‘Happy Days’ Star Explained Issues with Fonzie ‘Jumping the Shark,’ Said Scripts Were Getting Worse

by Anna Dunn
(Photo by Hollywood To You/Star Max/GC Images)

In 2019, Happy Days actors Anson Williams and Don Most sat down with Studio 10 to discuss the show.

Don Most, who played Ralph on the hit show, began discussing Happy Days season 5 and the infamous episode where Fonzie does a wild stunt. In fact, Happy Days birthed the phrase “Jumping the Shark,” which is now widely used in TV criticism to describe a moment or plot point that’s desperately absurd or generally worsens the quality of the show. When a show “jumps the shark,” it has reached its peak and is trying to cling to relevancy.

The phrase references a moment where Fonzie jumps over a shark on waterskis. For fans, the moment felt completely out of touch with the feel of the rest of the show.

Don Most said he wasn’t enjoying the season and felt the Happy Days scripts were getting worse. He left the show shortly after. “I wasn’t a fan of that episode, and I wasn’t a fan of the way the scripts were going at that point.”

He also said that people on set tried to convince him the episode would play well. “Ron [Howard] said to me, ‘well, It’s a hit show! They must know what they’re doing.’ I said, ‘I don’t know… they got him jumping a shark…'”

Anson Williams, who played Potsie, chimed in as well. “You know what else brought the show down?” he asked. “He left,” He said, gesturing at Don Most, “and Ron left.”

‘Happy Days’ Co-stars Anson Williams and Don Most are Lifelong Friends

Don Most leaving Happy Days didn’t end his years long friendship with Anson Williams.

“We’re best friends and probably tighter now than we ever were,” Most said of Williams in a 2020 interview. The two frequently reunite, spend time together, and talk on the phone.

They aren’t the only Happy Days friendship, either. Much of the cast likes to get together from time to time. In fact, Williams described the entire cast as a “family.”

“We’ve always been like a family,” the Happy Days actor said, “Sure not during the first couple of days of shooting. It did take a little bit of time to develop that kind of relationship, but it developed rather quickly. We became incredibly close and experienced so many things together as a family off-camera, as well as while filming.”

While some members of the Happy Days cast keep in touch more than others, Don Most leaving didn’t seem to have an impact on the friendships he made on set. Despite the show “jumping the shark,” it still lives in infamy as one of the most charming sitcoms ever made.