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Series / Happy Days

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Not pictured: Chuck Cunningham.note 

"Sunday, Monday, Happy Days!
Tuesday, Wednesday, Happy Days!
Thursday, Friday, Happy Days!
The weekend comes,
My cycle hums,
Ready to race to you!"

A long running sitcom created by Garry Marshall and based around 1950s nostalgia, which aired for 11 seasons (1974–84) on ABC.

Fitting for a show which launched so many spin-offs, Happy Days actually originated as an episode of the Genre Anthology Love, American Style, but also drew both cast and conceptual elements from the movie American Graffiti. It was something of a flop early on, but gradually became a ratings juggernaut and ended up having, in its own way, as big of an impact on U.S. television as Cheers or Seinfeld.

The series started out as a nostalgic look at '50s America, centered largely on gee-whiz high school student Richie Cunningham (Ron Howard) and his friends, family, and overall daily life in 1955 Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Said family included Richie's parents — his father, hardware store owner and cardigan enthusiast Howard (Tom Bosley), and mother, housewife extraordinaire Marion (Marion Ross) — plus his sweet-and-sour little sister Joanie (Erin Moran) and, initially, his basketball-playing slacker older brother Chuck (Gavan O'Herlihynote  and Randolph Robertsnote ). But the show ended up becoming incredibly popular for being the home of Arthur "Fonzie/The Fonz" Fonzarelli (Henry Winkler), initially a soft-spoken Greaser Delinquent side character who eventually became the Cunninghams' boarder, an auto mechanic, the ladies' man, and more or less a descended god—in short, the epitome of '50s (and '70s) cool.


The early seasons were centered on squeaky-clean Richie, who constantly gets into trouble through circumstance, but is usually bailed out by either his parents or the super-cool Fonzie, a former street hoodlum (a pastiche of '50s greasers) who mentored Richie and his pals Ralph Malph (Don Most) and Potsie Weber (Anson Williams) whenever he could, while trying not to lose his tough-guy edge. Fonzie became so popular that when ratings were soft after two years, the show was retooled around the character: Fonzie became a co-lead with Richie, and the producers brought in a Studio Audience to cheer and applaud for the Fonz.

As Fonzie-mania turned the show into a number-one hit, the character would approach Kryptonian-like status and increasingly be used to promote social good — a change made out of necessity by Winkler and the producers, who fretted over the erstwhile hood's popularity with children.


Later, Chachi (Scott Baio) was introduced to the cast as Fonz's Mini-Me cousin in order to skew the fanbase a bit younger. By season eight (and one shark jump later), the show's timeframe had moved into the early '60s, Richie and Ralph had left to join the Army (with Ron Howard moving on to a very successful directing career), and focus shifted to Fonzie's townie friends; most notably Joanie and Chachi (who became a couple), followed by a slew of deeply unpopular replacements and newbies, none of whom had any lasting pop culture influence. HD finally ended after ten long years with a Grand Finale of epic proportions: Joanie and Chachi got married, and Howard spoke to the audience over a clip show of past events.

As mentioned, Happy Days spun off a number of shows, including a couple hits (Laverne & Shirley, Mork & Mindy) and a lot of misses (Joanie Loves Chachi, Blansky's Beauties, Out of the Blue, The Fonz and the Happy Days Gang, etc.)

Frequently parodied for being over-the-top, excessively cutesy, and having silly characters getting into ever-sillier situations, the show is also duly respected in Hollywood for cementing a number of sitcom archetypes (Richie as the nice guy, Ralph as the jokester, Fonzie as the cool ladies' man, Howard and Marion as the ideal sitcom parents). Its influence in terms of character archetypes, tropes and catchphrases cannot be overstated.

Two stageshows based on the series have been produced:

  • Happy Days: The Arena Spectacular, which toured Australia during the late-1990s, and featured native pop group Human Nature as a '50s rock band. The show saw one of Fonzie's ex-girlfriends, Miss Frost, wanting to tear down Arnold's and redevelop the property. Notably, Tom Bosley (the series' Mr. C) presented an introduction live on-stage before every performance.
  • Happy Days: A New Musical, a 2008 musical written by Garry Marshall himself, with music by Paul Williams. It takes place somewhere around Season 4 and follows Richie and Fonzie as they try to save Arnold's from being torn down to create space for a shopping mall. The show has the same light, affectionate tone as the show with a little bit of the edge of similar nostalgic musicals like Grease and Hairspray.

Happy Days is the Trope Namer for:

  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Also used to be called "Brother Chuck."
  • Jumping the Shark: This was the moment many fans considered the show had gotten too stupid to continue. It was so jarring a stunt, the fact that it was a really boring three-episode arc gets ignored. invoked
  • Percussive Maintenance: Former Trope Namer; used to be called "Fonzarelli Fix." How The Fonz was able to manipulate technology using only his fist and Rule of Cool.
    • There was one episode where Fonzie did this by snapping fingers over the phone.
    • In the Whole Episode Flashback about how Richie and Fonzie met, they're in an alley about to have a fight. Fonzie hits the brick wall of a building to turn all the exterior light off. Richie is stunned near-speechless, to which the Fonz simply explains, "It's a gift."

This show also provides examples of:

