Follow TV Tropes


YMMV / Happy Days

Go To

  • Awesome Music:
    • The theme song is very groovy and upbeat with its incorporations of trumpet, keyboard, and hand claps, all while containing a sing-along chorus with upbeat vocals. It culminates in a feel-good tune reminiscent of The '50s.
    • Also, Bill Haley & His Comets' "Rock Around the Clock", which was used as the theme for the first two seasons. Most of the actual '50s and '60s music heard within the show itself also counts.
    • Advertisement:
    • The "Pumps Your Blood" song.
  • Base-Breaking Character: Chachi-nated, or De-Chachi-nated? He was liked by fangirls for being a Mr. Fanservice and his relationship with Joanie, while other viewers found him an unnecessary addition to the cast with an annoying Catchphrase. Nick at Nite even made a marathon out of the "Chachi/No Chachi" premise, and viewers got to vote.
  • Broken Base: Despite being the Trope Namer for Jumping the Shark, a term that was coined when Fonzie jumped over a shark during Season 5, opinions widely vary among fans on when the show actually started going downhill. Some argue that the show went downhill as early as Season 3, when the show started being taped in front of a live audience. Some will say when Fonzie actually jumped the shark. Others will say when Richie and Ralph left the show after Season 7. A number of fans will even argue that the show stayed good for all 11 seasons.
  • Advertisement:
  • Critical Dissonance:
    Justin Remer: Typically, when something jumps the shark, it not only loses touch with what made it appealing in the first place, it also starts to wane in popularity. The odd thing that makes Happy Days the exception to its own rule is that the show didn't start to decline in popularity at this point. The shark-jumping episode was a hit.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Fonzie in the first two seasons, so much that he became a Breakout Character and was promoted to second billing, after Ron Howard.note 
    • Mork was only supposed to be a one-shot character and his episode All Just a Dream, but Robin Williams' performance was such a hit that the episode was revised to make the events real after all and gave him his own spinoff.
  • Franchise Original Sin: The moment of vertical ascension over an aquatic carnivorous animal is considered merely the point where Fonzie's Flanderization into a superhuman and the loss of the 1950s motif reached its zenith. Both those things had subtly been going on as the seasonal rot kicked in.
  • Advertisement:
  • Harsher in Hindsight: Joanie and Chachi's romance was irrevocably ruined after Scott Baio's insensitive statement that Erin Moran deserved her early death because of her drug addictions (she actually died of cancer). Baio later admitted his statement was made in a moment of misinformation and grief, and he didn't truly mean it that way, to some, the damage was still done.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • In one episode, a martial arts class is taught by Arnold, played by Pat Morita. Happily, Daniel-San was a better student than Richie.
    • Fonzie would not be the only television character to own a dog named "Spunky".
    • During the show's early run, Joanie was part of a Girl Scout troupe called the "Junior Chipmunks". The same name was used 26 years later for the scout troupe Kronk leads during his service at Camp Chippamunka in The Emperor's New Groove.
  • Ho Yay: In "Just a Piccalo", when Joanie agrees to go to Pfister Park with Jenny Piccalo to steal the statue there, Jenny kisses Joanie's hands to express her thankfulness.
  • More Popular Replacement:
    • Before Chachi, in early seasons Fonzie had another younger cousin named Spike who completely disappeared after season 4. Chachi is introduced in season 5 in a similar role, but is eventually Promoted to Love Interest and ends up becoming a main character until the end of the show. It helps that Chachi was very popular with teenage girls and was also a different character from his cousin, while Spike just acted like a mini-Fonzie, even wearing the same clothes.
    • Arnold was the owner of the Drive-In in season 3, is replaced by Al in seasons 4-9, and eventually comes back after Al's departure in season 10. Both characters were well-liked and it's hard to tell which of them is more popular.
  • Replacement Scrappy: Roger, the nephew introduced after the departure of the main hero Richie Cunningham. Unlike adorkable everyman Richie, Roger is seen by most fans as a forgettable Flat Character.
  • Seasonal Rot: It started out as a very cool, low-key show, then became the ideal version of a standard sitcom with a Studio Audience. It started getting worse (the Trope-Named Shark-Jump) even before Richie left, but only got worse after that. Fonzie got a temporary full-time girlfriend for one season, and things got increasingly worse with gimmicks (one of them, having an alien appear, is forgivable considering it gave Robin Williams his big break and he made the most of it with his comedy genius creating a hilarious episode) and nonsense until a thankfully fantastic final episode.
  • Squick: In "The Cunningham Caper", Joanie talking about barf bags. Also, all the bad meat in the liver episode. Squicked out Fonzie too.
  • Suspiciously Similar Song: The theme from Season 3 onward has a chorus that seems heavily inspired by the intro and closing of "Can't We Be Sweethearts" by the Cleftones.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: Chuck Cunningham had so much potential as an older brother to Richie and Joanie, but the writers simply got rid of him only because they thought Fonzie was already a "big brother figure" to Richie. At the very least, they could have made Chuck either a recurring guest character, or acknowledge his existence when they wrote him off the show.
  • Values Resonance: The episode "The Best Man" tackles the issue of racial segregation in 1974, when civil unrest was rampant.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: