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by  |  30-Jul-2015 07:39

The premise--and here I use the word "premise" in the broadest sense--is that our Chachi has left Milwaukee to start a singing career in that hotbed of the music industry, Chicago. "Happy Days"--itself a spin off from "Love, American Style"--generated everything from "Laverne and Shirley" to "Mork And Mindy" to the rarely-seen "Anson Williams, P. "Joanie Loves Chachi" was the final, genetically damaged offspring of this long, inbred line.Joanie went with him, of course, along with Al (who has opened a new restaurant to escape the long shadow of Pat Morita).

Chachi and Joanie sing and dance--usually several times--in each episode. The only minor technical problem with all this is that Chachi and Joanie can't sing a note.

Erin Moran and Scott Baio are as grating and unlikeable here as they were in "Happy Days," only here they're on screen for the entire 22 minutes.

How the producers dreamed up a romance between these two is a mystery--they have no chemistry. The spin off was clearly intended to breathe new life into the "Happy Days" franchise, but here the "sitcom hijinks" are as tired and threadbare as they were in the original's Richie-less last gasps.

Also, the ethnic stereotypes would make any Italian cringe. To be fair, this show is such a relic of early 80s television cheese that it would have to have some retro entertainment value now, especially for those who were young enough to enjoy it the first time.

The Fonz and the Cunninghams show up with alarming frequency, and kitsch/camp fans who loved master thespian Baio in "Charles In Charge" will find gold in his "singing teen idol" incarnation, especially since Leif Garrett never made a TV series. I don't think it was that great an idea to take Joanie and Chachi away from Happy Days for their own show because their romance became such an integral part of the show, especially in the post-Ron Howard era.

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