  • '50s Hair: Being a show set in The Fifties, there's bound to be hairstyles like ponytails and Fonzie's slick pompadour and all that. Though over the course of the series, there might be touches of retro-fied '70s- and '80s Hair around.
  • Abandoned Catchphrase:
    • While "Sit on it!" was used almost Once an Episode in the third and fourth seasons, the writers stopped using it midway through season 5.
    • Some of the Fonz's other catchphrases were abandoned after Richie left and Fonzie had to act more mature. Lampshaded in the final season when Richie comes back and uses one of Fonzie's old catchphrases, only for Fonzie to reply that he hasn't said that in a long time.
    • Chachi's "Wa wa wa" was dropped as he grew into a young adult (and Mr. Fanservice).
  • Absent Animal Companion:
    • In "Two Angry Men", Fonzie has several pigeons as pets, but we never see them in future episodes.
    • In "Spunky Come rich palms no deposit bonus codes" Fonzie gets a dog named Spunky. Spunky appears in only one more episode, "Spunkless Spunky."
  • The Ace: Fonzie turned into this around season 4, when the increasingly outlandish plots required him to be the best in the world at things that would have been impossible for any human, let alone a high school dropout mechanic.
    • Among other things, Fonzie successfully rode a killer bull, out-dueled a world champion fencer, fought a superpowered alien to a draw (though that may or may not have been All Just a Dream) and, most famously, beat a champion water-skiier at jumping the shark.
    • Even later, he became a high school shop teacher and still later, Dean of Students at the school where Ted McGinley was a physical education teacher (and later an administrator). (By the end of the series, he had also purchased his auto repair shop and reportedly also was part-owner of Arnold's.)
  • Accidental Athlete: The Cunninghams are at a rodeo when Joanie, who is riding a horse, gets out into the performance arena. She then does an amazing job of trick riding, sliding on and off the horse, moving around the saddle and finally ends up back at the entrance. After finishing, she is asked where she learned to trick-ride like that. She admits she was scared to death, since in reality, she had slipped out of the saddle and was just trying desperately to get back to a normal riding position while the horse was in full gallop.
  • Accidental Misnaming: Arnold's real name is Matsuo Takahashi, but he goes by "Arnold" because when he bought the restaruant it was already named Arnold's so he lets everyone call him Arnold.
  • Actor Allusion:
    • In "My Favorite Orkan", when Mork is sitting in the Cunningham living room watching TV, he tunes into The Andy Griffith Show, commenting that he likes the character of Opie... who, of course, was played by Richie's actor Ron Howard when he went by the stage name of Ronny Howard. Mork questions why an Earth boy has a Martian name.note 
    • In "Joanie Gets Wheels", Marion drags Howard to the movie theater to see The Music Man because the starring red-haired little boy reminds her of Richie at that age. The boy in particular is Winthrop Paroo, played by seven-year-old Ron Howard. Howard (Cunningham) doesn't see the resemblance however.
  • Actually, I Am Him: The letter from Fonzie's father reveals that it's only being read because he was too cowardly to admit he was the one delivering it.
  • All Just a Dream: "My Favorite Orkan", "Welcome to My Nightmare", and "The Spirit Is Willing"; although for the first and third, the reality is left ambiguous.
  • An Aesop: According to Garry Marshall, "Richie Almost Dies" was written because he learned abused kids refused to cry and kept their emotions under wraps. So Marshall wanted to have Fonzie go through an emotional breakdown in order to show these kids that it was okay to cry.
  • Aluminum Christmas Trees: One Christmas Episode sees Howard putting an actual one of these up at the household, as they're presently the special at Cunningham Hardware.
  • And Starring: "...Tom Bosley as Howard Cunningham."
  • Animal Lover: Implied for Fonzie, who's adopted pigeons in "Two Angry Men" and a dog in "Spunky, Come rich palms no deposit bonus codes".
  • Animated Adaptation: The Fonz and the Happy Days Gang, a Saturday morning Hanna-Barbera show that sent Fonzie, Richie, and Ralph aboard a combination spaceship/time machine with a teenage girl from the future and Fonzie's Gratuitous Animal Sidekick. One could say that they really went up to eleven with the Shark Jumping here. (Around the same time, spin-off programs Laverne & Shirley and Mork & Mindy went through a similar phase.)
  • Artifact Alias: Even after his real name is revealed, Matsuo Takahashi still goes by "Arnold;" except when he gets married he uses his real name.
  • Ascended Extra:
    • Fonzie, who started out as a side character in the first two seasons, managed to evolve into the main character of the show after Richie left, due to his Breakout Character status.
    • Joanie and Chachi also became the focal points of the show after Richie left, because of Chachi's appeal to teenage girls.
  • Attempted Rape: A final season episode has Joanie attacked by a student while substitute teaching. Fonzie came in just in time and threatened to kill the student on the spot ("You are DEAD!"). The student jumped out of the window to avoid Fonzie, and got caught on a flagpole.
  • Attending Your Own Funeral: Fonzie; When a crime ring attempts (but fails) to kill him with a Time Bomb, the gang decides to fake Fonzie's funeral in order to lure them out into the open. Of course, this also lures out a lot of cameos from recurring and spinoff characters.
  • Back for the Finale: Richie, Lori Beth, Al, and Jenny Piccalo. Surprisingly, Ralph fails to return, although the explanation given for his absence is that he went back to college (mentioned in "Welcome rich palms no deposit bonus codes, Part 1").
  • Badbutt: Fonzie may be the most iconic example. He is tough, a daredevil and has a punk vibe but he doesn't swear, smoke or do much fighting. Explained in universe as him being kind of above those things. He does occasionally drink, though.
  • Beware of Hitchhiking Ghosts: "The Spirit Is Willing" has a variant of this.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Richie and Fonzie both have this for Joanie; Fonzie also has it for Richie. In one episode, Richie displays it for a young girl who was being pestered by bullies, only to have her actual big brother - a local hood - turn up to thank him.
  • Big Brother Mentor: Fonzie for Richie, Potsie, Ralph, and Chachi. While not their actual brother, he is willing to advise and teach them.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Fonzie's specialty. If Richie or Joanie is in trouble, Fonzie will always burst in to save the day.
  • Bird-Poop Gag: In "Fonzie Drops In", a bird poops on Fonzie's documents.
  • Black Comedy Pet Death: In an episode, Joanie reveals that her mouse got eaten by Jenny's snake.
  • Blue Is Calm: In one episode, Fonzie was having difficulty controlling his temper. He gotten a promotion at work that took him out of the mechanic's role he had been in, where he worked out a lot of his frustrations with hammering, turning wrenches, etc. The new job meant he couldn't do that, so he began fighting more because his temper was so short. Richie figured out what was going on, and had him take up the hobby of building birdhouses, where the hammering and pounding could relieve his stress. Fonzie became more relaxed, giving his leather jacket to Joanie and wearing a blue t-shirt instead of his usual white one.
    Richie: Hey, a blue t-shirt?
    Fonzie: Yeah! A nice, calm blue.
  • Book Ends: Richie's very first line on the show is "Hi, Fonzie", which is also the last thing he says when he speaks to Fonzie in the Series Finale.
  • Bootstrapped Theme: Bill Haley's "Rock Around the Clock" was the opening theme music for the series for its first two years, with the actual "Happy Days" song heard during establishing shots within the episodes and over the closing credits. With Season 3, it replaced "Rock Around the Clock" as the opening theme.
