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Fonzie Woz 'Ere: TV Programming That Jumped The Shark

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Glee: arguably far sooner, but definitely for sure the moment it decided to split the show between two settings.

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Despite the fact that I very much enjoyed it after this point (albeit for different reasons) and my favourite season of the show is the seventh, I'd put in that I feel that The X-Files jumped the shark after the fifth season, but before the sixth and before the film. I think, to me, the film was the shark jumping (even though I actually like it too).

Xena, to me, either jumped it as soon as they went to India (when they met Eli and Gabrielle gave up violence) or once they had been crucified. Ugh, "Angel Callisto"...

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Glee: arguably far sooner, but definitely for sure the moment it decided to split the show between two settings.

Beat me to it. Although speaking for myself, what put it over the top was the new crop of bland rips off of the other New Direction kids. None of them wre interesting, with the possible exception of Unique and Kitty got a few fans down the road, but I attribute that to Becca Tobin's own talents and not one bit on her non-existant redemption arc (seriously, she drives lame ass Marley to bulimia and the story is dropped like a hot potato? whatever). If they are never mentioned again, it'll be too soon.

7th Heaven: not that it was ever must see TV, but the first few seasons were okay until Jessica Beil quit and Brenda Hampton took her butthurt out on screen by making Mary the most Evil of Evils that ever Eviled. Add that the Camden house became a halfway home for every new teen that came on the show and Ruthie turning emo after her crush got another girl pregnant. Then, the faux-nale. I hope I get off deployment in time to save that thread, 'cuz the reactions to the renual were priceless.

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I've been thinking about this and about the episode of the tv show that spawned the phrase and I don't think it fits with that particular tv show. By which I mean Happy Days didn't jump the shark in the episode where Fonzie jumped the shark on his waterskis.

My reasoning is this: Fonzie is cool. He is, outside of James Dean perhaps the coolest person in the history of tv and movies. He is cool because he wears a leather jacket and rides a motorcycle and goes "AYYYYYYYYYYY" while sticking his thumb up in the air and because every single older teenager/woman in his vicinity falls instantly in love with him, and while he is more than happy to make out with them he is also courtly and well mannered and gentlemanly, thanks in no small part to Mrs. C who always treated him with warmth and kindness and love. He puts forth a tough front but Fonzie is gentle. He is surprisingly worldy for someone who doesn't have much formal education. And most important, he can do anything. He can bang on a juke box and it will start or stop playing and he can make it play a specific song. he can bang on a soda machine and down drops a bottle of soda. He can compete in and win a dance marathon after walking his bike 18 or however many miles it was. He can deliver a baby. He can rebuild a smashed engine on a car inside of two hours. He can win a demolition derby against the most famous and most evil demolition derby team in history. He can ride a bucking bronco or go bullriding. He can successfully ride and jump his motorcycle over 12 or however many garbage cans. He can rebuild his motorcycle completely after having temporarily lost his sight. Having ALL of these things in his bag of accomplishments why is it so unreasonable or unbelievable that he could learn to waterski very quickly, (it's not that hard to pick up) and successfully manage a jump over a shark?

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I never doubted Fonzie was capable of jumping a shark, riding a bull, or any of the other things he was shown doing. In my opinion, the show jumped the shark when it began to air in front of a live studio audience. At the time the show aired, it was no big deal to me. I continued to watch the show and enjoyed it to a huge degree. It was "must see tv".  As I got older and would watch the show in reruns, my perception of the show changed. The show was at its best when Richie was the central character and no audience cheers and clapping to disrupt the story.

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So the show jumped after two seasons? Really? As for Richie not being the main focus or Fonzie shoving him out of the spotlight, Henry Winkler is not the kind of person who would be in the producers office screaming for more screen time and more lines. He was more shocked and overwhelmed than anyone else when his character became the breakout star of the show. He went to the producers and asked that his role be toned down, but that was a no go since he was the one bringing people to the show. Richie remained the focus of the show until the sixth season. Nice to have someone else agree that the actual jumping the shark wasn't when the show Jumped the shark.

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Xena, to me, either jumped it as soon as they went to India (when they met Eli and Gabrielle gave up violence) or once they had been crucified. Ugh, "Angel Callisto"...

