Happy Days: R.O.T.C. (1974)
Season 2, Episode 5
9/10
Richie's demons
9 November 2019
After the initial squad leader is fired, Richie is put in charge of his ROTC group instead. He's not too thrilled with the opportunity, not knowing how to keep his men in check.

There are times where you feel bad for Richie, and then there are times where you feel *really* bad for Richie. You can feel his discomfort throughout the entire episode being in this position of power. It's hard enough to be a boss at all, even harder when those you're a boss of are your friends. Ron Howard gives a very outstanding performance here, portrayed Richie's conflict very well. When he's being too nice his friends take advantage of him, when he's being too harsh they make mutiny. Hell, even Fonzie turns away from him when he reveals he felt forced to report his friends when they didn't shape up.

This all makes it sound like a rather dramatic affair, but there is still lots of comedy to lighten it up. Marion cheekily poking fun at Howard for his weight, Fonzie getting the waitress to correct his order only to realize there's still not enough ice in the drink, not to mention the wildly absurd nightmare Richie has. This is one of the weirdest scenes I've seen in a Happy Days episode, but feels completely line with his guilt-stricken Richie is when he feels mentally tortured by his decisions. The funniest part is when everyone transforms into a judge giving him a sentence, even Richie himself. Howard tells his son to make the men love him while the commander who gave Richie the job told him to make them hate him. Howard's reaction when the commander says "they hate him" (assuming that's what made them listen to him) is priceless.

The scenes of Richie getting ridiculed by then alienated his friends are very hard to watch, but they do gain his sympathy in the end when they realize how heavy the weight has been on his shoulders. He successfully leads his squad in the end (at least until they hit the sprinkler system and are soaked in water), just being good ol' himself instead.

When Richie quits as commander and it gets handed over to Potsie instead, he and Ralph seem to give him the same kind of treatment, though Potsie's smile indicates that he knows it's tongue-in-cheek this time.

Howard gives a good lesson near the end where he says it doesn't matter if you're a perfect leader or not, just as long as you give it your best.
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