Sunday, November 26, 2006

A friend mentioned to me yesterday that he had read in TV Guide that the show I work on has already "jumped the shark." For those of you unfamiliar with the term, "jumping the shark" means the point at which a tv show has desperately tried something new to avoid dying out in the ratings. (It can also mean the point at which a show should have just accepted its fate and died, instead of trying to hang in there.) The term comes from the Happy Days episode when Fonzie jumped over a shark on waterskis.

So, to me, it's really pretty clear when shows have jumped the shark. The show might have more than one point at which this actually happens, but it's pretty clear, nonetheless. It's generally when something happens like they add a new character to the show who is supposed to be more interesting than the ones actually LEFT on said show near the end of its run. For example, when they added Leonardo DiCaprio on Growing Pains because Kirk Cameron was barely on the show anymore, and younger brother Ben hadn't grown up cute enough to drag in the young female audience.

A show also jumps the shark when the couple with years of sexual tension finally hooks up (David & Maddie on Moonlighting), when someone is born and ages unnaturally (Andy on Family Ties), when the cute kid on the show hits puberty (Kevin in The Wonder Years), or when they have the "serious" episode on the "funny" show ("This week, on a very special Blossom..."). You get the picture.

The point I've brought this up is I think people (and I'm talking about TV Guide right now) often use the term incorrectly. They use it to mean the point at which a show has become annoying to them. I've seen people on web sites refer to Ally McBeal jumping the shark when the Dancing Baby appeared. Of COURSE that's not when the show jumped the shark - that's what put them on the map! They jumped the shark when they added Dame Edna to the regular cast and Ally's 10 year old daughter showed up from out of nowhere.

I'm not saying my show HASN'T jumped the just didn't happen when Al Sharpton showed up (episode 1, by the way), or when two adult lawyers started wrestling each other over a woman (that's just the goofy writing of the series' creator). I just wanted to spread the word so everyone would know how to properly use the term. I'm just sayin'...

Had lots of fun mountain biking yesterday, though I think I may be off to buy a new bike. My old bike is not in what I would call good shape to be coming down a mountain at 15 miles an hour in dirt. It scared the hell out of me because I didn't have the proper knobby tires.

Also, Wally and I managed to get a quick hike in yesterday, if only around the back and of the Rosebowl. At least there was some muddy water for him to get totally filthy and smelly in!

I talked to my sister on the phone last night, which made me think of the song for today, which shall be "Magic Power" by Canadian rockers Triumph. She LOVED these guys, and I remember her going to see them at some huge concert down in Oregon in the 80s with a bunch of other bands playing - it was an early version of Lollapalooza or that type of show. Anyway, Triumph were a bit of a Rush rip off, but they had their own sound, as well. In fact, I never really liked much Rush, but I did like a lot of Triumph, especially from their 1981 album Allied Forces, which had this song on it. Besides, their lead singer, Rik Emmett, was a lot easier on the eyes than Geddy Lee.


Blogger Diane said...

Thanks for the explanation of jump the shark! I had a comment to my post about how annoying I find CSI, and the commenter agreed the show had "jumped the shark" - I had no idea what that meant, but assumed it wasn't good . . .

Muddy water = heaven to a Lab

10:15 AM  
Anonymous LeMaster said...

I have never understood how you could not like Rush.

1:54 PM  

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