I thought Xena jumped the shark after they were crucified and resurrected. What was that all about? I missed Joxer...

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Third Watch started out as a cross between Adam-12 and Emergency but to hide Molly Price's real life pregnancy Officer Yokas was shot by Sgt Cruz. No big deal dirty cop, a police show standard. Then came the twist NBC wanted changes to Third Watch making it The Shield lite starring Sgt Cruz/ Tia Texada. So they go back to working together because a NYPD Sergeant was also undercover for the FBI, thus immune from prosecution or working with friends of the woman she shot I guress

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Probably Grey's Anatomy when they drowned Meredith and she has no heartbeat for two hours or whatever, and apparently because of her body temp they were able to bring her back to life. I am not a doctor, but I believe when you drown you would have water in your lungs and that 's what kills you. Anyway. I still liked the show after that, and I did not really get upset about it, it's TV after all, but when they brought back Dead Denny, a character who had died of a stroke three seasons prior and Izzie was having sex with this ghost or hallucination or whatever he was supposed to be. I kept watching the show and I still watch today, however it has never been the same for me after that. DQ

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7th Heaven: not that it was ever must see TV, but the first few seasons were okay

 

 

Brenda Hampton also wrote the made-for-hate-watching show, The Secret Life of the American Teenager. The show was never as good as 7th heaven. However, one of the seasons opened with Grace (the super Christian chick) losing her virginity at the same time that her father died in a plane(?) accident. It was the worst! Honestly, the show was watchable before that arc. But after, oh Lord! "My dad died because I had sex!" 

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True Blood: the very moment Sookie was revealed to be a fairy. I can handle vampires, werewolves, and shifters, but you tell me fairies exist and I'm out. And by "out" what I really mean is that I begrudgingly watch each episode wondering how the fuck this nonsense got so out of hand, and it all leads back to those damned fairies.

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Lost Adding the whole time travel thing probably was jumping the shark. That being said I think this worked for the show. Especially since I am a huge sci-fi fan. Though I will say "moving the island" was definitely out there.

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Inspired by Kromm's avatar, I would say The A-team in the final season when they were no longer on the run and started working for the US Government.

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Brenda Hampton also wrote the made-for-hate-watching show, The Secret Life of the American Teenager. The show was never as good as 7th heaven. However, one of the seasons opened with Grace (the super Christian chick) losing her virginity at the same time that her father died in a plane(?) accident. It was the worst! Honestly, the show was watchable before that arc. But after, oh Lord! "My dad died because I had sex!"

I watched the first two seasons (to snark, of course). I gave Amy a shout out in the Character we Hate thread, but pretty much all of them took turns at being loathesome.

....except Ricky, I realize as I type this. He was always there for his kid and somehow found a way to deal with Amy's ungrate Mary Sue ass.

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Crime Story was a great cop show set in Chicago in the early 60's. It had a great cast, wonderful period atmosphere, and a gritty, noir feel. I loved it. For some reason, halfway through one, it turned into the Electric Koolaid Acid Test. First all the characters moved from Chicago to Las Vegas, including the local cop and local reporter, which reminded me of Laverne & Shirley, then it turned into a weird, trippy, psychedelic mess.
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Saved by the Bell - Three words, "I'm so Excited!!"

 

The Cosby Show - When Olivia and Pam joined the series is when this show jumped. The show was running on fumes once they joined.

 

The Young & The Restless - When MAB & JFP took over as executive producers. MAB made it the Phyllis and Victor show and JFP is making it The Dylan Show. The stories just became too stupid for words and the acting just got worse. All MAB & JFP are doing is stunt casting and that's why ratings continue to fall for that show.

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Lost Adding the whole time travel thing probably was jumping the shark. That being said I think this worked for the show. Especially since I am a huge sci-fi fan. Though I will say "moving the island" was definitely out there.

 

By the original definition of the term, which is "the point at which you realized this show was unrecognizable from what it had started out as," I would say that Lost jumped a brand new shark every season. It was less six seasons of one show and more six shows that were all connected in very odd ways.

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The Cosby Show - When Olivia and Pam joined the series is when this show jumped. The show was running on fumes once they joined.

I couldn't stand Olivia, but I liked Pam.  In fact, I think I liked Pam more than Vanessa and Sondra. 

