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Beer on DVD no31

Laverne and Shirley (Complete First Season)

First seen on British tv on Paramount Comedy that's now Comedy Central about twelve years ago, it was made from 1975 on but set in the 50s.So many of my friends relate "My Mum and Dad would never let me watch The Fonz (Happy Days with Henry Winkler) on commercial television although my mates at school all had watched it, and I felt really left out, the morning after". A spin-off from Happy Days itself sees Laverne (Penny Marshall) and Shirley (Cindy Williams) as two single working class girls from the Milwaukee suburbs who work as bottle cappers at the Shotz Brewery which is obviously meant to be the one that "made Milwaukee famous" i.e. Schlitz, later falling into the hands of Pabst who dropped the brand name but re-introduced it in 2008, and scene of plenty of slapstick gags.Gawky Laverne is the feisty and cynical one and sweet natured Shirley is ever optimistic, a bit naÔve and living in hopes on the romance scene. Intended to give the series a good start, Fonzie himself appeared in the first three episodes. The series soon went on to outstrip Happy Days in the ratings and is said to have saved the ABC network from going under

The plots revolve around their excruciating poverty, the dead-endedness of their jobs and the achingly stupid lads Lenny and Squiggy who live in the apartment upstairs (from episode 12).

It was filmed on the same set as the Odd Couple. In a later series their jobs get phased out by automation so the girls have to move to California Don't think you're going to sit on your couch and just watch a single episode in a session! Also you will curse their theme song "Making Our Dreams Come True" when you can't get it out of your head.In the movie Wayne's World, Garth and Wayne perform the theme song while visiting Milwaukee. You can get a taster of the song and show at www.squidoo.com/laverneandshirley

Most dvd players and tv's will handle the American NTSC standard but many more dvd players are either multi-region or can be made so by tapping in a code that you can find legitimately at places like MoneySaving Expert on the internet. This set and subsequent seasons are available from Amazon.co.uk

reviewed in O-to-K Spring 2011 text ©RKW