Series / Laverne & Shirley
"Give us any chance, we'll take it
Read us any rule, we'll break it
We're gonna make our dreams come true...

"One, two, three, four,
Five, six, seven, eight!
Schlemiel! Schlimazel!
Hasenpfeffer Incorporated!"

Laverne & Shirley is a sitcom spun off from Happy Days, centering on two acquaintances of the Fonz who, as the series began, worked at a Milwaukee brewery.

Co-created by Garry Marshall (with former Happy Days writers Lowell Ganz and Mark Rothman), the show starred his sister Penny Marshall as Laverne De Fazio and Cindy Williams as her roommate Shirley Feeney. The most popular supporting characters were Wacky Guys Lenny and Squiggy (played by the underrated Michael McKean and David Lander); other supporting characters included Laverne's dad Frank (Phil Foster), the girls' landlady Edna Babish (Betty Garrett), and Shirley's on-again, off-again boyfriend Carmine "The Big Ragoo" Ragusa (Eddie Mekka). The series ran on ABC from 1976 to 1983.

This series contains examples of:

  • Animated Adaptation: Laverne & Shirley in the Army (although on-screen it simply read Laverne & Shirley), which was produced by Hanna-Barbera and featured Penny Marshall and Cindy Williams voicing their characters.
  • Annoying Laugh: Laverne
  • Artifact Title: Shirley left the cast in the final season. Conversely on the cartoon, Cindy Williams did not return to voice Shirley in season two, replaced by Lynn Marie Stewart.
  • Bank Toaster: In one episode, Laverne agrees to help a woman who she thinks wants more of the bank's free dishes that they are giving away. Instead, she turns out to be a bank robber, and she and Laverne are both arrested.
  • Bathroom Stall Graffiti: An early episode has the girls discovering their names and numbers have been written on a men's room wall at a local pool hall. Leading them to disguise themselves as guys to try removing it.
  • Berserk Button: Never call Laverne a bimbo.
    • Real Life Example: Referencing this show when referring to the real Milwaukee has been known to push quite a few of these in Southeast Wisconsin. Milwaukee's Mayor Tom Barrett even quipped upon being elected that one of his main objectives was to let the rest of the world know that "Laverne and Shirley don't live here anymore." Now Mister Plinkett does.
  • Chain Letter: An episode has Laverne enduring a spell of bad luck after throwing one of these away.
  • Christmas Episode
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: The girls' Milwaukee Landlady Edna, later Laverne's stepmother, just kind of vanished sometime after their move out to California.
  • Commuting on a Bus: Michael McKean didn't appear in many episodes of the final season, as he was busy preparing This Is Spın̈al Tap. With Squiggy appearing alone in many episodes and Shirley gone from the show entirely, some joked that it should have been re-titled "Laverne and Squiggy."
  • Cordon Bleugh Chef: Laverne liked drinking a mix of Pepsi and milk together in the same glass.
  • Crossover: With its parent program Happy Days.
  • Death Row: Laverne somehow winds up there in a season 8 episode. She's eventually exonerated.
  • Diagonal Billing: Penny Marshall and Cindy Williams in the opening titles, in television's first instance of this form of billing (it having been invented just two years earlier for The Towering Inferno). However the opening titles also "cheat" this billing in favour of Marshall in two ways: the title of the show is also oriented diagonally in the reverse order (top-left-to-bottom-right), making it impossible not to read the name Laverne before that of Shirley; in addition, as Marshall and Williams are credited on screen, their names are superimposed over their bodies in a scene of the two of them smiling for the camera - with Marshall standing on the left. (It's good to be the sister of the show's creator and producer.)
  • Divergent Character Evolution: When the two first appeared on Happy Days, there was very little difference between Laverne and Shirley. For this series, though, Laverne was made more of a tomboy and Shirley a girly girl.
  • Drill Sergeant Nasty: During the fifth season, the girls went into the Army, and contended with a tough-as-nails drill sergeant named Alvinia T. Plout (Vicki Lawrence, using her Mama voice).
  • Drop-In Character: Lenny and Squiggy, and Rhonda Lee during the Burbank years.
  • The '50s / The '60s: With The '70s and Eighties often bleeding through.
  • Five-Temperament Ensemble: Lenny (melancholic/phlegmatic), Shirley (phlegmatic/sanguine), Laverne (choleric), Frank (melancholic), Edna (phlegmatic), Squiggy (sanguine), and Carmine (leukine).
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: Lenny and Squiggy, Squiggy moreso than Lenny.
  • Game Show Appearance: Lenny and Squiggy on The Dating Game.
  • Girls Love Stuffed Animals: Shirley's beloved "Boo Boo Kitty".
  • Grievous Bottley Harm: Subverted in a scene involving many prop bottles and one real glass bottle.
  • He Who Must Not Be Seen: The girls' boss at the brewery, Mr. Shotz, was never seen in person, always speaking to them and other employees from offstage, usually through a photo of himself or, if he had a more important part in the episode, something that obscured him, like a spotlight.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: A rare female example.
    • Lenny and Squiggy.
  • Hypno Fool: In one episode, the duo find themselves acting like chickens every time a bell rings.
  • Inadvertent Entrance Cue: Lenny and Squiggy were the undisputed champions of this.
  • Incoming Ham:
    • Squiggy must think that "Haalloooooooow!" is some sort of mating call.
    • "Heigh-ho! Rhonda's here!"
