Tuesday, October 4, 2022

Podcast Tuesday: "Fonzie Has Richie's Baby"

Henry Winkler, an unnamed baby, and Lynda Goodfriend on Happy Days.

Some people just have to be the center of attention all the time, no matter the circumstances. You know the type—the bride at every funeral and the corpse at every wedding. On Happy Days, Milwaukee mechanic Arthur "Fonzie" Fonzarelli (Henry Winkler) is such a person. A shameless showboat, he thrives on attention and withers without it. He has to make everything about himself.

The Season 9 episode "Little Baby Cunningham" is a perfect example. The plot has Lori Beth (Lynda Goodfriend), wife of Fonzie's best friend Richie Cunningham (Ron Howard), giving birth to her first child. Since Richie is stationed in Greenland with the Army, however, Fonzie takes Richie's place, both in natural childbirth classes and in the delivery room. When Richie, Jr. is born, Fonzie is even the first to hold him! Through all these events, Fonzie carries on melodramatically, stealing focus from Lori Beth, who should be at the center of this story.

If all this sounds a little familiar, it's because Happy Days basically did the same thing in "R.C. and L.B. Forever," in which Fonzie stands in for Richie at the latter's wedding. Ron Howard left the show in 1980 after seven seasons, allowing costar Henry Winkler to take over the show completely. Well, except for Chachi (Scott Baio). Anyway, "Little Baby Cunningham" is very much a sequel to "R.C. and L.B. Forever." Once again, Fonzie replaces Richie during a major life milestone and hams it up shamelessly the entire time.

Does this make for a good episode or a bad one? Find out when we review "Little Baby Cunningham" on These Days Are Ours: A Happy Days Podcast