Which Intro is More Depressing?


Quick question for connoisseurs of bad late-in-the-run television intros. Which Garry Marshall/Paramount/Miller-Boyett sitcom had the more depressing intro in the 1982-83 season?

Was it Happy Days, the show that literally invented shark-jumping, with its intro for the season when Joanie and Chachi had left for their short-lived spinoff (Richie and Ralph, of course, had been gone for years) and a bunch of new characters had been introduced including: A spunky single mother for Fonzie to date, her cute  daughter played by the late Heather O’Rourke, a guy named Flip with ’80s hair and a bare midriff, and a teenage girl played by a young Crystal Bernard, not to mention the already-there Ted McGinley? The cast was so bad that year that Anson Williams got third billing just by default.

Or was it Laverne and Shirley, with the same title but without Shirley, and — in most episodes, and in the credits — without Lenny? (Is there a sadder shot than Squiggy at the jukebox alone?)

Tough choice. Tough, tough choice.


Which Intro is More Depressing?

  1. I’m gonna have to go with Laverne & Shirley. Happy Days may have lost most of its cast, but theoretically the show could still be about,l y’know, the occasional happy day.

    That L&S intro, though… first of all, there’s no Shirley, thus making the title of the show literally incorrect. Second, you mentioned David L. Lander at the jukebowx, but did you see Penny Marshall’s face during her name credit? It’s like a cry for help. She is creaming on the inside of that rictus grin.

    Man, 1982 and TV just didn’t get along at all.

  2. My favorite thing about that L&S theme is that it takes place in a universe where young girls know the L&S theme song, and sing it when they see Laverne on the street.

  3. The Laverne and Shirley one is 20 times more depressing, even with my minimal knowledge of the show. Everyone on the Happy Days opener looks like they’re having fun. Mind you, being out-basketballed by Ted McGinley is a reason to get depressed, but only for the kid.

  4. Oh, it’s gotta be that last-season opening of L&S. The theme song and (especially) the title suggest that Shirley is still there, but she’s not. It’s just Laverne doing everything by herself, like her best friend ditched her. Also, the fact that you see Lenny throughout the opening, yet when it’s time for his credit, only Squiggy is listed, is just plain weird. It’s almost like the producers are saying: “Hey, you know that Lenny guy, right? He’s funny, right? Well, you won’t be seeing any of him tonight!”

  5. 1967? weren’t these shows set in the 1950’s? Did Laverne lose Shirley after being frozen in an iceberg for a decade or so?

  6. Actually, in an extremely weird development, Laverne and Shirley actually appeared to jump forward a few years when the characters all moved to California. And yet Happy Days, the show it spun off from, didn’t do any time-jumping. (With the exception of the first couple of seasons, years did pass on Happy Days — characters got older, graduated high school, went to college — but the exact year of the show was hardly ever given; the last season of the show seems to take place from 1963-64, though, as I do recall an episode where Joanie and Chachi wore matching “Beach Boys 1964 Tour” T-shirts.) This is why when the show wrapped, it was 1967, but when Happy Days wrapped (a year after L&S), it was 1964-ish.

  7. I just want to say firstly was that I LOVE LOVE LOVE the first 5-6 seasons of L&S and have them all on tape…that said, seasons 7 and 8 sucked, but for sound reasons.

    What happened was that in real life, Cindy Williams had gotten pregnant and was set to give birth the same week that they were supposed to shoot one of the shows (Cindy was supposed to be in season 8 which is why the first episode of Season 8, L&S’s final season, actually still had Cindy in it) and they would not change the schedule to accommodate Cindy’s pregnancy. Penny also said in one interview that she wanted Cindy there, that she wouldn’t have minded if she laid down in a bed during rehearsal as long as she contributed. This is contradictory to something else Cindy once said was that she wanted time in writing and that they tried to “force her off the show”, but also didn’t want to shoot the week she gave birth? Which doesn’t make much sense.

    But, nonetheless, by that time L&S was low in the ratings and the only reason Penny probably did that last season was because she had signed a contract with the studio…she said in an interview that she didn’t really care because she had an end date…she knew the series was going to end in a few episodes, so why not stay, get paid, knowing you’ll be leaving anyway?

    Both shows stayed on the air longer than they should have….both were great, classic shows though.

Sign in to comment.