Who remembers Happy Days? Not pre-quarantine life. The TV show.
by Martin Harris
All the buzz-talk here in NZ about social “bubbles” reminded me of a great episode of this TV show (Season#1 Ep.#8) in which impressionable teenagers Richie Cunningham and Potsie hear from their buddy Ralph about a burlesque dance performance at the local night club in which the voluptuous “Bubbles” McCall allegedly “takes it all off” while popping bubbles.
Determined to find a way to see this wondrous spectacle for themselves, the boys consult the ever-resourceful Arthur “The Fonz” Fonzarelli, who sets them up with fake IDs.
After entering and finding a seat, the boys sit through the warmup acts in growing anticipation. Finally the raunchy music begins and Ms. McCall enters the stage in a shower of bubbles. After seductively shedding velvet gloves and a silk scarf while popping aforementioned bubbles, the music ends, the lights go up, and “Bubbles” leaves the stage still wearing her sequined blue dress.
Richie and Potsie sit waiting in disbelief: When does she return to the stage to finish the act? Was that it? Indeed it was.
The episode closes with the boys relating their disappointment to The Fonz, who shrugs and informs them that “BS makes the world go ’round”.
This classic Happy Days episode draws interesting comparisons to the ongoing New Zealand COVID-19 Lockdown scenario.
As we move down through decreasing levels of quarantine, it’s rather like a burlesque striptease act: “Bubbles Ardern” performing her legendary stage act “The dance of the four lockdown veils”. Roll up folks and witness the delightful Ms. Ardern peel back her candy-striped yellow veils while bursting social bubbles!
First come the rumours and speculation. We have to see for ourselves just what “Bubbles Ardern” will reveal with each unlayering. Having eagerly taken our seats, we must, of course, sit impatiently through the warm up act: a stand-up performance of witty one-liners from our on-the spot MSM reporter. The words are in one ear, out the other as our attentions are diverted by movement in the background.
Here she comes! The crowd buzzes with anticipation as Ardern takes the stage. The slow-dance tease begins. They gasp as the fourth veil peels back and a tantalising glimpse of what’s to come is revealed. The seductive dancer takes her time teasing the crowd. What will the next veil reveal, we murmur to each other?
After what seems an agonizing eternity, she throws aside the third veil: Another tantalising glimpse, tinged with a hint of frustration. Ardern isn’t giving us as much with the second veil as we’d anticipated. The slow-tease continues.
While Richies and Potsies of this world wait with baited breath for Bubbles Ardern’s final expose, those of us familiar with Burlesque have a suspicion about how the show ends: The music stops, the lights go up, and Ardern exits ‘Stage-Left” with her final veil intact and the last bubble unpopped.
Don’t ask for the price of admission back folks, these tickets are non-refundable. Welcome to The New Normal.
As The Fonz said, “BS makes the world go’ round”. It may be a long wait for a return to happy days.