"Richie Almost Dies," from midway through the fifth season, was intended as a tearjerker. Richie is involved in an accident while test-driving a motorcycle, and suffers a severe concussion, one that puts him in a coma. Howard and Marion are told that their son might not live, which leads into the two tearjerking scenes:
Leather Tuscadero (Suzi Quartro), the sister of Fonzie's girlfriend Pinkie, plays the piano — the tender ballad "Find Strength From Your Friends" as a montage of clips featuring Richie plays. The Cunninghams and other regulars sit sadly in the living room ...
... except for Fonzie, who has gone to the hospital to visit Richie. Fonzie is horrified at the sight of his best friend lying unconscious, and scared at the thought that he might not make it. Fonzie goes to a corner of the room and tearfully pleads with God to let Richie live ... before having a complete emotional breakdown.note While this was supposed to be a tearjerker episode, latter-day critics frequently lampooned the episode as an example of 1970s Narm, dismissing the "it's OK to cry" message by citing (primarily) the over-the-top script and acting, and inclusion of a very late-70s-sounding pop tune (in an episode set in 1959).