  • Bound and Gagged: Potsie and Ralph spend most of the second part of "Fonzie's Funeral" tied to chairs and gagged. Potsie manages to wrench his arm free of the rope when he's had enough of Ralph's complaining.
  • The Boxing Episode: "Requiem for a Malph (Season 5)" and "Glove Story (Season 11)."
  • Bratty Teenage Daughter: Joanie became one in the third season. If Richie is trying to keep literally anything from his parents for whatever reason, no matter what it is, expect Joanie to have conveniently "heard it from a friend" and blurt it out to Howard and Marion against his wishes.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Done by Howard at the end of the final episode.
  • Breakout Character: This trope used to be CALLED "The Fonzie", and Fonz remains the yardstick by which applicability of this trope to a character is measured. He went from an occasionally glimpsed greaser character to a centerpiece of the show thanks to his tough persona and catchphrases, to finally the main character of the show. By the third season, Fonzie had become so popular that ABC wanted to change the title of the show to Fonzie's Happy Days or simply Fonzie, but backed down when both Ron Howard and Henry Winkler opposed the change.
  • The Bride with a Past: In "Fonzie's Getting Married", Howard recognizes Fonzie's fiancée as a stripper that he saw at a hardware convention.
  • Brotherhood of Funny Hats: The Leopard Lodge, which features Howard as the Grand Poobah. Potsie becomes a member later in the run, and eventually tries to recruit Fonzienote , Chachi and Roger.
  • The Bus Came Back: A season 11 two-parter had Richie, Lori Beth, and Ralph coming home to visit. Richie and Lori Beth also came Back for the Finale.
    • After Joanie Loves Chachi was canceled, those characters returned to the parent show for its final season.
    • Pat Morita's Arnold returned in season 10, after having been gone since season 3... then vanished again almost as promptly.
  • Butt-Monkey: Richie, Potsie and Ralph often get into trouble, with Potsie being the most unfortunate of the three and Richie the least.
  • Cannot Kill Their Loved Ones: A non-lethal example. After Richie rescues a young girl from bullies and escorts her home, one of the thugs at his high school reveals that the girl is his little sister, and declares that he and Richie are friends for life because of what he did. Later in the episode, the thug's gang and Richie's friends are about to have a fight. The thug realizes that he's about to beat up his sister's savior, and declares that he can't fight his friend — so he tells one of his gang buddies to beat up Richie instead. This brief moment of conscience on the thug's part actually delays the fight just long enough for Fonzie to arrive and break it up.
  • Career-Building Blunder: Chachi accidentally burns down Arnold's. Al (the owner) is upset about the fire but doesn't blame Chachi because it was an accident. Fonzie chews Chachi out about it; then appoints Chachi as his representative at the new Arnold's (in which Fonzie's partners with Al), because Fonz knows Chachi will make sure not to screw up again.
  • The Casanova: Fonzie. He could snap his fingers and women would run up and make out with him!
  • Catchphrase:
    • Every character uses "Sit on it!" at least once.
    • Fonzie: "Ayyy!"
    • Ralph: "I still got it!" and "You are such a Potsie!"
    • Marion: "Howard, are you feeling frisky?"
    • Al: "Yep...Yep, yep, yep, yep."
    • Chachi: "Wa, wa, wa."
    • Potsie had "Man oh man, you got it made in the shade" toward Richie in the first two seasons, although it was later dropped.
    • Also popularized the term "nerd".
  • Censorship by Spelling: When Howard and Marion are flirting and Marion sees their kids are nearby.
    Marion: "Now's not the time to get F-R-I-S-K-Y"
    Joanie: "They think we can't spell"
  • Changing Yourself For Love: In one episode, Richie tries acting like a greaser to impress his crush. When it doesn't work, he says to Ralph, "It worked for the Fonz!". Ralph replies, "Everything works for the Fonz!".
  • Christmas Episode: "Guess Who's Coming to Christmas" (season 2), "Tell It to the Marines" (season 3), "Richie Branches Out" (season 4), "Christmas Time" (season 6), "White Christmas" (season 8), "All I Want for Christmas" (season 10).
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome:
    • The original. After being played by three different actors, the third quitter led to Garry Marshall just axing Chuck entirely, and one day he ran up the stairs to his room and never returned; at the end of the Grand Finale, Howard makes a speech specifically mentioning that he and Marion only have two children. A very famous TV example, often subject to Lampshade Hanging in other media about the show.
    • K.C. (Crystal Bernard) vanished after the tenth season with no explanation.
  • Clip Show: Several
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: Ralph Malph is a bit goofy, liking to tell jokes and having lapses in judgement. Potsie also has similar lapses in judgement.
  • Coffin Contraband: In one episode, Fonzie is thought to be dead and some gangsters hide stolen loot in a false bottom of his casket.
  • Comically Missing the Point:
    • In "The Cunningham Caper", Potsie misreads "HELP" as "HELF", then shouts that he has to use the bathroom while hiding in a bathroom. In the same episode, Ralph suggests shooting the burglar but then realizes they don't have a gun.
    • When Richie writes "I love you" by writing "I [heart]" and then drawing a sheep (as in "ewe"), everyone thinks he wrote "I love sheep". When he tries to explain to Fonzie, he asks, "How do you know it's a female sheep?".
  • Continuity Drift: In the season 1 episode "The Deadly Dares", Potsie mentions in passing that he had a sister. Later seasons say he's an only child. Syndicated reruns try to rectify this by rather awkwardly cutting out the mention of his sister from the episode.
  • Cool Car: Ralph's car from the first season that Fonzie drove in "Guess Who's Coming to Visit?" Richie also gets one in "Richie's Car", although it turns out to be stolen.
  • Cool Teacher: Fonzie becomes the auto shop teacher of Jefferson High in Season 8, as well as the Dean of Boys at vocational school Patton High in Season 11.
    • Roger starts out as coach for Jefferson and later gets promoted to principal of Patton.
  • Credits Jukebox: Literalized, as the closing credits would appear over pictures of a jukebox.
  • Crossover:
    • With Laverne & Shirley, in both directions. The Fonz and the Happy Days Gang repeated this with that version's Fonzie joining the girls in the army, commanded by a cartoon pig voiced by Welcome Back, Kotter alum Ron Palillo.
    • Fonzie (and Laverne) also appeared in the first episode of Mork & Mindy. Mork also made a second appearance here after his show began.
    • Also occured almost regularly on Joanie Loves Chachi, again in both directions, before the title characters returned full-time.
  • Dad the Veteran: Howard Cunningham is a perfect example of a kindly, wise Standard '50s Father. But when he needed to be, he could remind his children (and he even reminded the Fonz at one point) that he'd been in the army during "the war" (it is assumed he's talking about World War II), and could still throw down if he needed to. Despite the fact that it was later revealed that he had been a file clerk or a cook (depending on which episode you're watching) he was still the one character that even Fonzie tried to avoid angering.
  • Darker and Edgier: By the final season. Well, as D&E as you could be with this show. More dramatic moments (among them an Attempted Rape of Joanie), the use of "hell" and "damn", and Fonzie showing more weakness.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Pretty much everybody in their own way, but Howard and Joanie especially.
