Lena Dunham’s Happy Days

Happy Days: The Awakening

Rated TV-MA

For the love of God, another reboot. But let’s put that aside for a moment.

I consider myself to be a “woke” individual. I’m an alcoholic who shoots speedballs and frequently cries in front of prostitutes and I refuse to judge myself (or let anyone judge me) for any of it. But Lena Dunham’s Happy Days is beyond temporally biased. It isn’t even insane as much as it’s totally incoherent.

The Fonze is played by Rosie O’Donnell.

And that’s about the only thing I’m sure about. As far as who anyone else is supposed to be, it’s anyone’s guess.

Maybe it’s my unacknowledged biases coming through, but I’d assumed that Jackie Chan was playing Arnold. But apparently, he’s supposed to be Potsie? Or maybe Mrs. Cunningham? One minute he’s talking to Todd Bridges about picking up chicks, the next he’s wearing an apron and cleaning The Fonze’s attic apartment in the garage. And then having sex with him? And then accusing him of rape?

And when we get to the trial, Todd Bridges is the defendant (because he’s black?) and Jackie Chan is his lawyer? And somehow Matt Damon (who I think is supposed to be Mr. Cunningham?) is the one who ends up going to prison because his hardware store is “a bastion of free market patriarchal cynicism”?

Worst of all, there’s some kind of twisted subplot about Katie Holmes (who I’m pretty sure is supposed to be Lena Dunham) sexually molesting her prepubescent little sister. And the show treats it like a “moment” of comic relief (although calling it a “moment” doesn’t quite do justice to its uncomfortable duration or graphic nature). A laugh track is used exactly once, and this is where. The maniacal cackling coupled with the sadistic sexual degradation of a small child made this viewer wonder exactly where Dunham’s head is at.    

Seriously, what the fuck is going on here?   

This reboot thing has got to stop.

You want to make a cryptic farce of your incestuous pedophilia (okay, I’ll admit I’m “judging” just a little bit here) and call it Happy Days? Fine, here’s a check. You want a 50 year old lesbian to play a teenager in the 50s? Great, take some more money.  

If you’re one of those sensitive souls who feels the Star Wars prequels or sequels or reboots or whatever the hell they are ruined your childhood, I’d recommend giving Happy Days a hard pass.  

(3/5 stars)

H. Seitz
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