Thursday, October 06, 2005


I've just read that Scott Baio has replaced Henry Winkler as the lawyer on the television comedy Arrested Development, a show I've sporadically caught a time or two here in Cambodia, and this decision, this changing of the comedic guard, has me convinced that some kind of shift in the basic fabric of the space-time continuum has just taken place.

Let me back up.

The single funniest comedic bit I've ever seen features pint-sized, bug-eyed comedian Gilbert Gottfriend musing to himself about why, exactly, Scott Baio from Happy Days got his own sitcom spin-off, Joanie Loves Chachi, but Henry Winkler didn't. He imagines a group of TV executives pondering the possibilities:

"Chachi, sure, but Winkler...not so much."

"Chachi, yeah, but Winkler..."

"Chachi, sure, but Winkler...not so much."

And so on.

(To find this funny, life-changingly funny, you have to a) think Gilbert Gottfried is, quite possibly, Christ returned, or b) just be, like, really, really weird. I am both of the above, and just remember -- if the above bit wasn't funny at all to you, it's because he does it on stage so much better than I do it in words, and, like I said, I'm kind of weird.

Back to the present.

What I'm thinking is: What are the odds that Scott Baio would once again bump Winkler out of the spotlight? I know, I know -- apparently Winkler left for another gig, a new gig, on a new sitcom. But still. Arrested Development is apparently getting all the critical props, if not the viewers. Baio will be back in at the forefront of our collective human consciousness. Chachi will be on everybody's lips, not the Fonz. And, even more than the above reasons, the really odd thing is that Gottfried's timeless, legendary joke still works in this new situation. Just imagine a bunch of studio execs rationalizing their decision to hire Chachi over the departing Winkler, and you can use the same damn lines.

Which proves, you ask?

I mean, do you really need to ask?

It proves that Gottfried was on to something, that's what. It proves that he, Baio and Winkler are part of some unholy cosmic alliance that somehow is able to not only influence the comedic mindset of an entire generation, but are also incredibly, painstakingly patient. The gap between Gottfried's initial Baio/Winkler joke and the latest news is well over a decade and a half. It's all adding up. The signs are here. The Bible Code is in place.

I'm telling you, this is equivalent to Indiana Jones finding the lost ark of the covenant, or Charlie's grasping of the golden ticket that led to the chocolate factory, or Steve Guttenberg deciding to do that fourth Police Academy flick, the one with the Citizens on Patrol. It's that earth shattering, is what it is.

Don't believe me?

Just think.

When was the last time you heard of this kind of close connection between a comedian and two stars of a seventies sitcom beloved by millions?

Never, that's when. It hasn't happened. Until now.

The Apocalypse is upon us, folks. Lock the doors and put the kids to bed. Say your prayers and count your blessings.

As for me, I'll be pondering the eternal question that man has grappled with for millenia: Does Joanie really love Chachi?


Anonymous said...

the answer is NO.
they were just two confused kids.

but you got a point about what Gotfried said.

Harrison said...

Scotty DiSpensery,

You ARE totally weird. Christ, i wouldn't have been able to name Chachi's real name if i was paid to - bewilders me as to why you'd know that information....but, I guess you did go to school with Nick and the gang - cut from the same cloth eh?
I've been reading your blog alot lately - haven't missed a post in months - glad to see you are lightening up a little dude. What keeps me coming back to your blog though ARE your musings on the meaning of life via living in Cambodia...having never been there I can only imagine it on a par with Pakistan, which COMPLETELY changed my world view - and I only stayed for two months in total. Props out to you sir for being able to continue seeing the interesting sides of life in a third world country. While periodically musing on the plastic world of American television. Weird, you are indeed.
Hope you are well,

Christa said...

How very very odd and funny. I told you I saw Gilbert in Vegas and met him. I wanted him to stop speaking in that voice, but he didn't. I wonder what he sounds like if he stops doing that? You come up with the craziest stuff sometimes. The Fonz was soooo cool. Does Joanie love Chachi? No, but lots of other women have (me, not included).

Scott said...

Anon -- I still think Joanie really loved Chachi. They may have been confused kids, but survived the cancellation of their own spinoff and got married on the final episode of HAPPY DAYS, and I haven't heard any news about a divorce, so I'm aiming for happily ever after.

Harrison -- I blame it all on Nick and the gang. And the fact that I watched way, WAY more TV than you as a kid, which made me remember not only Chachi's real name, but also ponder the metaphysical implications behind it. I also blame Rob Shedden and the apple sauce he brought onto the bus on the way to the cross-country meets. I think he spiked it once with LSD, and I've been living with the effects ever since.

But let me ask you this, my young Padawaan-who-hates-STAR WARS-but-who-I-will-continue-to-address-using a-Jedi-moniker: If I'm weird for writing this stuff, remember that you have admitted to reading every single post of mine for the past few months. So who is weirder -- the reader or the writer? And what was more scary -- Cookie Jarvis's maniacal laugh or the fact that Shedden used apple sauce as a steroid before races? You be the judge...

Christa -- I don't think it's possible for Gottfried to stop talking in that voice. If he did, I would become terribly disillusioned. Another odd post would result if I learned of such a thing.

Oh, and you don't think Joanie really loved Chachi? What's with all the doubters out there? I know that in real life Scott Baio played the field, but in fictional form he was as pure as Fonzie's gel...

Kim Woodle said...

I just finished watching a very funny GG on Late Night. I remembered a friend of mine years ago cracking me up with his imitation of Gilbert doing this bit with "Chachi sure, but ?? not so much". So I searched and was amazed to land here and have my memory refreshed and to be updated on this decades-long saga.

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