JUMP THE SHARK - ORIGIN
Saturday March 16th, 2013
JUMP THE SHARK – ORIGIN
The idiom ‘Jump The Shark’, meaning the moment in time when a TV show (and more recently a brand, design of any creative effort) begins to decline in quality beyond recovery was first coined by American radio personality and webmaster John Hein.
It is actually a direct reference to the first episode of the fifth season of American TV show Happy Days called ‘Hollywood Part 3’. It was originally aired in the States on September 20 1977 and the central characters were visiting LA. The show’s main man Fonzie (played by Henry Winkler) takes on a challenge to ski jump over a confined shark, which he does successfully wearing trunks and his trademark leather jacket. The stunt was actually performed by the actor to show off his real-life water skiing skills.
The sequence was deemed a ‘desperate gimmick’ by fans and critics alike and the show had become a caricature of itself and went into creative decline - though it ran for another seven years with an ever changing cast. Hein published a list of 200 TV shows he believed had ‘Jumped the Shark’ and has published to successful ‘Jump the Shark’ books. The phrase has since been widely embraced by popular culture.