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Looking back at Lost, for me, it was when they started to include Jacob and The Man in Black.  I've just gone back and re-read their story as explained on Lostpedia, and it still makes no goddamn sense to me.  Everything about that story sucked donkey balls. 

 

I can live with everything else that happened on that show, but that bit still infuriates me as taking the (in hindsight, ridiculous) mythology a bridge too far.  

 

I started losing interest in ER in S6 when Carter became an addict.  I stuck with it for a few more seasons out of loyalty, but by the time Carter went to Africa in S9, I was done.  The show then bore no resemblance to the show I had loved, for whatever reason.   So - somewhere between S6 and S9.

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Crime Story was a great cop show set in Chicago in the early 60's. It had a great cast, wonderful period atmosphere, and a gritty, noir feel. I loved it. For some reason, halfway through one, it turned into the Electric Koolaid Acid Test. First all the characters moved from Chicago to Las Vegas, including the local cop and local reporter, which reminded me of Laverne & Shirley, then it turned into a weird, trippy, psychedelic mess.

As I once said on TWoP: "What are you talking about? Ray and Paulie surviving a nuclear test was gold! Gold, I tells ya!"

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Looking back at Lost, for me, it was when they started to include Jacob and The Man in Black.  I've just gone back and re-read their story as explained on Lostpedia, and it still makes no goddamn sense to me.  Everything about that story sucked donkey balls.

 

I so agree with you.  I loved Lost.  I even loved the ending.  (Saw it again a few months ago and wept buckets.)  But having it all come down to two semi-supernatural beings engaged in a war of good vs evil was really disappointing.  And overdone.  And lazy.

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Looking back at Lost, for me, it was when they started to include Jacob and The Man in Black.  I've just gone back and re-read their story as explained on Lostpedia, and it still makes no goddamn sense to me.  Everything about that story sucked donkey balls. 

 

I can live with everything else that happened on that show, but that bit still infuriates me as taking the (in hindsight, ridiculous) mythology a bridge too far. 

I agree. I absolutely loathed that aspect of the series, even more than the stupid endless triangle. At least that mess didn't undermine the whole essence of the series. The Jacob storyline trivialized everything else that happened and all of the characters' lives.

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Revenge for the most part headed down a slippery slope during S2 and picked itself back up during the beginning of S3 but then went back down when Jack's mother came on and I stopped watching and then it just became stupid and more of a daytime soap more than a prime time drama. Only saving grace for that show is Madeleine Stowe.

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There were so many moments on Castle that just made me think, 'oh, fuck off', and I actually had given up on the show midway through season 6, because it was so fucking empty of anything approaching genuine fun. But I think the real jump the shark moment for me (which I only read about) has to be the reveal that Beckett was married, all this time, due to some drunken nonsense in Vegas. Yes, the girl who said "one and done", who kept people at a distance, who took years to see Castle as someone she could trust with her heart, and who was planning her wedding to the guy, suddenly turns out to have been unknowingly married for a decade and a half because... well, because Andrew Marlowe is a creatively bankrupt hack who was more than happy to throw characters under a bus to fuel his insipid plotting.

Edited by Danny Franks
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I liked Chicago Hope until the last season when TPTB fired 90% of the cast, cutting off years-long story lines, and replaced them with a bunch of boring non-entities.  Unsurprisingly, the show did a nose dive in the ratings and was cancelled.  I still don't get the logic behind that. 

Edited by Mulva

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There were so many moments on Castle that just made me think, 'oh, fuck off', and I actually had given up on the show midway through season 6, because it was so fucking empty of anything approaching genuine fun. But I think the real jump the shark moment for me (which I only read about) has to be the reveal that Beckett was married, all this time, due to some drunken nonsense in Vegas. Yes, the girl who said "one and done", who kept people at a distance, who took years to see Castle as someone she could trust with her heart, and who was planning her wedding to the guy, suddenly turns out to have been unknowingly married for a decade and a half because... well, because Andrew Marlowe is a creatively bankrupt hack who was more than happy to through characters under a bus to fuel his insipid plotting.

 

 

I completely agree. Having Kate of all people suddenly unknowingly married? Nope I don't think so. They also threw Alexis under the bus the first half of the season by turning her into such a brat by having her weird and rude boyfriend crashing at Castle's apartment without ever asking permission, treating her dad like crap then having the nerve to think Castle was the one who was in the wrong. Not once did she ever apologize to Castle for any of it. 

