Fred Fox, Jr. is to blame. Seeking a splash for the Season 5 premiere of Happy Days, Fred wrote a script depicting Arthur Fonzarelli (“Fonzie”) jumping a freaking shark on water-skis (looking back, please forgive the “splash” pun.)
“Jump the Shark” became pop-culture lingo in the late 1990’s, and we’ve been beaten about the ears with the term ever since. One could even say that the term “jump the shark” has, in fact……jumped the shark (again, I apologize.)
Most of us associate the term with “beginning of the end” ~ an occurrence or event so blatantly desperate or ridiculous, no fate other than extinction will be forthcoming. But that’s a bit of a mischaracterization of the real impact of a “Jump the Shark” moment. Extinction is often delayed for years – Happy Days, for example, would air for 7 more years after the ridiculous premise of Fonzie’s jump. It didn’t kill the show, it just made it suck really, really bad. For current points of reference, see Sons of Anarchy or Homeland, both of which seem to have a abducted a pack of wild chimpanzees to author their respective weekly installments.
But…..damn my eyes if I don’t watch them anyway. Not because of the quality, but because I need to see an end.
That, my friends, is a glimpse into the routines which somehow limit our ability to act rationally. Instead of removing the residue of Charlie Hunnam’s questionable acting skills from my frontal lobe, I’m sticking with the show to see how the ridiculousness unfolds.
Silly examples, maybe, but how many times do you stick with a job, a relationship, or a habit long after you realize it has outlived its usefulness?
It’s time to break the routines that bind us; start small if necessary…the important thing is to start. Stick with a bad show too long, and next thing you know Joanie Loves Chachi is in your life.