When Laverne & Shirley signed on in January of 1976, America's top-rated program was Happy Days -- of which Laverne & Shirley was, of course, a spin-off. By the time the last-named series entered its third season, it had climbed to the coveted number one slot, while Happy Days had retreated to number two. Season three opens with a typically slapsticky entry, "Airport '59," wherein Laverne (Penny Marshall) and Shirley (Penny Marshall) end up at the controls of a passenger plane. Later on, in the series' first two-parter, "Cruise," our heroines take a vacation on a luxury liner, only to be saddled with a pair of stowaways -- none other than their Shotz Brewery co-workers Lenny (Michael McKean) and Squiggy (David L. Lander). In a subsequent installment, 1950s singing idol Fabian shows up as Laverne & Shirley's first era-appropriate guest star. And in a brace of physical-humor tours de force, "The Obstacle Course" and "2001: A Comedy Odyssey," the girls (a) become police recruits and (b) imagine what their lives will be like in old age. But for all its hilarious hijinks, the third season's most memorable episode is also its most moving and poignant: "The Slow Child," guest-starring Linda Gillen as Amy Babish, the mentally challenged daughter of Laverne and Shirley's landlady, Edna Babish (Betty Garrett).
by Hal Erickson synopsis