Happy Days

Season 2 Episode 15

The Not-Making of the President

Aired Tuesday 8:00 PM Jan 28, 1975 on ABC

Episode Fan Reviews (3)

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  • Howard is appalled when Richie flaunts tradition and backs a Deomcratic candidtae for the presidential elections as the Cunninghams have always been Republicans.

    In the 1950s, young people began to take more of an interest in politics than ever before. In the 1956 race, much to Howard's disgust, Richie decides to back the Democratic candidate, Adlai Stephenson against Dwight D. Eisenhower. Father and son argue very heatedly on this issue because Richie wants to make his own choices and Howard simply can't move past the fact that his son wants to back someone who isn't a Republican.

    This episode highlights Richie's political awareness and the fact that he is grown up enough to make informed decisions as to which candidate he wishes to throw his support behind. Inevitably, of course, Eisenhower won the election, but 1960 brought with it the beginning of the Kennedy era and so if Richie decided to stick to his choice, maybe he got his way in the end.
  • The generational conflict in the fifties.

    Like MASH, Happy Days tended to deal with contemporary issues in a historical setting. This episode is one of the few that tied the show with a particular moment in history, the 1956 election, but it also depicted that universal conflict that occurs between generations when politics are concerned. So Howard Cunningham is a republican, a fan of Eisenhower because of the war. Richie, with fewer memories of WWII, goes for Stevenson, though in the beginning for the wrong reasons. Youthful enthusiasm versus conservative certainties. The episode first aired in the winter of 1975, some months after the resignation of President Nixon. You can imagine that many households were having discussions similar to those of Howard and Richie Cunningham.

    I was distracted by one little weakness of the show. Though set in Milwaukee it was filmed in California and the weather conditions could be unrealistic. For an episode set in the Milwaukee fall of 1956, it was weird to see the heavy tans of Anson Williams and Tom Bosley. The speech outside Arnold's may have occurred on a crisp, sunny November day, but the extras seemed uncomfortable wearing heavy clothes.
  • It's election time, and Richie knows exactly which candidate to support - the one a cute blonde girl is campaigning for...

    This episode is set around the 1956 Presidential Elections, one of the few solid events to date the series (It can generally be worked out that the series stared set in 1955 and ended in 1965).

    The plot concerns Richie joining up with a political campaign to try and win over the typical girl-of-the episode. The side he's campaigning for just happens to be at odds with Howard's own political views, which naturally causes friction in the Cunningham household.

    All in all, a fair but average sort of an episode. It's not bottom of the barrel, but it's not overly outstanding either.