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Happy Days - The Complete First Season

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Old 02-20-2009, 11:44 PM   #1
Zoneboy
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Default 'Happy Days' (The Musical) Jumps the Shark from the Start

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"Happy Days: A New Musical" is stunning. Not stunning in a good way. Stunning like a blow to the head.

It's remarkable that Garry Marshall — the mastermind behind the original show — was even able to find funding for this turkey, but then he's got a Hollywood Rolodex and his own deep pockets, too.

The show is making a Capital Region tour stop through Sunday at Proctors, but there's nothing here to recommend. Nothing.

Marshall's story line is even flimsier than a "Happy Days" episode, and it runs four times as long.

He hired '70s popmeister Paul Williams — composer of easy listening classics like "We've Only Just Begun," "I Won't Last a Day Without You" and "An Old Fashioned Love Song" — to create the score. It's an idea that probably looked good on paper, but Williams clearly tossed the whole thing off in the course of an afternoon.

It's 1959, of course, as the play opens, and Arnold's is facing a crisis. Developers want to turn the property the venerable burger joints sits on into a parking lot.

Ugh. Marshall then piles cliché upon cliché, all the while referencing every character the show ever featured with the exception of Mork from Ork.

In an effort to save Arnold's, Fonzie's old flame, Pinky Tuscadero (Felicia Finley) returns to judge a dance contest and their love flares again with the Fonz (Barry Pearl) getting all wishy-washy and telling Theresa (the Pink's real name) he was wr-wr-wr-wrong (a word he'd previously never been able to utter).

Marshall's script is — if possible — even more wholesome than the original show. "Grease" looks like old-school Times Square pornography compared with this pabulum.

The only moments that offered any real comedy on Tuesday's opening night were the first and second act appearances of the Malachi brothers — Fonzie's arch foes.

Matt Walker, in particular, as Jumpy Malachi, added some comic zest, but in a real show, he would have been a tame humorous aside rather than the funny star.

"Happy Days" boasts an able cast, and many have strong Equity credits. But they're given absolutely nothing to do here. Nothing. (See a pattern?).

The characterizations, for example, are so pale that you wouldn't know who's who if they didn't address each other by name.

"Happy Days" was famous — in the last place — for overstaying its welcome and for creating too many lame spin-offs.

Well, this piece of insert-your-expletive-here continues the legacy.

It's the lamest spin-off yet and Garry Marshall shouldn't just retire the franchise, he should shoot it in the head.
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Old 02-21-2009, 12:30 AM   #2
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Sounds like a test pattern would be more stimulating.
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