Day 427: Fifty Shades Of Greyamundo

originally published March 2, 2013

As am sure every one of you is aware, the final Twilight movie is released today on DVD, Blu-Ray, and limited-release Betamax Double-Tape Super-Pak. No doubt fans of sparkling vampire literature and cinema will now look elsewhere for cultural consumption, perhaps to the inevitable film adaptation of Fifty Shades Of Grey, the S&M-themed piece of adapted fan-fiction that has notoriously stained the bookshelves of housewives around the world in the past year.

I have flipped through that novel. While the kinky sex scenes are sufficiently twisted, the prose suffers from an overwhelming mediocrity. You could, if you were so inclined, find better-written Happy Days fan-fiction online.

And so, because I really don’t want to write about Twilight or its leather-clad, ass-flogging cousin, I will instead simply list fifty shades of gray, and where you can find them inside the Happy Days universe.

1. White: visible on Al’s apron, as long as some dumbass (I’m looking at you, Potsie) hasn’t squirted mustard on it.

2. Gainsboro: the color of tape used to divide Ralph and Potsie’s room in half when they lived together.

3. Light Gray: a subtle second tone of the Cunninghams’ Formica countertop.

4. Silver: the name of the group who sang the theme song was the Silver Studs, so that color was oozing audibly over the opening credits.

5. Medium Gray: the color of the mist into which Chuck Cunningham wandered in season 2, never to be heard from again.

6. Dark Medium Gray: the color of Fonzie’s mechanic onesie.

7. Gray: the color of the toilet stalls in Fonzie’s “office”.

8. Dim Gray: the color of Howard’s belt in the “Fonzie the Flatfoot” episode of season 3. I pay attention to these things.

9. Davy’s Gray: made from slate, iron oxide and carbon black, just like Arnold’s meatloaf.

10. Platinum: the color of the buttons on the jukebox. They remained a pristine platinum because the jukebox was mainly powered by pounded coolness.

11. Ash Gray: all that was left of Arnold’s after Chachi burned the mother down.

12. Battleship Gray: this is the color of the ship that transported Richie to his army post in Greenland. We never saw the ship, but that’s a safe assumption.

13. Charcoal: the briquettes in Howard’s barbecue. Probably.

14. Cool Gray: any black & white photo of Fonzie will be this color.

15. Blue-Gray:  Leather Tuscadero’s eye-liner.

16. Cadet Gray: the color of Confederate Army uniforms; also the color of the Cunninghams’ curtain rods.

17. Glaucous Gray: a bluish grey – kind of like the roof of Arnold’s.

18. Xanadu: if Olivia Newton-John had ever guest-starred, she’d have been wearing this color.

19. Slate Gray: the color of the hearts of the CBS executives who fought to deprive Happy Days cast members of their royalties. Bastards.

20. Warm Gray: the tie-clip worn on Joanie’s favorite Fabian poster.

21. Dust Storm: the unmistakable cloud when Fonzie’s motorcycle hit the ground after leaping over 14 garbage cans, right before he crashed into the fried chicken stand.

22. Puce: literally, the color of the belly of a flea. So when Fonzie got that pet dog (Spunky) in season 6, we can assume any flea that graced its fur was exuding puce.

23. Rose Quartz: the blush on Lori Beth’s cheeks. That one took me a while.

24. Cinereous: the ‘L’ on Laverne’s shirt in her second appearance is cinereous (a kind of coppery-brown gray. Hey, who’s gonna check?)

25. Rocket Metallic: the sweet, sweet inner workings of Fonzie’s bike.

26. Taupe: that thing behind Marion, hanging above the toaster… that looks kind of taupe-ish.

27. Payne’s Gray: named for William Payne, who invented watercolors, you can see this blue-grey  in the painting in the Cunninghams’ living room.

28. Grisaille: a grey monochrome, often found in frescoes and other paintings. You’ll have to tweak the color knob on your TV, but you can squeak out some grisaille if you use your imagination and squint a little too.

29. Purple Taupe: remember Roger, who moved in after Richie and Ralph left? He often wore purple taupe socks. Little-known fact.

30. Medium Taupe: he had one pair that was medium taupe as well.

31. Timberwolf: Chachi’s mother (played by John Travolta’s older sister, Ellen) wore a timberwolf blouse, but I can’t remember if it was on Happy Days, Joanie Loves Chachi, or Charles In Charge, where she also played Scott Baio’s mother (typecasting!).

32. Warmer Gray: see #20. This was the color of Fabian’s pocket-comb.

33. Old Beef Gray: in the unaired episode in which Ralph inexplicably eats a plate of 2-week old roast out of the Cunninghams’ garbage, this color makes an appearance. This was a strange season 1 choice, before they’d really found the rhythm of the show.

34. Heron Gray: when Richie, Potsie and Ralph are camped out on the porch of a cabin in season 3’s “Three On A Porch”, a heron can be seen in the background. It is heron grey.

35. Pewter: Chachi’s tchotchkes are chock full o’ pewter.

36. Smoke: Joanie took up smoking in one season 6 episode, before Fonzie convinced her it wasn’t cool. The smoke was smoke-colored.

37. Concrete Gray: all the scenes in which concrete is seen. Isn’t this one obvious?

38. Argent: the color of the screwdrivers in Howard’s hardware store.

39. Downpipe: every time the boys roll into the Cunningham driveway in the opening credits, the downspouts on the house are this particular grey.

40. Magnetic Gray: Joanie wants to join the girl-gang known as The Magnets in season 6; this was the color of the insides of their jackets. I did my research!

41. Raccoon Hollow: the color of the shark over which Fonzie jumps on waterskis. You didn’t think I’d forget to mention this episode, did you?

42. Shaded White: the color of Richie’s teeth when he neglected to brush before shooting a scene in season 7’s “A Potsie Is Born”. No one calls attention to it, but I’m very meticulous in my viewing, so I spotted it.

43. Outer Space: the graffiti in the opening credits is not technically pure black – it’s outer space gray.

44. Black Olive: the color of Mork’s hair when he travels back from the future and freezes time. Seriously, why was this an episode of Happy Days?

45. Onyx: when Fonzie adopts an orphan in the penultimate episode of the series, the boy (Danny Ponce) has onyx-colored eyes. At least he did on my set.

46. Licorice: that episode where the gang eats licorice? Yeah, that one.

47. Salt-and-Pepper: the color of Tom Bosley’s hair by season eleven.

48. Jennifer Grey: whilst watching an episode of Happy Days, see if Dirty Dancing is airing on another channel, then call it up using picture-in-picture. Easy!

49. Anti-Gray: everything that is not gray is anti-gray.

50. Black: the sacred leather jacket, of course.

I hope you found this list to be equally as titillating as the porno-novel which inspired it. If not, well, I was dripping candle wax on my hands as I wrote it. Better? No?


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