Happy Days

In this episode of Happy Days, Arthur Fonzarelli, Fonzie, The Fonz, slaps Richie, hard, across the face. Void of context, we don’t know why.
Richie’s jaw drops. He is in shock. He holds his hand against his crimsoned cheek. Richie careens out of time, out of character. He tells Arthur Fonzarelli, the Fonz, Fonzie, that he’s made a big mistake and he would be really sorry, did he know who he just slapped? You’ve just slapped someone who was a child-star, remember Mayberry motherfucker, and I’m gonna go on and become a bigtime director who makes lots and lots of films, Backdraft and Born on the Fourth of July and Apollo 13, all kinds of films, I’m gonna be the shit, and you, what are you gonna be doing Fonz?
When Richie—stranded somewhere between the character, Richie, and Ron Howard, the actor playing Richie—is done with his rant, the rest of his face has joined his cheek in blazing crimson. Henry Winkler, a.k.a., The Fonz, Arthur Fonzarelli, Fonzie, is baffled, and looks around, as if trying to pick up the feel of a gag. Was he on Candid Camera? Yet everyone looks as baffled as he does, an awkward quiet thickening the air. One of the cameramen coughs.
Ron Howard/Richie storms off the set, muttering something heated under his breath. The Fonz, still not sure what to do, defaults to his signature move—thumbs jacked up and out, like a jazzy hitchhiker, as he mouthgrooves—Ayyyyy! The live studio audience applauds. Or it is canned applause. It is hard to tell the difference.


About John Biscello

Originally from Brooklyn, NY, writer, poet, performer, and playwright, John Biscello, has lived in the high-desert grunge-wonderland of Taos, New Mexico since 2001. He is the author of four novels, Broken Land, a Brooklyn Tale, Raking the Dust, Nocturne Variations, and No Man’s Brooklyn; a collection of stories, Freeze Tag, two poetry collections, Arclight and Moonglow on Mercy Street; and a fable, The Jackdaw and the Doll, illustrated by Izumi Yokoyama. He also adapted classic fables, which were paired with the vintage illustrations of artist, Paul Bransom, for the collection: Once Upon a Time, Classic Fables Reimagined. His produced, full-length plays include: LOBSTERS ON ICE, ADAGIO FOR STRAYS, THE BEST MEDICINE, ZEITGEIST, U.S.A., and WEREWOLVES DON’T WALTZ.
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