Laverne & Shirley : Laverne and Shirley Jumped the Shark…

Laverne and Shirley Jumped the Shark…

...when the gang moved to sunny California. I had no desire to move along with them. The dingy Milwaukee basement apartment was it's own character, similar to the Adam-12 radio car being a character unto itself, per Jack Webb. It helped define the duo.

... when Lenny and Squiggy stopped being juvenile-minded, somewhat creepy, lecherous young men of Milwaukee. The less creepy but still horned-up doofus duo of Lenny and Squiggy became zany caricatures.

Re: Laverne and Shirley Jumped the Shark…

I don't think there is a single fan who prefers the California episodes. And the show went from bad to worse when Cindy Williams left before the final season. The move to California was an obvious weak attempt to breath life into a show that had seen better days.

I wish Laverne and Shirley had moved to New York. I am a little biased because I am from the New York area. I remember them visiting New York on a summer vacation and thought that episode ruled. Was that a two parter? Laverne had a grandmother in New York. I think she also had other relatives there. It seemed like a natural move to me.

Chicago is only about 90 minutes away from Milwaukee. But with all due respect, Chicago lacks the glitz and glamor of New York and L.A.. Don't get me wrong. I LOVE Chicago. I have been there a few times and had great times.

Re: Laverne and Shirley Jumped the Shark…

Totally agree that the move to California was a classic example of jumping the shark. There were a few episodes after that that I enjoyed (To Tell the Truth remains one of my all-time favorites), but for the most part, the show had gone seriously downhill. You could really tell in some cases that most of the cast just wasn't into it anymore - it felt forced. And when Cindy left, oh my goodness... season 8 was a disaster.

Yes, there was a two-parter called 'The Festival,' where the gang goes back to visit Laverne's family. I think a NY move could have indeed been interesting... by season 6, I'm not sure if there was anything that could have been done to truly give the show new life, but it would have been interesting to see nonetheless.


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Re: Laverne and Shirley Jumped the Shark…

The man behind the notorious jump the shark episode of "Happy Days" passed away recently. He also wrote for "Laverne & Shirley". His name was Bob Brunner. Brunner came up with the catch phrase "sit on it" and named Henry Winkler's character "Fonzie". He SUGGESTED that the character should jump a shark in a now infamous 1977 episode. But he did not WRITE that episode. That was Fred Fox Jr.. Aaaayyyy!

Pleasee click on
for more about Bob Brunner.

Bob Brunner, 'Happy Days' writer and producer, dies aged 78
Published Wednesday, Nov 7 2012, 11:54pm EST
By Zeba Blay

Happy Days writer and producer Bob Brunner has died at the age of 78.

A frequent collaborator with director Gary Marshall, Brunner was best known for his work on the 1970s sitcom which starred Henry Winkler and Ron Howard, as well as actors Marion Ross, Don Most, Erin Moran and Anson Williams.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Brunner died from a heart attack in his Northridge, California home on October 28.

Brunner produced thirty-seven episodes of Happy Days, fifteen of which he wrote.

He is credited with inventing the nickname for Winkler's 'Fonzie' character, as well as suggesting the idea for the show's now infamous 'jump-the-shark' scene along with Marshall.

Over a career spanning decades, Brunner also wrote episodes of Diff'rent Strokes, Three's Company,The Odd Couple and Laverne and Shirley.

Brunner is survived by his children Robert Jr, Jennifer and Elizabeth, as well as grandchildren Mikayla, Anna, Ashley, Matthew, Aaron and Robert III.

A private service was held on Tuesday (November 6) for Brunner's family at Forest Lawn Memorial Park.

Re: Laverne and Shirley Jumped the Shark…

I only like the ones vicki Lawrence in it but that could because I'm vicki fan lol I do agree overall the Chicago part was best over all

Re: Laverne and Shirley Jumped the Shark…

jefgg, I prefer the California episodes.

Re: Laverne and Shirley Jumped the Shark…

The 5th season, which was the last season they were in Milwaukee, got switched from the Tuesday night lineup, which was gold, to some other night and the show went from being number one in the Nielsen ratings (4th season) to number 42 in the 5th season. It had nothing to do with the quality of the show's episodes as many of the funniest episodes were from the 5th season, e.g. "Murder on the Moosejaw Express", "Fat City Holiday", "We're in the Army Now", "The Diner", "Upstairs, Downstairs", "Bad Girls", "Not Quite South of the Border", etc. The show was still hilarious comedy, but the change in day and time is what killed it. And I could not guess why the network would want to tamper with a winning formula. But they did and the show suffered because of it.

So they moved the gang to California and the show lost all its charm. I can barely watch the CA episodes. Too bad.

"My life is over. I might as well dance with Johnny Slash!"

Re: Laverne and Shirley Jumped the Shark…

I wish the California episodes were shown less frequently in syndication. There is some precedent for that. The "Dukes Of Hazzard" episodes with the replacements for Bo and Luke are shown less often in reruns.

Re: Laverne and Shirley Jumped the Shark…

no they didn't. That was Fonzie.

Re: Laverne and Shirley Jumped the Shark…

I didn't mind the CA episodes when Shirley was around it was when she left that it just got awful. The show was better in Milwaukee but moving them to CA gave them some new plotline ideas which in some cases were good. If they had stayed in Milwaukee for Seasons 6 & 7 I don't think the show would have been much better, probably a case of same old, same old.

Re: Laverne and Shirley Jumped the Shark…

I agree. Both the move to California and Cindy Williams leaving marked the beginning of the end for Laverne & Shirley.

Re: Laverne and Shirley Jumped the Shark…

How could it be Laverne & Shirley without Shirley?

Re: Laverne and Shirley Jumped the Shark…

I think it jumped once the Happy Days characters stopped showing up infrequently. I kinda wish Potsie or some other supporting character just crossed over perminantly once they werent used so much on Happy Days.

