Judge P.S. Colbert exhibits early warning symptoms of Boo Boo Kitty Scratch Fever.
Our reviews of Laverne and Shirley: The First Season (published September 22nd, 2004), Laverne and Shirley: The Fifth Season (published April 10th, 2012), Laverne and Shirley: The Second Season (published April 18th, 2007), Laverne and Shirley: The Seventh Season (published February 4th, 2014), and Laverne and Shirley: The Sixth Season (published May 19th, 2013) are also available.
The funniest farewell.
Hear that hissing? That's the last tire of this long-running Garry Marshall vehicle losing what's left of its inflation.
Smell those rotten eggs? They haven't lost a whiff of their power since Laverne & Shirley: The Final Season first fouled up the airwaves in the fall of 1982.
Admittedly, I've never been the biggest fan of this wildly popular shrill-fest, but I believe in giving credit where it's due. If ever there were a sitcom that seemed immune to an intrusion of reality, it was Laverne & Shirley, where the hairstyles, fashions, and Fabian references remained unchanged, whether the wall calendar read 1957 or 1967.
Yet Cindy Williams (Shirley's real-life alter ego) threw quite a spanner into the works, by walking out on the series after filming the season's first two episodes, never to return.
What a two-episode arc it was for Ms. Feeney, who, in the season premiere, announced that she'd met, fallen in love with, and after a whirlwind courtship, agreed to marry Army medic Walter Meeney. The episode's title "The Mummy's Bride" alludes to the fact that Walter—whom we never actually see nor hear from—is wrapped from head to toe in gauze during the nuptials, owing to an all-consuming body rash. After the couple's "I dos," the Army immediately ships Walter off to Greenland on assignment, apparently unconcerned by the aforementioned, all-consuming body rash…
Episode two, entitled "Window On Main Street," involves some extremely unfunny business about L & S being employed to spend a week living in "the home of the future," which has been set up in a department store window. In the episode's tag, the girls, now back at home, their assignment over, are shocked to discover that—despite what seems like an impossibly tiny window of opportunity—Shirley has gotten pregnant! Oh, boy: what could possibly have come next?
Of course, whatever plans the show-runners might have had were scuttled when Ms. Williams (actually pregnant herself) took off. Determined to plow forward, the opening credits-while leaving the series' title intact—removed all physical traces of Shirley, displaying a montage of just-Laverne (Penny Marshall) exploits instead.
Episode three is called "The Note," which refers to the terse message Shirley scribbled for Laverne, who comes home to discover the apartment they shared (half) cleaned out. Apparently, being without her new hubby was just too much for poor, pregnant Shirl, who impulsively left to join him…in the Quarantine unit of an Army medical hospital in Greenland?! No points for thinking that character resolution through, guys!
From then on, it's Laverne and guest stars, including Vicki Lawrence (appearing yet again as Sgt. Alvina T. Plout—seriously, who keeps inviting her back?!), Carrie Fisher (Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope), Carol Kane (Annie Hall), Hugh Hefner, comedians Jay Leno and Charles Fleischer (the future voice of Roger Rabbit), and my personal favorite former SNL regular Laraine Newman as a dippy hippie revolutionary, in the hilarious two-part "Death Row," the one storyline that shouldn't have been abandoned.
On the plus side, those who've followed Laverne & Shirley this far, laughing all the way, should be reasonably satisfied with this collection, and their credit, Paramount has done a fine job delivering the (mono) sound and (full-frame) picture. Standard bonus features (Gag reel and "On the next" promos for select episodes) are back again this season, with their pot luck quality in tow.
Well, goodbye, girls; don't keep in touch. Giving credit where it's due, I salute your pitiful farewell season. Somehow, going out gracefully just wouldn't have suited you.
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