Tastes Like Cement

I was a child raised by TV.  My best friends growing up were Tommy Pickles, Arthur Fonzarelli, Stick Stickly, Kevin Arnold, and an insecure kid named Doug Funnie (also Jeff Popp and Cassidy Childs).

There were episodes and adventures that I remember very well from my friends.  Mainly, because they were exciting and larger-than-life.  I remember when Fonzie jumped his shark.  I remember when Tommy went through a nudist phase, and I remember duct-taping Jeff to a tree.  There is one instance that, for no reason at all, has had some weird effect on me.  That’s when Doug had to sell Booster Bars for his scout troop.

Doug was a Bluffscout, and every year to raise money they had to sell infamous Booster Bars.  The ones that taste like cement.  The whole episode Doug struggles to sell these things.  Eventually, Roger convinces him to lie and give people a fake sample of a fancy foreign chocolate bar.

This has had a profound impact on me.  Again, I have no idea why.  It’s like when my brother told me when I was 5 that he liked the smell of his farts better in the shower than in the tub.  I think about that every single time I take a shower (so about once or twice a month).

Doug’s adventure ends when he tries to lie to Mr. Swirly.  A candy tycoon revered for his delicious treats.  Doug admits his wrongdoing and has Swirly try the real candy.  This is the point at which Swirly says a line that is cemented (pun intended) into my mind, “Who makes this junk?” Mr. Swirly checks the wrapper and sees his logo and screams, “I make this junk!”

Swirly rushes Doug to the factory, directly where Booster Bars are made.  Somehow, for some unspecified reason, a cement truck is emptying its contents directly into the chocolate mix.

I don’t want to fight the logic behind a kid’s cartoon.  The fact that this makes very little sense is alright.  The thing that bugs me tho, is why this had such a lasting impression on me.

My brother’s farts made a bit more sense.  First off, it was weird and kind of gross.  Second, after some Sherlock Holmes work I discovered that farts do indeed smell different in the tub than in the shower (better or worse is of course based on preference).

Why did a random episode of a show strike some chord within me?  Why am I not 100% sure how to spell my Grandmother’s maiden name, yet I know my brother likes shower farts and that Booster Bars taste like cement?

I guess, I can’t dwell too much on obscure memories from the past.  We all have those little oddities we remember for no significant reason.  I just wish mine didn’t involve inferior chocolate and farts.

Tom Hanks VS. Arthur “The Fonz” Fonzarelli

I’m not sure any words can properly articulate my thoughts on this video.  Two actors that are now properly grounded in pop culture acting together (arguably, a low point for both).  This is in Season 10 of Happy Days, five years after Fonzie had famously “Jumped the Shark.”

Most of the cast had already left the show, so the last few years of Happy Days revolved around the Fonz trying to reform.  He is becoming a proper man, getting a college degree and proving he could be a patriarch of a family.  They really tried to make you believe he was quite “the badass” in his past.

In this episode, Dwayne (Tom Hanks) returns to fight the Fonz after years of holding a grudge (Fonzie had pushed him off a swing when they were kids).  The episode is supposed to show how Fonz has matured and now understands how other people feel and you shouldn’t just make fun of and ridicule others.  The writers obviously tried doing this in the silliest/sitcom-iest way possible.

I wonder if anyone connected to this episode back then saw Hanks perform and was like, “My God, this guy is going to be huge someday.”  Do you think Henry Winkler gave him “tips” while on set.  I like to imagine they had a long chat in Winkler’s trailer and the conversation ended with Winkler saying, “Just follow this advice and someday you’ll be a big star.”  Hanks, obviously excited to converse with such a well known TV star responded with, “Thanks Mr. Winkler.”  At that point Fonzie simply said, “Call me Henry.”  The two shared a smile and shook hands.

*I think it should be noted that Happy Days did seem to blossom some would-be Oscar winners.  Not just Hanks here, but also, Ron Howard (Richie Cunningham) & Robin Williams (Mork who happened to be from Ork).