Happy Days #2
January 28, 2013
These days are aaaaallll... filled with bad comics like this one.
Linkara: (wearing a leather jacket instead of his usual coat) Heeeey, and welcome to Atop the Fourth Wall, where bad comics burn.
(He holds up an MP3 player and pushes a button on it. The theme from Happy Days plays)
Singers: Sunday, Monday, happy days, / Tuesday, Wednesday, happy days...
(Footage of the TV show Happy Days is shown)
Linkara (v/o): Ah, Happy Days, the beloved '70s and '80s sitcom about a family in the '50s and '60s, the sitcom that gave birth to the phrase "jumping the shark", produced five spinoffs, kick-started Henry Winkler's career, and is one of the many things that Ron Howard is known for.
Linkara: I never watched it when it was first airing, mostly because I didn't exist at the time, but growing up, I watched it a lot on TV Land, mainly because of, well, the Fonz.
(Footage of Winkler's character, Arthur "Fonzie" Fonzarelli, AKA "The Fonz", is shown)
Linkara (v/o): The Fonz was coolness personified: awesome leather jacket, could kick anyone's ass, rode around on a motorcycle, was the ultimate ladies' man, and could get electronics to work simply by hitting them. Happy Days was massively popular in its heyday, even managing to occupy the top five shows in Nielsen ratings for three years. And naturally, that success meant that it would get other media associated with it...
(Cut to a shot of one such media, a comic book)
Linkara (v/o): ...including a comic book. And that brings us to today's subject, produced by Gold Key.
(Shots of past Gold Key comics are shown, many of them based off of TV shows, including Scooby-Doo, Where Are You?, Star Trek and Adam-12)
Linkara (v/o): You'll recall Gold Key as being the ones who produced several TV show comics, including Star Trek and Adam-12. Still, this does make one wonder something...
Linkara: How the hell do you turn a sitcom into a comic book, anyway? Well, short answer: Archie ripoff. Long answer: really lame Archie ripoff.
(More footage of the show is shown)
Linkara (v/o): I shouldn't be surprised by this comic, though. I mean, they managed to make it into an animated series, too. I mean, how bizarre could that have been?
(Cut to the intro of that show: The Fonz and the Happy Days Gang)
Narrator (Wolfman Jack): His dog is named Mr. Cool and the Good Group, one flaky time machine and... a future chick, name of Cupcake. Oh, now the gang got zapped into that time machine, and they're like traveling through time!
Linkara: (nonplussed) Why the hell am I not reviewing that right now? (rolls eyes) Ugh! Anyway, let's just dig into (holds up today's comic) "Happy Days #2".
(AT4W title theme plays, and title card has the Happy Days theme playing in the background. Cut to a closeup of the comic's cover)
Linkara (v/o): The cover sucks. It's bad enough that it's a photo cover; I could accept that, since they're trying to let people know it's based on the show, but I don't even know what the hell is going on with it. We have Fonzie on roller skates, holding a phone, and bizarre lightning-shaped patterns connecting him to a picture of Richie, who is clearly not on a phone, and a second one to Richie's family – again, not on a phone. Is Fonzie calling their pictures? Is this like a Harry Potter thing with the pictures that move? I'm pretty sure those can't talk to you. Then again, I've seen all of, like, one Harry Potter movie; they might do that. Although, the Fonz in the Harry Potter universe would make a lot of sense, given the abilities he's demonstrated. (imitates Hagrid) You're a wizard, Fonzie.
Text: Dial F-O-N-Z for fantastic!
Linkara: (angrily) THAT IS NOT HOW THAT WORKS!
Linkara (v/o): The book is an anthology, so we have multiple stories to cover, starting with: "The Great Fonzarelli".
Linkara: Also known as the name of my new Italian cookbook.
Linkara (v/o): We open with Richie, the main character of most of Happy Days, being talked to by some guys, and while this is supposed to be Richie, he has blond hair inexplicably, even though Ron Howard is and was a redhead.
Guy 1: Consolidated Charities wants you, Richie Cunnigham!
Linkara: (as this guy) You will be our ritual sacrifice to the god of charity!
Guy 2: Yes, you... to be the magician in its first annual fund-raising carnival.
Linkara: I... don't think you can just randomly pick someone to be a magician.
Linkara (v/o): And Richie even points out that he doubts he's up to it. Instead, however, as the Fonz is pulling up, Richie says that he'd be a great sorcerer.
Linkara: Oh, come on! What makes you think that the Fonz is gonna be any good at magic whatso–
(Before he can finish, however, we cut to an episode of Happy Days, showing Fonzie running his hand over a door and hitting it once with his fist, much to the amusement of Mork the alien)
Mork (Robin Williams): Aha!
