When a TV show has had some level of success and starts to live off its reputation rather than come up new material or changes in a significant way in an attempt to stay fresh, television critics say it has jumped the shark.
The sitcom Happy Days is partially to thank for the phrase. In its fifth season, Fonzie, the leather jacket wearing, auto mechanic and star of the show jumped over a shark while wearing water skis. Critics panned the move and would later point to the shark jump as the moment when the show had reached its peak and was never the same again.
A few other oft-cited jump the shark moments: working class Roseanne and her family winning the lottery; the series finale of Seinfeld; and when Olivia joined the cast of the Cosby Show to name a few.
I’ve been thinking of things outside Hollywood that have also jumped the shark. The television networks frankly come to mind, with more people nowadays watching Netflix and Amazon and the networks becoming more and more desperate for viewers, but there are many other things too:
—Major League Baseball. Football long ago raced past baseball as America’s favorite past time. Nothing new there. Like many people, I still love a good game. I love the anticipation, the strategy and battle of wits. But, the post season started Tuesday and I barely noticed. I remember as a kid picking a team in the NL, usually my favorite team, and one in the AL and living and dying with every pitch. Now . . . not so much.
—Facebook. While still a fun tool for me to stay in touch with friends, my kids tell me that it is so yesterday. Who knew? I don’t follow Facebook well enough to know about their new features, but I do know that it’s becoming harder and harder finding my friend’s new baby or first day of school pictures amongst the political posts and general junk. Hmm, maybe I need to move to Instagram?
—Superhero movies. I absolutely loved the movie Wonder Woman, but the genre is so overblown. I feel like every time I sit down in front of the TV, I come across one of the IronMan or Captain America movies. How about a movie on a superhero Dad who manages to keep a roof over his family’s head, everyone fed and still has fun on the weekend?
—Wireless phone company providers. The providers keep coming up with new and supposed better plans. I half expect one of them to start offering a new toaster if I jump to their plan, but I find that my data usage and corresponding bill keep going up. How high can it go? Or is this just me?
—Microsoft. Okay, maybe it’s because I have a new Apple laptop and connections to the company now, but Microsoft and its many Windows 10 updates are so 1990.
—Hillary Clinton’s new book “What Happened.” I don’t need a retelling of the past year to know what happened. Lest you think I’m drinking the GOP kool-aid, President Donald Trump and his rambling administration (minus Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Generals John Kelly and James Mattis) in my opinion has long jumped the shark.
Oh, best to move on, before my blog goes off track, diving into political topics, and jumps the shark.
So what do you think has jumped the shark?