Happy Days

Season 11 Episode 14

The Spirit Is Willing

Aired Tuesday 8:00 PM Apr 24, 1984 on ABC
out of 10
User Rating
28 votes

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Episode Summary

The Spirit Is Willing
Fonzie meets a beautiful woman, Nancy Haley, at his garage while listening to the radio in a beat-up 1955 Chevy. He takes the woman home, but when he goes back to return her purse, an older woman tells him that the Haleys moved out ten years ago when their daughter was killed in an automobile accident.moreless

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  • Fonzie meets a beautiful woman named Nancy Haley and Tommy and Chachi get interupted during their double dates at the Citizen Kane film. Twice!

    This episode is great on two levels. It's got the charm of the old Fifties era Happy Days with the 1980's humor of the Sixties Happy Days. The Reoccurance of Tommy working for Fonz and Chaci pushing Fonzies buttons is always a great expressions for their characters. I particularily liked it when Tommy and Chachi are playing off of each other against Fonzie. One of my favourite parts was definetly the efffects and direction of the little problem Nancy and Fonzie get into on the wrong side of the tracks. Great episode for the 11th season of a great show.moreless
  • As Happy Days was closing up shop, along comes this little gem, addressing ironically how long the show had been on.

    Fonzie, in one of his insistent phases, declares that 1955 was the greatest year ever, and that nothing can ever come close to its glory. As a labor of love, he restores a classic car from that era, and meets a classic beauty seemingly right out of that time as well, and that she too wishes it were always 1955. The problem comes that she is not what she seems, and she has plans to make it 1955 forever--the hard way.

    This sort of ep was inevitable, and had been done before with Joanie&Chachi singing Folk Music, but this goes right to the nostalgia that inspired Happy Days, the year it started with, and how things have to change. The filter of nostalgia almost costs Fonzie his life (depending on was it/wasn't it a dream?) and has him moving on from his obsession, though never his love, of those times. It wasn't 1955 in 1974, anymore than it was in 1984. But there were still and there will still be Happy Days, and leave it to the Fonz to ride us into the next era. I'm glad the finale went the way it did, but if somehow this had been the finale, it still would have worked.moreless
Marion Ross

Marion Ross

Marion Kelp Cunningham

Scott Baio

Scott Baio

Charles "Chachi" Arcola

Erin Moran

Erin Moran

Joanie Louise Cunningham

Anson Williams

Anson Williams

Warren "Potsie" Weber

Ted McGinley

Ted McGinley

Roger Phillips

Tom Bosley

Tom Bosley

Howard C. Cunningham

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (2)

    • Near the end of Fonzie's nightmare, the train that is heading for his stalled car on the tracks is an Amtrak train. Amtrak did not exist back in the mid-1960s, when this episode takes place (Amtrak was founded in 1971), and the engine is a typical Amtrak diesel locomotive of the time, which were not around until the late 1970s.

    • The wrecked car Fonzie purchases (and Nancy shows a keen interest in) is actually a 1953 Chevrolet Bel-Air convertible, not a 1955.

  • QUOTES (1)

    • Tommy: Fonz, it's a 1955: your favorite year.
      Fonzie: Was. Was. If we've learned nothing from history Tom, we've learned that people who live in the past are mostly... dead.

  • NOTES (3)

    • A popular song in 1965, the year in which this episode is set, was "Laurie (Strange Things Happen)" by Dickey Lee, in which the urban legend of a ghostly passenger is retold. Unlike Fonzie's almost-last-date, the girl in the song just wants a dance, a kiss and a hug, and a ride home. Like the girl's purse in the car at the end of the episode, the hero of the song finds the sweater he loaned Laurie on her gravestone. Like Fonzie's nostalgia for 1955, the song itself seems something of a throwback, especially with the British Invasion and Motown in full swing at the time.

    • Anson Williams and Ted McGinley do not appear in (at least) the syndicated version of this episode.

    • Kevin Rodney Sullivan is credited as "Kevin Sullivan."


    • The title of this episode comes from the Biblical quote, "The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak" from Matthew 26:41.