You may remember the chant: “1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 Schlemiel! Schlimazel! Hasenpfeffer Incorporated,” followed by the theme song “Making Our Dreams Come True.” This famous TV show opening came from the classic comedy of Laverne & Shirley.
This show, aired on ABC in January of 1976, was a comedy that showcased two single women from Milwaukee. Actress Penny Marshall played Laverne DeFazio and actress Cindy Williams starred as Shirley Feeney. (Laverne & Shirley, n.d.) This spin-off comedy of Happy Days reveals that the two friends knew Fonzie (character on Happy Days). (Laverne & Shirley, n.d.) Laverne and Shirley worked in a Milwaukee brewery called Shotz Brewery. (Laverne & Shirley, n.d.)
Laverne & Shirley was set in the working environment. (Marcus, n.d.) The two single women, worked hard in the city to make a living for themselves. Although this show was based in the fifties, it showcases the idea of feminism. (Marcus, n.d.) The show may not have been set in the 70s, but it aired throughout the 70s. During this time, feminism was popular and the movement towards power for women continued. “Laverne and Shirley’s toughness and willingness to flout social convention could be viewed as either working class, feminism of 1970s icons Mary Tyler Moore and Barbara Walters thus could be enjoyed form a multiplicity of viewing positions.” (Marcus, n.d.) This show allowed women to see the power of womanhood.
It was not common for woman to hold such roles as independent, working assets to society. This television show allowed audiences to see that side of a woman. Most women took the backseat and allowed men to provide for them, especially the married women. Obviously, Laverne and Shirley did not need a man to help them survive. Their independence and friendship with one another stood strong enough.
These two characters allowed that voice of strength and power for women to be heard. Through a time of change, this show helped reflect the Liberation Movement by showcases those qualities that men were only viewed to obtain in the past.
My perspective: When reflecting on the iconic show, Laverne & Shirley, I find myself relating to these characters. They were hard workers trying to enjoy life. As a college student working my way through school, I can connect to the idea of feminism and the workingwoman. Without the Liberation Movement and TV shows like Laverne & Shirley, I wouldn’t be able to be as independent as I am today. These shows helped pave the path for women and promote opportunities and rights for women through the changing time.
About the characters: Penny Marshall was born in 1942 as Carole Penelope Marshall. She is known as an actress, producer, and director. As Laverne DeFazio, she was nominated for three Golden Globes. (Penny Marshall, n.d.)
Cindy Williams was born in 1947 as Cynthia Jane Williams. She is best known for her role in Laverne & Shirley and her role as Laurie Henderson in the classic film American Graffiti. (Cindy Williams, n.d.)
Cindy Williams, (n.d.). Wikipedia – The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved October 27, 2012, from www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cindy_Williams
Laverne & Shirley. (n.d.). Wikipedia – The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved October 27, 2012, from www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laverne_and_Shirley
Marcus, D. (n.d.). Happy Days and Wonder Years: The Fifties and the Sixties in Contemporary – Daniel Marcus – Google Books. Google Books. Retrieved October 27, 2012, from http://books.google.com/booksid=ru2lJyJXU44C&lpg=PA29&ots=56xFPLewLi&dq=laverne%20and%20shirley%20and%20feminism&pg=PP1#v=onepage&q=laverne%20and%20shirley%20and%20feminism&f=false
Penny Marshall, (n.d). Wikipedia – The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved October 27, 2012, from www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Penny_Marshall