Where the Phrase “Jumped the Shark” Comes From
By Chad Upton | Editor
Someone who has always been a good friend to me is my buddy Rick. He is always good for new ideas and he happens to be a TV fanatic.
Two seasons after LOST started, Rick knew I’d love the show. He ran down the plot summary from the first two seasons over lunch and I was hooked before I even saw the show. Another time, he was telling me about a show he liked but was unhappy because it had “jumped the shark.” I wasn’t familiar with the phrase so he explained it to me.
In 1977, during the the fifth season of the TV series Happy Days, the character Fonzie was water skiing and literally jumped over a shark. You can see it in this clip:
The show had been extremely popular, but this stunt was a pivotal point which marked a steady downturn in the quality of the show. It was a grave departure from the stories in previous seasons and seemed to indicate that the writers had run out of ideas.
These days, the phrase is generally used to indicate that something is past its prime or has reached a point that is the beginning of an end.
Photo: Bill Ward (cc)
Sources: Rick … and wikipedia (Jumping the Shark)