|Michael Spound and Crystal Bernard on Happy Days.
Crystal Bernard was obviously brought onto Happy Days in Season 10 to replace Erin Moran, who had been moved over to the ill-fated Thursday night spinoff Joanie Loves Chachi. With Erin gone, Happy Days still needed a perky young female character, and Crystal was there to fill that role. But is there any significant difference between Crystal's character, K.C. Cunningham, and Erin's character, Joanie Cunningham? Well, yes. Somewhat. Let's get into it.
From the earliest days of the series, Joanie was Happy Days' resident smart aleck—a quip-slinging, precocious little wisenheimer whose barbs keep the other characters, especially her brother Richie (Ron Howard), in check. Over time, Joanie matured, and her personality evened out a bit. She was still feisty and strong-willed, but she was no longer so caustic with her remarks. She showed a little more vulnerability, too, letting us know that even the seemingly fearless Joanie occasionally doubted herself. In many ways, she lost her autonomy due to her romantic relationship with Chachi (Scott Baio), though the two still argued frequently.
K.C, on the other hand, is supposed to have had an extremely sheltered childhood, even attending a religious boarding school in Texas before coming to live with her uncle, Howard (Tom Bosley), and his wife, Marion (Marion Ross), in the suburbs of Milwaukee. She is extremely naïve, gullible, and innocent—the ultimate goody two shoes. This makes her an interesting foil for the more worldly, boy-crazy Jenny Piccalo (Cathy Silvers).
The Season 10 episode "Prisoner of Love" gives K.C. one of her most interesting showcases on Happy Days. The plot has her falling for a newly-arrived mechanic named Jim (Michael Spound), only to learn that he's a convict on a work release program. Chaste as their relationship is, this is still one of the most scandalous chapters in K.C.'s young life. How does she handle it? Find out on this week's edition of These Days Are Ours: A Happy Days Podcast.