  • Denser and Wackier: You probably couldn't guess that this was the Trope Namer for Jumping the Shark without being told, seeing as how "ski-jumping over sharks to conquer your fear of them" isn't exactly what most people nostalgically remember about The '50s. It was toned down slightly around 1980 when former showrunner Lowell Ganz was placed in charge of the show again, making the plots a little more grounded and having Fonzie be less of The Ace.
  • Destination Ruse: Fonzie reveals that as a kid, his parents took him to the doctor and lied that they were going to the amusement park.
  • Diagonal Billing: Erin Moran and Scott Baio for season 10 guest appearances (the two were starring in Joanie Loves Chachi at the time).
  • Disappeared Dad: Fonzie's dad walked out on him as a kid, which is a noted sore spot in a number of episodes. One Christmas Episode sees Fonzie receive a gift from his dad and him express anguish about it. The man that delivers the gift turns out to be his dad, but Fonzie doesn't learn this until the end of the episode as he was too scared to tell him the truth.
  • Displaced Origin:
    • The Fonz was originally conceived as an intimidating, occasionally violent tough-guy semi-villain and semi-criminal.
    • Laverne & Shirley are... shall we say... portrayed as "easy" in Happy Days. And violent. Especially Shirley.
    • Mork from Ork is portrayed as a villainous alien invader intent on destroying the Earth.
  • The Ditz: Potsie, more so in later seasons. While not completely dumb, he had some rather dumb ideas. Ralph often calls him out on it, but he himself has dumb ideas sometimes.
  • Dogged Nice Guy: Chachi, to Joanie in the beginning, before they became an Official Couple.
  • Dogs Love Fire Hydrants: When Spunky goes missing, Ralph says that she might be taking a walk, checking out the neighbourhood fire hydrants.
  • Doo-Wop Progression: The opening theme song.
  • Double Date: Fonzie and Richie with Laverne & Shirley in "A Date with Fonzie."
  • Drop-In Character: The poor Cunningham house pretty much has people showing up unannounced throughout its entire history.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: Possibly one of the trope codifiers. Just look at one of the early episodes, from one of the first two seasons, and then compare it with an episode airing anytime after the 1975-1976 season premiere – the episodes differ substantially. Just a few of the examples:
    • The first two seasons used "Rock Around the Clock" by Bill Haley & His Comets as its theme (in lieu of Pratt and McClain's "Happy Days," which incidentally became a hit in its own right).
    • Fonzie appeared far less often or was less essential to the plots. The show was more focused on the Cunninghams, Richie in particular. Fonzie early on was also much more of a jerk than most people know him to be, when he became the all around good guy after becoming a major character; for example, in "Fonzie Drops In", Fonzie goes back to high school and attempts to cheat on a test. A plot like this wouldn't happen later on, when Fonzie would become a role model. Possibly explained/retconned in a later episode detailing how Richie met him.
    • In many of the first season episodes, due to ABC's demands, Fonzie wore a greyish windbreaker instead of his black leather jacket.
    • Potsie was the more wordly confidant. By the fall of 1975, Potsie was dumbed down considerably and became Ralph's joking sidekick.
    • Ralph himself wasn't initially a cowardly jokester; in fact, he seemed to be one of the more popular kids at the high school, and occasionally indulged in pranking, without his trademark "I still got it!" line.
    • Howard Cunningham was far more sedate, while Marion was more motherly. Mr. C was hyped up considerably by the fall of 1975, while Mrs. C's motherly-ness was turned up to eleven.
    • The layout of the house, to accomodate a three-camera setup that was filmed in a studio, was far different, with the kitchen on the left and the living room at stage right. The reverse was seen in later years.
    • Arnold's also had a different look early on.
      • Not just a different look, a different name: In the first episode, it's called Arthur's.
    • The first two seasons used a laugh track. Late in the second season (spring 1975), shows were taped in front of a studio audience ... and the "big applause" era had started.
    • The '50s nostalgia was crucial to most of the first two seasons; notable examples include The Not Making of a President in which the conflict centered on the Eisenhower/Stevenson presidential race, and The Howdy Doody Show which centered on Joanie's appearance on the titular children's show. Roughly concurrently with the move to multi-camera production, the nostalgia factor began to wane. By the last seasons, it was as much a surprise as an expectation when the original era was referenced.
    • Most telling of all, Richie had an older brother named Chuck who liked to play basketball — who disappeared after the second season.
  • Easily Forgiven: After realizing and confessing that he had accidentally burned down Arnold's, Chachi is easily forgiven by owner Al and everyone else, with the exception of Fonzie.
  • Egocentric Team Naming: After Arnold's burns down, and Al & Fonzie are preparing to reopen. (Fonzie has invested his life savings.) Al wants to call the new establishment Big Al's, and Fonzie wants to call it Fonzie's. They finally compromise and call it...Arnold's.
    • Also fictional bands "Johnny Fish and the Fins" & "Leather Tuscadaro and the Suedes"
  • Embarrassing First Name:
    • Fonzie's first name is Arthur. With the exception of Marion, Fonzie doesn't let anyone call him that.
    • Same for Fonzie's Mini-Me cousin Spike, whose real first name is Raymond.
  • Embarrassingly Dresslike Outfit: In "Arnold's Wedding", Arnold, who is Japanese, is getting married. The guests all wear kimonos, which Fonzie and Potsie are embarrassed about, thinking they look like dresses.
  • Embarrassing Middle Name: Arthur Herbert Fonzarelli.
  • Emotionally Tongue-Tied: When Fonzie tries to admit to Richie that he was wrong, it comes out "I was wr-rr—-rr—- I was wrrr—-rr ... I was not exactly right." Also happens whenever Fonzie has to apologize.
  • Establishing Character Moment: While it's the Fonz's second scene in the first episode, he does set an example of just how he is The Ace by unhooking a bra in a single finger snap. Then goes to the mirror to guzzy himself up, only to realize that he's already perfect and then leaves. All while not saying a word.
  • Establishing Shot
  • Every Episode Ending: Every tag scene ends with a brief reprise of the last few lines of the theme song.
  • Expy: In the episode "Vocational Education" from the final season, Ken Osmond plays a two-faced, brown-nosing teacher who acts exactly like a grown-up version of Eddie Haskell, the character Osmond played on Leave It to Beaver. Even his name, "Freddie Bascomb," sounds similar.
  • Faking the Dead: "Fonzie's Funeral."
  • Filth: One notable example of this is in "No Tell Motel", where Richie continuously sends letters to his family with adult jokes in them. At the end, Fonzie cuts the raunchy bit out before Marion reads the letter.
  • Finger-Twitching Revival: When the Fonz is frozen by Mork, he comes back by first wiggling his thumb.
  • Flanderization:
    • Fonzie was initially a street-smart ex-hoodlum with a Hidden Heart of Gold. He was rough and tough, but more-or-less tolerated the main cast. Then he became The Ace, and increasingly got more friendly - eating "veggies", declaring "reading is cool", etc. - until by the end of the series he'd adopted a young boy and was essentially as friendly as any other character.
    • Potsie was originally Richie's ostensibly more wordly best friend and prone to giving advice (whether useful or not), but as Fonzie more and more took on that role, he became flanderized into a hopeless ditz.
    • Ralph's fondness for telling jokes was upped starting Season 3, along with his cowardice in more outlandish episodes following the shark jump.
