Laverne & Shirley—Season 1

laverne and shirley season 1 dvd episode guide
8.0 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 8/10

Penny Marshall and Cindy Williams keep it fun

Plots are rather cliche sitcom plots

 
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We’ll do it our way!

Laverne DeFazio (Penny Marshall) and Shirely Feeney (Cindy Williams) are just two hard working girls in Milwaukee.  With jobs at Shotz Brewery, the girls spend the day on the line and the evenings dating and avoiding Lenny (Michael McKean) and Squiggy (David Landers).  With Laverne’s father (Phil Foster) and Carmine “The Big Ragoo” (Eddie Mekka) watching over them, Laverne and Shirley are going to live their life the way they want.

Laverne & Shirley—Season 1 aired from January 27, 1976 to May 18, 1976 on ABC.  The series spun off the popular Happy Days where both Laverne and Shirley guest-starred.  Through the course of the series, it never was nominated for an Emmy despite its popularity.

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Hey… The Fonz gives Laverne & Shirley thumbs up!

I loved Laverne & Shirley.  I distinctly remember later seasons first run and even remember learning that Shirley was leaving the show in the final season.  Rewatching Laverne & Shirley episodes is like visiting an old friend.

Watching Laverne & Shirley, I can tell it is essentially a modified version of I Love Lucy.  Laverne & Shirley get caught in wacky events (like Lucy & Ethel) and spend the episode trying to get out of it.  The plots are a little more balanced between Laverne & Shirley and you also have a bit of an Odd Couple theme (which Penny Marshall also appeared) going on with the more street smart Laverne with the heart filled Shirley.  The first season features some visits from Arthur “The Fonz” Fonzarelli to bring in more Happy Days viewers.

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Laverne’s having a rough day…

Both Cindy Williams and Penny Marshall really get into their roles, though it was really apparent that Marshall was the more talented comedian (allegedly Williams got angry early on that Marshall got the best lines).  The series writers Michael McKean and David Lander wrote themselves into the show as Lenny and Squiggy (characters they invented in college).  I always liked how both Mr. DeFazio (Phil Foster) and Carmine Ragusa (Eddie Mekka) almost acted as protectors of both Laverne & Shirley.

It is a very typical looking sitcom.  It is a bit odd to see it on DVD because it is surprisingly clean and high quality…it is something unexpected after years of fuzzy TV broadcasts with the hacked up shows loaded with commercials.

Laverne & Shirley holds up as a rather slapstick comedy.  The sitcom has very typical plots that feel like they have been recycled for years after the airing.  Despite this rehash feel, both Williams and Marshall keep this show going and manage to keep up the laughs.

Laverne & Shirley—Season 1 Complete Episode Guide:

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“The Society Party”

1.1       The Society Party Airdate:  01/27/76

Tad Shotz (Lyman Ward) invites Laverne DeFazio (Penny Marshall) and Shirley Feeney (Cindy Williams) to his nana’s society party to show he knows “little people”…when Laverne & Shirley go to Leonard “Lenny” Kosnowski (Michael McKean) and Andrew “Squiggy” Squiggman (David L. Lander) for dresses, they get an unexpected surprise.

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“The Bachelor Party”

1.2       The Bachelor Party Airdate:  02/03/76

Fonzie (Henry Winkler) needs the Pizza Bowl for a bachelor party while Laverne is managing for her father (Phil Foster).  When Laverne and Shirley have to work the party themselves, an accident forces Shirley to take a more proactive role in the party.

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“Bowling for Razzberries”

1.3       Bowling for Razzberries Airdate:  02/1076

Laverne wants to get even with a coworker who is always putting her down.  Scheduled to lead her bowling team, Laverne is set to get her revenge…unless a cold gets in the way.

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“A Nun’s Story”

1.4       A Nun’s Story Airdate:  02/24/76

Shirley’s throwing a reunion and Laverne decides to go when their old friend Anne Marie (Rochelle Winter) decides to attend…but Anne Marie has a big surprise for them.

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“A Falter at the Altar”

1.5       Falter at the Altar Airdate:  03/02/76

Laverne is engaged to Sal Malina (Paul Sylvan), but Shirley worries that she’s making a mistake.

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“Dog Day Blind Dates”

1.6       Dog Day Blind Dates Airdate:  03/09/76

Laverne’s got a new boyfriend (Fred Willard), and Shirley doesn’t trust him.  When Laverne convinces Shirley on a double date with her boyfriend’s cousin (Guich Koock), the date takes a surprising turn at the bowling alley.

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“Once Upon a Rumor”

1.7       Once Upon a Rumor Airdate:  03/16/76

When Squiggy fixes Shirley’s zipper, Lenny thinks Squiggy and Shirley are fooling around…leading to a rumor at the brewery about Shirley’s reputation.

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“One Flew Over Milwaukee”

1.8       One Flew Over Milwaukee Airdate:  03/23/76

Shirley adopts a canary, but the canary escapes.  Shirley finds herself struggling to have fun when Squiggy throws a party for Lenny.

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“Dating Slump”

1.9       Dating Slump Airdate:  03/30/76

Carmine (Eddie Mekka) returns from New York City with a new girlfriend.  Laverne finds that Shirley won’t leave the apartment…leading to a bad double date with Tom (Robert Hays) and Moose (Michael McManus).

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“It’s the Water”

1.10     It’s the Water Airdate:  04/06/76

Laverne and Shirley are up for a beer tasting job…which Shirley due to her weak tolerance.  Laverne finds herself at odds with Shirley who she thinks has allowed the job to go to her head.

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“Fakeout at the Stakeout”

1.11     Fakeout the Stakeout Airdate:  04/13/76

Laverne and Shirley are robbed by the Milwaukee Masher who takes their close to commit purse snatching…which leads to a police stakeout in the park.

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“Hi, Neighbor”

1.12     Hi, Neighbors Airdate:  04/27/76

Squiggy decides he needs to get out of his mother’s home.  When an apartment opens up in Laverne and Shirley’s building, Laverne and Shirley realize they have trouble.

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“How Do You Say ‘Are You Dead’ in German?”

1.13     How Do You Say “Are You Dead” in German? Airdate:  05/04/76

A German man from the laundry passes out in Laverne and Shirley’s apartment…but Laverne and Shirley can’t figure out what to do with him when he loses his job.

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“From Suds to Stardom”

1.14     From Suds to Stardom Airdate:  05/11/76

Shotz’s talent show is on and Laverne and Shirley want in, but Gloria Lubitz (Leland Palmer) won’t allow it.  With coaching from the Big Ragoo, Laverne and Shirley make the cut…but Gloria has plans.

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“Mother Knows Worst”

1.15     Mother Knows Worst Airdate:  05/18/76

Shirley’s mother (Pat Carroll) has come to visit.  Shirley finds herself being driven crazy as Laverne and Shirley have to throw a party.

Related Links:

Laverne & Shirley—Season 2 Review and Complete Episode Guide

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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