Tuesday, September 12, 2023

Podcast Tuesday: "Deep Shvitz"

Anson Williams, Ted McGinley, and Scott Baio on Happy Days.

For a show whose entire purpose is getting viewers to remember the past, Happy Days has a surprisingly spotty memory for its own past. Continuity was simply not a priority for the writers and producers of this long-running ABC sitcom. Fairly major life events could be repeated (such as Fonzie having his tonsils taken out) or forgotten (such as Marion returning to college) without anyone noticing. Actors could come back as multiple, different characters (as both Ken Lerner and Warren Berlinger did), and no one would be the wiser. And even recurring cast members could vanish from Happy Days with scarcely a comment. This was the ignominious fate of Chuck Cunningham, Eugene and Melvin Belvin, Flip Philips, K.C. Cunningham, and more. 

So it's somewhat touching that, when Ashley Pfister (Linda Purl) and her daughter Heather (Heather O'Rourke) were dropped from the show at the end of Season 10 for budgetary reasons, the writers of Happy Days bothered to give us a reason for their absence. In the Season 11 episode "Where the Guys Are," Fonzie (Henry Winkler) informs us -- or, more specifically, informs guest star Rita Wilson -- that his relationship with Ashley ended when Ashley's newly sober ex-husband resurfaced, wanting to reconcile with her. Sure, this same basic thing happened to Fonzie back in Season 6 (during the "Kid Stuff" episode), but a recycled explanation is still better than none at all.

You might've noticed that picture up there of Anson Williams, Ted McGinley, and Scott Baio wearing towels and wondered what that has to do with Linda Purl leaving Happy Days. Well, it'll all be explained in this episode of our podcast. Why not listen and find out?