    • Many characters were low-key in the early seasons. However, in the switch to filming in front of a live audience, the characters obviously (and understandably) became less so. Mr. Cunningham, for example, became more prone to over-the-top yelling.
  • Follow the Leader: The success of nostalgia-piece American Graffiti helped create this show- it even used the same lead actor!
    • Not to mention a nearly identical opening title sequence — titles in neon, "Rock Around the Clock" as the theme music, shots of a drive-in restaurant, etc..
    • While the show's concept (and the Love, American Style episode that introduced the main characters) actually predated American Graffiti, it was that film's success that led the network to greenlight it for production.
  • Food Slap: At one point in the final season episode "Welcome rich palms no deposit bonus codes (Part Two)," Chachi found himself eating in the kitchen (as there were not enough seats in the dining room). Richie soon becomes increasingly frustrated, to the point that when Chachi asks for a roll, Richie throws it at him quite hard. Chachi announces that he'll get his own gravy.
  • Framed Face Opening: The opening sequence also presented each of the characters in a circle outline over a spinning vinyl record playing on a jukebox.
  • French Jerk: Jacques DuBois an arrogant and obnoxious fencing champion who stays with the Cunninghams in the episode "The Duel". Fonzie beats him in a fencing match.
  • Frozen in Time: The series made it into the Sixties about halfway through, though they did their best to hide it (made all the more obvious by Chachi's '70s hair and modern-style outfits). However, the finale is clearly shown to take place in 1965.
  • Gagging on Your Words: Fonzie is physically incapable of saying that he's wrong or sorry.
  • Gender Flip: Kat Mandu in the episode "Fonzie meets Kat" and her own failed spinoff Katmandu is basically a gender flipped Fonzie.
  • Gift Shake: In the Very Special Christmas Episode, Richie's Brother Chuck (who is going to college on a basketball scholarship) gets a round object covered in paper. Joanie bounces it over to him, which Chuck admonishes her for since it might be fragile... before giving it a good shake himself.
    Joanie: Here's a present from Richie to you. What do you think it is? [bounces it to Chuck]
    Chuck: Hey, watch it. [shakes] It might be something breakable.
  • Girl of the Week: Fonzie dated many different girls, except in season 10 when he had a regular girlfriend.
  • Glamorous Single Mother: Ashley Pfister, Fonzie's first and only regular girlfriend. She's raising an adorable daughter and working a full-time job as an accountant, all with never a hair out of place.
  • Grand Finale: And one hell of one, too — old clips, old characters, a marriage, and Howard speaks to the audience.
  • Great Gazoo: Mork from Ork.
  • Grounded Forever: One episode has an exchange along the following lines:
    Howard: ..I shall now determine a punishment that is judicious, reasonable and fair.
    Richie: "Grounded for life"?!
  • Halloween Episode: "Haunted" (season 2), "Fonsillectomy" (season 5), "The Evil Eye" (season 6).
  • Happily Married: Howard and Marion. Although they do tease and occasionally argue, they generally have a very happy marriage.
  • Has Two Thumbs and...: The trope originally comes from Fonzie: 'Who's cool and has two thumbs? This guy!"
  • Have a Gay Old Time: Played with in "The Best Man," where Fonzie refers to "Black people" and Richie corrects him, saying the preferred term is "Negroes" — which was true in The '50s, despite its being the other way around in The '70s.
  • He Who Must Not Be Seen:
    • Jenny Piccalo, Joanie's "bad influence", more "experienced" friend who was often mentioned in passing at the dinner table (along with "you don't hang out with that Jenny Piccalo!"). She was this for many years, before suddenly emerging as a major character after the Retool. It was revealed that the man-hungry girl was more talk than action.
    • Potsie's father. He's mentioned a lot but not seen.
    • Clarence, the cook at Arnold's, was also unseen for most of the show's run until finally appearing in a couple season 10 episodes (where he was revealed to be a dwarf, played by 4' actor Gary Friedkin).
    • Speaking of Arnold's, the original (pre-Pat Morita) Arnold himself was unseen for the first two seasons. The only time he's ever even indicated to be there is when Ralph tries working at the restaurant in a first season episode and drops some dishes, which results in the unseen Arnold yelling "RALPH!" from the kitchen.
  • Hilariously Abusive Childhood: Potsie has a very bad relationship with his dad and if it weren't played for laughs, you'd think he was the victim of some severe emotional abuse. By "White Christmas," however, Potsie makes it clear he's sick of it.
  • Hormone-Addled Teenager: Jenny Piccalo. Joanie also seemed to be this in some of the mid-seasons, most likely due to her friendship with Jenny. It was toned down when Joanie and Chachi became a couple.
  • A House Divided: Richie with Ralph and Potsie in "The Apartment", when he finds their increasingly outrageous antics difficult to live with.
  • House Fire: Or, rather, Malt Shop Fire; the season 7 episode "Hot Stuff" has Chachi forgetting to turn of the grill while closing Arnold's for the night and setting the place ablaze.
  • Housewife: Marion. She does most of the cooking and housework, however, she is not a stereotypical submissive housewife.
  • I Am Not Leonard Nimoy: When billed on other projects during the show's heyday, Suzi Quatro was always called "Leather Tuscadero" and not Suzi Quatro in advertisements.
  • Informed Ability: Lampshaded in "Richie Fights Back," where Fonzie points out that despite his reputation as a fighter, Richie has never actually seen him in a fight, since the other guy always backs down first.
  • Internal Homage: The famous shark jumping is one to "Fearless Fonzarelli", a two-parter from the third season where Fonzie performed a similar death-defying jump, only on his motorcycle and over garbage cans.
  • I Owe You My Life: Potsie saves Fonzie's life in one episode. All he wants in return is to 'pal around' with the Fonz ... all the time.
  • Kids Raiding the Wine Cabinet: "Richie's Cup Runneth Over" has Richie and Potsie (who are fifteen at the time) get drunk on beer at a party.
  • Ladykiller in Love: Fonzie, in three episodes of Season 4 with Pinky Tuscadero, and with Ashley Pfister for the majority of Season 10.
  • Large Ham: The Fonz became very dramatic after the second season, but was always slightly dramatic.
  • Later-Installment Weirdness: One with season eight, when Richie and Ralph left the series; Fonzie was elevated to lead character, and the focus was now shifted over to Joanie (Richie's sister) and Chachi.
  • Lethal Chef: Ralph Malph. When Richie, Potsie and Ralph move out of home to share an apartment, we learn Ralph uses lighter fluid to ignite his cherries jubilee.
  • Locked in a Freezer: The episode "Time Capsule" has Richie and friends get locked in an airtight vault in the basement of Howard's hardware store.
  • Long Runner: Eleven seasons, from 1/14/74-5/8/84.
  • Long-Runner Cast Turnover: The only four actors who remained on the show throughout its entire run were Henry Winkler (Fonzie), Tom Bosley (Howard), Marion Ross (Marion) and Anson Williams (Potsie). Ron Howard and Don Most both left the show to pursue other opportunities after Season 7. Erin Moran left during Season 10 with Scott Baio to star on Joanie Loves Chachi, but returned for the final season. Several characters were put on the show to fill the presences left behind by several of the show's main actors. The cast had virtually been turned upside down by the end of the show's run, with so many different transitions and replacements for episodes, that you wouldn't be able to figure out that the original season's main cast members were only Ron Howard, Marion Ross, Anson Williams, and Tom Bosley.
  • Love Interests: Fonzie dates a lot of women, and often Richie, Potsie and Ralph get crushes on girls. Joanie sometimes gets crushes on boys too.
  • Machine Empathy: An implied ability for The Fonz.
  • Make-Out Point: Or, in this case, "Inspiration Point".
  • Malt Shop: Arnold's, the most famous television example probably ever. This is The '50s, after all- it'd virtually be impossible to not have one here. (In the later seasons, the place was made over into an early-'60s coffee house.)
  • Minor with Fake I.D.: In "The Skin Game", Richie and Potsie use fake IDs to get into a strip club, but get caught by Howard, who was also visiting that night.
  • Missing Mom: Fonzie's mom is revealed to be this, though the circumstances aren't quite clear. One episode is centered around him encountering a woman he believes is his mother. The woman manages to convince him that she's not, but after he leaves, the audience sees she has a picture of Fonzie as a baby.
  • Mistaken for Insane: In one episode, Richie has a crush on a girl, so Fonzie tells him to emulate James Dean. When Richie kisses her out of the blue, she thinks he's insane. This causes him to question his sanity for the rest of the episode.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Chachi was brought in to appeal to young girls.
  • Musical Episode: "Be My Valentine" (season 5), "American Musical" (season 8), "Poobah Doo Dah" (season 9).
  • Nice Guy: Richie is very polite. He has tried to be mean several times, but always failed.
  • No Party Given: Averted in "The Not Making of the President," about the 1956 election, where the Republican Eisenhower gets the support of both Howard and Fonzie ("I like Ike! My bike likes Ike!") and Richie supports Democrat Adlai Stevenson.
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent: Fonzie
  • Obvious Object Could Be Anything: Basketball scholarship bound Chuck receives a round, bouncy gift covered in paper. He's worried it might be breakable.
    • Subverted in another episode, where Potsie and Ralph get Richie a hockey stick for Christmas. Richie immediately knows what it is, which surprises Potsie.
    (to Ralph) "You told!"
  • Official Couple: Richie and Lori Beth and Joanie and Chachi are both in relationships, and Howard and Marion are married.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Starting in the second season, "Arnold's" was owned by Matsuo Takahashi (played by Pat Morita). Everyone calls him "Arnold", however; he jokes that it was easier and cheaper to answer to "Arnold" than to buy the letter signs to rename the Malt Shop "Takahashi's".
    • And then there's Potsie, whose first name is actually "Warren." According to him, he liked making things out of clay as a child, and one day, his mother just called him "Potsie," which stuck.
  • Only Sane Man: Richie, Fonzie, and Howard all consider themselves one in comparison to the others.
  • Our Ghosts Are Different: Fonzie encounters a beautiful one that came with the haunted 1955 Chevy.
  • Out of Focus:
    • Potsie, initially one of the major characters as Richie's best friend, was even featured in the original Love, American Style precursor to the show. As Fonzie took on the role of Richie's brotherly figure, Potsie became less important to storylines, and instead was paired alongside Ralph Malph as Those Two Guys. He stuck around when Richie and Ralph left the series to join the Army, in various different roles, before joining Howard's Leopard Lodge and getting a job at Cunningham Hardware. Unfortunately, he all but vanished by the last season, in which he only appeared in six episodes, not including the finale, and no explanation was given for his absence. Despite these sporadic guest appearances in Season 11, he was only demoted to co-star status in the opening credits.
    • Lori-Beth became Richie's steady girl in one of the opening episodes of Season 5. When Richie left to join the Army in Greenland, she stuck around, getting married to him over the phone, and giving birth to Richie's son when he was away. Eventually, she pretty much just stopped appearing entirely unless it was a special occasion, having little way to play off the others. Finally, in one of the episodes of the final season, she was given the chance to properly leave the show by joining Richie and Richie, Jr. in moving to California, so that Richie could pursue his dream of becoming a screenwriter.
  • Parental Abandonment: Fonzie—one right after the other. In one episode, he encounters his father, who never identifies himself directly. In another, he meets a diner waitress who could be his mother, but it is never made entirely clear if she is. In both instances, we see that leather armor is no guard against heartbreak.
  • Parental Fashion Veto: In the episode "The Fonz is Allergic to Girls" (the title Makes Sense In Context), Joanie Cunningham is going to a party with a Modesty Towel wrapped around her but she's actually wearing clothes underneath it. Howard, her father, tells her not to go to the party like that but lets her go when she reveals that she's wearing clothes under the towel.
  • Parental Neglect: Potsie, which is curiously Played for Laughs. Not as bad as some examples, but his parents seemed overly gleeful to give him money to get away from them; likewise, they dumped him with the Cunninghams to get away from him; and, after his dad said something angrily, Potsie expressed that he was just glad his dad was talking to him again.
  • Parent ex Machina: Howard was the best at this. Marion was no slouch either.
  • Passing the Torch: When Richie left, Fonzie became the show's main character.
  • Poorly-Disguised Pilot: All of the spinoff shows, basically, were introduced with one of these.
  • Potty Emergency: Implied at the end of "The Motorcycle", when Fonzie says that he "has to go" after being tied up for six hours.
  • Prefers Proper Names: Mrs. Cunningham always referred to Fonzie by his given name of Arthur. She was the only one to do so; presumably, she was the only one whom Fonzie allowed to do so.
  • Pregnancy Does Not Work That Way: One episode features a pregnant beatnik, who passes out due to her pregnancy. While this technically can happen, it is extremely rare unless the woman is anemic, which this woman didn't seem to be.
  • Prejudice Aesop:
    • In "The Best Man", Howard is the best man to his black friend, but the neighbours are racist. Fonzie sums up the moral best, "It's not about the colour of your skin; what matters is if you're cool."
    • In "Fonzie's New Friend", Fonzie has a black friend but the teens and their parents (except Howard and Marion) are racist, so Fonzie has to teach them not to be racist, while also teaching Richie about the dangers of positive discrimination.
    • In "Fonzie Loves Pinky", Fonzie thinks women can't race in a derby, so Pinky Tuscadero has to prove him wrong.
    • In "Fonzie For the Defense," Fonzie and Howard are called for jury duty. Fonzie is the only one not willing to convict the African-American defendant. After his knowledge of motorcycles proves the defendant could not have committed the crime, one juror remains unconvinced. Fonzie then becomes more direct with the Aesop.
      Juror: Hold it, there's still a little something wrong, here.
      Fonzie: Only for you. Mr. Davis can't change his color. Sorry.
  • Present-Day Past: This got more severe as the series progressed, especially with Chachi's obvious '70s hair and bandannas.
  • Promotion to Opening Titles:
    • Fonzie and Ralph in season 2.
    • Joanie in season 3.
    • Al and Chachi in season 6.
    • Lori Beth in season 8.
    • Jenny and Roger in season 10.
  • Promotion to Parent: Chachi's father passed away when he was a kid and Fonzie stepped up as a father figure.
  • Put on a Bus:
    • Richie and Ralph left to join the Army after Ron Howard and Donny Most quit the show prior to season 8.
    • Ashley and Heather were abruptly written out of the show after season 10, with an explanation that Ashley got back together with her ex-husband. This was because the show had a budget cut and had to cut back on its number of regulars.
