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Archive for the ‘Happy Days’ Category

On a personal note, this is a very difficult topic for me. Not because of the whole “oh, it’s Valentine’s Day and I’m single, everyone has love but me” (said in whiny Ricky Gervais voice) nonsense but because when I was twelve I had a little whiteboard and one day I spent hours devising lists upon lists of my very favorite TV couples. For real. Thank god blogs didn’t exist when I was a pre-teen or I would’ve had to name it “SHAME.”

5. Happy Days (1974 – 1984) Joanie and Chachi

The Soap Opera Effect

This is a legit thing. It’s practically scientific. The reason why your grandmother is obsessed with Days of Our Lives, Young & The Restless, General Hospital etc? Sure, there’s sex and drama and corny moments galore. But there’s also a very real, very visceral reaction to watching someone for years and years, especially when that someone started out as a child. You invest in that person without realizing it, you watch and watch and one day you realize they’ve grown up, right before your eyes. It makes you somewhat emotional, dammit, when they celebrate their Sweet Sixteen, learn to drive, get their hearts broken for the first time, graduate high school… and especially when they, in this case  Joanie “Shortcake” Cunningham, fall in love with the once goofy, gawky cousin of the super cool guy who lives above your parents’ garage. This video proves it. We love Joanie with Chachi mostly because we love Joanie AND Chachi. We watched them grow up, get together, break up, make up, get married. We saw it all, over the course of the show’s ten year run. (Also, it’s Scott Baio for God’s sake. That guy is ’70s, ’80s magic. That part’s not exactly rocket science.)

4. Dawson’s Creek (1998 – 2003) Pacey and Joey

The Perfect Triangle

I just actually watched those clips and want to die a little. What were they thinking when they wrote this show’s dialogue? Why is Pacey calling Joey a “woman”? She is SIXTEEN. I don’t even call myself a woman now, for God’s sake. Anyway. Step aside from Dawson’s obvious shortcomings and focus on the show’s biggest surprise. Clearly, Dawson Leery was supposed to end up with little Joey Potter (tomboy, a modern day Jo March, literally the girl-next-door). The first season literally threw Joey at his feet as she climbed through the window of his room, after a year of angst that only a bunch of 15 year olds can muster. So then what happens? Dawson’s best friend falls in love with her too. And when that best friend (you can hear the call PACEY! over the blogosphere whenever Joshua Jackson makes an appearance in real life) is pretty much the Lloyd Dobbler of Capeside? Poor Cerealbox Head doesn’t stand a chance. 

3. Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997 – 2003) Buffy and Angel

The Beauty and the Beast

Well, so of COURSE the love of vampire slayer Buffy Summers’ life is a vampire. Of COURSE it is. Years before teenaged girls got sucked into the Twilight rabbit hole, before HBO had even heard of True Blood, sixteen-year-old Buffy developed the hots (it’s a ’90s expression, it works, leave me alone) for a 300 year old vampire with a soul. The show, in its smartest years, used Buffy and Angel’s relationship as a metaphor for the overpowering effect of first love (in maybe the most powerful example, Buffy decides to sleep with her boyfriend, for the first time, on her birthday, not knowing that the Gypsy curse of Angel’s human soul would be removed the moment he experienced a glimpse of pure happiness. So, yeah. Buffy wakes up the next day, all happy and in love… and her boyfriend has turned into a total monster. And you thought only Mormons could provide a subtle hint about the trouble sex can bring. Silly rabbit.)

2. The Office ( 2001 – 2003 / 2005 – Present) Tim and Dawn / Jim and Pam

The Kindred Spirits

Before there was Jim and Pam, there was Tim and Dawn. The settings may be slightly different but the stories started out the same- everyman Tim/Jim fall for their best office-mate, receptionist Dawn/Pam. Trouble is, she’s engaged to someone else. The beauty of how The Office plays what could’ve been a typical office romance is the dynamic between the two couples. Tim (it’s easier to stick with the first and greatest) is the Voice of Reason in this mad, mad world. He’s the one rolling his eyes along with us and wondering if everyone’s taken their crazy pills. S0, naturally he’s drawn toward pretty Dawn. She gets it. She knows everyone’s crazy. They speak the same language and in a world where you often feel like the last sane person on earth, this is crucial. It’s a lifeline. It doesn’t hurt when both of you are cute, funny, snarky and you let us all in on the joke. Of COURSE we’re rooting for you.

