Happy Days

Season 3 Episode 12

Fonzie's New Friend

Aired Tuesday 8:00 PM Nov 25, 1975 on ABC

Episode Fan Reviews (3)

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out of 10
37 votes
  • Richie is having an Hawaiian-themed party and is thrilled when Fonzie secures an excellent drummer to play with the band.

    The Fonz is a nice guy and he sees nothing at all wrong with making friends with a local young drummer, the talented 'Sticks' Downey. The fact that Sticks is black doesn't bother him in the slightest and it doesn't occur to him that anyone else will be bothered by it either until he arranges for Sticks to play the drums in Richie band for Richie Hawaiian-themed party.

    Obviously, Richie and the others don't have a problem with the colour of Stick's skin but it seems that many others from the area do.

    This episodes once again tackles the idea of racism head-on and shows us that we are all the same on the inside, regardless of how we may look. A very worthy episode which passes on an important message.
  • Trying too hard.

    Once in while, this show tried to add a message to the fun, with mixed results. Was it Hollywood producer Sam Goldwyn who said, "If you've got a message, send a telegram"? Watching the show in the twenty-first century can be quite confusing too. After all, we get the seventies interpretation of life in the fifties. Jack Baker plays the role of Sticks very much like the great African-American sitcom characters of the seventies. (You could imagine him cutting down Archie Bunker with his sarcasm.) And all the main characters have a very enlightened view of racial matters. Isn't it surprising that the parents of Ralph or Potsie didn't mind about the presence of a coloured couple at the party, while all the other parents did? Earlier in the season Howard still had some reservations about accepting Fonzie in his house, now he has no problems with another "strange" friend of Richie's.

    The episode is filled to the brim with good intentions, but sometimes loses its logic. For instance, Fonzie does not have the authority we always thought he had; the kids at Arnold's actually disobey him. When the only parental figure who actually checks out the people their kids hang around with, proves to be the Afro-American aunt, you realize the writers went a bit too far with their message.
  • The Fonz has struck up a friendship with Sticks Downey, a new youth in the area, and has secured him to play drums with the band at Richie's upcoming Hawaiian luau party. But prejudices appear from many of the locals when Sticks turns out to be black...

    After the (in my opinion) weaker than usual previous episode, 'Three On A Porch', things are back on form here with this really good story.

    This is the second of a number of racial-themed episodes of the series (the first being the late first season entry 'The Best Man'), and as usual with the series, it is delt with well without being over heavy. It also shows that even some of the series regulars, who we have come to know as good people, may have some prejudices without even realising it.

    John-Anthony Bailey (who I understand appeared in the black 1970s comedy 'Good Times', which I don't think made it to here in the UK) is great as Sticky Downey. I would really have liked to see the character become a semi-regular. He did actually appear once again (which itself is unusual) in a few episodes time in 'Fonzie the Superstar', but was never used again beyond that, which is a shame.