I also think they just should've moved to Chicago over California, I thought that was kinda weird and random they would travel that far away from Milwaukee.

'When there's no more room in Hollywood, remakes shall walk the Earth.'

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Re: Laverne and Shirley Jumped the Shark…

I remember reading (at the time) that when the show moved to California, it would offer an opportunity for stars from the 1950's-1960's to make guest appearances, to help boost rating.
I remember Tab Hunter on an early episode (from the CA episodes), so that didn't pan out.
And as for when Shirley left the show, I remember asking a friend, "What are they going to call it now, LAVERNE AND LAVERNE?"

Re: Laverne and Shirley Jumped the Shark…

Was there tension between Cindy Williams and Penny Marshall in the later years of show?

Re: Laverne and Shirley Jumped the Shark…

I think that there definitely was tension; there have been various veiled hints written about it.

I think Cindy felt that Penny got better material because her brother was the producer etc. And Cindy was a better actress.

In the last couple of years, I think the actresses were really not too much in agreement and Laverne & Shirley as characters lost some of their chemistry. In the ill-fated last season, the 8th, the bitterness was really showing.

When Cindy got pregnant, that was the last straw for all of them, I think. Again, just my opinion. She has been quoted as saying that her pregnancy wasn't taken into consideration per se, as in their expecting her to do a full season and be the full second lead. She wanted/needed less work time and I think had she gone on leave they could have brought Shirley back to wrap the series decently.

The series never officially ended with a formal end-of-series episode. It's like no one bothered to show up and we had what instead was Eddie Mekka's episode as the last one, and it was really a pilot for a series called "Blansky's Beauties," and that series folded before the end of its first season.

I think that Cindy literally walked out on the production, which is why we had that awkward episode where Laverne and Carmine are dragging in a crib into the apartment and Laverne finds "The Note" left by Shirley.

I think Penny was allowed to use that episode as a vehicle for venting, as Laverne was really ticked off thinking Shirley ran out without a decent goodbye, until she finds the last page of Shirley's note, which had fallen behind the bed.

It's a shame - Penny attempted to finish out the series order for that last season and it was apparent that they really needed Cindy.

English MA: Symbolism/my life. Truth vs the world - Boudicca of the Iceni

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Re: Laverne and Shirley Jumped the Shark…

I agree. They should have just gotten new jobs in Milwaukee instead of moving to California.

Re: Laverne and Shirley Jumped the Shark…

Let's be honest; the only thing good about the move to California was the big bouncy blonde that was added to the cast! The show really never had any sex appeal before, which I felt made it very real. The episodes weren't that bad in California at first, although it definitely lost something from the Milwaukee years. I didn't see the show needing a big change like that. However, when Shirley, Lenny, and even Mrs. Babish left, you could see the end coming quickly, and the show started becoming unwatchable.

Re: Laverne and Shirley Jumped the Shark…

The real reason L&S moved to Hollywood was because the series needed a MAJOR announcement and promotional storyline to get the show back on TOP again.

L&Swas a ratings blockbuster since it's premiere, finishing it's first season #3, it's second at #2, and seasons 3 and 4 the show was the NUMBER 1 show in TV. The show was gaining in momentum and no signs of slowing down. Then...they broke the cardinal rule...never tamper with a hit! They moved the show to Thursday to bolster that night's ratings, then to Monday and this proved to be a disaster, as strangely, the fans DID NOT follow the show and it fell OUT of the top 30. Seems everyone enjoyed the Happy Days/Laverne & Shirley block of nostalgic TV on Tuesday nights. They returned the show to it's original time slot, but the damage was done. ABC lost their #1 series during season 5.

SO...we have HOLLYWOOD in season 6 to lure back the viewers. It was a definite LEFT turn, different and promotable. Plus, Garry Marshall felt they could capitalize on putting L&S in funny situations they couldn't do in Milwaukee (stunt women, etc). I never liked them leaving Milwaukee, but felt the first year there was GREAT. Very similar pacing, laughs and stories as in Milwaukee. Season 7 had it's moments too. But when Shirley left hastily...and didn't marry CARMINE (fail), that was it for me. Also, Shirley would NEVER have slept with a man prior to marriage. She announced that the "rabbit" had died and then she was getting married. That was a gross misrepresentation of her character. Without Shirley, the spell was broken. It lost the magic, as you needed the two best friends together. Penny was great that last year, nothing against her, but the show was a show about best friends.

Ratings-wise, the show was #21 season 6, not bad at all, but not the #1 show in TV from just two seasons prior. Season 7, the show went up to the Top 20 at #20. Which was great. Even the final - Shirley-less season was in the top #25, at #25. The word was that ABC was ready to renew it for a 9th season, but Penny insisted, as part of her contract, that the entire production be relocated to NYC. ABC refused and quietly cancelled the series in the spring of 1983 with no "true" final episode.

Today, the Hollywood years seem as a way to have allowed L&S to grow...a bit. They got out of that sad basement apartment and moved to a sunnier situation. But if I had my way, they would have never left Milwaukee.

Re: Laverne and Shirley Jumped the Shark…

Also, Shirley would NEVER have slept with a man prior to marriage. She announced that the "rabbit" had died and then she was getting married.

Actually, Shirley got married in the first episode of season 8. She found out she was pregnant in the second episode. So she could have been married first. However, these ladies were supposed to be in their late 20's/early 30's at this point. Was she really a virgin when she got married???

Re: Laverne and Shirley Jumped the Shark…

It would say the move to California. The California episodes were still watchable but the last season was abysmal. They should have ended with Shirley getting married and having them go their separate ways. Penny Marshall said the last season was very unpleasant for her and ABC wanted to do another even after that!