  • Quiet Cry for Help: In an early episode, Richie is home alone when a burglar breaks in and ends up holding him prisoner. Potsie and Ralph come over to see Richie, who answers the door and tells them he can't go out with them or let them in, while drawing "HELP" with his finger on the door. But the way he makes the "p" makes it look like he's drawing "HELF", which they don't understand. The burglar gets it though, and explains that Richie is asking for help before dragging Potsie and Ralph in too.
  • Real Fake Wedding: In one episode, Fonzie agrees to be Jenny Picalo's date to a party on a boat, and he agrees to a fake wedding. However, Roger later tells Fonzie that he thinks a wedding ceremony on a boat, even if it's meant to be fake, means that the marriage is legally real. Of course, in this case Jenny had not intentionally tricked Fonzie into marrying her, though she is happy to learn the news. And Roger eventually finds out that he was wrong and they are not legally married.
  • Recurring Extra: Hillary Horan, a brunette actress who had wordless parts in dozens of episodes, often as the drummer in Richie's band. Her character's name was finally revealed as "Daphne" in one of her last appearances.
  • Rejection Ritual: Fonzie tries to join Howard's Leopard Lodge but he gets blackballed. It turns out that Howard is the one who blackballed him, knowing that the Lodge doesn't fit Fonzie's personality and he wouldn't be happy there.
  • Relationship Reboot: Richie and Lori Beth do this, complete with a reenactment of their original Meet Cute dialog.
  • Re-Release Soundtrack: For the season 2 DVD release, 95% of the licensed music was replaced. Even the theme song, Rock Around the Clock by Bill Haley & His Comets, was replaced with a slightly extended version of the seasons 3-10 theme. Fortunately, seasons 1, 3, and 4 have their licensed music intact.
  • Retool: After Richie and Ralph left, the show was re-tooled to fit Fonzie as the main character and feature a primarily teenage supporting cast, with Joanie, Chachi, former The Unseen Jenny Piccalo, and Eugene or Melvin Belvin.
    • Really, that was the second Retool. The first came in season 3, when the show went from a single-camera production with Laugh Track to a three-camera, Studio Audience setup (with a concurrent shift to a broader, more cartoonish style of comedy).
    • And then it was Re Tooled yet again when Joanie and Chachi left for their own failed spin-off to focus on Fonzie's new long-term relationship, K.C. Cunningham, and Roger's nephew, nearly all of which was swept under the rug for the final season when Joanie and Chachi returned.
  • Reunion Show: Two, in 1992 and 2005. The second one is notable for taking place in a facsimile of the original Arnold's and giving the year the show began as 1975 instead of 1974.
  • School Newspaper Newshound: Richie, in "The Muckrakers".
  • Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: Richie and the Fonz.
  • Separate Scene Storytelling: Several examples, including one where Richie's great-uncle tells him about his cousin, who was a crusading DA trying to shut down speakeasies in 1920s Chicago. Richie plays the DA, Mr. C plays the speakeasy owner, Mrs. C plays a Carrie Nation type, Al is the Dumb Muscle for the local gangster (Fonzie), etc.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: In "The Deadly Dares", Richie and Potsie want to join a gang, The Demonds, but first need to go through six deadly dares, which range from pulling typical pranks to doing embarrassing things (like go to a dance dressed as women and dance with men). After going through with all of those dares, Richie and Potsie decide they don't want to be members after all.
  • Romantic Ride Sharing: Fonzie is a promiscuous biker. As such, he's often seen riding on a motorcycle with a woman hugging him from behind.
  • Shoo Out the New Guy: Pinky Tuscadero and the band's "black drummer" "Sticks" were both hyped in promos as new characters, but neither appeared for more than an arc before disappearing. Pinky's sister "Leather" was a stand-in for Pinky (whose actress, Roz Kelly, apparently caused problems) but was again not common. Other examples include down-home hick cousin K.C. Cunningham (Wings Crystal Bernard) and Fonzie's temporary girlfriend and her daughter for the second-to-last season.
  • Shotgun Wedding: This was the title of Season 7's first episode.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Family Guy did a very kind, full-episode one to the show when Peter founded a religion based on the series. Notably, Tom Bosley and Marion Ross reprised their roles for the episode.
    • Also, Weezer's "Buddy Holly" video, which featured a meticulously rebuilt Arnold's set and Al Molinaro reprising his role of Al Delvecchio.
  • The Show Goes Hollywood: The three-parter "Hollywood" where the infamous Jumping the Shark incident happened.
  • Show Stopper: Fonzie.
  • Sick Episode: Zig-Zagged. Fonzie and Pinky Tuscadero were injured in Fearless Fonzarelli and Fonzie Loves Pinky respectively, but they weren't sick. The Cunningham Caper has Richie after he was sick but he's recovered. Averted for Fonzie as he said once "I ain't been sick a day in my life".
  • Sidelined Protagonist Crossover: In one episode, Fonzie needs some help defeating a gang so he calls on his good friend Carmine Ragusa, the Golden Gloves boxing champion and a character introduced in the Spin-Off Laverne & Shirley.
  • Sigh of Love: Richie does this about a love interest who is nicknamed "Miss Trout".
  • Silly Prayer: In "Guess Who's Coming to Christmas", Fonzie does the comically small prayer of "Hey God, thanks!".
  • Single-Target Law: In "The Physical", Sgt. Beckler says that everyone in jackets must move to the end of the line as revenge for Fonzie calling him "Belcher", because Fonzie is the only one in a jacket. He moves to the front end of the line.
  • Special Guest: Hank Aaron, Frankie Avalon, Buffalo Bob Smith
  • Spin-Off: In a sense, Happy Days was one, growing out of a segment on the anthology series Love, American Style. Garry Marshall used it as a launching pad for new shows, with varying degrees of success, though only All in the Family could boast more hit spinoffs:
    1. Laverne & Shirley (1976-1983)
    2. Blansky's Beauties (1977) - Centered on Howard's cousin. Uniquely, it was set in the present-day. Among the cast was Eddie Mekka as Carmine's younger cousin and the later addition of Arnold.
    3. Mork & Mindy (1978-1982)
    4. Out of the Blue (1979) - Centered on the guardian angel Random that aides Chachi in "Chachi Sells His Soul." There has been debate over whether this was a true spin-off or not, as the series premiered before the cited episode. It's been suggested that was merely a scheduling error on the network's part.
    5. Katmandu (1980) - Centered on the girl from "Fonzie Meets Kat".
    6. Joanie Loves Chachi (1982-1983)
  • Spiritual Successor: That '70s Show has a lot of parallels with Happy Days.
    • Both shows are set in an nostalgic time period (The '50s vs. The '70s).
    • Both shows are set in Wisconsin (suburban Milwaukee vs. fictional Point Place).
      • Most of the geographical references on That '70s Show suggest that Point Place is based on the actual Milwaukee suburb of Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin, or at least somewhere in Kenosha County, where the creators are from.
      • Eric Forman=Richie Cunningham.
      • Hyde=Fonzie (they both move into their respective best friend's house.)
      • Kelso=A mixture of Potsie and Ralph.
      • Howard Cunningham=Red Forman. Though, Red kicks a lot more ass than Howard ever did.
      • Marion Cunningham=Kitty Forman, except a lot more crazy around her children.
      • Tina Pinciotti=Chuck Cunningham
      • The shows' time periods both became artifacts as they ran, with hairstyles clothing and speech patterns becoming increasingly anachronistic.
      • Both shows endured a significant Retool late in their run after two of the main actors left each show, introducing Suspiciously Similar Substitutes.
