This may be common knowledge, I’m not sure, but the phrase :jumping the shark” has developed a very specific meaning in the television world. It is something that I like to refer to as television slang. I went to use the phrase jumping the shark in a recent post but stopped myself because I honestly don’t know if the meaning is commonly known. I figured a post was in order to make sure we are all on the same page.
Jumping the Shark: when a show is still on the air but has run out of good ideas so they air a shitty, ridiculous, bad idea. Basically, when a show has been on the air too long and is barely holding a story together then it has jumped the shark. The phrase was originally coined by Happy Days. An episode close to the show’s end featured Fonzie jumping over a shark while water skiing. The phrase jumping the shark is quite a literal term. It specifically refers to the moment when the Fonz went from “cool” to ridiculous but has grown to refer to shows that no longer hold a solid enough plot line to stay on the air.
Shows that in my opinion have jumped the shark.
- Heroes: when exactly did it jump the shark? There have been more times than I care to count. The first season of the show was really good but after that, something happened. Somewhere between the shape shifting, government conspiracies, twins stick in the same body that are actually triplets and a group of enemies who live in a traveling circus, the show jumped one giant whale of a shark.
- Prisonbreak: For me it happened during the third season, when a handful of the main characters landed themselves in a second prison in south America. The first season of the show was mind-blowing and riveting but somewhere along the way they used too much material too fast.
- Glee: It happened with Finn’s proposal to Rachel. The minutes it happened I realized that the show was just recycling material and using it on different characters. The music is still awesome, which makes it worth watching but the story line has completely lost my interest.