Laverne & Shirley
Laverne & Shirley
TV-G | 27 January 1976 (USA)
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  • Reviews

    To me, this movie is perfection.

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    Good start, but then it gets ruined

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    The story-telling is good with flashbacks.The film is both funny and heartbreaking. You smile in a scene and get a soulcrushing revelation in the next.

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    Derrick Gibbons

    An old-fashioned movie made with new-fashioned finesse.

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    Robert Ponce

    When Lavern & Shirely first aired, America was undergoing historic changes in many areas. So were American families. Values once held dear suddenly were facing new ideas, new challenges. So were Lavern & Shirely. Stereo typing women was not going to be tolerated any longer. Neither in the home, Entertainment, common work place and in politics. Lavern & Shirely's writers were aware of women's rights and wrote accordingly...with taste and humor. I loved watching the show for several reason but mostly on account Cindy Williams was my personal "Girl Next Door" ever since seeing her portrayal of 'Laurie' in American Graffiti (1973). Above all that, I was the same age as Laurie and Steve then Shirely. I could totally relate to what they were up against. Lavern & Shirely just took the experience to a different level and a different city. Gr8 Program.

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    Laverne & Shirley was one of several spin-offs of the popular 1970s Miller/Milkis series Happy Days and centered on two blue collar women living in Wisconsin in the late 1950s/early 1960s. The show was quite popular although it was dismissed by serious critics at the time and returning to it years after the fact only highlights its success. The women, played to perfection by Penny Marshall and Cindy Williams, were good-hearted, hard-working individuals making their way in the world on their own power. The show features lots of slapstick humor - which was looked down upon at this time - but it is because of it that this show actually holds up better than such controversial critical darlings of the period such as All in the Family or Maude, which come off as far more dated - even annoyingly so. After this show's demise, it would be many years - until the British sitcom Absolutely Fabulous, that two talented actresses would again headline a comedy series featuring copious slapstick. Marshall usually got the best lines which she could hit out of the ballpark, but Williams was a tremendous comedienne herself and an able straight man to Marshall's antics - an issue fully realized when the show was without her in its final season. They were ably supported by a venerable cast featuring the idiotic greasers upstairs Lenny & Squiggy (the immortal Michael McKean and David L. Lander), Shirley's steadfast boxer/singer boyfriend Carmine (cute Eddie Mekka), Laverne's bull-headed father Phil Foster, and kind landlady and Laverne's future stepmom Betty Garrett. Guest visits by Carol Ita White as the bane of Laverne's existence - Rosie Greenbaum - were hilarious. Particularly memorable series moments abounded, but two of the best included a murder mystery-themed train trip and a crossover episode with Happy Days featuring a side-splitting square dance. The series started to deteriorate when producers moved the action to save costs from Milkwaukee to California, with all the regulars improbably in tow. New semi-regulars were added to little avail including Leslie Easterbrook as a blonde bombshell named Rhonda Lee and Ed Marinaro as a beefcake neighbor with designs on Laverne. Both actors were perfectly fine, but the writers never seemed to know what to do exactly with Easterbrook and Marinaro ultimately vanished with barely a nod. The talented and criminally underused Garrett left the show with little fanfare as well. Then the final nail was the departure of Williams after acrimonious contract disputes in a ridiculously improbable scenario which left the show without its trademark dynamic. While Marshall was a talented comedic actress, a straight woman was desperately required. A rotating roster of guest stars including Vicky Lawrence, Carrie Fisher and Laraine Newman made their way through, but none of them sparked like Williams did and the show finally whimpered out of existence. Even on that note, the majority of the seasons preceding are definitely filled with hilarity and uplifting fun.

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    This is a great show. I was thrilled when it was released on video. The characters are hysterical and love all the episodes. "Shirley's Operation is one of my favorites. A "mediocre" show would not last six years on primetime, go into syndication and then get released on video.

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    I've noticed this show (and lots of others) been referenced in countless shows and movies, and I finally got a chance to watch it, as the local TV channel started airing old US sitcoms. Didn't really think it was that good, the characters aren't really delivering astounding performances, and they're at times really annoying. But, i suppose one had to grow up on a show like this to really like it. Next!

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