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Joanie Loves Chachi
Joanie Loves Chachi

Joanie Loves Chachi is an American sitcom and a spin-off of Happy Days that aired on ABC from March 23, 1982 to May 24, 1983. It stars Erin Moran and Scott Baio as the titular characters Joanie Cunningham and Chachi Arcola, respectively.

Storyline


The series is set in the early to mid-1960s and follows the exploits of Joanie and Chachi as they moved to Chicago and tried to make it on their own with a rock band and a music career at a time when the British Invasion was looming (one episode was titled "Beatlemania"). It mixed the traditional elements of a sitcom with musical performances on each show by Baio and Moran. In fact, the beginning credit sequence of the show had them singing to each other. Their backup band consists of a spaced-out drummer named Bingo and Chachi's blasé cousins Mario and Annette.

The series also starred Ellen Travolta as Louisa Delvecchio, Chachi's mother (Travolta and Baio would star again as mother and son later in Charles in Charge), and Al Molinaro as Al Delvecchio, Chachi's stepfather (and formerly the owner of Arnold's Drive-In in Happy Days), who opened a restaurant in which Chachi and Joanie performed most of their music. Art Metrano played Chachi's uncle Rico Mastorelli, who was the band's manager and helped Joanie and Chachi advance in their careers. Winifred Freedman (later a cast member of the syndicated soap opera Rituals) played Rico's daughter, Annette, Chachi's cousin and bandmate.

Production


Joanie Loves Chachi was the first Miller-Boyett (and only Garry Marshall-produced) sitcom developed by Thomas L. Miller and Robert L. Boyett, and was created by Lowell Ganz, Mark Rothman, and Garry Marshall. Unlike other Garry Marshall/Miller-Boyett sitcoms, this is the only series that does not have Charles Fox and/or Norman Gimbel as the show's theme song/music cue composer.

A false urban legend circulated that the show was far more popular in Korea due to "chachi" being similar to a Korean word for "penis". The program was shown on the Armed Forces Network terrestrial channel 2, which was seen by the general population, but did not cause a stir because of the name and because the program was not very popular.[1]

Scott Baio later recalled that:

US TV Ratings


Cancellation


The show initially attracted high ratings for the first few episodes, but the ratings plummeted in Season 2 with a move to Thursday nights, and the series only lasted for two seasons (both abbreviated) before the characters were rolled back into Happy Days for that program's final season. ABC determined that the show was losing too much of its lead-in, suggesting low appeal if the show were moved.

In 2010, TV Guide Network listed the show at #17 on its list of 25 Biggest TV Blunders, arguing that Joanie and Chachi was not what viewers wanted to see and that it was the Fonz who drew viewers in to Happy Days.[5]

Main cast


Episodes


Home media


On February 4, 2014, CBS DVD (distributed by Paramount) released Joanie Loves Chachi - The Complete Series on DVD in Region 1.[6]

In popular media


In the pilot episode of Friends, taped on 4 May 1994, Rachel Green is watching the show after she breaks up with her fiancé Barry. She says, "See! But Joanie loved Chachi! That's the difference!"[7]

The show is referenced in the Bloodhound Gang song, “Yummy Down on This”, from their third studio album, Hooray for Boobies.

On the Beastie Boys track Get It Together, released on 17 March 1994, guest vocalist Q-Tip likens band member Ad Rock's close relationship with his then wife Ione Skye to that of "Chachi and Joanie"; Ad Rock himself then replies, in rhyme, "'Cause she's the cheese and I'm the macaroni!"[8]

In the 2004 film DodgeBall: A True Underdog Story when White Goodman (played by Ben Stiller) hits Justin with a dodgeball, he says "Joanie loves Chachi!".

In Jason Mraz's 2018 song "Unlonely", Mraz references Chachi and Joanie in the line, "We could keep it sweet like Chachi and Joanie".

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