The Show: Happy Days
Ran for: 255 episodes over 11 seasons, from 1974 to 1984.
What it’s about: A ginger teen and his normal Milwaukee family and friends living life from the mid 50s through the mid 60s.
My relationship with it: I’ve seen a lot of episodes. You know, after they originally aired. When I was 6, I wanted to be the Fonz. Because shouldn’t we all aspire to be some weird middle aged greaser who lives above a family’s garage and hangs out with a bunch of teenagers?
This Episode: “Haunted” from season 2, episode 6.
Original Air Date: October 29th, 1974. (Fun fact: this was the only episode directed by creator Garry Marshall.)
We open at Arnold’s, the diner where all the kids hang out and Weezer sometimes performs, and patrons are hanging up decorations outside. There is some snappy back and forth between a waitress and a guy name “Bag.” I don’t remember if “Bag” was a regular character, but his name is terrible. Anyway, after a joke, we are inside Arnold’s at a table with Ralph Malph, Potsie and Richie Cunningham. Ralph is talking about his upcoming Halloween party. Richie is afraid that BAG and THE DEMONS (!) will be there. Ralph says, well, no, because guess where I’m having it— that’s right, the old Simpson place. Richie and Potsie are scared because it’s haunted, right, but Ralph is like, no, that’s just a story and he goes on to explain that their dates will want them more in a scary house which is sound reasoning. He asks Richie to go by before to make sure the house is “extra spooky and cobwebby” which is a random request.
In the next scene, Richie is pulling up outside the old Simpson place. It looks damned haunted. Joanie, his sister, is with him because he’s supposed to be taking her to her Chipmunk meeting, which I presume is like Girl Scouts only it’s related to small woodland creatures and not girls. She refuses to go in and relays a couple of questionable stories about how everyone who goes in there gets decapitated. This is pretty heavy stuff for a primetime family sitcom. Anyway, Richie convinces her to go in with him.
They go into the house and spooky organ music starts. Richie points out a painting of old Mrs. Simpson on the wall and says, “see, not decapitated,” then the haunted-ass painting FALLS OFF THE WALL and Joanie flees the scene. For some reason, Richie keeps checking the place out. He opens a closet and all we see is a shot of his terrified face and the previously creepy organ music gets super Parliament Funkadelic and Richie nopes the eff out, too. They hop in the car and peel out in terror.
Back at home, Richie tells his dad that they stopped by the old Simpson place on their way home. Mr. Cunningham is like, “yo, that place has been haunted since *I* was a kid.” Anyway, Richie gets all serious and admits to his dad that he saw a headless body in the closet. His dad says, “oh, no you didn’t” and asks why Richie was there in the first place. Richie explains that they are having a party there and his dad is like, “huh. I wouldn’t be caught dead there,” which is a joke, right, but my thing is, why is his dad OK with Richie and his friends having a rager in an abandoned house?