What’s the ideal (and Indian) solution for fixing a dead remote? Whack it and you got it. This act of fixing things, especially electronics, without engaging with its technically functional side is called percussive maintenance or Fonzarelli Fix. You might find it really interesting that you have been doing it for years without realising there was actually a term to describe this. So, let’s delve deep into the story behind the fonzarelli way of fixing things.
The TV trope which became a hit
Arthur Herbert Fonzarelli is a fictional character played by Henry Winkler in the American sitcom “Happy Days” which aired during the period 1974 to 1984. Fonzarelli, better known as Fonzie or Fonz, used to repair things occasionally by smacking them. The term became a hit TV trope during the time as Fonz was already the definition of a “cool guy” in the 70s. Meanwhile, many people pointed out “percussive maintenance”, a term used on similar occasions to fix things temporarily without exactly understanding the reason for their malfunctioning, as a better comparison to this. But we don’t know which term came first.
“Technical Ape” and “Ape Mechanics” are some other terms that were used, but Fonzarelli beat them all. This is an example of “Truth in Television”, which means that once in a while real-life incidents happen on TV. It also shows what influences TV tropes have in real life when compared to much better technical terms.
Fonzie fixes in our lives
Applying pressure or just whacking a malfunctioning device is our pathinettamathe adav to fix it before we go nuts. Be it a remote or a washing machine, we have used the fonzarelli way of fixing things since time immemorial. But this term can be used not just in case of beating devices, but in some other scenarios too.
You might remember the dialogue system reboot aakki nokkiyo? when your PC freezes. Blowing ink out of a pen when it doesn’t work, hitting the lunch box over the side of a table to open it, and dismantling and reconnecting parts of a device when it doesn’t work are some simple examples where we have put Fonzerarelli’s application into use in our daily lives.
This fonzarelli way of fixing things is now also in use for denoting some marketing techniques. Some brands or startups might find it easy to market their products without much investment in advertising. The same might not be true for another company which invests a huge amount to spread the word around. In many cases, it is social media that plays a major role here. Targeted audience, marketing methods used, social media algorithms, celebrity involvement, etc. depend on how a company will become successful in its marketing area. There might also be other reasons. For example, Tupperware is a company that thrived with its innovative marketing technique.
Fonzie fixes in Malayalam movies
The first thing that comes to my mind thinking of fonzarelli way of fixing things is the dialogue Ippo sheriyakki tharaa. If it was Fonzie for Americans, it is Sulaiman in Vellanakalude Naadu who is the ideal movie trope for Malayalis. This is one of the most popular references among Malayalis. But when Fonzie fixed everything with a magical strike, our exemplar Sulaiman broke it even further with his occult touch of the hand.
Keralites have also been familiarised with what an enchanting slap from the hero could do to an arrogant heroine in some Malayalam movies. She goes out of bounds as an independent modern woman who is liberally dressed and speaks loud and clear to his face. And wham! The hero slaps her, and she turns into a picture-perfect modest kudumbathil piranna penkutty wearing the right clothes and ornaments preferred by the hero. This is another Fonzie fix you’ll find in movies.
You might also remember when Monayi simply explained the Malayalam meaning of a Kannada dialogue in the movie Summer in Bethlehem. He translated it so perfectly that even the pros with him couldn’t make out the mistakes until the very end of the translation.
The Fonzarelli Fix simply means that we find solutions to problems without actually understanding what the exact problem is. And sometimes these solutions might be the best considering all. But beware, simply whacking and hitting things might also put you in huge risks and trouble.
There might be a lot of other examples in our daily lives and in movies that could be taken as an application of Fonzarelli’s act. Don’t forget to comment below if you find some new and interesting ones. Also, don’t hesitate to tell someone that you are “Fonzarelli Fixing” when they ask you why you are whacking the TV remote next time.