As there are many baby boomers who read this blog, we realize that we are the first generation raised with the aid of television. We come to know many fictional families that way: The Bunkers, the Jeffersons, the Bradfords, the Cleavers, and many more. In this edition of Sunday Musings, I want to dwell on two of my favorites: the Cunninghams and the Winslows.
First the Cunninghams. The Cunninghams were the main family on Happy Days. We met them in January, 1974, and spent 11 seasons as a guest in their home in Milwaukee. Howard Cunningham owned Cunningham Hardware, Marion was a housewife. When we first started visiting their home in Milwaukee, we also saw their three children, Richie, Joanie, and Chuck.
The Winslows were the stars of the series, Family Matters. We were their guests in their home for nine seasons. Carl Winslow was a member of the Chicago police department. His wife Harriet held a variety of jobs during this time. When the series began, the Winslows had three kids: Laura, Eddie, and Judy.
As I promised last week, I will tell about some similarities between the two families and their shows.
First the Cunningham living room and the Winslow living room looked a lot alike. Matter of fact, the set from Laverne and Shirley, a spinoff of Happy Days, looked vary much like the set of Perfect Strangers, a show in which Family Matters was spun off.
Both families lost a member during the series with no explanation. The Cunninghams lost Chuck, who vanished without a trace after he went to college. The Winslows lost Judy, the youngest. I think she was abducted by aliens, who used a memory erasing ray on the rest of the Winslows. I mean, what other explanation do you have for a child missing from a cop's family?
Both shows had a non member of the family take over the show. Happy Days introduced Arthur Fonzerelli, aka, the Fonz. Fonzie portrayed the ultimate in cool. He would eventually move into the apartment above the Cunningham garage.
Family Matters had Steven Q. Urkel, the ultimate in nerd. He would eventually move into the Winslow home.
The reason I liked both shows and still will watch them if it's convenient is the the innocence of both families. There was some physical comedy and some intellectual comedy. No need for overt sexual or vulgar humor. We learned to like the characters because they were, for the most part, pretty much as human as we were. The exception to this were some of the things that were done by Urkel and the Fonz.
I've never needed for any crossing of lines to be entertained or have some good laughs. You can find enough to laugh about in real life.
Tomorrow: A classic post from last May when the traveling Vietnam wall was in Wadsworth, Ohio.