I used to think that making Happy Days references was a sign of cultural irrelevance, which is why I did it (I like to be culturally irrelevant). But lately it seems like every time I turn on the TV, there’s another Happy Days joke. I mentioned the Ponzi Scheme/Fonzie Scheme joke from The Colbert Report a couple of weeks ago, but since then, the floodgates have opened:
– Jon Stewart (or rather his writers) made a joke about Fonzie being named Secretary of Defense (“President Reagan wanted someone who could tell the Russians to ‘sit on it'”) and called Dick Cheney “Linky Tuscadero.”
– Robin on How I Met Your Mother, going through the same plot that Seinfeld already did 18 years ago, said that telling her not to get emotionally involved after sleeping with someone is “like telling The Fonz to be cool.”
– Last night on 30 Rock, Liz reached into her limited repertoire of bad impressions and volunteered to do “Mrs. Cunningham from Happy Days! ‘Oh, Howard! Oh, Arthur!'”
Look, I would never complain about the TV industry making too many references to a once-popular, long-canceled TV show, not only because it would be hypocritical but because I like this kind of thing. (When such jokes are made in front of an audience, I’m always intrigued to see whether the audience seems to get the reference.) But what’s with all these 30-something writers writing in jokes about a show that was already on its last legs when they were kids? Nothing wrong with it, it’s just a little odd. Unless the Ron Howard Obama video catapulted Happy Days back into the cultural consciousness. (It certainly can’t be that Happy Days musical that’s crawling around the U.S. in the forlorn hope of making it to Broadway someday.) But for the sake of equal time, I demand that these shows make some jokes about the Andy Griffith Show, which was a better show and more popular in syndication. I expect Kenneth to say “Well Goll-ee!” on next week’s episode of 30 Rock, so make it happen, people.
On a related note, and since this isn’t worth a separate post, did you know that there’s a YouTube video that combines two internet fads from different eras: “Jumping the shark” and “LOLCats.” The result? LOLFonz.