(Then the Fonz blows on the door and it falls in)
Linkara: (beat) Withdrawn.
Linkara (v/o): The Fonz is naturally uncertain when Richie tells him he's got a job for him.
Richie: Fonz, now you can pay your debt to society...be a good guy... doing what comes naturally...
FonzIE: Nobody ever paid me for that before!
Linkara: Ha! It's funny that you think you're gonna get paid.
Fonzie: Me?? A magician? I wouldn't know where to start...
Richie: Sure you would...
Linkara (v/o): No punctuation mark...
Richie: You've got what it takes. Pizzazz!
Linkara: No, you still need to know some magic tricks, dude! Standing on stage for ten minutes and going, "Heeeeeey!", only works if you're at a convention.
Linkara (v/o): Richie tells some others that Fonzie is going to do the magic act.
Fonzie: Not so fast, Cunningham! I didn't say yes... I didn't say no...
Linkara (v/o): Aaaand on the next panel...
Fonzie: I gave it some thought Cunningham and, ah, I'll do it...
(Cut to a clip of the Mystery Science Theater 3000 gang watching The Thing That Couldn't Die)
Tom Servo: Wow, they held the tension for a full second.
(Cut back to the comic)
Fonzie: There is one condition! You, Weber and Ralph will do your bit too! Come on as the Moonmen, music from outerspace!
Linkara: I don't think music from the hearts of space is really gonna get people excited to see magic, dude.
(He snaps his fingers, and much to his surprise, "Neranzoula" by Irene Papas plays in the background. He shakes his head)
Richie: The moonmen... Music from outerspace... What a great idea! The guys will love it!
Linkara: (laughs) No, it isn't.
Fonzie: Now I've got to figure out how to make magic!
Linkara: Based on my experience, you spend three months searching for a wizard who then tells you that you're an asshole.
Linkara (v/o): That night, Fonzie is having dinner with the Cunningham family.
Richie: What are you worried about, Fonzie?
Linkara: That he could fail miserably, become the laughingstock of the town, and end up costing the charity thousands of dollars. No biggie.
Mrs. Cunningham: You could see teeth to chickens...
Mr. Cunningham: ...or teach a cow how to fly...
Linkara: I'm pretty sure salesmanship and educational skills are not the same thing as magic tricks.
Fonzie: Fly... Fly?? I think I've got it!
Linkara: (as Fonzie) I'll skip town on the next flight!
Linkara (v/o): Fonzie says he could make a girl levitate. And now they're at Arnold's Cafe, and Richie's hair is more red. What the hell did Fonzie pause in the middle of his thought and then resume again the next day? A girl named Cheryl stops by their table and Fonzie suggests to her that she could be the one to do it. And then we cut to the backstage of the charity performance. Welcome to the comic that time forgot; just huge chunks of scenes feel left out. Don't have Fonz answer a question right away; just cut to it later so it might as well be right away. Have him exclaim that he has the answer, and then cut to the next day where he explains said answer. And here we've jumped ahead to the theater and the girl is lying on a table for the magic act. Fonzie has rigged up a pulley system that will lift the table up, thanks to near-invisible strings to give the illusion that he's making it levitate.
Cheryl: What if the wire breaks... if the platform tips... if I fall...
Linkara: My God, she's right! She could fall down all of three feet!
Richie: She's right! What would we do? There's no guarantee this thing will even work!
Fonzie: It worked today, didn't it?
Linkara (v/o): Uh, then why is everyone complaining? If it works, it works.
Fonzie: The dress rehearsal was perfect. Let's wrap it up for the night!
Richie: You know what they say about dress rehearsals! A good dress rehearsal means a jinxed performance!
Linkara: (glowering at camera) Okay, I know that that's a real theater superstition, but it's a really stupid one. Why the hell do you even have a dress rehearsal if you actually think showing that you have it all down means failure for the real performance?!
Linkara (v/o): And why would you tell that to Fonzie?! Sure, the guy exudes confidence from every follicle of perfect hair, but you don't want to try to get the guy nervous, do you? So the night of the performance comes and... Dear God, what the hell are they wearing? Look, some people can pull off costumes and makeup for their band. You guys can't. Unless, of course, your band was called Plan 9 and the Rejected Muppets. Fonzie has been forced out of his jacket and is instead wearing a fake mustache, a turban, and some weird-ass wizard muumuu. You traded leather Tuscadero for goofy Tuscadero!
Audience member: Bravo! Bravo!! Bring back the moonmen!
