Jumping the Shark
As TV fans, we hear it all the time--"This show has jumped the shark"
For those of you who might not be aware, there is a web site called JumptheShark.com. The site attempts to find the exact moment when a TV show goes from being really good to being not as good. The Jump the Shark refers to the infamous Happy Days episode where Fonzie jumped over a shark on water skis. After that, it was all downhill for the show. (If you head over to the Jump the Shark web site, you can see a huge database of shows and the moment when fans feel they made the fateful jump.)
Right now, fans are debating if a couple of shows aren't becoming Shark bait. So, this week, we'll take a look at just when good shows go wrong.
1. What is the worst Jump the Shark moment for a show that you've faithfully watched? Did you continue to watch after the show took the jump or did you give up in disgust?
posted by Michael Hickerson at 1/18/2005 01:18:00 PM
I was a big fan of Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman and it jumped the shark in a big way in mid-season three. They'd avoided potential sharkbait by having Lois figure out that Clark is Superman, but when they got the wedding arc--referred to in the fandom as the wedding argh!--and we got five episodes that ended with Lois not remembering she loved Clark, not married, etc. it was all over. It was just downhill from there and fans turned off in droves. I remained loyal to the end, but was still very, very bitter about it. I still am come to think of it.
2. Is there a show that you're currently watching that you think has Jumped the Shark? Any show that currently is putting on a life vest and strapping on water skis?
I'd have to say that Alias has jumped the shark completely since season two when Syd and Vaughn took down SD6 so they could hook up. It's not been the same since that point and nothing they do seems to help it recover. (But yet, I still watch).
3. Is there a show that has never taken the jump?
Doctor Who, The Simpsons, Angel, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, DS9
4. Is there a show that got close to jumping but then came back?
Boy, Buffy sure did get awfully close in seasons four and six, but it came back from the edge.
5. What elements do you think most contribute to a show making the jump?
One of the biggest things is when you have a series built around romantic tension between two characters and you get them together and then have no idea where ot go next. So many shows are content to get the two characters together and then have no concept of what happens next that is can ruin the whole thing. Also, I think having a show that refuses to break out of its "formula" can be bad. I have to say that Quantum Leap was a show that at least tried to tweak the formula in its last season to keep it interesting--and for the most, I think they did.