I was surprised and delighted by the early episodes of Happy Days, and still enjoying it by the mid-point of season 2. A while back, I finished watching the 23 episodes of season 2. The second half of the series was … OK.
By common consent, the moment of change for Happy Days comes with the mid-second-season episode Fonzie’s Getting Married — the only episode in the first two seasons to be filmed before a live audience. Sure enough, that episode is rather broader than what had preceded it, but I’d expected that the remainder of season 2 would revert to the rather endearing show that I’d so enjoyed the first season of, before launching out into the new direction in season 3.
Not so much. What remains is the show I remember from when I was ten or eleven years old: lots of broad comedy, the Fonz being cool and the other characters orbiting around him. But all the wistfulness of the first series, and the emotional honesty of the relationship between Ritchie and his father, and the tentative quality to the plots, has gone. And those were the things that made early Happy Days more than a sitcom.
So I am bailing. It’s been fun, but I don’t need to see more of the same.