(Warning: this video will kill you)

(And the happy ending we needed)

1. The Cosby Show (1984 – 1992) Clair and Cliff Huxtable

The Perfect Couple

The following clip is ABSURD. Someone for Cliff Huxtable other than Clair? Please. TV has never gotten a pair more right than Brooklyn’s favorite Doctor/Lawyer duo. They’re smart, they’re playful, they fit each other like a forbidden hoagie with a bag of potato chips. There was no other way for The Cosby Show to end its eight year run than for Cliff and Clair to dance their way out of the studio. No other way.

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by Beal

Be it a diner, restaurant, coffee shop or bar, the haunts and hangouts of TV characters can become as legendary as the characters that patronize them. These fictional hangouts are places we wish existed, where we could spend our leisure time chatting wittily with our friend group, which may or may not be comprised of six different but zany archetypes. The following amazing make-believe haunts are celebrated not only for their prominent position in pop culture but also because having just ONE place for the gang to hang out, saves a bundle on sets.

5. Paddy’s Pub – Always Sunny in Philadelphia

img_4318So Paddy’s might have been voted the “worst bar in Philadelphia” but that won’t prevent it from making my list, in fact it’s only a boon to it’s greatness as far as I’m concerned. This place is a real dive, if I’m going to be nice about it, dump if I’m not. Somehow Mac, Dennis, Charlie and Frank manage to run this joint, of course with the help of bartender/waitress/drunk girl Sweet D. Seriously, I’m dying to hang out here. The clientele is a mixed bag–shady Asian gambling addicts, mildly retarded white rappers, minors, hobos, dead people, theater enthusiasts, you name it, at some point, each and every kind of person has thrown back a couple at Paddy’s and/or  been fucked over by some scheme that began inside its walls . Plus, they’ve got a pool table.

4. Monk’s “The Coffee Shop” – Seinfeld

6a00d83451be5969e200e54f4bb3c68834-640wiYou will find no patrons so loyal to an unremarkable diner as Jerry, George, Elaine and Kramer are to Monk’s aka “The Coffee Shop.” This allegiant foursome has arguably the world’s largest selection of restaurants to patronize, yet time and time again you’ll find them eating the same boring sandwiches and sipping coffee in their usual booth. Sure, sometimes they venture out for “fat free” yogurt or some Nazi-made soup, or occasionally to Monk’s “bizarro” competitor Reggie’s, but not very often because “they don’t have the big salad.” And they’ve had their fair share of issues at Monk’s, from the big-breasted waitress fiasco to George’s ongoing hate relationship with the cranky cashier. Mostly I just liked the dialogue.

3. Central Perk – Friends

central_perk

How could I not mention Central Perk? First and foremost, it’s a terrific pun, and who doesn’t love a pun? I’m pretty sure this place is partially responsible for the over saturation of coffee houses throughout America. Everyone loves the idea of sipping lattes from brightly colored jumbo mugs while relaxing on a plush davenport and enjoying an intellectual conversation or some light reading or perhaps one of Phoebe’s latest songs. And we all imagine ourselves doing this in a lovely Mom and Pop shop, just like Central Perk, located conveniently on the ground level of our insanely spacious apartment building. Unfortunately, all we have are Starbucks, and if at any time I noticed a six-pack of really attractive friends exchanging hilarious one-liners inside the Starbucks, I would have to assume my coffee had been laced with a mind altering substance.

And a tip of the hat to barista Gunther, who, with the smallest part ever, still manages to have the largest “supporting” role on Friends.

2. Phil’s – Murphy Brown

Phil's Bar - Murphy BrownEven though the show begins with Murphy’s release from the Betty Ford Clinic, it’s no reason to stop going to the bar. Or is it? Phil’s, which is located directly across the street from the FYI studio, provides a perfect respite for the news team. Whether it be for some pub food or a mid-afternoon highball, Phil’s is your place. And Phil is your man! Played by Pat Corley, Phil was always dispensing sound advice for Murphy and the gang. Phil’s was sort of like the last refuge for olden time stereotype journalists–a dark bar where trench coat/fedora hat clad investigative reporters could sip whiskey and crank cigarettes, hoping to overhear some political gossip, which actually was somewhat likely in Phil’s, being that it was (I think) located on K Street in downtown Washington. Midway through the series Phil dies and when his wife, Phyllis and children (who are also named some version of Phil) decide they must sell the bar, the news team bands together and buys it. All of them have ideas about how to improve it (personalize it) but in the end decide to keep it the same including the running gag “CLOSE THE DOOR” when even an ounce of sunlight pours in, which makes sense. No one wants to be reminded that they’re shitcanned in the middle of the afternoon.