Linkara (v/o): Wait, if the band was that damn good, why the hell did they even bother with the magician crap? Just get Richie's band to play a full concert! Anyway, the band rushes to set everything up. What follows are supposed to be them trying to get things done fast, though that just makes me wonder what the hell the stage crew are doing. They pull open the curtain before Fonzie's onstage. Cheryl also trips before going onstage, but she's fine, and the trick goes off successfully, if slightly delayed. Otherwise, everything happens perfectly.
(Cut to a clip of the MST3K gang watching Devil Doll)
Servo: And another six dollars is raised for charity.
(Back to the comic again)
Linkara (v/o): And so, the story ends with Fonzie saying...
Fonzie: Next time give me something easy... like bringing back George Washington!
Linkara: Yeah, because doing a single trick with only minor complications was truly (exaggeratedly) the height of difficulty! (shrugs)
(Cut to Linkara wearing a blue outfit)
Linkara: (arms crossed) We'll be right back, ya Slifer Slackers!
(He walks off as the AT4W logo appears in the corner; we go to commercial. Upon return, Linkara appears again in his outfit)
Linkara: And now we're back. I love this outfit.
(He walks off as the AT4W logo appears in the corner; cut back to the comic as the review resumes)
Linkara (v/o): Our next story is "An Offer You Can't Refuse".
Linkara: If I did refuse it, can I just skip to the end?
Linkara (v/o): A bunch of dorks on motorcycles are riding around in front of Arnold's.
Biker 1: Come on, guys... let's show these pansies what real men are like!
Biker 2: Chick's right!
Linkara: Real men are named "Chick".
Linkara (v/o): The bikers go in and try to hit on some girls while Richie's band is performing on stage without stupid-looking costumes. As the girls are accosted, the band performs "Earth Angel", until Marty McFly comes onstage to sing "Johnny B. Goode". No, Richie instead comes down to tell the bikers to knock it off. The bikers challenge Richie and his friends to a rumble, but one of the girls quickly summons the cops to prevent things from getting out of hand... who all arrive brandishing guns! Look, I know there were mobsters running around town that one time, but you don't need to be this trigger-happy! The bikers make a quick getaway, and we cut to the next night. One of the bikers, who looks like a greasier Shaggy from Scooby-Doo, starts hassling Al to get in on a protection racket. He actually looks kind of bizarre; his big chin and cartoonish features kind of clash with the slightly more realistic look of everyone else. He really does look like he belongs in "Archie" and not this. So, Shaggy here says that for $150, Al will never see him again and they'll call off the rumble. Instead of, you know, calling the cops... Even Richie suggests doing so, but then promptly forgets about it. ...Richie says that he can help deal with this. As such, he heads over to Fonzie's place. Naturally, (suggestive voice) the Fonz is with a lady who was just leaving, (normal again) even though they were just sitting on the couch. Now, you might think that Richie just interrupted Fonzie's happy days by coming over, but we all know that Fonz does not actually sleep with any women. They just kind of make out or hang on him for a period of time and then fade into nonexistence, like some kind of fairy or other mystical creature. I also noticed that as the comic progresses, Richie looks more and more like how he should properly; his hair is getting more orange-colored and he now has freckles.
Linkara: I guess Mork was just screwing around with the gang again and transforming him into Fred from Scooby-Doo. (suddenly, a thought comes to him) Wait a second!
Linkara (v/o): Richie looks like Fred, the biker looks like Shaggy, and that woman leaving Fonzie's place did kinda look like Daphne. Okay, if a woman with short hair and glasses appears, I give up. Anyway, Richie explains the situation to Fonz.
Fonzie: They're bullies! And cowards. Call their bluff and they'll leave you alone!
Linkara: Uh, Fonz, if they're willing to extort money out of people and threaten them, I doubt they're that afraid to fight.
Linkara (v/o): The Fonz goes into his closet and pulls out some leather jackets for Richie, Ralph Malph, and Potsie. What, Fonz? You aren't gonna give them your old tan windbreaker? Also, Richie is blond again, possibly because they were afraid we couldn't distinguish between him and Ralph Malph since they're both redheads. Ralph even looks at himself in the mirror.
Ralph: This sure feels funny...
Linkara: (looking down at his pants) Uh, Fonzie, are these pants supposed to ride up in the front so much?
Linkara (v/o): Also, why is this panel here? Anyway, they gather in front of Arnold's in their leather jackets and whatnot, and a helpful little caption informs us that these are... "The Avengers!"
Linkara: Yeah, if you're wondering why, in the movies, nobody had faith in the Avengers' initiative, meet Nick Fury's first attempt at the team!
Linkara (v/o): Later, Shaggy arrives, and Fonzie confronts him with the others. However, it turns out he was operating on his own initiative and apologizes.
