Originally Posted by robyrob
i don't see what the big deal is; they just changed the camera-style and added a studio audience - there really wasn't that much of a difference in the characters or the writing (that came much later over time)
The performances became louder and the comedy more broad, because they were playing to a live audience. In the theater, you have to project and say your lines louder so that the people in the back rows can hear you. And that's what multi-camera sitcoms with live audiences do.
I think too, that Fonzie was a cooler character in the first two seasons. He was more subtle and didn't have to shout how great he was to everybody. In fact, in some early episodes, he had very little dialogue and relied more on his presence to project cool.
Because I started watching during the third season, the early episodes seemed different to me. I didn't understand why at the time, but they had a different style and were more subdued, more nuanced.