1. Arnold’s – Happy Days

Arnold's Drive In - Happy DaysNo 70’s show about the 50’s would be complete without a Drive-In for the hip teens, with their Rock & Roll, and, and poodle skirts and their issues with authority to hang in out at. Enter Arnold’s, the number one TV hangout, according to me. Arnold’s was run by Al Delvecchio and was frequented by Richie, Joanie, Chachi, Ralph Malph, Potsie and the Fonz,. Seriously, it’s the only public place they ever went. I love it though, because without it, we may have never have seen the Fonz rip his leather jacket off and punch out a couple of rabble rousers and we DEFINITELY wouldn’t have seen him single-handedly (athankyou) “fix” the jukebox. Arnold’s was further ingrained into pop culture when Weezer used it as the setting for their 1994 music video, Buddy Holly. Roll clips. . .

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by Judi

5. Happy Days– Joanie Marries Chachi in “Passages (2)” (1984)

I, like many other children of the ’80s, was far too invested in the relationship of Joanie and Chachi. This wasn’t really my fault, though, and I’ll tell you why (of course I’ll tell you why.) Happy Days ran for so long that it had kind of the same emotional effect as a long-running soap opera. Meaning that most of us actually watched these crazy kids grow up. And, of course, the producers knew that and tied in the long-awaited wedding with what has to be the sappiest montage in television history and a tearful good-bye from the Cunningham family. Also, Scott Baio was seriously cute (and such is the depth of my affection that I can almost forgive his quoting song lyrics as vows. Ugh. Almost).

4. Cheers– Diane Doesn’t Marry Frasier in “Rescue Me” (1985)

As iconic TV couples go, you just can’t ignore Sam and Diane. The classic opposites-attract model of sitcom romance, playboy barkeep Sam’s constant wooing of aloof, refined Diane is pretty much the gold standard for inciting a riot of “will they or won’t they” among viewers everywhere. And if there’s anything TV viewers like better than a sitcom romance, it’s when that sitcom romance interrupts a wedding to another person (see Friends, Ross and Emily.) Poor Frasier. Luckily for all of us, he bounced back from this hitch in Italy to marry Lilith, one of the greatest characters in the history of the small screen.

3. Melrose Place– Craig marries Sydney in “Who’s Afraid of Amanda Woodward?” (1997)

Melrose Place was a solid prime-time soap, a bit dirtier and grungier than its BH counterpart and oh, we so loved it for that. Forget any shred of sap or sentiment. This wedding basically came about due to the high you get (or so I’ve heard) from a solid backstabbing- Craig and good old Syd plan to get hitched after basically ruining Amanda and stealing all of the clients from D & D.  Too bad it ends up with Sydney being awesomely mowed over by a car and, you know, dying. (Or not as she’s apparently going to be on the CW’s remake which I’m sure will be just as boring and stupid as the new 90210). I’m pretty sure Craig was the only one at the wedding who was actually bummed about it too.

2. Taxi– “The Wedding of Latka and Simka” (1982)

Andy Kaufman’s Latka was always good for a go-to laugh, if only for the seemingly bizarre culture of his native country, which Wikipedia helpfully reminds me was called “Caspiar.” His marriage to Simka is a perfect example. Instead of a simple ceremony, the couple are forced to partake in a series of really weird tests before they can get married in the garage, presided over by that dude from Ghost. Hijinks and hilarity ensue.

1. Mad About You– “Mad About You” (1995)

While not even close on my list of favorite shows, I sometimes get the strangest hankering for old episodes of Mad About You. Maybe it has something to do with the way Paul Reiser talks with his hands. Or how Helen Hunt always looks like she wants to kill someone. Whatever it is, unlike Beal, I found the show to be pretty smart for a traditional sitcom. It felt more realistic as a New York show (than, say, Friends) and, let’s face it, meditations on married life can either be great (Everybody Loves Raymond) or AWFUL (‘Til Death) Mad About You struck right in the middle, though sometimes veering a little too far into reality for some people’s taste (they split up for a while, a big no-no in sitcom land).

This is my favorite wedding for personal reasons. In short, I think weddings are kind of stupid. A wedding costs an OBSCENE amount of money for what basically amounts to a party with bad food. You throw together all of the people in your life (ie AWKWARD) and then basically demand a giant gift in return. Other than the free booze and seeing your Aunt Muriel boogying to old Motown, I’d much prefer to get married the way Paul and Jamie do- on a dirty New York street in front of a work crew at 4am, presided over by Lyle Lovett.

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