same kitchen, living room, and restaurant week after week? It begins to feel like you're trapped in TV purgatory! Eventually, you want to take your characters and put them somewhere else -- anywhere else -- just to see how they react to a new environment.

That's how we get episodes like "Rules to Date By" from the fifth season of Happy Days in 1978. This story takes young Richie Cunningham (Ron Howard) and his pals to a remote lumberjack bar in northern Wisconsin during a snowstorm. Why are they there? Don't worry about it. It has something to do with rocker Leather Tuscadero (Suzi Quatro) needing a backup band. Why Fonzie (Henry Winkler) tagged along, I cannot say. 

The point is, the plot of this episode takes the Happy Days characters far out of their comfort zone. See, this week, Richie's been arguing with his girlfriend Lori Beth (Lynda Goodfriend) because he thinks she's too friendly with other men. Well, at the Blue Ox Inn, Lori Beth's friendliness attracts the unwanted romantic attention of a hulking lumberjack called Oaktree (Ben Davidson). Can Richie and Fonzie save Lori Beth from this log-rolling lothario? Tune in and find out!

You can find out what we thought of "Rules to Date By" by listening to the latest episode of These Days Are Ours: A Happy Days Podcast. It's embedded below. Enjoy!