News

‘Jumping the Shark’ explained

We've all felt that disconcerting moment when a good tv show goes bad. Whether in the form of an unrealistic plot twist, the unexplained replacement of a key character, or a suspicious drift from the original premise, that palatable drop in quality is what tv critics call 'jumping the shark.' The term comes from a moment in the series Happy Days when Fonzie literally jumped over a shark wearing water skis. Until then, he was known for his sex appeal and rebellious nature, not sideshow stunts involving aquatic predators. It was a sign of sorry times for the show, but at least it spawned a catchy industry phrase. A second Happy Days shark jump came with its ill-fated spin-off series Joanie Loves Chachi. What were they thinking?
April 1, 2006

We’ve all felt that disconcerting moment when a good TV show goes bad. Whether in the form of an unrealistic plot twist, the unexplained replacement of a key character, or a suspicious drift from the original premise, that palatable drop in quality is what tv critics call ‘jumping the shark.’ The term comes from a moment in the series Happy Days when Fonzie literally jumped over a shark wearing water skis. Until then, he was known for his sex appeal and rebellious nature, not sideshow stunts involving aquatic predators. It was a sign of sorry times for the show, but at least it spawned a catchy industry phrase. A second Happy Days shark jump came with its ill-fated spin-off series Joanie Loves Chachi. What were they thinking?

About The Author
Barry Walsh is editor and content director for realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for HMV.com. As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.

Menu

Search