fonzi

Honestly, a lot of my favourite elements of popular media have come about directly from writers being passive-aggressive.

Let me give you a classic example: Happy Days. For a lot of folks reading this post, it’s probably before your time, but you’re likely to at least be familiar with Fonzie, a supporting character played by Henry Winkler who ended up being so popular that he’s literally the only thing anybody remembers about the show.

Now, if you recognize the name, you might also know that one of Fonzie’s more notable quirks is that he tends to take his motorcycle with him everywhere - even indoors, including many places where there’s no obvious way for him to have gotten it there. What you might not know, however, is why the writers came up with this running gag in the first place.

Y’see, Fonzie was originally conceived as the “bad influence” character - the cool, dangerous bad boy. As part of that characterisation, the writers wanted to have him wear a leather jacket. (Because it was the 1970s, and that counted as edgy back then.) The network censors, however, objected, claiming that allowing him to wear the jacket would encourage juvenile delinquency and gang violence. (Again, it was the 70s.)

Eventually, the writers worked out a deal whereby they’d be allowed to have Fonzie wear the jacket - but only if he was riding or otherwise physically near his motorcycle, since a leather jacket is a common article of safety equipment when operating a non-enclosed vehicle, and we can’t let impressionable kids see somebody riding a motorcycle without proper safety equipment, can we?

Then they just wrote the motorcycle into every scene, regardless of whether it made sense or not, thereby allowing Fonzie to wear the jacket all the time.

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Wet dog chihuahua summer fun! - Happy Fritz on a hot day

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Judge Mathis: Missy Hyatt Vs. Bill Alfonso
[November 8th, 2002]

I don’t think that you can be a professional wrestling personality and then just quit entertaining cold turkey. Former professional wrestling managers Missy Hyatt and Bill Alfonso use to represent clients in ECW. Now, they’re representing themselves in small claims court on the Judge Mathis show. This is an entertaining look at Hyatt who seems more than giddy to be a part of the show, whereas Fonzi is more just kind of there to get sued. Still, entertaining as all get-out.