    • Freaks and Geeks, The Wonder Years and The Goldbergs are also spiritual successors, albeit to a lesser degree.
    • Family Matters is often considered the black Happy Days; though set in the present day, it had many of the same producers, several recycled plots, and a Breakout Character who took over the entire show.
    • Arguably Happy Days has said to have been a successor/spinoff from American Graffiti, but the idea of Happy Days originated as a story from the series Love, American Style, well before George Lucas' film. American Graffiti's success did give Garry Marshall the confidence to put Happy Days into production.
  • Stag Party: In an early episode Richie and Potsie go to one for Potsie's cousin, who is a Marine. While they try doing stuff like drinking milk and olive oil to prevent getting drunk, it doesn't work.
  • Standard '50s Father: Howard Cunningham is, without a doubt, one of the greatest TV dads in history.
  • Standardized Sitcom Housing - a minor variant with the staircase turning a corner, otherwise played straight.
  • Still Sucks Thumb: According to Marion, both Joanie and Chuck suck their thumbs when sad.
  • Studio Audience: From the third season on: "Happy Days is filmed before a live audience."
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute:
    • Leather Tuscadero for her sister Pinky, thanks to Hostility on the Set.
    • Roger for Richie.
    • K.C. Cunningham and Flip Phillips for Joanie and Chachi, respectively.
  • Syndication Title: Happy Days Again- it was one of the very first shows to go on past the point syndication started, necessitating this change.
  • The Talk: Joanie sort of has one in "Not With My Sister You Don't." Richie mentions on multiple occasions that he and Howard have had a complicated discussion on the topic.
    Marion: You haven't had 'the talk' with Richard yet?
    Howard: My father hasn't had 'the talk' with me yet.
  • Tantrum Throwing: "My Cousin the Cheat" sees Fonzie getting pissed off at Chachi for cheating on a test he initially claimed to get 100% on, to which Chachi responds by throwing the mechanic's hat Fonzie had given him back at Fonzie, and storming out. Afterwards, Fonzie kicks the car he was working on, throws the hat across the room, and then pulls himself together. The last part managed to make its way into some versions of the opening credits.
  • Television Geography
  • Temporary Blindness: The Fonz is victim to this, in tremendously ham-fisted fashion, especially when Richie dismantles his motorcycle to force him to rebuild it while blind.
  • Thanksgiving Episode: "The First Thanksgiving" (season 6).
  • That Nostalgia Show: Trope Codifier for the '50s. Later inspired the trope namer.
  • The Thing That Would Not Leave: Potsie, in later seasons. He would often overstay his welcome after following Howard home from the hardware store; Howard would look for ways to get Potsie to leave (convincing Fonzie to take him to play ski ball, tell him to walk out the door and then slam it on the confused Potsie, etc).
  • This Is Going to Be Huge: Both Richie and Howard believe that the United Nations will put an end to all wars.
  • This Is My Side: Ralph and Potsie play this totally straight in their apartment. Including their first standoff:
    Ralph:[Smugly] I hope you don't need to use the kitchen.
    Potsie: Well, I hope you don't need to use the bathroom!
  • Those Two Guys: Ralph and Potsie, Richie's hangers-on.
  • Time Title: The show started out as a nostalgic look at 1950s America.
  • Title Drop: By Howard, at the end of the last episode.
    • In the episode in which Mork "spins on to pay for his spin-off", he reports to Orson about human relationship problems (the framing device for the clip show). At one point Orson remarks "So they are not all happy days." Mork responds that there were sad days too and mentions that humans tend to forget unpleasant things like McCarthyism and The Korean War.
  • Too Dumb to Live: In the episode where Richie was getting relentlessly bullied, the two bullies themselves are a prime example of this. They know Richie is Fonzie's best friend, they know Fonzie is an example of The Dreaded when it comes to his fighting ability, they know what they're doing to Richie is indirectly Bullying a Dragon when it comes to Fonzie, but they keep on bullying Richie. It was clearly having a very negative effect on Richie, but apparently they thought Fonzie was just going to stand on the sidelines forever. In the final confrontation, while Fonzie wasn't going to embarrass Richie by rescuing him in front of everybody, it's very plain from his body language and the Death Glare he's giving the two bullies that he's completely out of patience with their crap and fully intends to deal with them both later. And they still somehow miss this.
  • Took a Level in Dumbass: Potsie was always a little on the dim side, but he inevitably got dumber as the seasons went on.
  • The Tonsillitis Episode: "Fonsillectomy."
  • Trash the Set: Arnold's burns down in season 7's "Hot Stuff," and in the following episode, "The New Arnold's," an entirely new Arnold's set is unveiled.
  • Under New Management: Hangout Arnold's was run by Arnold and then by Al.
    • An "Under New Management" sign inexplicably appears in some first season episodes.
  • Use Your Head: The episode where Arnold's catches fire has Fonzie trying to break out of the men's room (where he, Potsie, and Ralph are trapped) via this method. It doesn't work.
    Potsie: Hey, look, there's an outside wall! I wonder what it's made of?
    Fonzie: Concrete. (passes out)
  • The Voiceless: Most of Fonzie's girls of the week have no dialogue. The reason was financial; the producers didn't have to pay as much money for non-speaking parts.
    • Fonzie himself had a limited amount of dialogue in his first few appearances, with only a minimum of six lines in the pilot.
  • Valentine's Day Episodes: Be My Valentine, of Season 5.
  • Wedding Episode:
    • "Arnold's Wedding" has Arnold getting married and Fonzie being made the best man, but being scared because he believes his family are cursed and if he attends the wedding, the marriage will end up bad.
    • "The Best Man" is about one of Howard's friends getting married and Howard being the best man. Drama arises when the neighbours are racist due to the groom being black, so the episode concludes with a Prejudice Aesop.
  • What Did I Do Last Night?: Richie in "King Richard's Big Night."
  • Will They or Won't They?: Joanie and Chachi in a few episodes before they became a couple.
  • Working Out Their Emotions: When Richie Cunningham is sad, he bounces his basketball without shooting any hoops.
  • The Worst Seat in the House: Richie knows the keyboardist of Johnny Fish and the Fins from summer camp, so he gets his friends free tickets (after the band stays in his house to escape from their rabid fans), but they're in the nosebleed section. Nobody believes Richie actually knows the guy and thinks he's lying and got bad seats because that's all he could afford. The girl he asked to go with him goes with someone else instead because the other guy has better seats, so instead Richie takes his dad. Then his friend from the band gives him a Shout-Out during the concert and suddenly he's a big man again. The girl comes up to where Richie is sitting and wants to be with him, but he says, "Sorry. This seat's taken."
  • Young Entrepreneur: Chachi seemed to be one of these when he was introduced, although this character trait had completely vanished during the series reboot in Season 8, so that his personality could shift more into the Mr. Fanservice zone. Oddly, a final season episode saw him learning how to be one of these, as though he'd never had this personality trait in the first place.


Video Example(s):


The Trope Namer Explained

MatPat educates viewers on the trope namer for Jumping the Shark, Happy Days.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (29 votes)

Example of:

Main / JumpingTheShark

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