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“One, two, three, four…five, six, seven, eight! Schlemiel! Schlemazl! Hasenpfeffer Incorporated.” I don’t know about you, but I consider that to be one of the most annoying lines in the history of television.
Ahhh, who could possibly forget the wild antics from the Laverne & Shirley show? Here was a series that was essentially the female version of The Odd Couple. On one hand you have the sweet and innocent roommate that liked being neat and keeping things by the book. That was Shirley. Then you have the street-smart, brash, and not-so-neat roommate named Laverne. Two people that you would never expect to be able to coexist; yet here they were living and working together in a sitcom that drew tons of laughs back in the seventies and still today.
Laverne and Shirley work together in the Shotz Brewery as bottle cappers and live their lives together in an apartment in Milwaukee. Their everyday lives are portrayed here along with all the crazy situations they get themselves into. It’s kind of difficult to explain much more then that, but that’s really all there is. Still this turned out to be one of the most successful and popular series in television history. Sure it was almost a knock-off of Oscar and Felix, but with a twist. Instead of getting annoyed with one another and the humor coming from that, the humor came from how well they actually lived together and got along. That is the main difference from The Odd Couple, and also the fact that we now had two women instead of men.
As for me, I grew up watching the reruns of Laverne & Shirley thanks to my parents and my own personal deep love for Happy Days. This series is actually a spin-off from Fonzie, Richie, and the rest of the gang and hence the reason for so many crossovers during the years. Even though the episodes I watched at my young age had long since first aired, it was still always cool to see Fonzie pop over into Milwaukee or Laverne and Shirley attend “Fonzie’s funeral.”
While that was really cool, Laverne & Shirley just never was my cup of tea. Laverne often got on my nerves acting all tough when she really just looked so stupid. And then there was Shirley who was always so much of a goody-goody that ended up making her even more annoying. They just weren’t that funny to me and now seeing the episodes some fifteen years after I originally did; well, they still aren’t that funny. The one redeeming quality about the show happens to be the girls’ neighbors Lenny and Squiggy. The two of them always showed up at the most inopportune time, but always provided the biggest laughs in each episode. Just go back and watch these episodes and notice the ovations they get whenever they first appear on camera. By this fourth season, the applause and chants were insane. That is for good reason though and it’s because Lenny and Squiggy ruled all and should have had their own sitcom.
Sure some episodes are funny and a few of the things that the girls do are really amusing, but not too often will you find that. Check out “The Quiz Show” or “Who’s Papa” from this fourth season to get a good idea of what I’m talking about. Those are by far the best two out of this entire season with “Laverne & Shirley Move In” being a close third. Other then those few, I could do without virtually all the other episodes. And it isn’t that this series isn’t my type of humor because Happy Days will go down as one of my favorite shows ever. Even the appearances by L&S on certain Days‘ episodes didn’t bother me too much, but maybe it’s just because I was subjected to them in only small doses.
The Festival (Parts 1 & 2): Laverne and Shirley visit Laverne’s New York family and attend the Italian festival, where Grandma makes Squiggy an honorary member of the family.
Playing The Roxy: Shirley gets a bump on the head, and suddenly imagines herself to be a famous stripper.
The Robbery: Laverne goes out on a date with Jake, a local tough guy, but things complicated when the date includes robbing a grocery store.
The Quiz Show: Laverne and Shirley, along with Lenny and Squiggy, compete on a TV game show.
Laverne & Shirley Go To Night School: Shirley and a reluctant Laverne attend night school to become medical assistants and encounter a troublesome model skeleton and a madcap German professor.
A Date With Eraserhead: Shirley has her most unusual blind date ever with Warren, aka “Eraserhead.”
The Bully Show: Lenny and Squiggy are strong-armed into arranging a date between Laverne and their foreman, Bif.
A Visit To The Cemetery: Laverne makes her first visit to the grave of her late mother.
A Chorus Line: Laverne decides to audition for a part in the musical “West Side Story.”
Laverne & Shirley Move In: Shirley reminisces about when she and Laverne first became roommates.
Dinner For Four: Laverne and Shirley meet Hank and Rob at the Pizza Bowl. The girls think they’ve been invited to dinner, but all the guys wanted was two maids for an evening with their girlfriends.
It’s A Dog’s Life: Shirley handcuffs herself to a homeless dog at the pound to rescue him.
Oh, Come All Ye Bums: Frank decides against hosting his annual charity dinner.
Who’s Papa?: Curious that she’s the only petite brunette in an otherwise tall, blonde family, Shirley decides to find out if she’s adopted.
The Third Annual Shotz Talent Show: Laverne and Shirley put together an act as human puppets for the Third Annual Shotz Talent Show.
Supermarket Sweep: Laverne finds that she has more friends than she thought when she wins three minutes of free shopping at Slotnick’s market.
Lenny’s Crush: Lenny misunderstands a conversation with Laverne, and falls in love with her.
The Fire Show: Laverne and Shirley both fall for the same fireman after he comes to put out the fire in their apartment.
Squiggy In Love: Laverne and Shirley are worried that Squiggy’s beautiful new girlfriend might just be using him to help her move into her new apartment.
The Feminine Mistake: Laverne wants Shirley to help her soften her image in order to impress Joey.
Tenants Are Revolting: With good intentions, the girls call in a building inspector to make repairs, but it backfires when landlady Edna faces potential fines.
There’s A Spy In My Beer: Laverne decides to prove her doubting coworkers that she really did see an industrial spy in the brewery.
Shirley And The Older Man: A jealous Carmine is resentful of Shirley’s friendship with a rich older man.
The episodes are shown in 1.33:1 Full Screen format and it seems as if the episodes were touched up tremendously because the colors look great.
The episodes are heard in Dolby Digital Stereo Sound and it is more then adequate for this series.
For those of you who are fans of Laverne & Shirley, then you know you are going to end up buying this season of the series no matter what I write. If you’re a fan of Happy Days only or are simply wondering what this show is about, then I’d recommend a rental of any season first before buying any of them. It’s just not my favorite show in the world and I find the humor to be decreasingly funnier as the season goes along. Not to mention that I distinctly remember the first couple seasons of Laverne & Shirley being at least a bit more humorous then this one was. Did the show really start to decline only after the third season? Sad if it did, but it’s long been over and now only the true fans of it should relive it on DVD. There are no special features and I can’t say I’m upset about that either. Go and check out Joanie, Richie, Ralph Malph, and the rest of the gang as they hang out at Arnold’s and just wait for the cameo crossovers of Laverne and Shirley. Believe me, it’s about all you may be able to stand.
Paramount presents Laverne & Shirley: The Fourth Season. Created by: Garry Marshall, Lowell Ganz, & Mark Rothman. Starring: Penny Marshall, Cindy Williams, Michael McKean, David L. Lander. Running time: 605 minutes on 4 discs. Rating: Not Rated. Released on DVD: April 22, 2008. Available at Amazon.com