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Tuesday, November 12, 2013

This Year's Richie Cunningham.

Ron Howard, as we know, was the first-billed star on "Happy Days".
When "Happy Days went 3-camera live-audience, he very quickly turned into the first-billed star in name only.
Henry Winkler became the most important star on "Happy Days", as the show, which got okay ratings beforehand, suddenly went through the roof.
A very similar situation exists this year.
This and next week, barring anything earth-shattering, will be devoted to two Johnnies.
One is the subject of today's article.
He is Johnny Galecki, of "The Big Bang Theory"
The other Johnny is Johnny Carson, whose biography by Bombastic Bushkin I have just completed reading.

Okay. Johnny Galecki.
The parallels between him and Ron Howard are substantial, but far more gruesome.
As gruesome as it can be for someone pulling down as much of the big TV money as he is.
Johnny Galecki has always been the first-billed star of "The Big Bang Theory".
And Jim Parsons keeps winning well-deserved Emmys for it in the "Best Actor in a Comedy Series" category.
Jim Parsons acts rings around Johnny Galecki.
Jim Parsons acts rings around just about anybody.
Jim Parsons is the equivalent of "The Fonz"
Jim Parsons is the reason a lot of people watch "The Big Bang Theory".
Simon Helberg is a lot funnier than Johnny Galecki.
Kaley Cuoco is a lot funnier than Johnny Galecki.
Mayim Biyalik is a lot funnier than Johnny Galecki.
The actress who plays Simon Helberg's wife is much funnier than Johnny Galecki.
The Indian actor who plays Raj is much funnier than Johnny Galecki.
And they're all given a lot more funny things to do than Johnny Galecki.
This isn't to necessarily imply that Johnny Galecki isn't or can't be funny.
In previous years, he was, in fact, pretty funny.
But the series just doesn't seem to be going his way anymore.
When Ron Howard faced this situation, it really didn't bother him very much.
He was totally grounded, and was totally thrilled to be associated with a hit of "Happy Days"' magnitude.
Also, he kind of had one foot out the door, because he was seriously pursuing a directing career.
I have no idea what else Johnny Galecki might be pursuing, but whatever it is, it'll probably be an uphill climb.
Johnny Galecki, faced with this situation, DOES seem to be bothered very much.
He's appeared with Letterman a couple of times, and Dave, never missing an opportunity to go for the jugular, asked him how he felt about Jim Parsons walking off with all those Emmys.
Galecki seemed to be squirming in his seat whenever asked.
Ron Howard left "Happy Days" before it ended, and was not missed.
I'm pretty sure the same fate would befall Galecki if he left.
I don't know what his deal is, but if he could be dropped like a hot potato, and he caused the least bit of trouble about his situation, it could be the last we see of him.
Because as little an impact as he has made on the show, the show is so popular that it may have typecast him.
So it's probably in his best interests to at least appear to be a happy camper, because right now, he's in the most upscale camp on the planet.


My books, "Show Runner" and it's sequel, "Show Runner Two", can be found at the Amazon Kindle Store.
Along with the newer ones, "The Man Is Dead", and "Report Cards".
You can search by typing in my name, Cindy Williams, Laverne & Shirley, The Odd Couple, or Happy Days.
Check them out.
You don't need a Kindle machine to download them.
Just get the free app from Kindle, and they can be downloaded to an IPhone, IPad, or Blackberry.
The paperbacks, "Mark Rothman's Essays", and my new novel, "I'm Not Garbo" are available for people without Kindle.
I have many readings and signings remaining, and the thing about Kindle is you can't sign one.
If you'd like one, contact me at
And now, we've got my reading of my "Laverne & Shirley Movie" screenplay on YouTube.



  1. Interesting analysis, but I'll take issue on two points --

    1) Happy Days had pretty much run its course by the time Ron Howard left, but to say he wasn't missed is flat-out wrong. The show was horrible in the post-Richie years.

    2) Yes, all those characters on The Big Bang Theory are funnier than Johnny Galecki, but doesn't an ensemble comedy need one straight-man at its center? For instance, all the characters in Mayberry were funnier than Andy Griffith, and everybody on The Mary Tyler Moore Show was funnier than Mary. But in their more normal roles, they held it all together. If Johnny Galecki left Big Bang, there would be nobody for the viewer to identify with.

  2. 1) Happy Days didn't experience a ratings dive when Ron Howard left. The show also had periods of horrible when Ron Howard WAS there.

    2) Kaley Cuoco's and Mayim Biyalik's characters can easily be perceived as being at least as grounded as Johnny Galecki's. And they aren't comic book nerds.
    Mary Tyler Moore was a LOT funnier than Gavin McLeod. No one was ever funnier on that show than Mary was in the "Chuckles Bites the Dust" episode.
    The pilot of "The Andy Griffith Show was aired on the Danny Thomas Show, and Andy was hilarious. He then coasted through the entire rest of the series, which is why I'm less than enamored with it.

  3. "Happy Days," for the record:
    1977-78: 31.4 rating (#2 on television)
    1978-79: 28.6 (#3)
    1979-80: 21.7 (#17) --Ron Howard's last season
    1980-81: 20.8 (#15) --first season without Ron Howard
    1981-82: 20.6 (#18)
    1982-83: 17.4 (#28)
    1983-84: ??.? (#63)

  4. Since his breakup with Penny on the show, Galecki's character's importance has dwindled. However, he and Penny will once again have a BIG BANG (at least, that's my THEORY).

  5. I personally missed Ron Howard because I thought the Richie/Fonzie friendship is what made that series click.

  6. There is a chance you're eligible to receive a Apple iPhone 7.



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About Me

Hi. I am, according to my Wikipedia entry,(which I did not create) a noted television writer, playwright, screenwriter, and occasional actor. You can Google me or go to the IMDB to get my credits, and you can come here to get my opinions on things, which I'll try to express eloquently. Hopefully I'll succeed. You can also e-mail me at Perhaps my biggest claim to fame is being responsible, for about six months in 1975, while Head Writer for the "Happy Days" TV series, for Americans saying to each other "Sit on it."