Richie has a home nighttime study date with Gloria. They are alone sitting on the living room couch together and just about to kiss when suddenly Marion appears. She announces she “heard noises and so had to come down to check”.
Richie and Gloria attempt to regather their tender moment when next Howard pops down from the upstairs bedroom to search for his reading glasses. Becoming frustrated at the series of ‘interruptions’, Richie finally gives up on the idea of romance happening that night at his home.
Next morning at the breakfast table, Richie complains to older brother Chuck, who has popped in for a visit, that he has no life of his own: “I eat when the family eats – not when I want to. I watch their tv shows – not the ones I like. I can’t even listen to Fats Domino after 10 ‘o clock.”
Chuck suggests Richie move in with him, as his old roommate just moved out. Marion is worried but Howard reassures her, “It’ll be fine Marion. You know, there’s an old saying that when a baby bird leaves its nest with just its pin feathers on, it always comes flying home before it molts”.
Richie moves in to his older brother’s apartment but is immediately struck by the clutter. “Is this the garage or the apartment?” he quips. Chuck responds with an offer. He asks Richie if he will clean-up the place a little each week in return for a cut to his share of the rent. Richie agrees.
To earn money to pay his own rent, Richie begins waiting on tables at Arnolds. The next night he arrives home, bone tired after his shift, only to fall asleep to the sound of his older brother bouncing a basketball – “59 with each hand” – in the living room.
Word spreads quickly that Richie now has his own ‘pad’. Potsie, Ralph and Fonzie all make approaches to Richie about using his apartment as a place to take their dates. Later they all have keys made to the apartment.
Richie brings Gloria back to the apartment however the mood is broken with a series of interruptions. First Potsie and his date arrive, expecting they will be alone. Next Ralph and his date turn up, followed soon by Fonzie with his. The final straw is when Chuck and the entire basketball team roll in as well.
Richie becomes enraged and orders everyone, including Fonzie, his own brother and the basketball team to leave. Gloria is impressed with Richie’s conviction and ‘take charge’ self-belief. “Oh wow Richie! That was really something else. I mean, that was better than Spencer Tracey in ‘BAD DAY AT BLACK ROCK‘. I was ready to leave too!”
Soon after, as predicted by his father, Richie moves back home. “It was really lousy having my own apartment this time,” he observes. “The place was always a mess. There was never any food in the house. I had to work all the time just to pay the rent. All I got out of that place (referring to having to sleep on the couch) was a bad back”.
Howard has the final word – “Someday you’ll have a place of your own and it’ll be different. You’ll probably be married by then. But until that time, I think it’s a good idea you let me have the key to Chuck’s apartment”.
In this episode, Richie cites one of the reasons he wants to move out of home as being the fact he can’t listen to Fats Domino after 10pm. American pianist and singer-songwriter Fats Domino (1928 – 2017), real name Antoine Domino Jr. sold over 65 million albums in his career.
His 1956 hit BLUEBERRY HILL was a song Richie would often sing to himself when he was feeling happy, in particular on dates.
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