Happy Days and the Valley Girl Song

LORELAI (to two girls in the dormitories): Oh, cool. We’re just kinda hanging out between classes. We got Chef next. So, we’ll probably see you at the Phi Alpha Beta thing tomorrow, right?
GIRL 1: Maybe.
LORELAI: Yeah, I know, we’re not sure either. They can be so totally lame. Gag me.
GIRL 1: Yeah. See ya. [Students leave]
RORY: You do realize that all of your college kid jargon comes from Happy Days and the Valley Girl song?

Happy Days, previously mentioned, is an American sitcom that presented an idealised portrait of Midwestern life in the 1950s and ’60s. It starred Ron Howard as innocent teenager Richie Cunningham, and Henry Winkler as his friend Arthur “Fonzie” Fonzarelli, a cool biker and high-school dropout. Aired between 1974 and 1984, it became one of the biggest hits in television history, and was the #1 TV program in 1976-77. It turned Henry Winkler into a major star, and Fonzie into one of the most merchandised characters of the 1970s. It also spawned a number of spin-offs, including Joanie Loves Chachi, previously discussed. Happy Days is still on American television in reruns.

Valley Girl is a 1982 song by Frank Zappa and his daughter Moon Zappa, then aged 14. The song consists of Frank playing riffs on the guitar while Moon performs the lyrics in “Valspeak”, the slang and intonations of the teenage girls of the era from the San Fernando Valley. The song went to #32, and was Zappa’s only Top 40 single. Although intended as a savage parody, the song popularised the Valley Girl stereotype, and led to an increase in Valspeak. The fad directly inspired the 1983 Nicolas Cage movie Valley Girl.

Lorelai’s “They [frat parties] can be so totally lame. Gag me”, is pure Valspeak.

3 thoughts on “Happy Days and the Valley Girl Song

  1. Hi A.O.! I’m watching GG on Netflix now (S2EP4 now) and just find your website, it is sooo great and very helpful plus interesting for non-American (I’m from Taiwan).
    I often stop the drama and try google cultural stuff between the lines, it’s fun to understand more culture background behind the words!
    Thank you for writing and sharing GG S1 and S2’s US pop and culture world! 🙌👍
    Love Gilmore Girls~ ❤️


    1. Thanks so much for the encouragement, I’m not American either, and often have to look up particular slang and turns of phrase that are unfamiliar to me. 🙂


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