  • Irrevocable Message: A two-part episode ("The Bardwell Caper") involved the duo trying to retrieve a nasty letter they had written to their boss.
  • It's a Wonderful Plot: "Laverne's Broken Leg"
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Lenny and Squiggy. More "jerk" in Squiggy, more "heart of gold" in Lenny.
  • Knife-Throwing Act
  • Landlady: Edna Babish is initially this for the girls, although she eventually ends up marrying Laverne's dad.
  • Local Hangout: The Pizza Bowl (when the show was set in Milwaukee) and Cowboy Bill's (during the Los Angeles years). Laverne's dad ran both establishments.
  • Missing Mom: Laverne's father Frank is a widower. During the series he dates and eventually marries Edna Babish.
  • Monochrome Casting: The real Milwaukee of the 1950s was in the midst of a mass-migration of African-Americans who came (and often were recruited) specifically to work at the city's breweries. Yet despite the titular characters working at a brewery (and the show's creation at a time when interracial casts were en vogue), the show featured no African-American characters.
  • Mood Whiplash: The season 5 episode "Why Did the Fireman...?" has Laverne dating a fireman named Randy. On the night he plans to propose to her, he is interrupted several times in typical humorous fashion. The last interruption is a fire emergency that Randy has to respond to. He tells Laverne to go home and wait for him. She does... and is then told that Randy was killed in the fire. The rest of the episode takes a dark turn as Laverne must come to terms with Randy's death.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Rhonda (Leslie Easterbrook), a sexy blonde added as a ratings-boosting gimmick when the show moved to L.A.
    • To some extent Laverne herself became this in the final season.
  • New Year Has Come: A season 3 episode has the girls welcoming in 1960.
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent: Nearly the entire cast. One would think Milwaukee was located just outside of Brooklyn.
    • Justified with Laverne and her father: they grew up in New York.
  • Panty Shot: Shirley in the cartoon, which had her and Laverne as cheerleaders in a football game in an episode. She drops to the ground doing a split and her skirt goes up.
  • Planning with Props: In "The Bardwell Caper", Laverne and Shirley planning to get a nasty letter out of their boss' office.
  • Poorly Disguised Pilot: The final episode is actually one of these, following Carmine as he moves to New York to pursue a Broadway career and auditions for Hair. A very odd way to end the series, and what's more we never do learn whether he lands the role (since the planned spinoff never materialized).
  • Present Day Past: Like its parent show Happy Days, the series increasingly fell victim to this as time went on.
  • Put on a Bus:
    • The last season had Shirley marrying an Army medic and going overseas with him.
    • "Big Rosie" Greenbaum once the show switched settings to Burbank. When the girls returned to Milwaukee in season 7's "Whatever Happened to the Class of '59?", so did Big Rosie.
  • Required Spinoff Crossover: With Happy Days.
  • Re Tool: Season 6 has the entire cast move from Milwaukee to Burbank, CA.
    • When the girls joined the U.S. Army in the Season 5 two-parter "We're in the Army Now", viewers were suddenly faced with a possible retool... but the producers got cold feet and tossed that idea in the bottom drawer. However, the Army episodes inspired the Animated Adaptation Laverne and Shirley in the Army.
  • Reunion Show: Two of them, in 1995 and 2002. The second one included an in-character skit.
  • Ruptured Appendix: "Shirley's Operation."
  • Shout-Out: The opening credits were spoofed by Wayne and Garth in Wayne's World.
  • Sitcom Archnemesis: "Big Rosie" Greenbaum for Laverne during the Milwaukee years. Toned down some as the series went on.
  • Slapstick Knows No Gender: To levels that only Lucille Ball matched.
  • Syndication Title: Laverne & Shirley & Friends, Laverne & Shirley & Company.
  • Tickle Torture: In the episode "Festival Part 1", Laverne pumps Shirley for $70 out of Shirley's vacation funds in order to help a guy she just met win a trip to Italy. When Shirley denies any knowledge of her vacation fund, Laverne recalls that she keeps money in her shoes as well. Shirley denies this too, stating all she has in her shoes are Zeno pads. After tricking Shirley into turning around, Laverne throws her over the armrest of the couch and rips both her shoes off. Laverne's assumption is correct, finding two $20 bills taped to the bottoms of her socks, and tickles her foot into letting go of the second $20 bill. Shirley submits and retrieves the remaining $30 after Laverne threatens to wrestle her for it.
  • Thematic Theme Tune: "Making Our Dreams Come True". The song, performed by Cyndi Grecco, was issued as a single and reached #25 on the Billboard chart.
  • Third-Person Person: Rhonda
  • Those Two Guys: Lenny and Squiggy.
  • Thriller on the Express: "Murder on the Moosejaw Express."
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Laverne is a tough-talking girl who prefers her men the same way, while on the other hand, Shirley is about as girly as a girl can get.
  • Unfolding Plan Montage: In one episode, Laverne outlines a plan to break into an office and steal back some important papers. As she explains it, we see the plan in action, which they pull off perfectly. Then it turns out it was just a visual depiction of the plan being described. Once they implement the plan it goes awry and Hilarity Ensues.
  • Wacky Guy: Two of them, Lenny and Squiggy.
  • Your Favorite: For Laverne - Milk and Pepsi. Together.

Alternative Title(s): Laverne And Shirley