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Revenge is about to own this thread and evict all the previous occupants, if what I'm hearing about the upcoming season is true.

 

No, I refuse to listen to such realistic expectations.  No, don't believe it.  I want it to go back to its Season 1 greatness.

 

 

True Blood: the very moment Sookie was revealed to be a fairy. I can handle vampires, werewolves, and shifters, but you tell me fairies exist and I'm out. And by "out" what I really mean is that I begrudgingly watch each episode wondering how the fuck this nonsense got so out of hand, and it all leads back to those damned fairies.

 

Well, to be fair, the fairy story comes from the books.

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RE True Blood:

Well, to be fair, the fairy story comes from the books.

 

That would have been the perfect time for the series to deviate, as they've done with plenty of book stuff already.

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I liked Chicago Hope until the last season when TPTB fired 90% of the cast, cutting off years-long story lines, and replaced them with a bunch of boring non-entities.  Unsurprisingly, the show did a nose dive in the ratings and was cancelled.  I still don't get the logic behind that.

 

I thought it JTS earlier, when Mandy Patinkin was replaced by Christine Lahti. I didn't mind at first, but then it seemed every plotline called for her character to screw up and/or cry. Instead of creating a complex and interesting female protagonist, the show reinforced the stereotype that Women Just Can't Handle High Pressure Jobs.

 

Talking about replacing interesting characters with boring nonentities--in this case bland pretty people--, Homicide: Life on the Street did just that. 

 

I quit ER after what seemed like the thousandth unplanned pregnancy storyline. I don't even remember whose. Did those doctors and nurses really not know how to prevent pregnancy, or were they just the world's unluckiest people? While the show didn't JTS after George Clooney left, it seemed as though every younger man who was added to the cast after that was an attempt to re-create his character: The Maverick Who Doesn't Always Play by the Rules.

 

Three's Company after Suzanne Somers left.

 

Designing Women after Delta Burke left. I would have liked her replacement character, BJ Poteet, had she been a smart and funny conservative (think Florence King--look her up if you don't know who she is) instead of another liberal based on Molly Ivins.

 

Roseanne and that "winning the lottery" plotline. I've never actually watched that final scene where Roseanne says Dan died and the show was her fantasy. Did she mean just the final season or the whole show?

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True Blood: the very moment Sookie was revealed to be a fairy. I can handle vampires, werewolves, and shifters, but you tell me fairies exist and I'm out. And by "out" what I really mean is that I begrudgingly watch each episode wondering how the fuck this nonsense got so out of hand, and it all leads back to those damned fairies.

For me with True Blood it was when they felt the need to give more and more characters storylines to the point where they would switch back and forth between it seemed like 10 different character storylines over the course of an episode. If they had set the show up like Oz where say you deal with 1 storyline for 10 minutes and then it is done for that episode and you switch to the next one I probably could have held out longer.

 

Roseanne and that "winning the lottery" plotline. I've never actually watched that final scene where Roseanne says Dan died and the show was her fantasy. Did she mean just the final season or the whole show?

It has been awhile, but I believe the character revealed in the finale that the whole show was basically a work of fiction she was writing based on her real life.

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Having ALL of these things in his bag of accomplishments why is it so unreasonable or unbelievable that he could learn to waterski very quickly, (it's not that hard to pick up) and successfully manage a jump over a shark?

 

 

As it was explained to me the problem with that episode was:

  1. It was a bad cliffhanger, the episode ended with Fonzie's jump past the halfway mark and it was clear he'd make the jump, so the 'To be continued' was insulting
  2. There was previously a very special episode that ended with Fonzie declaring he wasn't going to try any more daring feats, his jump was seen as an announcement that the show wouldn't even have minor character growth
  3. It was an episode where the Cunninghams traveled, a storytelling stunt that can lead to a shark jump

 

The second one sounds odd to me considering that back then TV characters didn't grow, but in hindsight I guess the lessons of very special episodes stuck because sitcoms usually never tackled that topic again.

