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Thursday, September 21, 2017

On this date in history: jump the shark

okay, I missed it by a day. But 40 years ago, the infamous scene where fonzie literally jumps a shark aired on tv.




From Wikipedia:
The phrase jump the shark is based on a scene in the fifth season premiere episode of the American TV series Happy Days titled "Hollywood: Part 3," written by Fred Fox, Jr.,[5] which aired on September 20, 1977. In the episode, the central characters visit Los Angeles,  where a water-skiing Fonzie (Henry Winkler) answers a challenge to his bravery by wearing swim trunks and his trademark leather jacket, and jumping over a confined shark. The stunt was created as a way to showcase Winkler's real-life water ski skills.[6] However, the scene also was criticized[who?] as betraying Fonzie's character development, since in an earlier landmark episode, Fonzie jumped his motorcycle over fourteen barrels in a televised stunt; the stunt left him seriously injured, and he confessed that he was stupid to have taken such a dangerous risk just to prove his courage.
For a show that in its early seasons depicted universally relatable adolescent and family experiences against a backdrop of 1950s nostalgia, this incident marked a turn.[opinion] The lionization of an increasingly superhuman Fonzie, who was initially a supporting character in the series, became the focus of Happy Days. The series continued for seven years after Fonzie's shark-jumping stunt, with a number of changes in cast and situations.[7]
On Marc Maron’s WTF podcast Ron Howard talked about the first time the phrase was used by Happy Days co-star Donny Most: “Donny’s reading it and he kinda looks down, then says ‘what do you think of the script?’ and I shrugged and replied ‘people like the show, it’s hard to argue with being number one’ and he looked up and said, ‘he’s jumping a shark now?’. That was the first time I saw that phrase bracketed, before it was even done, you’ve got to give props to Donny Most.”[8]
The phrase "jumping the shark" was coined in 1985 by Jon Hein's roommate at the University of Michigan, Sean Connolly, when they were talking about favorite television shows that had gone downhill, and the two began identifying other shows where a similar "jump the shark" moment had occurred.[9][10] Hein described the term as "A defining moment when you know from now on … it's all downhill … it will never be the same."[5] In 1997, Hein created a website to publish his current list of approximately 200 television shows and his opinions of the moments each "jumped the shark"; the site became popular and grew with additional user-contributed examples.[5] Hein subsequently authored two "Jump The Shark" books and later became a regular on The Howard Stern Show around the time he sold his website to Gemstar (owners of TV Guide).
In a 2010 Los Angeles Times article, former Happy Days writer Fred Fox, Jr., who wrote the episode that later spawned the phrase, said, "Was the [shark jump] episode of Happy Days deserving of its fate? No, it wasn't. All successful shows eventually start to decline, but this was not Happy Days' time." Fox also points not only to the success of that episode ("a huge hit" with over 30 million viewers), but also to the continued popularity of the series.[5]
Fonzie was not the first character to jump a shark. In the P. G. Wodehouse 1922 novel "Right Ho, Jeeves" Bertie Wooster's cousin Angela jumps a shark while water-skiing on the French Riviera. The event did not become a cultural reference, but was a major plot point in the novel, leading to, among other things, a broken engagement, a hunger strike and many midnight assignations in the garden.[11]

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All about "the witch hunt"