Shaggy: I was just trying to prove I could be more than a second banana so Chick would think I was a regular guy...
Linkara (v/o): I don't know why, but there's something about that sentence that seems incredibly stupid. Anyway, Al offers Shaggy a job as a waiter, and he reveals his real name is Harold. (laughs awkwardly) Was that supposed to be a joke? I don't get it. Story over!
(Cut to a clip of the MST3K gang watching The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies)
Crow: We hoped you've enjoyed No-Moral Theater.
(Cut back to the comic)
Linkara (v/o): And thus, we arrive at our final story, and dear Lord, is this one a waste of time. Richie's parents, Howard and Marion, are invited to participate in a masquerade ball, the winners of which get an all-expenses paid trip to Detroit. And by the way, this guy looks nothing like Tom Bosley. Anyway, Richie is talking to Fonzie about it, who just tells him to relax and let the two have their fun. Some women go up to Fonzie.
Fonzie: Cool it! Coooool it! I like my women one at a time!
Linkara: (pointing accusingly at camera) That is a filthy lie, and you know it!
Richie: Fonzie, I need your help... This is no laughing matter... I'm so upset I can't study for my midterms!
Linkara: You're upset... because your parents are trying to win a costume contest... for a vacation... to Detroit? (facepalms himself) Richie, it's times like these I wish that your brother still existed so he could whack you upside the head!
Linkara (v/o): Speaking of bizarre oddities like the missing Chuck Cunningham, gaze upon Richie's shirt. The plaid never changes its direction or angle. It's always the same plaid. Look into it, everyone, and you stare into the infinite abyss. There is no beginning, no end. Just... the plaid... Anyway, when your soul is done with that, I should point out that I'm skipping over quite a bit of this, mostly because this story has a lot of nothing. Richie brings Fonzie over to his house. Fonzie guesses that Marion's dress means that she's dressed as Scarlet O'Hara. Okay... where is the joke? The next day, they invite Fonzie over to check it out, and Richie wonders why all the bother for a trip to Detroit. Fonzie says...
Fonzie: ...Not as good as a trip to Indianapolis... but not bad... not bad!
Linkara: Is that supposed to be funny? A reference to something? What the hell was the point of that?
Linkara (v/o): After some more outfits, Richie apparently is going insane now and starts doodling outfit ideas, and it's distracting him from his midterms. Dude, what the hell is your problem? Nothing here seems to indicate beyond a single breakfast conversation that they've been bothering you about the contest, and now you're drawing outfits? What is with this story? Finally, Richie and his sister Joanie sit the parents down with Fonzie, look over what they have, and Fonzie just asks them if they could be anyone living or dead, who would they be? And thus they become Ann Sheridan and Teddy Roosevelt. And they win the contest... and go to Detroit... and our comic ends with Richie studying his midterms.
Richie: Midterms tomorrow! I'm sure I'll pass, but boy, it's tough bringing up parents!
Linkara (v/o): Oh, okay, now everything makes sense. Wait, what?
Linkara: (holding up comic irritably) This comic can sit on it.
(The Happy Days theme plays in the background again)
Linkara (v/o): This comic is lame! It's such an oddity of a comic, with one-panel tangents that seem like they're supposed to be jokes, but there's absolutely no punchline. And I can assure you that Happy Days was funny. The stories seem to be setting up for a big climax each time, but then they completely fall apart at the end. Well, except for the last one, but that's because it's too busy meandering and wasting time to ever get to an actual plot, other than "Richie is annoyed by parents' indecision over a fricking costume ball"! It's just... stuff that happens.
Linkara: (looks at comic) I'm just not sure how to react to this thing. Fonz, you got anything?
(Cut to a clip of an episode of Happy Days)
(He runs into the guys' bathroom with a sign on the door reading "DO NOT DISTURB". Richie feels around the door)
Linkara: Yeah, that about sums it up. (throws down comic, gets up and leaves)
(End credits roll)
How come everyone remembers Fonzie jumping the shark but nobody remembers the other time he jumped over stuff and actually injured himself and it was a whole two-parter and everything?
My theory about Chuck Cunningham is that Mork went farther back in time and kidnapped him in season 2 and wiped everybody's memory of him. What? He DID need to bring back a specimen like he said.
(Stinger: Another clip of another episode of Happy Days is shown: Mork stares at a frozen Fonzie, who sticks up his thumb and flexes it)
Richie: (to Mork) See what he's doing with his thumb?
Mork: Impossible. This has never happened before.
Richie: Yeah, but you never ran up against the Fonz before, bucko.
(Fonzie, under Mork's powers, then looks up slowly)
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