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Tear Jerker / Happy Days

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  • "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 
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  • Richie after his return from service in the Korean War. Gone is the carefree Audience Surrogate of the early days of the show, he's now emotionally unbalanced and it's implied he has PTSD from his experience. While he hides it well, but its clear he's not the boy he was.
  • It can also be funny, but the moment in "Fearless Fonzarelli", when Fonzie says "Remember the good old days when I wore a leather jacket and everyone thought I was cool?" could be tearjerking for viewers who have nostalgia for those days.
  • Learning that Joanie's white mouse Herbert got eaten could be hard for sensitive animal lovers.
  • The episode "The Physical" is mostly a lighthearted episode about the boys getting their draft notices, but the tag is a surprisingly serious and poignant moment where Marion worries about what might happen if the boys actually have to go to war, and Howard unconvincingly tries to reassure her that the country won't send more young men to die overseas. Then there is a moment where they sit silently and listen to the voices of the characters playing outside... until the tension is broken with a quick joke and the obligatory reprise of the theme song.
  • Episodes that deal with Fonzie's estranged father:
    • "Christmas Time" from Season 6 deals with Fonzie struggling with a wide range of emotions, after he receives a package from his estranged father, who left him when he was 3. His emotions intensify after he learns that the delivery man, had in fact anonymously been his father, who's letter claims he was simply a man of the sea who couldn't stay in one place. Howard remarks that Fonzie's father, regardless of this, should've stuck around for his family, like most mature fathers do., which makes Fonzie feel much better.
    • "Arthur, Arthur" from Season 11 takes things further. Fonzie receives a visit from his previously unknown half-brother "Artie" Fonzarelli, who informs him that their father has died. Fonzie is again overcome with a range of emotions, as he claims he just wanted to get to know his father better, and now he can't. Fonzie is able to form a bond with his dissimilar brother over discussions of their father.
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  • In the series finale, when Fonzie is told by the adoption agency he can't adopt a young boy named Danny because of his single status, leading both him and Marion near tears. It is followed by a moment of Awesome when Howard, after pretending to be understanding, tells off the agent and rejects the adoption policy.


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