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On jumping the shark: a fast irrelevant comment

For whatever reason, discussions of the term "Jumping the Shark" are floating around the blogosphere today. Different things are accused of jumping the shark, other essays and comments accuse "jumping the shark" of jumping the shark... it's a chumfest, boyos.

Chum.

It's cut up fish. They use it to bait for sharks.

Look, I'm under medication.

Anyway, I like the term because it does its job. It conveys a concept, quickly and easily. "This is the point where something cool went past its peak and into its decline. This is the point where everyone knows its over." All things jump the shark, eventually.

But I'm thinking back to the Happy Days cliffhanger where the term originated, when the Fonz, to prove how cool he was, learned to water ski and then jumped a shark.

Well... I also remember that it was done cliffhanger style... the Fonz hit the ramp, went into the air, hit his apogee high above the shark holding area... and then the screen froze, with "TO BE CONTINUED" superimposed over it.

I was, like ten years old when that happened. And the thing I clearly remember thinking was "well, duh. He's at the high point of his jump. I saw the first half of it. He's clearly going to make it assuming that a team of Supervillains didn't extend a transparent sheet of glass for him to slam into the way they did in front of the highway Superman and the Flash were racing on, so they could take the place of Our Heroes and fix the ending. Damn villains."

So at ten years old, it wasn't that the concept was lame. As Bobby in Superosity once said, "dude! He jumped a shark. He can do anything he wants!" It was that I had to wait the entire summer to see the back half of a jump that any cretin could see was going to make it, and we had to pretend like there was suspense involved.

Morons.

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Comments

Any cretin who grasped ballistic motion, that is. Aristotelian views are still sadly pretty common, and there are people who really do think that one might run out of steam at the top of a jump and fall straight in. Or, at least, that the angle of descent might be sharper than the angle of ascent, based on what they observe from tossing crumpled up wrappers at wastebins.

I dunno. I was ten, and had about as much knowledge of ballistics then as I currently have about quantum mechanics -- with a dictionary at hand, I can spell it.

It's one thing to think that someone might run out of steam and fall straight down when it's described to you. It's quite another to see the first half of the jump, then have it freeze. People know what happens in a jump. They've seen it a million times before. People know what it looked like when Evel Knievel jumped over a bunch of buses on a motorcycle. And they know what a successful jump looks like.

I stand by my declaration of "morons." ;)

I'm reminded of the scene in "Misery", in which Annie speaks with such fervor about the writers of a weekly short movie "Cheated" and wrote action into a sequence that hadn't been present in the original.

Had Fonzie been in the middle of the jump, and we see "TO BE CONTINUED", and then next episode, we see, Tragically, that Fonzie's Tow Rope had come loose, and as he made the jump, he had been decellerating...

Of course, I'm not sure that a Knock down, Drag out fight between Fonzie and a Shark would have resolved itself with any less of an impractical ending, But wouldn't "Flogging the Shark" be more fun to discuss than Jumping one?

When CRFH jumps the shark, I'm gonna do it in a way that changes the term to "shark spanking". ;)

What's all this talk about shark jumping? Where?

Bobby actually said "The guy JUMPED OVER a DAMN SHARK! He can do whatever the hell he WANTS!"

Still, that was a pretty good from memory. I barely remembered it myself, and I drew the thing. I had to go find it ( http://www.superosity.com/d/20030318.html ) and confirm the actual quote, because I couldn't imagine Bobby ever saying "Dude!" in that way.

Let's just be careful we don't jump the snark.

...I suppose that was inevitable, eventually.

I'm not entirely sure, but I think BassetKing just proved Dave Van Domelen's point...

I know it has nothing to do with anything, and you probably wouldn't even care. Friday's "Beetle Bailey" did something that evidenced how long ago it had jumped the shark. It featured a gnome which Beetle had found in the forest attempting to cast a spell on Sarge. Gnome. It was funny, sure, but because it was so f***ing ridiculous after years of monotonous crap that they just threw a gnome in there. Garfield and Cathy would also be improved by spell-casting gnomes, and I don't think anyone would mind.

"there are people who really do think that one might run out of steam at the top of a jump and fall straight in."

Hang on!

Are you saying those Road Runner cartoons ARE WRONG?!

My entire life has been based on a lie...

Holy crap, I FINALLY got typekey to work! (They must have jumped the shark if they're letting cretins like me on.)

Okay, worse than that was EVERY SINGLE DOUBLE EPISODE OF BATMAN! I used to love that show, but every time they did a "to be continued" episode, they'd show the cliff-hanger, then in the next episode, they'd change it so that batman and robin COULD escape. We used to spend the commercial break between the two episodes (Yah, they used to run batman marathons and doubled up episodes all the time) trying to figure out how they'd cheat.

Batman and Robin was interesting because the show started out already having jumped a shark. It was so campy and ridiculous that it was fun, and they never really had a peak or a decline. I think they just realized it had been fun, but enough is enough, and moved on.

Batman didn't jump the shark.

It sprayed it with the shark repellant batspray.

No, really. It was in the movie. On a rack next to the baracuda spray.

It's funny that I don't remember anything of the Batman series, EXCEPT the inflatable shark and the shark repellent.

Even at a very short age, I went all WTF????

I thought Batman went downhill quite a bit when they added Batgirl to the show and made it so that every single episode contained a seque into the next one, no matter how awkward it would be, rather than just making them in pairs. The show still kicked ass, though. Adam West could kick Michael Keaton's ass any day of the week.

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