When ‘Cool’ was no longer ‘Cool’

Happy-days My favorite TV show growing up was a show called ‘Happy Days’. I watched it religiously. Sure as shit in a cat, Tuesday nights at 8 o’clock I had my ass parked in front of our television. As a kid, the whole 50’s thing was very romantic to me. I loved the idea of having a hang out where all the kids met. And the gang, well, everyone knew a Potsie, or a Ralph Mouth, and everyone wanted their family to be the Cunninghams, no? But the main reason it was my favorite show was because of one character (Oh you know what’s coming), the Fonz!the fonz Yes, the king of cool, the leather jacket wearing, finger snapping, slow dancing, jukebox banging, “step into my office”, “Heeeeeey” saying, Fonz. Fonzie kept me coming back, week after week for many a year. I spoke about Happy Days plenty to my kids, it was the old “that’s not TV, when I was growing up there was this show…”you know how that goes. Then one birthday, lo and behold, there is was, the first few seasons of ‘Happy Days’ on DVD (original and uncut, that’s what I am talking about). I could hardly believe my eyes, the Holy Grail. I could not WAIT to get it in the DVD player, and my daughters were right there with me, they had heard so much about it.

The first note of the opening song (One, two, three o’clock, four o’clock rock) by Bill Haley and the Comets and I lit up like a Christmas tree. I was ten years old again and I could hardly wait to get to school the next day to talk to my buddies about what the Fonz did the night before. We watched a couple of episodes, the actual look of the show seemed a bit old, maybe slightly out of focus on the outdoor scenes, but the old gang was there. It was like a visit from an old friend. We watched a couple more episodes and I started to realize that my girls were laughing at different parts of the show then I was. the gangThey weren’t laughing with the laugh track, they weren’t laughing at the crazy antics of Richie and the gang, they were laughing AT Richie and the gang! Specially the Fonz.

Sure they were enjoying the show, they thought it was hilarious. “How old is that guy?”, “why do all the boys go into the bathroom together?”, “What is, ‘sit on it’, supposed to mean?”. “Why does that guy refer to himself in the third person?” Just some of the questions from my girls.

After awhile they had me laughing too. Sure I guess a 30 year old man in a leather jacket, pretending to be a teenager, was no longer cool. Hell even the word ‘cool’ was no longer cool. But the show still made me laugh, and it was another piece of me that I got to share with my girls.

Let them say what they want to say Fonzie, I still think you’re cool.

Gus

 

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