Saturday, September 29, 2012

Where Is the Fonz When You Need Him Most?

Drunkards, there are so many terrible things happenig in the world right now. But this is

That picture is from 2003. When she looked good.
Joanie Cunningham, a homeless, chain-smoking hag? How is that even possible? Huh? How?

The good news: She's kept off the weight
she lost on "Celebrity Fit Club."
The bad news: everything else.
In a nutshell, Erin and her hubby lost their house in California to foreclosure. Then they moved to Indiana to live with her hubby's mama in a trailer park. Then the mama kicked them out because apparently, at age 51 Erin thinks it's still cool to be a rowdy party girl.

Party animal. Bulldog, perhaps.
So they were living in a Holiday Inn, except now allegedly they're not. I guess the next step is homelessness or a nice Motel 6.

This makes me feel awful. When I was a kid, I loved "Happy Days." I adored Erin Moran as Joanie. My favorite part of the show literally was watching the opening credits at the start of each new season to see how Joanie looked that year.

Also wondering why the needle on that damn record never moved.
If you're a young whippersnapper, it may be hard to comprehend just how huge a TV show "Happy Days" was in its prime. Everyone watched it. It was America's sitcom. Although let me tell you, as a depiction of life in Milwaukee, it was pretty laughable. No one ever said "yah dere" or grilled brats or took the bus. Please. Later, when they spun off "Laverne and Shirley" they tried to depict my hometown more accurately by having every single person work in a brewery and bowl and inexplicably speak with a New York accent. Holeeee...

But I digress.

I loved Joanie Cunningham so much. I loved watching her get older and prettier and then kind of fatter and then really skinny and then all dolled up after the producers ditched any attempt to make anyone look as if they lived in the 1960s.

Uh, Chachi? The Beatles were called faggots when they got here,
 and their hair wasn't nearly that long.
But mostly Joanie was cute...

...and wholesome...

...and sweet...

...and pretty; she was really, really pretty.

Now she's broke and broken-down. Her husband works at Wal-Mart, and she's burning through a measly $65,000 settlement she got earlier this year for being bilked out of millions of dollars in "Happy Days" merchandising.

I'm not trying to be mean. I know that lots of sitcom stars - especially kids - never duplicate their glory days or earning power after a starring role. They scale down their lifestyles or make a living off nostalgia or go into another line of work entirely.

I mean, look at "Happy Day" co-star Ron Howard. He hasn't acted in
anything in years. OK, maybe a bad example.
Erin Moran doesn't appear to have taken any of those routes. She just sort of seems to have used up her fame and fortune and replaced it with sadness. She didn't even have a spectacular Lindsay/Britney/Todd Bridges-style former child star flameout. She just chose a dusty, rutted path to a bumpy life. In that she's no different from lots of middle-aged women whose youth and beauty have faded into memory.

But it is different. Because she was Joanie. And Joanie always had Richie or Fonzie or Mrs. C. or Jenny Piccolo to help her out of a jam and teach her a valuable lesson. I wish Erin had more than booze and cigarettes to turn to. I wish she had a Fonzie. Hell, I wish I had a Fonzie.

Nice try, Al. But no.
Mostly I wish Erin Moran all the best and hope she gets back to know...happy days.

Sadly ironic comment about going to the dogs here. :(

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