 

 

Brenda Hampton also wrote the made-for-hate-watching show, The Secret Life of the American Teenager. The show was never as good as 7th heaven. However, one of the seasons opened with Grace (the super Christian chick) losing her virginity at the same time that her father died in a plane(?) accident. It was the worst! Honestly, the show was watchable before that arc. But after, oh Lord! "My dad died because I had sex!"

 

As I recall, it was "amazing sex" she kept saying "amazing sex" again and again in that monologue (which appeared on the soup) the dialogue was so awkward.

 

God that was a terrible show. Everyone sounded like they were having their lines read to them through earpieces and had no time to figure out what kind of emotion their character was feeling. I was so appalled when that was ABC Family's top show.

Edited by Wax Lion

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It's kind of sad that almost every show will eventually Jump if it runs long enough.

 

Now that I'm "doing" PBS shows again after not tuning in for a long, long time, I was rather surprised to see that NOVA has somehow managed to jump the shark. It used to be purely a science show, but these days they're doing a lot of stuff that looks like it belongs on the History Channel, and some of the episodes appear to be intended for 4th graders.

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Any series where a new baby is announced.  Once they have to start mining that event for story lines, the die is cast.  My first memory of this was Get Smart, but I guess you can argue that it was when Agents 86 and 99 got married.  The worst one to me, though, was on Mork and Mindy, when that giant egg cracked revealed Jonathan Winters.  Ugh.

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Oh, my gawd. Mork and Mindy was the first show I remember abandoning because it had turned into a giant ball of suck. First the stupid egg thing, then having both Jonathan Winters and Robin Williams in the same show.

 

Jonathan Winters as a baby would have made a nice 5-minute improv sketch, but it sucked as an ongoing plot device. Plus, I'm imagining there must have been heaps of wasted time and film (video?) because the two of them would not stop with the riffing and improvising, and what didn't end up being cut wasn't all that great. Yes - ugh.

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Ugh, couldn't agree more with the baby storylines. One of the worst offenders, in my mind, was Family Ties, where they had the baby, then aged him ahead an amazing six years so he could speak like a 40 year old and become Michael J Fox's puppet.

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So the show jumped after two seasons? Really? As for Richie not being the main focus or Fonzie shoving him out of the spotlight, Henry Winkler is not the kind of person who would be in the producers office screaming for more screen time and more lines. He was more shocked and overwhelmed than anyone else when his character became the breakout star of the show. He went to the producers and asked that his role be toned down, but that was a no go since he was the one bringing people to the show. Richie remained the focus of the show until the sixth season. Nice to have someone else agree that the actual jumping the shark wasn't when the show Jumped the shark.

 

Plus Ron Howard was perfectly happy with being "a main character" rather than "the main character." He was one of those child actors growing up, and had no problem sharing the spotlight if it resulted in a better show. Plus, he, Henry Winkler, and Tom Bosley all became close friends. In act, Henry Winkler and Ron Howard are still close friends to this day.

 

Plus, some years ago VH1 did one of those behind-the-scenes things for "Happy Days," and Ron Howard basically admitted that during the show's run he was already looking to do something other than acting and was perfectly happy with having less screentime so he could learn about the nuts and bolts of production. All of the actors pretty much agreed that there wasn't a whole lot of ego on the set, especially during the early years. Just about the only cast member who has anything bad to say about working on the show was Erin Moran.

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Roseanne and that "winning the lottery" plotline. I've never actually watched that final scene where Roseanne says Dan died and the show was her fantasy. Did she mean just the final season or the whole show?

 

 

It's actually even more complicated than that--Everything from the season 2 finale on was Roseanne's book, which means the last episode that reflected her "real" life was the episode where Roseanne got her writing room in the basement. Which means that my favorite seasons, 3-6, didn't actually happen (not to mention the whole switching husbands mess). Which...yeah, fuck that. 

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Supernatural- Probably around season 8

Vampire Diaries- from season 5

The Originals- since the very beginning

Arrow- Season 2 and 3

 

Buffy-from season 4 

Edited by Conell

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Dexter:  The end of season 4.  Season 5 wasn't horrible but after that there was a steady decline in quality so I am saying end of Season 4.  

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Any series where a new baby is announced.  Once they have to start mining that event for story lines, the die is cast.

 

I generally agree.  The only time I thought "that was handled well" was on Mad About You

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